Religion does not have to kill

Fact: If you are working unprotected in the hot sun, the major way that you can cool down is to sweat.

Fact: If you sweat in the desert, with very dry air, and the sweat evaporates from you body,

Fact: If the sweat simply runs off of you, as in a very humid environment, it has that much less cooling effect.

Fact: An unprotected person working in the hot sun can lose enough water in 2-3 hours to lower blood pressure enough that he or she can no longer sweat. At this time there is no further spontaneous means of shedding heat, and the person is subject to heat stroke or death.

Now, consider Ramzan (Ramadan) in Karachi in June-July 2015:

“There is the Respect of Ramzan Ordinance, which says you may be sent to prison for a few months if you eat or drink during fasting hours, or if you give someone something to eat or drink.”

“Many of the 1,000 people who have died in the recent heat wave in Karachi died because of this sensibility: Some people were reluctant to ask for a drink of water, others were reluctant to offer it to them. You can’t blame them. Even if they could get past their inhibitions, there was no water to be had. All the little tea stalls, roadside restaurants, small juice or snack vendors disappear from the streets during fasting hours. In this month you can walk miles without finding a sip of water. And Karachi has developed in a way that you can also walk miles without finding any shade to cool down.”

“The victims, mostly poor and working class, needed some shade, a drink of water and a bit of time to slow down. But shade and a respite from work are hard to come by in Karachi — even in the month of Ramzan, the work of being a megacity must go on.”

“Since an overwhelming majority of those who died were poor, nobody is calling for an investigation or rethinking how the city is growing. The victims were just dehydrated and not sensible enough to protect themselves against the harsh weather. They don’t count as martyrs, according to religious authorities, even though they died during the holy month, many of them while fasting. The media express indignation, but over power breakdowns:…”

“What killed them was the forced piety enshrined in our law and Karachi’s contempt for the working poor. These people died because we long ago removed any shade that could shelter them from the June sun and then took away their drinking water.”

I have talked to many Islamic religious authorities, and all have assured me that one must not endanger one’s health by fasting. Enough said.

Mazel Tov! (a change from the usual)

Francis has drawn from a wide variety of sources, partly to buttress his arguments, partly to underscore the universality of his message. He regularly cites passages from his two predecessors, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, even as he also draws prominently from his religious ally, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, leader of the world’s Eastern Orthodox Christians. He also cites a Sufi Muslim mystic, Ali al-Khawas.

Francis begins the encyclical with a hymn written by St. Francis of Assisi, the 13th-century friar who is the patron saint of animals and the environment. Francis cites the Bible’s book of Genesis to underpin his theological argument, though in a passage certain to rankle some Christians, he chastises those who cite Genesis as evidence that man has “dominion” over earth and therefore an unlimited right to its resources. Some believers have used this biblical understanding of “dominion” to justify practices such as mountaintop mining or fishing with gill nets.

Nobody retires in the bible

Billionaire Republican to Montana: Old people should be more like Noah and build arks until they die

…wealthy businessman Greg Gianforte, who is likely to run against Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock… For a little context, Gianforte’s remarks were made at Montana Bible College…

“There’s nothing in the Bible that talks about retirement. And yet it’s been an accepted concept in our culture today,” he said. “Nowhere does it say, ‘Well, he was a good and faithful servant, so he went to the beach.’ It doesn’t say that anywhere.”

“The example I think of is Noah,” he continued. “How old was Noah when he built the ark? 600. He wasn’t like, cashing Social Security checks, he wasn’t hanging out, he was working. So, I think we have an obligation to work. The role we have in work may change over time, but the concept of retirement is not biblical.”