Another Nail in the Coffin of Religious Orthodoxy

Too hot for a shtreimel today?

Mel Konner, whether you agree with him all the time or not (and you shouldn’t–not because he’s wrong but because you should never agree with anyone all the time), has a provocative and snarky post on some recent Orthodox Jewish criminals, whom he likens to the Sopranos. Now, I hope none of us have illusions that ankle-length black coats and  shtreimels in August automatically make you an ethical bloke, but trafficking in human organs is pretty low. I suppose when evolutionary psychologists claim that all of us have a murderer hidden in our genes they aren’t joking. And neither is Mel.

When you’re a stickler for the fence (no, not that kind of fence) around the Torah, when you shout Shabbes! Shabbes! at every little kid who rides a scooter into your neighborhood, when you yell at your wife that she might miss the candle-lighting time by a second, when even glatt kosher isn’t really good enough—well, haven’t you stored up so many points with the Almighty that you can ignore little mitzvahs like Thou shalt not steal?

Religious Hypocrisy 2.0

Here is a disturbingly humorous story from yesterday’s TGCOM, a nightly news program in Italy. A Catholic priest was stopped for drunk driving, his license revoked because his blood-alcohol level was 0.3% higher than legally allowed. His defense? “I celebrated four masses today!” Nor did he stop there. “I am a non-drinker,” he added. The poor priest, forced by his vocation to drink that horrible stuff, wine.

Here’s the punch line, though. His lawyers are the same lawyers that helped get an imam off the same hook a few days ago. The imam in question was stopped by police with 1% blood-alcohol content (higher than the priest’s!). His defense? “The Koran forbids drinking alcohol. It must be my asthma medication.”

And he got his license back!