Tuesday, December 08, 2015

In which the pond enjoys fundamentalism in all its Caterist hues ...

Of all the Trumpish bears with very little brains that scribble for the reptiles of Oz, the Caterists are high up on the list of the clueless (yes, it's plural thanks to Ms Caterist).

The logic is always fundamentally flawed, as in this example today:

Well yes, actually, the pond is fundamentalist about fundamentalists, but where the Caterists got the notion there's not a murmur of complaint about ritual slaughter is one of those hair of the straw dog arguments that makes the Carterists so sublimely stupid.

There's very little to pick between fundamentalist Christians, the Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Islamics when it comes to inciting homophobia ... and you don't have to read Sarah Schulman in Israel and pinkwashing - yes the pond likes to provide links - to get the vibe, when a simple Greg Hunt would do ...

While a variety of views regarding homosexuality as an inclination or status exist within the Orthodox Jewish community, Orthodox Judaism generally prohibits homosexual conduct. While there is some disagreement about which male homosexual acts come under core prohibitions, all of Orthodox Judaism puts male-male anal sex in the category of yehareg ve'al ya'avor, "die rather than transgress", the small category of Biblically-prohibited acts (also including murder, idolatry, adultery, and incest) which an Orthodox Jew is obligated under the laws of Self-sacrifice under Jewish Law to die rather than do. Similarly, lesbianism would likely also be considered a martyrdom-demanding transgression if only based upon the principle of abizrayhu (corollary prohibitions of the more severe martyrdom-requiring prohibitions ...) (wiki here)

Once that's done, it's time to look at the next bit of Caterist logic:

This is is easily re-written:

It is worth dwelling on the Caterists' barking mad right wing arguments to understand the modern barking mad Right's thinking. It is against all forms of homophobia, unless the homophobes are the Catholic bishops in Tasmania, when it would be Tykephobic to point it out. Rome, we are told, has introduced liberal, kindly, gay-friendly remarks about teh gays - though never going so far as to endorse same-sex marriage - but at least to suggest the need for dignity, providing that the wretches stay chaste and above their decadent, objectively, intrinsically disordered, rot in hell for all eternity concept of love.

The pond has visited the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before, but its hate speech is of the kind that justifies the behaviour of fundamentalists everywhere ...

6. Providing a basic plan for understanding this entire discussion of homosexuality is the theology of creation we find in Genesis. God, in his infinite wisdom and love, brings into existence all of reality as a reflection of his goodness. He fashions mankind, male and female, in his own image and likeness. Human beings, therefore, are nothing less than the work of God himself; and in the complementarity of the sexes, they are called to reflect the inner unity of the Creator. They do this in a striking way in their cooperation with him in the transmission of life by a mutual donation of the self to the other. 
In Genesis 3, we find that this truth about persons being an image of God has been obscured by original sin. There inevitably follows a loss of awareness of the covenantal character of the union these persons had with God and with each other. The human body retains its "spousal significance" but this is now clouded by sin. Thus, in Genesis 19:1-11, the deterioration due to sin continues in the story of the men of Sodom. There can be no doubt of the moral judgement made there against homosexual relations. In Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, in the course of describing the conditions necessary for belonging to the Chosen People, the author excludes from the People of God those who behave in a homosexual fashion. 
Against the background of this exposition of theocratic law, an eschatological perspective is developed by St. Paul when, in I Cor 6:9, he proposes the same doctrine and lists those who behave in a homosexual fashion among those who shall not enter the Kingdom of God. 
In Romans 1:18-32, still building on the moral traditions of his forebears, but in the new context of the confrontation between Christianity and the pagan society of his day, Paul uses homosexual behaviour as an example of the blindness which has overcome humankind. Instead of the original harmony between Creator and creatures, the acute distortion of idolatry has led to all kinds of moral excess. Paul is at a loss to find a clearer example of this disharmony than homosexual relations. Finally, 1 Tim. 1, in full continuity with the Biblical position, singles out those who spread wrong doctrine and in v. 10 explicitly names as sinners those who engage in homosexual acts. 
7. The Church, obedient to the Lord who founded her and gave to her the sacramental life, celebrates the divine plan of the loving and live-giving union of men and women in the sacrament of marriage. It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behaviour therefore acts immorally. To chose someone of the same sex for one's sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals, of the Creator's sexual design. Homosexual activity is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living. This does not mean that homosexual persons are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.

And so on and tediously on ...

It would be just as easy to find the same sort of hatred and homophobia, frothing and foaming and bubbling away, and based on the thoughts of ancient goat and camel herders, in Islamic and evangelical Christian texts, but the pond quotes the Catholic text because the Caterists raised the Catholic homophobic bishops of Tasmania ... while refusing a simple way forward, which is to say the Caterists simply saying they were against all forms of fundamentalism and all forms of homophobia ...

Instead they're against all forms of Islamic homophobia, but they take a stand for the right of the Catholic bishops of Tasmania to exercise their right of homophobic free speech ...

As for the rest, this is just an excuse to support the far right government of Israel in all its current gulag mendacity and folly ...

The trouble with this, it should go without saying, is that any Caterist screed will ignore complexity and nuance, and especially The Creeping Jewish Fundamentalism in Our Midst:

Call them what you will — ultra-Orthodox Jews, “fervently Orthodox” Jews, Haredim, black hats. They will soon become the majority of affiliated Jews in the metropolitan New York area, and the religious majority in Israel. The results will be catastrophic. 
We’ve read stories recently of Haredim in Israel comparing Israeli politicians to Hitler and throwing stones at women praying at the Kotel; of Haredim in New York fighting to restrict the prosecution of sex abuse claims; of Haredim in Germany threatening the fragile truce on circumcision by defending the practice of adult men sucking blood directly from the penises of infants. 
And that is just the tip of the fundamentalist iceberg.

It's easy to call out Islamic fundamentalists. There's not too many gays or women that would look forward to casual slaughter or being thrown off roof tops for the crime of existing or turned into slaves ...

But the fundamentalists have their defenders, and any mention of said fundamentalism brings out talk of Hitler and the destruction of ancient Torah learning ... because the camel and the goat herders have infinite wisdom ...

And yet what is this wisdom?

...Haredi men continued to harass women in Beit Shemesh. Less than a year later, in June 2012, Vered Daniel, an acquaintance of Philipp’s, went shopping in a Haredi neighborhood. In a special effort to respect ultra-Orthodox sensitivities, she wore a long skirt and blouse. Although modest by modern-Orthodox standards, Daniel’s outfit marked her as someone who was clearly not Haredi. When she left her car with her infant daughter in her arms, Haredi men screamed at her for dressing immodestly and spat on her. Alarmed, Daniel ran back to her car, locking herself and her baby inside as the mob battered the vehicle with sticks and stones, shattering a window. (and a lot more here).

There is in fact a fight going on and the fundamentalists have an unholy impact on the current hardline Israeli government ... and it spills out into all sorts of nonsense ...

There’s a Hasidic man arguing with the gate agent at the Phoenix airport. He’s claiming that he can’t be seated next to a woman because of his religion – even though Hasidic men have sat next to women on airplanes and buses and in shared taxis for decades, until they gained enough political power in Israel to try to segregate buses and seating on El Al. 
I don’t know whether this particular man is aware of the historical irony of his situation: that he is claiming to embody an ancient tradition, whereas in fact the circumstances of his argument are products of very recent political machinations. 
Either way, he is giving the gate agent a hard time. She switches his seat at least twice on the sold-out US Airways flight, managing to convince other passengers to move in order to accommodate his religious beliefs. Of course, none of them knows that his religious beliefs are so recent or so malleable. To them, perhaps, he looks like Tevye the Milkman. Another recent creation, of course – by a secular Jewish author, secular Jewish playwrights and secular-Jewish-owned mass media companies. 
The Hasid’s obstinacy is also empowered by the new right-wing effort to win ever more exemptions from civil rights laws, in the name of religious liberty. Religious liberty used to mean, roughly, “Live and let live.” Now, it is said to mean, “I don’t have to obey your rules.” 
Which suits the Hasid just fine. Most likely, he has learned in religious schools – paid for mainly by government largesse, thanks to “faith-based initiatives” and the erosion of the garden wall between church and state – that goyim have no souls, or are like animals, or worse. 
Indeed, this entire episode would never have happened were it not for these circumstances: Haredi power in Israel, conservative politics in America, Hasidic ideology regarding non-Jews. Add to that, of course, the massive subsidies that the Jewish institutional world provides to Jewish fundamentalists: welfare that enables the community to grow more and more insular and less self-sufficient, that cements the power of the rabbinic elite. In fact, the argument at the gate is an entirely contingent and avoidable phenomenon. This isn’t a clash of cultures, it’s an epiphenomenon of foolish policies. 
Tell me: Is there another minority group in the world that pays those who are destroying it? In 30 years, New York’s Jewish community will be smaller, more ethnocentric and, above all, more Haredi. And it will, in part, have its own policies to blame. Having driven away progressives (thanks to its Israel neurosis) and multifaith families, it will be left with the remains. The she’erit yisrael – the remainder of Israel. Which will look a lot like the man at the counter.  (and a lot more here).

It does no good to separate out one form of fundamentalism, but that's what scribblers like the Caterists routinely do. Islamic fundamentalism is bad, they say, but how is it that Catholic, Jewish and evangelical Christian fundamentalists are allowed a kind of tolerance and forbearance? Because they link back to our own very special received camel and goat herder wisdom?

Perhaps it's that shared capacity to run gulags in a humane way ...

Perhaps one day the Caterists will wake up and realise that it has missed the big story for the past 15 years ... that fundamentalism in all its peculiar forms is on the rise, because fundamentalists need other fundamentalists.

The fundamentalist hard line right wing government of Israel, for example, has stayed in power by fomenting fear and paranoia and arranging an apartheid gulag policy that will ensure continuing despair, torment, and outbreaks of violence, which can then be met by more repression, and more fear, which results in pleasing voting patterns, which leads to more ... well we had one of them in Australia too, rabbiting on and preaching intolerance, but strangely the loop got broken ...

But in Israel, the fundamentalists continue to garner power, and the moderates and the centrists are cast out into the political wilderness ...

The cold, ugly truth is that the Caterists and the Murdochians are themselves part of this process, and their defence of the ugly homophobia of Tasmanian Catholic bishops is part of a world wide pattern ...

Which why this sort of text from Chairman Rupert is so absurdly funny ...

Gender equality, gender rights?

Well there's nobody going to sort out Islamic or Jewish fundamentalism or the hopeless state of the middle east in a trice, but the Caterists could help by setting out on their own journey ...

Denouncing the homophobia of the Catholic bishops of Tasmania would be a good start, and then a column devoting as much space to the horrors of Jewish and evangelical Christians and the shooting up of clinics and such like as the doings of Islamic fundamentalists would be a good follow up ...

When will it happen?

Why as soon as this image is judged a neo-realist evocation of actual events ...

And so to the story mentioned by a reader a little while ago which has gone viral ...


  1. @Gumtree, For sale or rent.
    One shop-soiled arse, carefully tended by ex-PM.
    Contact A.Abbott c/o P.Credlin
    (Will accept selfie in lieu of cash.)

  2. Its also very telling in the treatment by News Crop scribblers of Pell, the nominal head of the Catholic church in Australia and that of the Grand Mufti.

    Pell, should only have limited responsibility, if any at all of the actions within the Catholic church and its response to the system institutional abuse. He is but a mere victim of an unprincipled media.

    On the other hand, the Grand Mufti of Australia must take full responsibility of atrocities committed on the other side of the world and initiate wholesale change of his religion lest he become the target of a character assassination and smear campaign across a range of News Crop mastheads.

  3. DP - food for thought. Here are three great thinkers - Christian, Jewish and Muslim - all of whom reject fundamentalism, but remain true to their faith. There are some pretty reasonable characters to be found in most religions, despite the ravings of the fundie nut jobs in all traditions.

    John Spong: Why We Must Reclaim The Bible From Fundamentalists


    Jonathan Sacks: The Great Partnership: God, Science and the Search for Meaning


    Mehdi Hasan: As a Muslim, I’m fed up with the hypocrisy of the free speech fundamentalists


    1. Perish the thought - junk food, and well past use by date.

  4. Here I was considering wading into the morass of the Caterists, and look who came around for afternoon tea: It was the UN wot did it!


  5. "There are some pretty reasonable characters to be found in most religions ..."

    From what I can make out from history and sociology, contemporary and ancient, no matter where or when or how bad, there's always somebody trying to be civilized. Except in France at the time of the massacre of the Huguenots (and even earlier of the Cathars).

    So it goes.

    But I don't think Josh Frydenberg qualifies, and even less so his mate Michael Sukkar. I suppose that since Judaism has never had a Reformation, Josh didn't explain how Judaism had been 'civilised'. But Sukkar called for one for Islam - I wonder if he realizes that the lauded Christian "Reformation" was basically a mass defection by Protestants from the corrupt and venal rule of Rome which had just about zero effect - other than "provoking" a murderous response - on the Roman Catholic "faith".

    I think they're really conflating "Reformation" with the actual civilizing influence of the Enlightenment (shsh don't mention agnostics !) and the eventual removal of the legal "right" of Christians to murder dissidents.

    Hegel once defined 'tragedy' as the conflict between right and right, but here all we seem to have is the conflict between wrong and wrong. Should we then classify that as a 'blessing' ?

    1. I think old Geoff had it satirised neatly in The Pardoners Tale.

      The Pardoner begins by describing all of his tricks of the trade in his work. He explains to the pilgrims that he always uses "greed is the root of all evil" as his theme when preaching, the better to loosen the purse strings of his audience. Demonstrating the hard sell he gives when he arrives in a town, the Pardoner describes some of his relics and their curative properties.

      All the relics are fake, he admits, but he doesn't care a bit. He also makes sure the pilgrims understand that he only preaches to earn money, so much so that he doesn't hesitate to take it from even a poor widow with starving children. He's says he's a great speaker, tossing in some Latin phrases to punch things up a bit, and citing the Bible and philosophy to sound serious.

    2. :)³. Just to elevate the tone a little:

      But sirs, o word forgat I in my tale,
      I have relikes and pardon in my male,
      As faire as any man in Engelond,
      Whiche were me yeven by the popes hond.
      If any of yow wol, of devocioun,
      Offren, and han myn absolucioun,
      Cometh forth anon, and kneleth heer adoun,
      And mekely receyveth my pardoun:
      Or elles, taketh pardon as ye wende,
      Al newe and fresh, at every tounes ende,
      So that ye offren alwey newe and newe
      Nobles and pens, which that be gode and trewe.
      It is an honour to everich that is heer,
      That ye mowe have a suffisant pardoneer
      Tassoille yow, in contree as ye ryde,
      For aventures which that may bityde.
      Peraventure ther may falle oon or two
      Doun of his hors, and breke his nekke atwo.
      Look which a seuretee is it to yow alle
      That I am in your felaweship y-falle,
      That may assoille yow, bothe more and lasse,
      Whan that the soule shal fro the body passe,
      I rede that our hoste heer shal biginne,
      For he is most envoluped in sinne.
      Com forth, sir hoste, and offre first anon,
      And thou shalt kisse the reliks everichon,
      Ye, for a grote! unbokel anon thy purs.’

    3. It's a real pity that, because of the Great Vowel Shift and a few sundry word shifts into the bargain, that I cannot read Chaucer's Middle English.

      But I think I kinda get the idea anyway - 'snake oil' is universal over time and place, isn't it.

  6. Bolt's homies think it's funny to dress up in blackface this time of year.



  7. Trump has truimphed again. Overshadowed by his modest proposal to ban all Muslims entering the US, he has also called on Bill Gates to close down the Internets.

    Trump told a rally that “We are losing a lot of people to the Internet. We have to do something. We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what's happening.”

    “We have to talk to them [about], maybe in certain areas, closing that internet up in some way.”

    “Some people will say, 'Freedom of speech, Freedom of speech',” Trump added, before saying “These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people.”


    1. Capitalism vs. the Climate

      Denialists are dead wrong about the science. But they understand something the left still doesn’t get about the revolutionary meaning of climate change.

      By Naomi Klein

      So in a way, Chris Horner was right when he told his fellow Heartlanders that climate change isn’t “the issue.” In fact, it isn’t an issue at all. Climate change is a message, one that is telling us that many of our culture’s most cherished ideas are no longer viable. These are profoundly challenging revelations for all of us raised on Enlightenment ideals of progress, unaccustomed to having our ambitions confined by natural boundaries. And this is true for the statist left as well as the neoliberal right..

      So when the Heartlanders react to evidence of human-induced climate change as if capitalism itself were coming under threat, it’s not because they are paranoid. It’s because they are paying attention...

      So let’s summarize. Responding to climate change requires that we break every rule in the free-market playbook and that we do so with great urgency. We will need to rebuild the public sphere, reverse privatizations, relocalize large parts of economies, scale back overconsumption, bring back long-term planning, heavily regulate and tax corporations, maybe even nationalize some of them, cut military spending and recognize our debts to the global South. Of course, none of this has a hope in hell of happening unless it is accompanied by a massive, broad-based effort to radically reduce the influence that corporations have over the political process. That means, at a minimum, publicly funded elections and stripping corporations of their status as “people” under the law. In short, climate change supercharges the pre-existing case for virtually every progressive demand on the books, binding them into a coherent agenda based on a clear scientific imperative..

  8. Who says the art of creating a great tabloid front page is dead? The Philly Daily News shows how it's done.


    And one for the conspiracy theorists. The Malay Mail has found three unclaimed Boeing 747's in the KL lost luggage compound.

    I dunno, they lose a couple and then find three - C'est la vie.


    1. And while auspol on twitter is usually a den of iniquity there are occasional flashes of genius. Check out the shopped photo of Pell with his shadow (the ghoul from Caligari methinks) posted by someone called Samantha.



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