“Where’s Hillary-Gate” as a cautionary tale for religious accommodation

You’ve all seen the photograph. Here’s a closeup:

On the right is a bunch of people in the Sitch Room at the White House watching in-house coverage of the Navy Seals taking out O-b-L. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Counter Intel Adviser Audrey Tomason are, notably, the only women in the room. There are not a lot of women in the highest echelon of power in the US, it would seem. The photograph on the left is the same shot published in the ‘newspaper’ Der Zeitung, a Brooklyn Hasidic publication. Here, the two women who actually were in the room have been deleted for religious reasons.

People noticed (Hasidic Paper Removes Hillary Clinton From Osama Picture, Spot the differences, When religion protects sexism, Hasidic newspaper regrets editing Hillary Clinton out of photo, Eating your cake and having it). The reason given for blanking out the two women in this photograph is straight forward: It is against the Hasidic religion to depict women in photographs in newspaper stories about them.

Don’t believe me? Leviticus is explicit:

19: And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.
20: And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.
21: And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
22: And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
23: And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even.
24: And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean.
25: And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean.
26: Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation.
27: And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
28: But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean.
29: And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Well, OK, not so explicit, but you can see the logic.

Can’t see the logic? Well, me neither. But that’s how a lot of religious stuff works. Apparently, if Hillary and Audrey had only taken two pigeons to the tabernacle, we would not be having this conversation right now.

If you are Catholic, and a woman, you are supposed to wear a hat in church. A man is supposed to take his hat off in church.1 If you are a woman and you are not a Catholic but you go to church, you should wear a hat, and if you are a non-Catholic man you should take your hat off in church. Right? Just out of respect for the religion of the people in the church. No biggie.

A Catholic who passes in front a tabernacle or monstrance, where a eucharist may be stored, or an altar that may have a relic, is supposed to genuflect while crossing him or herself. Should a non-Catholic do this? That’s a little more than just not wearing your hat indoors. This might be a little more than one should be expected to do, but if a non-Catholic decided to do it out of respect for the people in the church, then whatever, no biggie.

And we could continue… asking if it is a big deal or not to follow some religious prescription or proscription out of respect even if it is not your own religion, or perhaps to sanction the practice when other people do it.

It is part of the Jewish religion that the foreskin of a man-infant be cut off. No one calls the police when this happens, even though an infant is being sliced up with a knife. It is part of the Pokot religion that a woman’s labia and clitoral hood be sliced off with a spear when she starts to menstruate. Anthropologists and others have noticed this for years but accepted it as part of Pokot culture, but recently many people who have nothing to do with the Pokot (or other groups with similar practices collectively known as “female genital mutilation”) have started to loudly complain that taking a knife to a person’s body and removing parts for religious reasons is unacceptable behavior.

Where is deleting the American Secretary of State and a senior National Security Council official from a photograph on the no-biggie to is-biggie scale? It could be worse. The Hasidic newspaper did not cut off Hillary’s genitals. In fact, the two women who were directly offended by this did not suffer at all. And, the American Government and the American People did not suffer either. And, the quaint beliefs of a minor religion was accommodated. No biggie, right?

Well, no. In the broadest perspective, this is a minor issue compared to many other things that have happened in the name of religion, but that does not mean that it is not without harm or, more importantly, not without meaning. The newspaper is shown by various headlines to feel badly about what they did and to have apologized, but that’s a lie. They have explained, not apologized. They have not indicated that their policy of never depicting a woman in their rag will be changed. They simply explain that they are a good newspaper, good at what they do, bla bla bla, and that it is simply their religious belief that out of “respect for women” they shall never be shown.

Funny. Somewhere in some paper factory somewhere there was a woman menstruating at work. She handled the wood chips, or the pulp, or the roll of paper, which in turn contacted other rolls of paper while on a train which in turn has previously been touched by menstruating women or things that had touched menstruating women, and so on and so forth, and then this Hasidic newspaper bought some of that paper and printed a picture of the Sitch room at the White House with the women deleted from it. But the paper itself is surely unclean. And all who have touched it and, for that matter, read it are also unclean. There is no Kosher paper. Everyone who reads this Hasidic newspaper is obligated to bring two pigeons to the temple. But I digress.

The point is, do we view this quaint and offensive act on the part of this obscure and unimportant newspaper as similar to a man removing his hat while entering a Catholic church even if he is not a catholic? Or do we view it as, say, a city ordinance requiring all pedestrians to genuflect while walking past a Catholic church? Or do we view it as accepting female genital mutilation as a cultural trait that is none of our business?

Perhaps all of the above, perhaps none of the above, at the same time. Perhaps the best response to this idiotic editorial practice is to use it as an empirical demonstration of two things:

1) The Hasidim are an absurd medieval cult that is so out of touch with the modern world, in important ways, that it should never be taken seriously (and this would have real policy implications in The Settlements, one would think) and perhaps a good look should be taken at their practices vis-a-vis the treatment of women and girls in their homes, just in case this misogyny extends into other areas of life (which it does); and

2) There is no safe place to draw a line within which we can reasonably accommodate. The decision to keep your hat off/put your hat on in a sacred building should be a personal one, and there should be no expectations from those outside the religion as to what is appropriate. Ignoring any religious rule is, simply, perfectly OK in the modern world, and when a religious rule becomes offensive at any level, as we see in the above photograph, while there may be no default response, ridicule and disdain is quite acceptable, and accommodation is done at the risk to the accommodator’s credibility.

If I’m going to take my hat off, it will be to Ophelia Benson for her remarks in response to the newspaper’s “apology” for this pictorial editing:

Not accepted. Worthless. Fundamentally insulting. Fuck your rabbinical board. You don’t get to delete women from history, and pretending to apologize after doing it doesn’t salvage anything.*

… well, OK, there is another response that is appropriate. This one.

UPDATE: Second Hasidim Paper Deletes American Secretary of State … link … do they not know that this is the person most directly influential on policy in Israel?

1It is quite possible that these rules have changed since I was an altar boy. If so, then something is terribly wrong, because I was taught quite explicitly that all the rules of the Catholic Church were handed down by God via The Pope. If they’ve been running around changing the rules, then that can only mean that that Anti Christ has arrived and has taken over the Vatican. Expect property values in Rome to drop. Or perhaps go up. We shall see.

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74 thoughts on ““Where’s Hillary-Gate” as a cautionary tale for religious accommodation

  1. Funny how all these fundie cults are so much alike…

    Cut women out of photos out of “respect”

    Force women to wear all-covering, shapeless bags out of “respect”

    Keep women barefoot and pregnant out of “respect”

    And yet, they all hate each other, and would destroy each other in a heartbeat. Women included.


  2. I had heard about this bit of stupidity but didn’t have may details. Thanks.

    And this:

    Not accepted. Worthless. Fundamentally insulting. Fuck your rabbinical board. You don’t get to delete women from history, and pretending to apologize after doing it doesn’t salvage anything.

    is awesome.

  3. Yes, you are allowed inside a catholic church without a hat nowadays. They are fully aware that their churches would be even emptier than they are anyway.
    I love hats, btw.

    I’m never sure what I find worse about them: their views on women, or their views on men. If we took them serious, we should lock away all men on grounds of them being a danger to the public.
    But feminists are deemed to be anti-men because we think them even capable of housecleaning.

  4. If we took them serious, we should lock away all men on grounds of them being a danger to the public.

    That’s crazy talk. Just lock up the ones between the ages of 16 and 27. Inclusively.

  5. Good post. But what have you got against turtles? There is a big archaeological literature on turtles in the Levant. Nearly driven to extinction. Cyclically. What does that tell you about Leviticus?
    For me, that photo of Clinton and the look on Obama’s face will always be the images of the enormity of what the US has done. They are the two who seem to understand that an eye for 6000 eyes is not appropriate in this day and age. An eye for an eyelash is not either.

  6. Are you serious about the cyclic turtles? Is it not climate fluctuation? Do pigeons have a cyclic fluctuation that is in sync? We could be on to something!

  7. “That’s crazy talk. Just lock up the ones between the ages of 16 and 27. Inclusively. ”

    Do you mean they’re used up after that age?
    Well, I’ll keep him for his housecleaning skills ūüėČ

  8. There are a lot of factual issues with your remarks above. I’ll just note the largest ones.

    Hasidim are an absurd medieval cult that is so out of touch with the modern world, in important ways, that it should never be taken seriously (and this would have real policy implications in The Settlements, one would think) and perhaps a good look should be taken at their practices vis-a-vis the treatment of women and girls in their homes, just in case this misogyny extends into other areas of life (which it does); and

    The Chassidim were founded in the late 1700s, well after the medieval period. They also have very little to do with the settlements. Most Chassidic groups have a very ambivalent attitude about the state of Israel, with some going so far as to declare any Jewish state prior to the messianic era to be unacceptable. There are close to zero Chassidim in the settlements, and they don’t politically support the settlers.

    Most of the strong supporters of the settlements are not chassidic or charedi but are rather dati leumi (literally religious nationalists) who aside from their religious nationalism and theocratic tendencies are akin to the modern orthodox in practices and so don’t have the same degree of misogyny and the like. The break down of the various Jewish religious groups is complicated, but one shouldn’t use that as a reason to just assume that all the *bad stuff* is correlated with each other. In this particular case, extreme theocratic nationalism and deep sexism are actually anti-correlated.

  9. Joshua, thanks for the history lesson.

    The Hasidim is a medieval cult, though.

    Regarding the orthodox, etc., that’s interesting. I’d like to know what the story is on that. I find it hard to believe that an orthodox old testament religion is somehow going to be not misogynist.

    Oh, but the point of my post? All the bad stuff IS correlated (using that word loosely), and these interesting and important details about which sect is which are not that important. The Secretary of State of the US should not have to kiss the pope’s ring because the pope thinks he’s god incarnate, bow to the Queen because the British have this strange royalty thing going (which is only a part of a degree removed from what the Pope is up to), or get deleted from a photograph released with limited use restrictions because she has two X chromosomes.

  10. There’s no question that the dati leumi (and the Orthodox in general) also have terrible problems with sexism and misogyny but the scale is much less. The dati leumi would never do this sort of thing, and outside the context of religious services will generally treat males and females the same way. And a large fraction of the orthodox have tried to become more egalitarian, and Shira Chadasha style synagogues (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shira_Hadasha) are becoming increasingly more common (although still a small minority), and other efforts to reduce discrepancies between the sexes (such as changes to the traditional marriage contract) are also becoming more common. This does lead to the not at all small issue about who gets to define who is actually orthodox which is not at all a tiny issue. And to make matters worse, in some areas the defining distinction between the Orthodox and the non-Orthodox is whether or not they discriminate against females.

    As to your more general point, I agree completely. The disagreement is solely on the factual details.

  11. Publishing a falsified photo is simply a flat-out lie, an intentional misrepresentation of what actually happened. And I’m never surprised when judeo-christian family-values types are caught lying. It’s what they do.

  12. Bravo to Amy Davis Roth and her Hillary Gump project!

    Am I the only one developing a nerdcrush on Audrey Tomason, International Woman of Mystery?

    Now, if somebody could just interview Phyllis Schlafly, Shirley Dobson, and those poor Concerned Women about this interpretation of their holy JudeoChristian√Ę?¬Ę enterprise …

  13. “The Hasidim are an absurd medieval cult”

    Why not just call them “an absurd early-modern cult” and have done with it? Or are you just using “medieval” as a lazy catch-all term of abuse for outdated nonsense?

  14. csrster, I chose medieval not to be lazy but because I felt it conveyed what I wanted to convey. And it did. I took hours choosing that word. If I was going to be lazy I would have said “The Hasidim are poopy faces.”

    “abuse for outdated nonsense”

    Also, I was being nicer than necessary. They invented this medieval way of bing during the Enlightenment. That makes them a bunch of big-time dicks.

  15. “The Way of Bing” – this would require a warm rich bass-baritone singing voice and a laid-back-yet-intimate style of acting?

  16. “That’s crazy talk. Just lock up the ones between the ages of 16 and 27. Inclusively.”

    Huh. That sounds like Joe Arpaio. He wants to do that sort of thing in Az – except he wants to lock up all the Mexicans. Well, at least all Mexicans not known as ‘Joe Arpaio’. (Seriously, has ol’ Joe ever shown his long-form congressionally certified birth certificate – not that there is such a thing, but hey, that doesn’t stop the Retardicans.) There seem to be idiots to battle on all fronts – some hate women, others hate teh gayz, others hate the Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, or dem furriners in general, and they all want something ridiculous such as ban ’em all, kill ’em all, or jail ’em all. Keep on fighting – you don’t want those idiots running the show.

  17. The religious can really be hypocritical, can’t they?

    When the picture in question was released by the White House, part of the terms were that the picture must not be altered – not just by a particular jewish-run rag, but by any “newspaper”. If they didn’t want women in the picture, the idiots shouldn’t have printed the picture.

    Contrast that with April 2006 when a catholic named Peter Smith (no, not me) released a photo showing Antonin “antagonizing scum-liar” Scalia making an obscene gesture. Smith released the picture publicly (he was a freelancer, so the photo was Smith’s own property), and a newpaper run by the local catholic cult fired him for doing so. Scalia wanted the photo buried, while Smith refused to let Scalia lie that he “never made an obscene gesture”.




  18. @ Greg –

    The Hasidim are silly and their satorial style last “evolved” more than a century, but they are harmless (I have felt this way for years, especially since I am a native New Yorker who has seen hordes of them in the Big Apple for years.). Far more worthy for our concerns are Fundamentalist Christians and Muslims.

  19. Amended from above:

    The Hasidim are silly and their sartorial style last “evolved” more than a century, but they are harmless (I have felt this way for years, especially since I am a native New Yorker who has seen hordes of them in the Big Apple for years.). Far more noteworthy – and far more dangerous – for which we must remain quite vigilant are Fundamentalist Christians and Muslims.

  20. @ Stephanie Z –

    Have you heard of Hasidic terrorists hijacking airplanes and having them strike skyscrapers as suicidal terrorist attacks claiming the lives of thousands of innocents? Have you heard of Hasidic writers urging to have laws passed that will allow for the teaching of creationism in public schools? These are key reasons why I regard them as “harmless”.

    I don’t approve of that editorial decision by that Brooklyn, NY Hasidic newspaper. But if you try to equate this with Fundamentalist Protestant Christians waging war on the teaching of mainstream science or Islamofascists waging jihad against us, then you are ridiculous.

  21. I’m with stinger @#15 – the main “wrongness” of the photo is that they are faking the total absence of the women, publishing a commissive lie rather than a mere explicit redaction* or selective cropped photo.

    I wonder if they researched the owner of the elbow and the shoulder that appear at the margins to determine whether they should obliterate those also.

    * It does strike me that they must be feeling a degree of shame at the instruction they are following, otherwise a black blob covering each of the women would surely have sufficed for their rule-following.

  22. “Apparently, if Hillary and Audrey had only taken two pigeons to the tabernacle, we would not be having this conversation right now.”

    Is this a vague reference to that joke about “If storks bring babies, what prevents babies?” (a couple of swallows…).

  23. Here follows my long comments (I’m a biologist not a religious scholar, but I grew up modern orthodox and as a woman have thought about this a lot)
    In Reply to 26,
    Yes there are Hasidic Terrorists, for example Kahani Chai, or the massacre at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
    And Yes, many of these Hasidic groups do advocate for teaching creationism and against mainstream science (I remember sitting in a lecture in Jerusalem where creationism was explicitly advocated and this was in your run-of-the-mill regular haredi, not even hasids). Some of the most powerful and largest Hasidic groups have established towns in upstate NY where they have proceeded to form voting blocs in local governments that do just that. Hasids will always be less numerous than christian and muslim fundamentalists because of their extreme clannishness and resistance to converts but they are part of the same problem and we shouldn’t ignore them just because they are quaint and like to wear clothes from 18th century Romania. I agree with Stephanie that this erases women from history and that the cumulative effect of these actions does real harm.
    Re. medieval description. I find it useful to think about the Hasids as I do the Mormons and other similar quirky Christian cults of the early 18th. They are certainly much more like those in their adoration of a charismatic founding leader (Joseph Smith, Rachman, Baal Shem Tov, etc.), opposition to medieval central authority (the Church, the Vilna Gaon), and reinterpretation of scripture, than any sort of medieval mindset. It is interesting in that at the time of the formation of the Hasidic groups there was a real struggle between Jewish enlightenment and the rise of Hasidim, unfortunately the Hasids won out.

  24. @ Stephanie Z –

    So are you telling me that you equate the Die Zeitung editorial decision – which again I agree with you was absurd – with the Al Qaeda attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11/01? Because that is what you are telling me if you insist on the following:

    “John, ridiculous is an all-or-nothing definition of harm.”

    I would argue instead that there are degrees of stupidity and while I regard Die Zeitung’s editorial decision to be quite egregious – and somewhat ironic in light of its prior practice by anti-Semitic dictatorships like Stalin’s Soviet Russiona dictatorship – it pales in comparison to the premeditated mass murder of innocents planned by Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that was carried out on 9/11/01.

    If you insist on adhering to a rigid, almost Fundamentalist, defintion of “ridiculous”, then what makes you better than the Die Zeitung editorial staff or delusional creos from the Dishonesty Institute, Institute for Creation Research, Answers in Genesis or the Turkish Muslim creationist – and Islamofascist – Harun Yahya (His real name is Adnan Oktar.)? If your answer is Atheism, then I will respond with, “Yes, you mean a Fundamentalist vision of Atheism.”

  25. Don’t forget that the FCC fined a TV network for showing a woman’s breast (wardrobe “malfunction”). How is that less crazy?

    For that matter, the NY Times won’t print an expletive, even if it’s part of a quote.

  26. @ Stephanie Z –

    I have a longer reply which is in moderation, but let me observe that if you stick with your position (@ 28), that it is sadly all too reminiscient of Bill Clinton’s definiton of “is”.

  27. @ Stephanie Z –

    Of course, especially if they are tribbles!

    Seriously, what are you suggesting? That you equate Die Zeitung’s “editing” with Salafist Islamofascist attacks of terror like those of 9/11/01 and the Bali bombing? Because if that is your perspective, then you are indeed ridiculous.

  28. John, in what way is erasing women from history “harmless”? Telling me that something must reach the level of terrorism to constitute harm is ridiculous. Telling me that something must reach the level of terrorism in order for it to be worth paying attention and objecting to that harm is ridiculous. This would be why I’m ridiculing the idea now.

  29. @ Stephanie Z –

    What Die Zeitung has done is no different than what the Nazis, Soviet Communists and Chinese Communists have done. I DO NOT APPROVE OF IT. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?

    However, you seem incapable of understanding that what they did – or that their Hasidic belief system that allowed them to do this – is relatively harmless compared to Salafi Islamofascist acts of terror.

    I hope you felt as strongly about this as when someone posted over at Pharyngula back in March, 2010, a threat to rape and to kill bloggers Sheril Kirshenbaum and Chris Mooney. If you didn’t complain then, may I suggest you are being hypocritical here?

  30. @ sfscientist –

    You are in error if you compare the deranged act of a lone gunman (who wasn’t Hasidic since Hasidism is opposed to the establishment of the Israeli state) with the deliberate acts of mass murder committed by Salafi Islamofascist terrorists – Al Qaeda and its “siblings” – in the United States, Western Europe, Indonesia, India and elsewhere. I am still correct in asserting that Hasidic Jews are harmless.

  31. John, the Lubavitch are a chassidic group that has pushed for creationism in public schools. In addition to the severe sexism issues, charedim also have other problems such as distrust of science which has resulted in low vaccination rates and actual epidemics of mumps and measels in their communities. See for example http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/02/08/mumps.outbreak.northeast/index.html?hpt=T2 . Yes, they aren’t as dangerous to outsiders as some other religious groups. That doesn’t make them not a danger. In your later remarks you seem to be changing your argument that they aren’t the most dangerous or damaging group out there. That’s a much weaker claim than claiming they are “harmless”. It isn’t terribly interesting since I don’t see anyone here arguing that the chassidim are creating the same sort of problem as various violent groups. Just because a group isn’t extremely violent doesn’t mean it isn’t something that should be paid attention to. Please stop trolling.

    Actually, by and large the enlightenment won. That’s why most Jews you encounter are not chassdim or charedim. I’m surprised that someone growing up in a modern Orthodox setting would when discussing the various issues with Jewish terrorism lump all the chassidic, charedi and dati leumi groups together the way you have.

  32. I was just thinking. If images of women printed in photographs not allowed, are images of women projected by light allowed? There are several ways to accomplish the projection of images of women by light, there is conventional movie projection. Presumably movies are not allowed. There is the production of images via a moving electron beam. Presumably those are not allowed either.

    Then there is the projection of images via the camera obscura.


    If images projected by a camera obscura are not allowed, then that is a problem because everyone has the equivalent of a camera obscura in their eye. That is how the eye forms an image on the retina.

    If they want to totally avoid the formation of images of women, they need to not look at women, wear blindfolds all the time, or deliberately blind themselves.

  33. @ Joshua –

    The Lubavitch are a small sect within Hasidim (I should know since I live in a Jewish city, New York City, and in the very borough where the Lubavitch are most numerous, Brooklyn.). They are not as powerful nor as well funded as ICR, AiG, and especially, the Discovery Institute. Their anti-creationist efforts pale in comparison with them and with notorious Islamofascist sympathizers like Harun Yahya (Adnan Oktar).

    As for “changing my argument”, I have remained consistent. They are harmless because of their demographic and financial insignificance.

  34. @ Stephanie Z –

    I have two friends whose latest novels were among the most notable published last year (One is in the midst of a West Coast tour for the paperback edition of his novel.). If I need comments on my vocabulary and writing, then I’ll ask them (One of them is familiar with my attacks on creationism and is supportive of “accomodationist” efforts since he himself is religious.).

  35. Um, what? How are they a small sect? There one of the largest of the chassidic groups. Moreover, they have massive amounts of money, and Chabad routinely pushes creationism as part of their general strategy to try to rope in non-religious or less religious Jews. That they aren’t as large as AIG is utterly besides the points. They are neither financially or demographically small, and even if they were, that wouldn’t make them “harmless” it would just make them less harmful.

  36. @ Joshua –

    They are relevant only in the Brooklyn, New York neighborhoods of Crown Heights, Williamsburg and Borough Park. Their influence on New York City public school science education has been virtually nil. So they are not dangerous IMHO. Far more worrisome is the advent of Islamic creationismm of which Harun Yahya has been the most “notable” face.

  37. @ Jason –

    I have an entry over in Rational Wiki thanks to some delusional GNUs. Science blogger Dale Husband regards that as a stupid kindergarten exercise that ought to be expurged.
    Prominent atheist Massimo Pigliucci regards it as a joke (which I might add is how I view recent GNU attacks on his New York City Skeptics/Center for Inquiry New York colleague Michael De Dora elsewhere in the science blogosphere).

  38. Kwok: It’s a series of quotes, with links, of things you actually said. I read those links and see the context in which they were said. I fully agree that you are an unhinged troll after having read them. I have no idea how anyone could be “delusional” just by virtue of recognizing your inanity.

    Additionally, this should undercut your post @33:

    Depends what your definition of “stalking” is.” – John Kwok

    I don’t know why scienceblogs.com doesn’t blanket ban you from all their blogs, given how many you’ve already knocked off your to-be-banned-from list.

  39. Just got my post held up for moderation. Curse my need to provide links to prove my point.

    At the risk of repeating myself (once it’s released from the mod queue):

    “Depends what your definition of “stalking” is.”
    -John Kwok

  40. @ Stephanie –

    Too bad you’re not adhering to the high standards that you yourself seek with regards to discussing the “accomodationist” issue as noted here:


    Once more you rely on a tactic that I find disgusting, which is denouncing those who ought to be your allies – myself included – as mentally defective since we don’t share your RIGHT, TRUE thinking with regards to how one ought to perceive atheism (If my memory serves, there were those who thought Michael De Dora needed mental health assistance. Seems like I’m in good company with Michael De Dora, Nick Matzke, formerly of NCSE, and Roger Stanyard of BCSE.). If you don’t want me to rail against GNUs like yourself for your obnoxious online behavior, then maybe you should act accordingly.

  41. @ Jason –

    Thanks for illustrating the very point I just made to Stephanie Z. If you can’t argue with someone reasonably, then just fling mud at that person by questioning your opponent’s mental health.

  42. @ Stephanie Z –

    Only in your delusional dreams do I feel “persecuted”. But thanks for displaying the kind of behavior you claim to resent whenever an “accomodationist” like myself is critical of some GNU online conduct.

  43. Silly, John. I only tell people how to communicate when they think someone else should change how they communicate. You know, like you telling Greg what’s important enough to blog about.

  44. @ Thibeault –

    I wouldn’t be surprised if some GNUs regard inanity to be the same as insanity. But if you want to dig up someone’s comments without engaging with that person, then maybe you’re not much better than your opponent, especially when you accuse the latter of suffering from some mental health deficiency.

  45. @ Stephanie Z –

    You’re hopeless. It’s Greg’s blog and I have the utmost respect for him and his blog, even when I find myself in disagreement.

    Have a good night and have sweet dreams.

  46. @ Thibeault –

    You’re the one who is coming across as unhinged. As for me being an “unhinged troll”, I’ll be certain to ask a few others with whom I find myself posting elsewhere online in agreement. They would have a much different assessment, and, I believe, wonder whether you are the very “unhinged troll” that you’ve accused me of.

  47. @ Thibeault –

    There’s a difference between voicing my opinion and telling Greg what he should do. I was merely noting that I believe that the Hasidim are not that noteworthy, BUT, if you opted to read my other comments, I did agree with him and Stephanie Z that I didn’t like what Die Zeitung’s editors did in digitally removing the images of Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason. Maybe you need to read before jumping to conclusions (Ditto for Stephanie Z.).

  48. @ Stephanie Z –

    If you want respect from an “accomodationist”, then maybe you should earn it. Let’s just end this by agreeing that Die Zeitung’s editors erred egregiously in digitally removing the images of Clinton and Tomason.

  49. Kwok@65: I read them all, thank you.
    Kwok@67: This was never in question by any parties in the conversation until you attempted to paint the Hasidim as less of a threat than other groups that were not mentioned, for no apparent reason. Thus why I said the things to which you objected in @65.

  50. John, what is respect worth from someone who’s behaved the way you behaved here? Nor is it just an “error.” It’s a deliberate action driven by ideology with consequences to both the women erased and to those who see the picture.

  51. Just my two cents on this issue and the subsequent argument.
    What the newspaper did was wrong and unbecoming of a news agency, however I wonder if they mentioned anything in the text of the article regarded the photo being altered. As for whether or not Hassidim are harmless, I don’t think that would be a fair word to use because I do think they have the potential to cause harm, but Hassidim generally do not like integrating into american culture, and would never ever send a kid to private school, so I doubt that you would ever see the Hassidim author the kind of broad structured attacks on teaching evolution and science in public schools that AIG and ICR levy. So I do think it’s reasonable to say they are less harmful than other religious extremists in this country.

  52. @Madscientist
    Looks like we’ve been Poe’d

    @those considering the Hassidim to be less of a problem and harmless
    Thank you for not giving a single thought about the women and girls who have to live in that community.
    Obviously, they deserve what they’re getting by having commited the terrible crime of having fundamentalis religious parents.
    Shows how much you really care about the wellbeing of other human creatures.

  53. I did not read the original newspaper article with the picture. Did the photo caption state that images of females Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason were erased from the photo? If not, the newspaper was being dishonest, and even such seemingly minor lies can be of greater significance than intended.

  54. Why not just call them “an absurd early-modern cult” and have done with it?

    Perhaps “anti-enlightenemt”, or “reactionary enlightenment-age cult”?

    But feminists are deemed to be anti-men because we think them even capable of housecleaning.

    Men are incapable of housecleaning – at least, to the absurd lengths that women tend to take it.

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