When you actually sit down and read what it was Osama bin Laden hoped to accomplish, you’ll discover that you could take his words, have Pat Robertson read them on the “700 Club,” and never even blink an eye, because you are accustomed to hearing Osama’s thoughts coming from Jesusistanis in America.

And you shouldn’t be surprised to read this, either. But read it anyway. I think you’ve probably seen ideas like these before…

 

Images of ultra-Orthodox Jews dressing up as Nazi concentration camp inmates during a protest drew widespread condemnation Sunday and added a new twist to a simmering battle over growing extremism inside Israel’s insular ultra-Orthodox community.

Religious extremists are facing increasing criticism for their efforts to separate men and women in public spaces, and Saturday’s protest, in which a child mimicked an iconic photo of a terrified Jewish boy in the Warsaw Ghetto, added to the outrage.

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered Saturday night in Jerusalem to protest what they say is a nationwide campaign directed against their lifestyle. The protesters called Israeli policemen Nazis, wore yellow Star of David patches with the word “Jude” — German for Jew — dressed their children in striped black-and-white uniforms associated with Nazi concentration camps and transported them in the back of a truck.

Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial denounced the use of Nazi imagery as “disgraceful,” and several other survivors’ groups and politicians condemned the acts.

“We must leave the Holocaust and its symbols outside the arguments in Israeli society,” said Moshe Zanbar, chairman of the main umbrella group for Holocaust survivors in Israel. “This harms the memory of the Holocaust.”

Six million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators during World War II. About 200,000 aging survivors of the Holocaust live in Israel.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews make up 10 percent of Israel’s population. In the past, they have generally confined their strict lifestyle to their own neighborhoods. But they have become increasingly aggressive in trying to impose their ways on others, as their population has grown and spread to new areas.

Extremist sects within the ultra-Orthodox community have been under fire of late for their attempts to ban mixing of the sexes on buses, sidewalks and other public spaces.

In one city, extremists have jeered and spit at girls walking to school, saying they were dressed immodestly. They’ve also battled with police over street signs calling for segregation and attacked journalists who have covered their neighborhoods. In recent weeks, a few young Israeli women have caused nationwide uproars for refusing the orders of religious men to move to the back of public buses.

These practices, albeit by a fringe sect, have unleashed a backlash against the ultra-Orthodox in general, the climax of which came last week in a large demonstration where protesters held signs reading, “Free Israel from religious coercion,” and “Stop Israel from becoming Iran.”

 

It’s all here, isn’t it? Fundies screaming “PERSECUTION!!!” when they are stopped from shoving their dogmas down the throats of everyone else. Segregation of women, ‘cuz women is evil and tempt good boys. Cries that the damned librul media is out to turn everyone agin’ them.

Oddly enough, it isn’t Birmingham, or Karachi, this time. It’s a place that was, until recently in its history, above this kind of bullshit. But thanks to cynical right-wing asshats like Bibi Netanyahu, Israel’s version of the Jesusistanis are feeling emboldened, and they’re ready to wreck anything, and anyone, who stands in their way.

 

Fundamentalism is easy. You don’t have to question whether or not what you believe has any basis in fact, or is even moral. All you have to do is scream dogmas and selected verses of whatever good book you claim to be devoted to (and yes, feel free to ignore any verses that don’t fit your point of view.) In the holy tomes of all the Abrahamic religions can be found justifications for just about any vile point of view that you may hold.

Those books were, in my opinion, written in large part to attract angry and frightened people. And the books are still performing that service admirably, thousands of years after they were written. Any thinking layman can look at a lot of the commands in these tomes and realize that they make no sense in the more enlightened world of today, and shouldn’t have been embraced even when they were written.

But these books weren’t written for the thinking layman of yesterday, are not meant to attract any thinkers TODAY, and have handy references to an eternal damnation for those who might question them, thus leaving the “believer” with a smug sense of superiority as he or she contemplates with relish the fiery tortures awaiting the skeptics. All that a fundie ever has to do is refer to the book, for any and every situation. It’s damned easy, when you think of it. You never, ever have to explain yourself. You never, ever, have to be wrong, no matter what you say or do.

I have said, and I say, that organized religion is a cancer and a curse upon humanity. The faithful do themselves a disservice by attending churches.

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