Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Beware of obscure punctuation

Greetings.

Jewish date:  29 Tammuz 5769.

Today’s holidays:  The Three Weeks, Last Day to Do Laundry Before the Nine Days.

Today’s quasi-holiday:  National Tug-Of-War Tournament Day.

Worthy cause of the day:  “A.G. Holder: Appoint a Prosecutor”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. A bad case of jumping to a conclusion:  “Riots flare in Blantyre over suspected satanic practices”. General rule about attacking anyone:  MAKE SURE THEY ARE GUILTY FIRST!!!  While dumping dead chickens in a river might conceivably be part of a satanic ceremony (I suppose), it is not necessarily so, and there is a big gap between water pollution and fatal traffic accidents which needs verification that a causative relationship actually exists and (preferably also) how it works.
  2. More oppression:  “European Court rules against the Sikh turban in French schools” and “Oregon's Fashion Police” (denial of freedom of religion to public school teachers).  France I can believe, given that the government there has no regard for freedom of religion; this is the same government which thinks that banning all religious clothing of any kind in schools is a good way to fight against terrorism.  (How something like that is supposed to work, I have no idea.)  But Oregon, here in the United States, now has decided that public school teachers having the freedom to follow the clothing dictates of their religion is wrong.  Why?  How is this not unconstitutional?  And what is this teaching students about freedom of religion?  Are we trying to give the impression that they should not get used to the fact that there are people of different religions around and learn to be OK with it?  Are we trying to give the impression that everyone must hide what he/she believes on the off-chance that someone might be somehow offended?  Are we trying to give the impression that freedom of expression is bad?
  3. “Hizb Ut-Tahrir: Shariah Takes Precedence over U.S. Constitution / Imam Promises to Fight "Until Islam Becomes Victorious or We Die in the Attempt"”:  I cannot make up the level of paranoia or poor-quality lying depicted in this article.
  4. Emes Ve-Emunah: A Forum for Orthodox Jewish thought on Halacha, Hashkafa, and sociological issues of our time:  This is a blog written by an extremely courageous man, certainly braver than I am.  It is very easy to criticize people other than one’s own and find fault with them.  (I know.  I do it often.)  But it is very different to criticize one’s own people, to complain about their problems.  It risks the ire of one’s own community, and it may be personally painful to do so.  Unfortunately, problems which go unrecognized are much less likely to be fixed.  And so I must applaud Rav Harry Maryles for addressing uncomfortable issues with in the Orthodox Jewish community, and I pray to YHWH that he be successful in helping us overcome some of our faults.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is irony mark (؟).  Enjoy (or be puzzled by why it would even be necessary) and share the weirdness.

Aaron
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