Category Archives: History

Patrick Henry on Torture and the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution

Patrick Henry on Torture and the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution

When debating the Constitutional amendments that would eventually become the Bill of Rights, Patrick Henry advocated strongly for an amendment providing for protections against the use of “excessive bail and fines” and “cruel and unusual punishment.” His case was this: While our governing representatives could be allowed latitude to write laws defining crimes and enforcing punishment, they could not be trusted with the same (or any) latitude when it came to ensuring limits to punitive actions. He stated: “But when we come to punishments, no latitude ought to be left, nor dependence put on the virtue of representatives.” Continue reading

Share This

Some Thoughts on Patriotism

Some Thoughts on Patriotism

In the United States one of the most patriotic things we can do is examine, question, and critically challenge both our government and our social values. This is one of the core principles that made the founding of our nation unique in its time and (at our best) is a model and standard for other nations. Continue reading

Share This

Rising Star, Ruthless Rebel, and False Messiah: Bar Koseba, Bar Kokhba, Bar Koziba

Rising Star, Ruthless Rebel, and False Messiah: Bar Koseba, Bar Kokhba, Bar Koziba

Fifty-seven years ago today Yigael Yadin announced the discovery of letters written by Bar Kochba, the leader of the third Judaean rebellion against Rome (from 132-134 C.E.). These letters reveal that his real name was Shimon Bar Koseba. Tradition holds that the name Bar Kokhba was given to him by Rabbi Akiva, who believed that the rebel leader might be the Messiah. Bar Kochba means “son of a star” and alludes to a portion of Numbers 24:17as a Messianic prophecy: “There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.” Continue reading

Share This

Purim

Purim

Purim is a holiday celebrated by Jewish people for centuries to commemorate the defeat of Haman, who had plotted to have all the Jews massacred in the kingdom of the Xerxes, king of Persia. This sinister plot is revealed and ultimately stopped due to the boldness of Esther and her uncle Mordecai. You can read all about this in the Book of Esther in the Hebrew Bible. Continue reading

Share This