Sunday, June 19, 2005

More of my take on the Schiavo case and right to lifers

Another of my comments at Dov Bear, reproduced here for your reading pleasure:

I have come to the opinion that this issue [the Schiavo case] is a sideshow for these right-wing bible-thumpers. What really is important for them is banning abortion, and they advocate that on the basis that even a 2-cell embryo is "human life." In order to be consistent, they are also getting involved with keeping animated corpses functioning. But the real issue is abortion.

And why abortion? Becuase it's part of the the suite of technological advances that make sexual activity consequence-free. The religious right has been spectaculalry unsuccessful in convincing most people to obey their overly strict interpreation of the "Judeo-Christian" code of sexual behavior, and so they want to do what they can to make the consequences of sexual activity negative enough so that maybe people will keep their pants zipped up.

This is immoral because it forces their code of behavior on other people who don't believe in their religion. It would be sort of like if the State of Israel banned refrigerated storage in stores that sold pork, just to discourage Jews from buying the tasty, but forbidden meat.

And don't think that the religious right is only targeting sexual behavior outside of marriage. Banning abortion (and also restricting access to birth control) affects married couples, too. No longer is sex simply fun. In fact, as far as I can see, the religious right (including the Jews) is opposed to the very concept of "fun." No, that if a man sticks hs you-know-what into a woman's you-know-what, then a baby should result. As if we don't have enough babies in the world.

The relgious leaders don't want you to have "fun" outside the bounds of organized religious activities, becuase they want you to be constantly thinking about God, or more properly, what the religious teachers say about God. They are like cult leader who want to keep you from being distracted by enjoyable things so that you can focus on obeying the cult leaders and giving them money.

This is all about power. We need to disregard these evil cultmeisters and make for ourselves a religious life in which each of us is sovereign before God, and the charlatan priests, rabbis, ministers,gurus, imans, etc. can all end up like Yertle the Turtle, king of the mud, disregarded by people who are truly spiritual.

17 Comments:

Blogger Ben Sorer Moreh said...

I agree with you 98%. What I'd add is that "the rules" are not meant to apply to the "people at the top", who always get to have their fun (e.g., can fly abroad to abort, know where to buy drugs without going on the street, have lawyers to fix things.) It's the kind of social model Orwell illustrated in "1984".

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are like cult leader who want to keep you from being distracted by enjoyable things so that you can focus on obeying the cult leaders and giving them money.

Hmm, that sounds like a good description of Pesach preparations.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Toby Katz said...

Here's what CA wrote on another blog. Below that, my response:


Conservative apikorus (like there is another kind of CJ)

[[[sigh]]] I guess I have to explain myself again. Please surf over to my blog "live frei or die," and look at some of the entries from earlier in the spring.

http://cj-heretic.blogspot.com/

My goal is to explore the full meaning of apikorsus from the point of view of Conservative Judaism. Yes, many (most?) Orthos think the C's are by definition apikorsim, but I'm trying to transcend that conventional wisdom. I'm alienated from Conservative Judiasm. I'm trying to be considered an apikorus by the Conservatives! And that, my friend, is not an easy thing to do.

If you don't believe me, find a copy of "Emet v'emuna," the statement written by a committee that purports to summarize the beliefs of Conservative Judaism. It goes like:

"Some of us believe in God and some of us don't"

and so on.

So it's pretty hard to be excommunicated from Conservative Judaism. The Rabbinical Assembly expels members only for officiating at mixed marriages.

This "Conservative Apikorus" thing is not the easiest stunt to pull off.
Conservative apikorus | Homepage | 06.22.05 - 4:18 pm | #

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There is only one way you can become an apikores in the Conservative Movement. Accept Jesus into your heart.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Conservative Apikoris said...

There is only one way you can become an apikores in the Conservative Movement. Accept Jesus into your heart.

Excuse me. This is my blog. Only Conservative Jews are allowed to criticize Conservative Judaism on this blog.

And aren't you the Toby Katz who says we Jews are supposed to ally ourselves with the Christian Fundies?

3:54 PM  
Blogger Conservative Apikoris said...

I worte in response to Ms. Toby Katz' inane remarks regarding Conservative Judaism:

Excuse me. This is my blog. Only Conservative Jews are allowed to criticize Conservative Judaism on this blog.

Let me modify that a bit. I don't mind criticism of Conservative Judaism from outasiders, but I really only want to hear criticial comments with a high signal-to-noise ratio.

For an idea of the kind of criticism i am looking for, Ms. Katz should check my archive from last february:

http://cj-heretic.blogspot.com/2005_02_01_cj-heretic_archive.html

And look at the entry: " Is the Conservative rabbinate incompetent or does it just have contempt for the membershp?"

Hope that clarifies things.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Toby Katz said...

Her comment was a gratuitous and innacurate slap at Conservative Judaism.--CA

Actually it was both witty and accurate. You know very well that the Conservative movement will kick you out if you confess that you believe in Jesus. And you also know that there is absolutely nothing else you can do that will get you kicked out.

1:47 AM  
Blogger Conservative Apikoris said...

Her comment was a gratuitous and innacurate slap at Conservative Judaism.--CA

Actually it was both witty and accurate. You know very well that the Conservative movement will kick you out if you confess that you believe in Jesus. And you also know that there is absolutely nothing else you can do that will get you kicked out.


I stand by mt statements. You are incorrect.

First, on the issue of believing in Jesus, there is no difference in the rules between orthodox and Conservative. A Jew who believes in Jesus is still a Jew.

As far as the limits of Conservative Judaism, I am not a Conservative rabbi, but I know that a rabbi can be expelled from the Rabbinical Assembly for officiating at mixed marriages. That is, obviously, no "believing in Jesus. So there is at least one example that proves your statement, "there is absolutely nothing else you can do that will get you kicked out." is wrong.

You appear to be totally ignorant of Conservative Judaism. I, on the other hand, while not a talmid chacham, do appear to know quite a bit about the orhtodox community, mostly because they are my neighbors and I occasionally attend Orthodox services. I certainly know more about Orthodoxy than you know about liberal Judaism.
And what's interesting is that while I do believe that Orthodox Judaism (esepcially any version that holds by da'as Torah) is probably a cult, this doesn't mean that individual orthodox are bad people. You, on the other hand, demonize the "liberals." In other words, I may insult what I believe to be shortsighted and foolish Jewish ideologies, you insult your fellow Jews.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Toby Katz said...

"A Jew who believes in Jesus is still a Jew."--CA

Yes, but he can't be a member in good standing of a C or O congregation and certainly can't be a rabbi in either.

"As far as the limits of Conservative Judaism, I am not a Conservative rabbi, but I know that a rabbi can be expelled from the Rabbinical Assembly for officiating at mixed marriages."--CA

One minute we're talking about what it takes to be kicked out of shul--to be regarded as an apikores by Conservatism--and the next minute you switch to discussing what it takes to be hired as a rabbi.

Even though a Jew who believes in Jesus is still halachically a Jew, that would not make his beliefs acceptable to the Conservative movement. He would be universally considered an apikores.

On the other hand, if he didn't keep any of the mitzvos and held that the Torah is not Divine and is not binding, then he would not be considered an apikores by the C movement.

As to mixed marriages, my understanding is that many C rabbis do officiate at them and even more will allow mixed couples to join their shul and enroll their kids in the C school, thus de facto accepting mixed marriages after the fact.

In particular they will turn a blind eye to R conversions and allow a woman with a R conversion to join a C shul. When it comes to then marrying her child to a born-Jew, down the line, different C rabbis will do different things. Some will de facto accept the mother's R conversion and others will require a quickie C conversion before the marriage.

At the beginning you were talking about what it takes to be considered an apikores by the C movement, not what it takes to be considered halachically a Jew or what it takes to be hired as a rabbi. It's hard to debate logically if the ground of the debate keeps changing.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Conservative Apikoris said...

Ah Toby, Toby....

Even though a Jew who believes in Jesus is still halachically a Jew, that would not make his beliefs acceptable to the Conservative movement. He would be universally considered an apikores.

That's my point, Conservative Judaism attacks the beliefs, not the person. Conservative rabbis aren't interested in tigmatizing people as "apikorsim." A Jew who believes in Jesus is still a Jew, and Conservaitve Judaism (like all the Jewish movements) would rather that person return to Judaism than burn in Hell.

On the other hand, if he didn't keep any of the mitzvos and held that the Torah is not Divine and is not binding, then he would not be considered an apikores by the C movement.

Becuase Conservative Judaism doesn't emphasise excluding people, that might be a mistaken inprepretation. Conservative Judaism does hold that people are supposed to keep the miztvos and that the Torah is divine. It's just that the Conservative interpreation of the mitzvot are more reasonable than the Orthodox anth their concept of a divine Torah is not the childish simple-minded view of Orthodox tradition.

As to mixed marriages, my understanding is that many C rabbis do officiate at them

Well, your understanding is wrong. Any member of the RA who does it is some sort of renegade, and if the person is still an RA member, that's just because the Conservative Inquisisition hasn't caught up with them. If you know any RA members who are officiating at mixed marriages, you should snitch on them to the RA, not save the memory for a cheap debating point.

and even more will allow mixed couples to join their shul and enroll their kids in the C school, thus de facto accepting mixed marriages after the fact.

You' Im on the ritual committe, so I know something about this, and you are way off base. Our policy is pretty common in the USCJ. Only the Jewish members of a mixed-marriage family can be members (i.e vote on shul business.) Only Jewish members and visitors can perform ritual activities "on the bima." If the Dad is a goy, of course the kids are all Jewish, so what't the problem? If Mom is a goy, they kids have to be properly converted. Again, what's the problem?


In particular they will turn a blind eye to R conversions and allow a woman with a R conversion to join a C shul.

That's not true. Our rabbi accepts Reform conversions on a case-by-case basis. BTW, it would be just as important to examine the conversions of men with reform conversions as well, becuase such people might participate in synagogue rituals, no?
But maybe all you care about is shidduchim and babies.

When it comes to then marrying her child to a born-Jew, down the line, different C rabbis will do different things. Some will de facto accept the mother's R conversion and others will require a quickie C conversion before the marriage.

Yes, hat's one of the consequences of accepting pluralistic halachic standards. So what's the big deal?

At the beginning you were talking about what it takes to be considered an apikores by the C movement, not what it takes to be considered halachically a Jew or what it takes to be hired as a rabbi. It's hard to debate logically if the ground of the debate keeps changing.

For Christ's sake, I was joking about how hard it is to be a Conservative apikoris. And you took it as an excuse to defame Conservative Judaism!


Good Shabbos

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My Father's mansion has many rooms"

Don't you get it?

1:36 PM  
Blogger Conservative Apikoris said...

"My Father's mansion has many rooms"

Don't you get it?


Actually, I don;t.

My father is not so rich that he can afford to own a mansion, and his house only has a few rooms.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

I got a kick out of the faiure to differentiate between surnames and pen names, as in:

"Mr. Twain's essays regarding the alleged Belgian atrocities in the Congo. The book causing me deep distress was written by a self-hating Jewish shtetl resident who is styled as the "Jewish Mark Twain."

"Doesn't Mr. Aleichem . . ."

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Chaim said...

FYI, ""My Father's mansion has many rooms" is a quotation (or very close paraphrase)of a statement of Jesus in the New Testament. I assume the poster intended a jibe at the notion of a pluralistic approach to halakhah.

11:53 PM  
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