Can you imagine spending all day, every day of your school life, studying just one book? Not learning a single thing in school about the geography of the world, current events, world history, foreign language, even math, that doesn't relate back in some way to that book? Welcome to the world of the Haredi in Israel, the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect. If you're a male, anyway. Good luck getting an equal "education" if you're a female. A man can't even shake hands with a woman who isn't related to him. Pictures of women are not allowed. Women may not sing in the presence of men.
But hopefully, things might change. There is talk in Israel of changing the Ultra-Orthodox schools to require them to teach some secular basics of education. And some dissatisfied young people wind up leaving the community, at great expense and with great difficulty. They are completely unprepared for life in the outside world. They don't know anyone and don't have basic knowledge about things most of us take for granted, like using the internet and finding jobs. Their families in many cases will not speak to them, for fear they will be a negative influence on their siblings.
I have nothing but admiration for those who choose to leave. The courage it must take to pick up and leave behind everything you've ever known in favor of an uncertain future...
But let's not just pick on the Jews today. How about good ole' American Christiantiy? As if the oil spill wasn't enough, as if the pathetic attempts at stopping it wasn't enough, as if BP CEO Tony Hayward's statement that "The overall environmental impact of this spill is like to be very very modest," wasn't silly enough, the Louisiana Senate had to come up with something even sillier. They decreed, in their infinite lack of wisdom, that last Sunday was to be a state day of prayer to ask god to fix the spill. This from CNN:
"Thus far efforts made by mortals to try to solve the crisis have been to no avail," state Sen. Robert Adley said in a statement released after last week's unanimous vote for the day of prayer. "It is clearly time for a miracle for us."
Holy crap. Unanimous? There wasn't even one guy in the back of the room, I dunno, maybe chewing gum and shooting spit-balls, that said "This is stupid"? Hey Louisiana, I've got an idea, how about instead of talking to a guy in the sky that doesn't exist, how about we do something at least mildly more productive, like letterbomb the White House, protest en masse in the streets, take over the BP Headquarters, SOMETHING other than mumble ineffectually to yourselves?
Speaking of mumbling ineffectually to yourself, here's the latest in Catholic news. More good stuff from CNN:
In a newly released videotaped deposition, Los Angeles Roman Catholic Cardinal Roger Mahony defends how he handled—and admittedly mishandled—allegations that one of his priests was molesting children.
The deposition was taken last January by lawyer John Manly, suing on behalf of a client who says he was abused by a priest named Michael Baker in the Los Angeles Archdiocese more than a decade ago.
The lawsuit was settled a few months ago for over two million dollars and Baker is serving a 10-year sentence for molesting three boys.
Manly says that he and the Los Angeles Times convinced a judge to release the videotape of the deposition this week after the Archdiocese attempted to keep it under seal.
The allegations discussed in the deposition aren’t new, but the tape gives additional insight into what Mahony was thinking when he decided to forego reporting Baker to police or mentioning Baker’s history to his parish after the priest told the cardinal he molested two boys in 1986.
The priest told Mahony that the boys were illegal aliens and that they had gone back to Mexico. Mahony said he didn’t investigate because he didn’t know the boys’ last names.
“This is among the most absurd excuses we've ever heard a bishop make—that he refused to call police because an admitted predator claimed the victims had left the country,” said Barbara Blaine, the national president of SNAP, the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests.
In a statement, Blaine said that “the legal status of children who are molested is irrelevant and it's shameful that Mahony would claim otherwise.”
“If, in fact, Fr. Baker's victims had left the U.S.,” the statement continued, “Mahony's duty to call police was even greater, since the chances that the kids themselves would contact law enforcement was virtually nil.”
Seriously. It just keeps getting wackier over there in RCC Land, which seems hard to do, given the history of the RCC and child-fucking: