Friday, June 18, 2010

Interesting parallels

I was reading this entertaining article about local crazy-man Bill Donohue, and a few bits caught my eye:
I say on behalf of reasonable-minded people everywhere (both skeptics and believers), that Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, needs to be reined in before he completely destroys the reputation of the Catholic Church in the United States.

We must quickly make two small points. Bill Donohue is the leader of an organization that by its name (the Catholic League), seems to speak for Catholics. This is hardly the case. After all, the Catholic League self-reports only several hundred thousand members in the U.S., a small fraction of the some 68 million Catholics to be found in this nation. Further, the League is not an official part of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately for the more intelligent Catholics here in the States, Donohue is often the man called by news networks to represent their cause; he has by odd circumstance become their voice. We are not discussing rare or isolated instances in which Mr. Donohue has betrayed his inner ugly character. He consistently speaks for people who have not chosen him and do not finance him, and he does them no justice by presenting his opinions as the consensus view of this nation's Catholic population. It is for this offense, in addition to the content of his unctuous remarks, that I publicly call for his resignation.
I admire Mr. Wilhelm's succinct writing and calm tone in trying to take back his faith from a self-appointed spokesman that nobody asked for. In fact, reading it made me think of another blog I read this morning, about a similar perpetually screeching malcontent.

Rabbi Yehuda Levin, spokesman on family issues for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, representing the views of approximately 850 Orthodox rabbis, issued a statement ahead of the expected full Senate vote.

"Decent Bible-believing family people have been increasingly outraged by the cravenness of many politicians in their mad dash to turn timeless values on their heads, by advancing homosexual adoption, domestic partnerships, civil unions, 'marriage' and 'Heather Has Two Mommies,'" he wrote.

"The next slice of the salami – the koshering of volitional homosexual activity, along with all aspects of the homosexual culture, throughout the U.S. military – constitutes a rebellion against G-d and demoralizes both military and civilian society," he added. "We condemn the inherent antipathy, intolerance and even belligerence toward the essential religious liberties of Bible adherents."

Worthy of Donohue, or what?

And it gets better:

"How queer that politically correct 'equality'-fanatics in the military, who have already recognized the 'religious rights' of Wiccans, would single out traditional Bible-believers to be the object of their zero-tolerance policies," he wrote. "This will render it nigh impossible for Bible adherents to serve in the military."

Levin blasted lawmakers for pushing the legislation forward and urged people of all faiths to refuse to vote for representatives who pander to homosexuals.

"Passage of such evil legislation would expedite our hurtling towards Sodom and Gomorrah," he wrote. "It would also threaten to repel Divine Grace from our military's struggles and beyond. We call upon the Senate to unapologetically filibuster this legislation. We also ask all people of faith to adhere to our previous declaration that it is forbidden to vote for office-seekers who support the homosexual agenda."

Ok, now that we've heard from Captain Blowhard, let's go over Wilhelm's checklist:

A- Demagogue's group name implies a wider audience than they actually have. CHECK.
Levin's group, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, plugs its 850 member number as often as possible (apparently he's also affiliated with Agudas Harabonim, a similarly tiny organization that, unsurprisingly, also claims to speak for all Orthodox Jews in America). For comparison, the Modern Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America has over 1000 members. The Conservative Rabbinical Assembly has over 1500, and the Reform Central Conference of American Rabbis has over 2000. I guess Levin can boast that he has more rabbis under his tent than the Reconstructionists, but big whoop, right?

B- Demagogue runs to any camera or "news" mouthpiece that will have him, more or less acting as an independent agent, not any sort of authorized spokesman. CHECK.

I don't know of anyone that actually claims Levin as their spokesman. Previously he's claimed to be a Gerrer Hasid. Granted, I don't spend lots of time around folks like Yehuda, but I'd be curious to know how many people actually support him in any official capacity. When even people on YWN are wondering who this guy is and saying no one's asking him to represent them, that tells me something. When folks like Dov Hikind put him at arm's length for being too crazy, that tells me something, too.

Mostly Levin's MO seems to grab attention by clutching the coat-tails of anyone else likely to garner media attention. He did it with Pat Buchanan in 1996, he did it with Roy Moore in 2003, hell, apparently anytime Levin sees a controversy, he dives in, whether anyone actually asked him his opinion or not. The specific issue doesn't matter, being a hyperbolic media whore does.

C- Demagogue does significant damage to their co-religionists' image every time they open their mouths. CHECK.

Levin, as various J-bloggers have noted, is a walking Chillul Hashem. Anyone who hears about him or sees his authoritative beard and yarmulke is likely to assume that he speaks for America's Jews, or at least Orthodox Jews. And that seems to be what Levin is counting on. In the meantime, people who aren't the Catholic Church or wacko Evangelicals see Levin confirming their worst instincts or stereotypes about the Orthodox. He is an embarrassment to his community as well as the larger Jewish community of America which he claims to represent.

For the good of all of us, "Rabbi" Levin, please resign. Or at least move to an island with Bill Donohue.


SJ said...

Friar, you are invited to post here-

Heshy Fried said...

Thanks for the link,

I am not sure where I heard this, but is it true you are a fellow Bay Arean? Not arryan!

I moved to the area about 6 months ago

Friar Yid said...

Yes indeedy, born and raised in San Francisco. Maybe I'll see you at the "Minion" sometime.