Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On a masterpiece of failing to connect the dots


Jewish date:  20 ’Iyyar 5770 (Parashath Behar-Beḥuqqothay).

Today’s holidays:  Day 25 of the ‘Omer (Judaism), Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter (Roman Catholicism), Feast Day of St. Rodney Allen Rippey (Church of the SubGenius), Beltaine (Wicca).

Worthy cause of the day:  “Save BioGems: Take Action: Put an End to Commercial Whaling”.

Topic 1:  “Corrections, Clarifications, and Outright Obfuscations”.  More anti-Semitic, bungled reporting of the news, including blaming Israel for the death of an Arab kid who was really quite alive and well and in Egyptian custody for illegally crossing the border.  (Oops.)  You would think reporters would do a little fact-checking.

Topic 2:  “Religion’s Summer of Discontent”.  Rav Shmuley Boteach discusses current public perception of religion, noting its perceived “uselessness” and “irrelevancy” to many due to scandals and focusing tightly on one or a few issues to the exclusion of other, often more pressing concerns.  His solution is concentrate more on those pressing concerns, such as through his initiative “ Turn Friday Night Into Family Night”.  Definitely notable is his asking Pope Benedict XVI to work with him.

Topic 3:  “Some profit from wives despite French polygamy ban”.  There was no way your humble blogger was going to not mention this article.  Here is a little exercise for the reader.  This article deals with the problem of polygamy—or to be more specific, polygyny, marriage of one man to more than one woman simultaneously—among immigrants in France, which is subject to abuses, both of the women involved and the welfare system.  (This sort of thing should be offensive even to those who see nothing wrong with polygyny itself; plural marriage does not justify lying, cheating, stealing, and treating one’s wives and children badly.)  Now, this article goes into great detail of what is wrong (practically) with polygyny.  It even says a little what countries the abusers are from.  But what religion do they belong to?  Take a few minutes, look over the article, and see what it says.

Have you found the answer?

The answer is:  the article never says.  It starts off mentioning the issue of Muslim immigrants wearing burqas, but the subject of religion is quickly dropped and not addressed at all regarding polygyny.  Which is notable since there are only two major religions in the West which are problem-children when it comes to polygyny.  The first is Mormonism, primarily in its non-mainstream varieties.  Mormonism, while having spread beyond the United States, is barely ever mentioned as having a presence in Europe; your humble blogger has never heard of the pro-polygyny variants as having reached Europe at all.  The other major problem-child religion when it comes to polygyny is Islam.  Unlike mainstream Mormonism, which repudiated polygyny, Islam still allows men to have up to four wives.  The spread of Islam in Europe and the difficulties in integrating Muslims into general European culture are also major worries over there.  The perpetrators of polygyny mentioned in this article are almost certainly Muslims, yet the author of the article completely fails to acknowledge any connection.  Yes, blaming Muslims for problems which are created by Muslims but not members of other religious groups (including agnostics and atheists) might be considered politically incorrect, but failing to recognize something clearly relevant to the problem is not going to do anything to fix it.

Topic 4:  For today’s religious humor: “Honey, call the exorcist.”׃
funny pictures of cats with captions


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