Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Westboro Baptist Church

In the past year or so I've seen a couple clips of a lady who is a member of the Westboro Baptist Church. In these clips (all on FoxNews), the lady gets rocked by the hosts and made out look like a psycho. However, I just saw a new video (below) of her and her two daughters on the Tyra Banks show. The fact that they were given more time to speak out their thoughts, combined with the fact that Tyra Banks is an absolute moron made me think: how anti-Jewish are these ideas, really?

They carry signs to protests saying "G-d hates fags", "Fag Troops", Thank G-d for Dead Miners", etc. Basically, they believe that these acts are a divine retribution for homosexuality, and since it is meant to be a wake-up call to all of us, these tragedies are to be lauded. Some people can't get past these offensive slogans, and that is completely understandable. But, perhaps their "crazy" ideas, aren't really so anti-Jewish afterall?

While I didn't read the enire Wiki article on the church, it is clear that, basically, they believe that anything bad that happens in the world is a result of homosexuality. They blame 9/11, dead soldiers, and the WV coal miner tragedy on homosexuals. Is it really so anti-Jewish to think that G-d exacts punishment for sins in the form of tragedies? I'm not sure why they choose homosexuality over any other sin, but I don't have a problem with saying that it's possible that G-d exacts punishment in this way.

Another main difference, obviously, between this group and Jews is the fact that they feel the need to "save" people. Perhaps we wouldn't find them so crazy if they were merely thinking these sentiments while sitting on their couches at home. Because they are not afraid to do things such as picketing a funeral, the inherent shock value is too much for many to see past.

I am in no way agreeing with their church, its beliefs, or the tactics they take to try to "save" people. Actually, they're doing a pretty poor job in this department, as the congregation consists for 180 people, the majority of which are related to one another. Anyway, I throw this out as more of a question than anything. If you can get past the fact that their tactics are reprehensible, exactly how Jewish or not are these beliefs?


Blogger nyfunnyman said...

while certainly homosexuality is clearly forbidden (at least acting) min hatorah for jews AND FOR NON JEWS, and it is punishable by death (jews=sekilah and goyim= sayyif) i do not think these beliefs represent jewish ideas. the reason is this: to say that we understand why hashem carries out certain punishments and retributions is funny at best and heretical at worst. how do you know why hashem does certain things? we don't know, nor is it our job to figure out. when tragedy strikes, we are supposed to improve ourselves and strengthen ourselves, not say it's b/c so and so. the difference is subtle, but important.

It really bothered me a lot after 9/11 when there were so many stories about how people were "miraculously" saved b/c they were late to work due to selichos. are you saying that people who didn't say selichos (and for that matter who said it the night b4) should be punished? how do you know why people are saved?

at least in the above example people were saved for doing something hashem wants- while i argue on attempting to incoporate this into jewish thinking, to think the other way (people are killed b/c they sin) is dangerous (and may be heretical).

not that this is proof of jewish belief, but as a standard- i don't think orthodox shuls "put in cherem" homosexuals. they won't daven for the amud or probably wont receive an aliyah, but they won't be asked to leave like a mesarev l'din is.

these thoughts are rough, they can surely by refined, but i hope you get my point.

6:58 PM, November 01, 2006

Blogger AlanLaz said...

NY - good points. It certainly isn't our job to figure out why G-d does things. We don't understand why Hashem does things. If, however, it was the case that this was G-d operated, it wouldn't go against Jewish thought - I don't think.

9:53 PM, November 01, 2006

Anonymous Donny said...

Basically along the same lines as nyfunnyman, I agree that it is our job to try to take mussar from any tragedy and use it to help improve ourselves. That is the Jewish way. However, to assume that one act causes another, I believe that to be very anti-Jewish. It is not approriate for us to determine what the cause of these tragedies are.

Going with the 911 example, I was also bothered when I heard certain individuals say things like, "Hashem was showing the yiddin who worked in the WTC that they shouldn't focus so much on parnasah and should put more time into learning."

Basically, anyone can make any crazy corrolation they want. The reality is, we truly don't know.

10:10 AM, November 02, 2006

Blogger AlanLaz said...

NYF - I just remembered a famous shiur given by R' Avigdor Miller in which he says flat out that the reason the Holocuast came about was specifically because of Jewish Enlightenment/Haskala. I believe the Stipler was also in agreement.

10:20 AM, November 02, 2006

Blogger Lanie said...

Tyra Banks is an idiot. She's all, "Don't sit here on my stage and say, blah, blah blah." What did you think they were going to say, "Oh, you're right Tyra. We love gay people."

11:07 AM, November 02, 2006

Blogger nyfunnyman said...

Alan LAz- 2 things

1. after thinking about it, i think your comment: "If, however, it was the case that this was G-d operated, it wouldn't go against Jewish thought - I don't think."

is circular. yes, if hashem came down and told us that he did, of course it would be a jewish idea! whatever.

2. i would like to hear the R Avigdor Miller tape ( i assume you don't have it) but the machshava i have learned from sefarim and unbelievable ba'alei machshava i don't think would agree with him. I will look into this further.

3. In NY this weekend? welcome!

11:47 AM, November 02, 2006

Blogger AlanLaz said...

I hope ya'll don't bite too hard! :)

I will see if I can track down an mp3 of the RAM....although I think these searches will be futile.

12:02 PM, November 02, 2006

Anonymous Greg said...

I'm sure R. Avigdor Miller said that (he said lots of things, many of which made little sense). Some rabbis blamed the Zionists for the Holocaust, others blamed the maskilim, others blamed the chassidim, others blamed the mussarniks...and so on and so forth.

Putting aside the issues of human knowledge of the divine, and the variegated levels of Providence in Exile, the fact of the matter is that Judaism is not about pointing fingers, it's about taking action. Who knows why Evil enters the world? No one. But there is what that we can do to alleviate suffering.

Take the advice of the gemara; when something bad happens, examine your deeds. YOUR deeds, not someone else's.

10:51 PM, November 02, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey guys, a little humility is called for here. We don't "know" when God has or hasn't intervened -in ways small or large.

6:30 PM, November 13, 2006


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