The Mark of Cain

So, I have been remiss in keeping you updated on the adventures of Jackson and his pooping or not pooping. It turns out that Mike and Judy took him back to the Extreme Vet about a month ago because he was passing these hard, dry, nutmeg seed-like things again. So he got flushed out again and they changed his medicine. Ever since then things have been quite normal. He’s a lot more comfortable and Mike and Judy are relieved.  I hope you all are relieved as well.

Not too much going on otherwise around here. Mike and Judy found a TV channel that plays the kind of music that you would hear at a spa. They flash pithy sayings on the screen as you listen to this music. It’s all very Zen. One thing that caught Mike’s eye was a statement by Anne Frank. I suppose you know who Anne Frank was. She was a young girl who lived in Amsterdam and went into hiding when the Nazis were arresting Jews and sending them to concentration camps during the 2nd world war. She kept a diary which was recovered by the people who were helping her family. They returned it to her father when he got out of the camp after the war. He was the only one of his family who survived. I don’t remember the exact quote, but she said something like it’s a wonderful thing that everyone has an opportunity to improve the world right at this moment. That’s quite a positive thought for somebody who is in hiding. Her opportunities in hiding to improve the world would seem to have been limited. But maybe not. Maybe if you improve the little piece of the world that you are in at any given moment you are fulfilling your purpose. Mike once read a book on Jewish mysticism in which there was a statement that every time someone does a good deed he creates an angel. It’s something to think about. Mike, Gena, and Michelle visited the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam in 1989. I should tell you about it some time.

A couple of years ago Mike developed a small red mark right in the middle of his fore- head. I think it’s a small hemangioma. Anyway, I heard him tell Judy that he thinks it’s the mark of Cain. She didn’t think so. Cain as you may recall was the older of the first 2 sons of Adam and Eve. He became a farmer and his younger brother Abel was a hunter. According to the story in the Bible, both boys made an offering to God of their produce, and God looked with favor on Abel’s offering but not so with Cain’s. Naturally, Cain killed his brother. What else could he do, right? It was a bad start for the human race if you ask me. Not that any of this really happened. The Bible says that God called out Cain and told him that he would have to wander the earth because of what he did. Cain was concerned that people who found him would kill him and God told him he would put a mark on him to protect him. My question is what people would find him if there were only 3 people  on earth, and he was one of them? The next thing you know he’s taken a wife which is hard to understand because where did she come from? So they get busy and start a family and he has a son named Enoch and he goes and builds a city that he calls Enoch. Why he needed to build a city for the 3 of them I have no idea. The stories in the Bible that occur in prehistory I’m sure are meant to be allegorical. Mike thinks that actual historical events recorded in the Bible probably start with the Hebrews living in Egypt prior to the Exodus. The actual books that are contained in the Bible could not have been written for thousands of years after the prehistorical events (that didn’t happen) and probably several hundred years after the Exodus. So there would’ve been time for a detail or two to get added or dropped. You probably wonder where I’m going with this.

What caught my interest about the mark of Cain is that it turns out that people used this biblical curse as the first part of an excuse for the justification of the enslavement of black Africans in the United States. You must recall that I am a black cat, so I have a natural interest in this sort of thing. (See my post, “Nevermore”, posted February 5, 2017.)The rest of the biblical justification is the story of Noah and the flood. After the flood waters receded Noah is said to have planted a vineyard and drank too much of his product. He was lying in his tent naked and uncovered and was observed by his son, Ham. Noah was covered up by his other 2 sons protecting his modesty. A curse was put on Ham that his son Canaan and all his generations would be servants of servants. Protestant theologians back in slavery times promulgated a theory that Ham had married  a descendant of Cain so that his generations carried both curses. Furthermore, part of the curse was that they would be black. It  should be noted that nothing about Ham or Cain’s descendants being black can be found in the Bible. Based on this nonsense, religious people justified the enslavement of black people by white people. It also raised other interesting questions such as do black people get to go to the same heaven as white people? There must be two separate heavens some thought. Happily, such theology has been largely abandoned although more recently than you might think. It wasn’t until 1995 that the Southern Baptist convention fully admitted their error and issued an apology for their bad theology. The Baptists were not the only people, however, to use the Bible to perpetrate this kind of nonsense. I’m not going to go into this in more detail. I think I’ll just piss off the Baptists and let it go at that. No wait, let me talk about the Mormons for a minute. It’s my understanding that they do have scripture  that says the descendents of Cain were black. (There is also a story in the Bible where Moses was said to have married a Cushite woman. Cush was supposed to be a (black) descendent of Ham. Moses’ sister was bad mouthing him for marrying this black chick and God struck her with leprosy for her bad manners. I’m not suggesting you take this story as gospel truth either, but it’s interesting that this treatment of racial intolerance pops up in the Bible. I guess the more things change the more they stay the same.) With regard to the Mormons, the church president in 1954 denied that there was a doctrine in the church that blacks are under a divine curse. He acknowledged that there was a practice based on Scripture for withholding the priesthood from black men, but also said that it was a practice, not a doctrine, and that it would change eventually. I believe it has.

The idea of the difference between a practice and a doctrine reminds Mike of the difference between a guideline and a rule. He remembers that he told Judy that he had a rule that he wouldn’t date anybody that he worked with. Then he said  it wasn’t a rule, it was really a guideline. That was when Judy knew that Mike was interested in her, because they worked together. The line about a rule versus a guideline came from the movie “When Harry Met Sally”. That movie has a classic scene in which Harry and Sally are in a restaurant and Sally tells Harry that she has faked orgasms. He said he didn’t believe it. So she sat right there in the restaurant and panted and screamed and hollered in very convincing fashion that she was having an orgasm. After she finished a middle-aged lady turned to the waiter and said “I’ll have what she’s having.” You’ve probably seen that scene. It’s really funny.

So, Mike I don’t think has  to worry more than anyone else does about somebody killing him, mark on his forehead or not. But we certainly do seem to be living in a world in which random people are killing other random people for no reason that is discernible. I’m proud of the young people that are speaking out after their teachers and classmates were murdered at their school by a mentally disturbed person in Florida. When Mike was a kid he didn’t worry about getting killed in school. He knew which neighborhoods to stay out of in Chicago. But you have to go to school. The gun lobby is trying to make it a mental health issue, not a firearm issue. Of course, it is in part a mental health issue. It’s a sad state of affairs when the same people that want to make it a mental health issue don’t want to fund mental health treatment. Mental illness is not going away. To paraphrase Jesus, “The mentally ill you will always have with you.” The problem is when the mentally ill have access to semi-automatic firearms and can kill a bunch of people in a matter of minutes. By the way, have you read the Second Amendment? It doesn’t say anything about individual citizens being able to arm themselves for their own personal protection. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But that’s not what it says. That idiot in Washington has suggested that the way to protect our students is to arm all the teachers. Like teachers don’t already have too much to do besides teach. And what are they supposed to do with their firearms while they are teaching? And what are they supposed to do with a handgun when faced with somebody with a semi-automatic rifle? Or are we going to arm them with the same weapons that the perpetrators of hate have access to? Give me a break! I wonder how I got on this topic? I started with a constipated cat and a hemangioma on Mike’s  forehead. Anyway, what do you think about all this? Please feel free to let me know, stay regular, and by all means have a nice day. That’s all the news for now from Happy Meadows.

Author: Black Magic

Black Magic is a handsome, charming, and self-absorbed cat who lives with Mike and Judy Gordon in Marietta, Georgia. He is about 7 years old, and he will remind you at every opportunity that his grandfather was Black Jack, that famous cat who wrote his own autobiography. Black Magic has a great many opinions, and despite his natural feline arrogance, he seems to be genuinely spiritual. But the reader can decide for him/herself.

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