Monday, March 26, 2012

Decline & Fall of Christianity

Walter Russell Mead points to the recent statement of the Saudi Arabian grand mufti about the obligation to destroy all Christian churches in the Arabian peninsula as evidence of the rapidly changing status of Christianity:
For many Muslims, however, the rise of tolerance in Christianity looks less like maturity and self confidence than like the senescence of a religion in decline. Christianity, these critics say, is losing its hold on the western mind. The rise in religious tolerance is the result of necessity — the churches are weak, the believers indifferent, and so Christians no longer have the inner conviction to stand up for their faith. Just as Christian countries tolerate a range of vices and practices that in the past, when their faith was stronger, they opposed (homosexuality, abortion, sexual immorality of all kinds, blasphemy and obscenity), so now they also don’t care very much about what religion people profess because their own faith doesn’t mean all that much to the shrinking minority that still has one. 
Of course, they are right.  Protestant churches have so abandoned Christian values in their desire to increase the size of their congregations that most no longer stand for anything at all.  The Catholic Church's tolerance--even active protection--for pedophile priests has destroyed any credibility that it still had.

Leftist intellectuals have become enamored of Islam because it is non-Western, and perceived as the only credible way of destroying Christianity, which is perceived as a threat to homosexuality, women's equality, and abortion.  That Islam is going to be more of a threat to all three of the idols of the left, once it achieves ascendancy here, seems to have escaped the left.  My guess is that the left thinks of Islam as a fire that you use to burn the rats out of the house, but does not realize that there won't be a house at the end.

UPDATE: A commenter made a rather disturbing point, which seems to be confirmed in this December 12, 2011 Daily Mail article:

An Orthodox Jewish community has had to face up to claims of child sex abuse after 83 men and two women were arrested.
An initiative was set up to encourage victims to come forward despite pressure from the close-knit religious society to hush up the crimes.
Some 117 male and female victims have approached authorities in Brooklyn, New York since 2006. There were 89 accusers under the age of 17.
The Orthodox Jewish organisation Agudath Israel of America, which has its headquarters in Manhattan, rules that anyone who claims to have been  sexually abused by another Jew must consult rabbis first.
Only then is the decision made whether to go to secular authorities.

Read more:
 I am aware many religious communities seek the resolve internal disputes within the congregation first.  But requiring you to get approval of the rabbi before going to secular authorities is a recipe for disaster.


  1. The Orthodox Jews make the Catholic church look like pikers when it comes to protecting their pedophile rabbis. As the NYPD revealed a few years ago, child rape and molestation victims were
    required to get permission from rabbinical authorities (often their abusers) before reporting the abuse to police. Needless to say, rabbis felt free to molest at will with that type of protection.

    For some reason, not much of a ruckus was raised among those who we count on to look out for child victims and use public shaming to bring about change. Although the
    Jerusalem Post, at the time, editorialized that it was a disgrace there didn't seem to be the type of effort that mainstream media outlets or child advocates used in the Catholic church scandal to get the story out to the public so that other victims would know that it was OK to come out from their pain and seek justice.

    With all that stated, I can guess what Clayton's views are toward the Orthodox Jewish community.


  2. My attitude towards the Orthodox Jewish community? Or the rabbis who used this strategy to suppress reporting?

  3. Well, substitute whatever term you like. But when the Catholic Church, which includes all Catholics, has destroyed any credibility that it still had because the authorities tried to hide scandals, what comment do you have for all Orthodox Jews about the credibility of Orthodoz Judaism?

    And I don't understand why you are using "the rabbis who used this strategy" as your alternative focus. Don't you agree with me that the loathsome requirement that Orthodox Judaism made of its child victims & their parents (permission) is the greater evil? Even more so than the individuals who obeyed their Rabbinical laws and covered up for the pedophile rabbis?


  4. The Catholic Church is an institutional body. It is not a democracy. I have great confidence that if it were a democracy, much of this pedophilic craziness would have been stopped long ago, because lay Catholics usually have kids, and want to protect them.

  5. I don't know this for sure, but since there isn't some Grand Rabbi, like some Grand Mufti or the Pope, that the synagogues are more like American Baptist churches, that is the congregation, through its managing committee, hires the rabbinical staff. Consequently, the the situation is that each church is independent in its policies, than the Catholic Church, or even, say, the Episcopalians or Methodists, which are very hierarchical. While the actions and policies of the NYC Rabbis are reprehensible, absent other evidence I don't think this alone can be used to condemn Rabbis in, for example, Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles and New Orleans. Certainly without the hierarchy one cannot say the pedophile rabbis were hidden and shunted around by "bishops" or "cardinals".
    A more profitable line of inquiry might be what the mainstream media did not give these accusations the same attention as the Catholic Church received.

  6. "The Orthodox Jewish organisation Agudath Israel of America, which has its headquarters in Manhattan, rules that anyone who claims to have been sexually abused by another Jew must consult rabbis first.
    Only then is the decision made whether to go to secular authorities."

    From Wiki: "Agudah serves as a leadership and policy umbrella organization for Haredi Jews in the United States."

    So clearly there is a hierarchy and there are authorities within that hierarchy who issue such edicts (to NYC and yes, to Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles and New Orleans and any other U.S. congregation).

    I have my own opinion about why this doesn't receive the attention
    that the Catholic church scandal did. Cowardice and/or bigotry.


  7. I see this covered in the December 12, 2011 Daily Mail as well: Very disturbing.

    I suspect that the Catholic Church received more attention because of numbers of victims. I tried to imagine an ideological reason for the difference, but Orthodox Judaism is as hostile to homosexuality and abortion as the Catholic Church.

  8. "...many religious communities seek [to] resolve internal disputes within the congregation first."

    So now the "tolerance--even active protection--for pedophile[s]" has become "internal disputes"?

    "...requiring you to get approval of the rabbi before going to secular authorities is a recipe for disaster."

    A recipe for disaster? No, it's a license to rape and molest children as in "tolerance--even active protection--for pedophile[s]".

    Your change in approach and language is stunning and blatant.

    Like others, I spent a week sorting through your blogposts during the Righthaven mess. I did that because I was greatly impressed with the way that you went about disproving the Arming America contentions in the face of the unrelenting attacks on you. That took a lot of courage.

    But now, in my opinion, you are dancing around trying to avoid applying the same logic and language to different faiths. That is decidedly not courageous.

    Suddenly, institutionalized protection of child molesters is NOT a reason to condemn the entire institution. But you are willing to condemn the individuals who used such protection. Bravo!


  9. Uh, no. You missed the point that many religions attempt to resolve "internal disputes" and clearly, Orthodox Judaism has extended this attitude towards sexual abuse. This creates a huge problem because it means that sexual abuse stands a good chance of not being prosecuted. It would certainly put Orthodox Judaism in the same situation as the Catholic Church.

  10. Anonymous seems quite upset that Orthodox Judaism does not get the negative press that the Catholic Church does about sexual abuse. I suspect that this is primarily because of numbers. Catholics are 23.9% of the U.S. population; Orthodox Jews are <0.3%. Assuming equal percentages of sexually abusive clergy, that would mean roughly 80x as many Catholic pedophile priests as Orthodox Jewish pedophile rabbis.

    There is certainly coverage of non-Catholic clergy pedophiles. When I lived in Sonoma County, a rabbi recently relocated from New York City was arrested and extradited for sexual abuse of children. When I lived in Silicon Valley, a couple of associate pastors at one of the big Protestant churches there were charged with sexual abuse. Just about everywhere that I lived, there have been such cases making the news.

    Perhaps another reason the Catholic clergy scandal gets so much attention is that no other denomination is individually so large. All the various Protestant churches combined are larger than the Catholic Church, but individually, each is relatively tiny.

  11. " It would certainly put Orthodox Judaism in the same situation as the Catholic Church."

    Uh, no. The Catholic church did not require the victims of clergy abuse to get permission from clergy authorities to report their molesters and rapists to police. That monstrocity of molestation protection is Judaic.

    And I have an experience as a child that informs my search for principled critics of religious institutions. My childhood friend's sister was molested by the local rabbi. The result was that my friend's family was "shunned" for reporting it to outsiders and had to move. The molester remained. And I lost a friend.

    And no, they were not Orthodox.

    It's not just about hypocrisy and double standards.