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Saturday, July 29, 2006

This is what happens when religion doesn't stay in its place
Posted by Jill | 9:49 AM
As soon as you start with "faith-based" government initiatives and "courting evangelicals", the anti-Jewish maggots start crawling out from under the rocks and the pogroms begin -- and not just in the Bible belt, either:

Wilmington, Delaware:

After her family moved to this small town 30 years ago, Mona Dobrich grew up as the only Jew in school. Mrs. Dobrich, 39, married a local man, bought the house behind her parents’ home and brought up her two children as Jews.

For years, she and her daughter, Samantha, listened to Christian prayers at public school potlucks, award dinners and parent-teacher group meetings, she said. But at Samantha’s high school graduation in June 2004, a minister’s prayer proclaiming Jesus as the only way to the truth nudged Mrs. Dobrich to act.

“It was as if no matter how much hard work, no matter how good a person you are, the only way you’ll ever be anything is through Jesus Christ,” Mrs. Dobrich said. “He said those words, and I saw Sam’s head snap and her start looking around, like, ‘Where’s my mom? Where’s my mom?’ And all I wanted to do was run up and take her in my arms.”

After the graduation, Mrs. Dobrich asked the Indian River district school board to consider prayers that were more generic and, she said, less exclusionary. As news of her request spread, many local Christians saw it as an effort to limit their free exercise of religion, residents said. Anger spilled on to talk radio, in letters to the editor and at school board meetings attended by hundreds of people carrying signs praising Jesus.

“What people here are saying is, ‘Stop interfering with our traditions, stop interfering with our faith and leave our country the way we knew it to be,’ ” said Dan Gaffney, a host at WGMD, a talk radio station in Rehoboth, and a supporter of prayer in the school district.

After receiving several threats, Mrs. Dobrich took her son, Alex, to Wilmington in the fall of 2004, planning to stay until the controversy blew over. It never has.

The Dobriches eventually sued the Indian River School District, challenging what they asserted was the pervasiveness of religion in the schools and seeking financial damages. They have been joined by “the Does,” a family still in the school district who have remained anonymous because of the response against the Dobriches.

Meanwhile, a Muslim family in another school district here in Sussex County has filed suit, alleging proselytizing in the schools and the harassment of their daughters.


Mrs. Dobrich, who is Orthodox, said that when she was a girl, Christians here had treated her faith with respectful interest. Now, she said, her son was ridiculed in school for wearing his yarmulke. She described a classmate of his drawing a picture of a pathway to heaven for everyone except “Alex the Jew.”

Meanwhile, the Israel/Lebanon crisis comes to our shores. Seattle, Washington:

Five people were injured and one was killed Friday afternoon when a man who expressed anger toward Jews opened fire in the offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, the authorities said.

The Seattle Police did not identify the suspect. They said he was arrested 12 minutes after the first report came in to emergency dispatchers. At 4:03 p.m., according to Assistant Chief Nick Metz, dispatchers received a call saying people had been shot and hostages taken at the offices of the federation, a fund-raising and planning organization at the edge of downtown.

Two minutes later, 911 dispatchers were on the phone with the suspect, said Chief R. Gil Kerlikowske of the Seattle Police, at a news conference Friday night.

Because of what the suspect said in that conversation, which the chief would not disclose, the shootings are being treated as a hate crime, he said. Chief Kerlikowske said the suspect was Muslim.

The authorities said they did not think the suspect was acting as part of a terrorist group.

“We believe at this point that it’s just a lone individual acting out some kind of antagonism toward this particular organization,” said David Gomez, the Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who heads its counterterrorism unit in Seattle.

Mr. Gomez said his agency had been “monitoring” both Jewish and Muslim organizations, and reaching out to their leaders “for the last couple of weeks, since the beginning of hostilities in the Middle East.”

Frederick Dutt, an F.B.I. agent, said the agency had issued two bulletins, on July 21 and on Wednesday, urging “vigilance” at organizations and religious locations in light of the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in the Middle East. “Not specific targets because we didn’t have that information, to be honest,” he said.

Mr. Dutt noted there was an attack on a mosque in Seattle after Sept. 11, 2001. And the F.B.I. investigated two mosques for ties to Al Qaeda.

Marla Meislin-Dietrich, who works in the federation’s development department but was not in the office at the time of the shooting, said a colleague told her that one shooting victim said she had heard the gunman say “that he was a Muslim-American and that he was angry at Israel.”

"Anger at Israel" easily morphs into specific targeting of Jews, as do political endorsements of any kind of Christianity, including "reaching out to Evangelicals." (Mr. Obama, I'm talking to you.)

As soon as you start giving credence to ANY religious tradition that has as part of its tradition and history the forced conversion and/or elimination of the other, you open the door to these sorts of incidents. I suspect we will be seeing more of both of these as the Middle East conflict continues and as the Bush Administration continues to embrace the Christofascists.

UPDATE: Mel Gibson gets in on the action too. Apparently he was arrested for driving under the influence early Friday with a blood alcohol content of 0.12. The arrest report is here. Scroll down to page 2, and note in the center of the page:

S/Gibson almost continually threatened me saying he "owns Malibu." And will [unintelligible] "get even" with me. S/Gibson blurted out a barrage of anti-Semitic remarks about "Fucking Jew". S/Gibson yelled out, "The Jews are responsible for all the war in the world." S/Gibson then asked, "Are you a Jew?"

S/Gibson's conduct concerned and frightened me to a point, I called ahead to the station requesting a sergeant meet the arrival of my patrol car in the station parking lot.

Want to know who the anti-Semites are? Wait till Apocalypto shows up at your multiplex and see who goes to see it. He could deny it with Get A Stiffy Watching a Jew Get Flogged For Three Hours", but now his mask has fallen and we get a good look at the gargoyle inside.
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