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Thread: Just a side note on Melena's conversation with Zach.

  1. #41
    FORT Fogey
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    Please forgive me if I start a firestorm with this question, but what the heck, this has appeared to be a fair group of individuals with a lot of respect for each other and the desire to share knowledge while being openminded. Now that the complimenting is done -

    If Zach's mother only wants her son to marry a Jewish girl, why is Mom not considered a bigot? If you substitute Catholic would it be the same? What if you substituted a race instead of a religion? African-American or Caucasian?

    Okay, I just had to stir things up a little...

  2. #42
    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    I'll take a stab at that:

    It's not Mom's decision who Zach decides to marry. She can want whatever she wants, but love is love, and when Zach finds it, whoever it's with, it's not going to bow to Mom's will.

  3. #43
    Wonky snarkmistress Lucy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melsevene
    Please forgive me if I start a firestorm with this question, but what the heck, this has appeared to be a fair group of individuals with a lot of respect for each other and the desire to share knowledge while being openminded. Now that the complimenting is done -

    If Zach's mother only wants her son to marry a Jewish girl, why is Mom not considered a bigot? If you substitute Catholic would it be the same? What if you substituted a race instead of a religion? African-American or Caucasian?

    Okay, I just had to stir things up a little...

    I'll give it a try.... IMO, it's perfectly fine to want to marry someone within your own religion. Everyone wants to be with someone who shares their beliefs, whether those beliefs are religious in nature or not. I know Jewish people and Catholics who intend to marry someone of their own faith, and as far as I'm concerned that's fine. I do think it should be a person's own decision, though, and not that of their parents.
    It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever. -- David St. Hubbins

  4. #44
    daydream believer oneTVslave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melsevene
    Please forgive me if I start a firestorm with this question, but what the heck, this has appeared to be a fair group of individuals with a lot of respect for each other and the desire to share knowledge while being openminded. Now that the complimenting is done -

    If Zach's mother only wants her son to marry a Jewish girl, why is Mom not considered a bigot? If you substitute Catholic would it be the same? What if you substituted a race instead of a religion? African-American or Caucasian?

    Okay, I just had to stir things up a little...
    Okay we are treading on dangerous ground here, but I'll try to respond anyway...

    You can call her a bigot if you want, and I think that some Jews may be bigots, just as there is racism amongst blacks and other minorities. Unfortunately, racism and bigotry are "equal-opportunity employers" - just because you are in a minority does not mean that you are always fair to people outside of your group.
    However, I think that toshncali explained it well-for the Jews, it is very important to keep the tradition and history alive, because of the Holocaust and the suffering that so many endured for their beliefs throughout history. I know that the Jews were not the only ones persecuted for their religion and that many other groups have experienced similar hardships. So it may not be that some Jews frown upon people of other faiths and consider them to be inferior, but rather that it is important to them to keep their history and traditions alive within their own family. Like toshncali said, children of a mixed-faith family may choose to adopt non-Jewish practices because they are "easier" or in the majority. So, over time, Judaism runs the risk of fading away into obscurity. While I also have ancestors who died in concentration camps and have a respect for what they endured and what they lost, I was not raised by my immediate family to be very religious, so I don't have the same perspective. Personally, I don't identify with organized religion as it seems to seperate people rather than bring them together. I am more comfortable considering people as individuals rather than as members of a group, but that is my choice for myself, and I certainly respect the choices of Jews who are more devout than me, as well as those of people of other religions.
    However, with that said, I could not marry a devout Catholic if they were to require me to attend church with them and observe traditions that I do not believe in. That does not mean that I wouldn't agree to possibly have a tree in my house, but it could not have a crucifix on it, for example.

    I don't mean to over-simplify the situation. Obviously, some people feel very strong about their religious practices and some do not. People have a right to search for whatever they think is right for them in a mate. If that means the same faith, same race, same height, same brand of toothpaste, so be it.
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
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  5. #45
    FORT Fanatic k1w1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melsevene
    Please forgive me if I start a firestorm with this question, but what the heck, this has appeared to be a fair group of individuals with a lot of respect for each other and the desire to share knowledge while being openminded. Now that the complimenting is done -

    If Zach's mother only wants her son to marry a Jewish girl, why is Mom not considered a bigot? If you substitute Catholic would it be the same? What if you substituted a race instead of a religion? African-American or Caucasian?

    Okay, I just had to stir things up a little...
    Sorry but I don't think some of the comments addressed was what the original question intended.

    The basic question you want to ask is is Zach's mom a bigot? Is she wrong? (ie nothing to do with her son or what the son's decision is)

    IMO yes and no.

    No because as what toshncali has elegantly been telling us. The Jewish faith depends on the kind of strict traditional values it relies on for its future. The religious/ cultural identity depends on it. Same as what some (we might consider as) premitive African tribes losing their cultural identity in the name of modernization. And going back to the Zach's mother's belief I say she has every right to feel how she feels. She is not wrong.

    However, this is a very fine line we're walking on with that kind of argument..... if you substitute Judism with Catholicism, for instance, then this issue becomes a whole new different meaning and the opposite to what I've been saying so far.

    This then becomes the issue of race, justification and basic moral rights.

    The fact that Catholicism isn't a threatened, fading cultural institution is enough NOT to justify the mother's beliefs if she was with the catholic faith. There is no justification at all for her narrow-minded views of instilling her own cultural values on somebody else when that very culture/ religion is as solid and expanding as ever or not at all threatened to perish. You know what I mean?

    There are plenty of Catholics to go around..... so to speak. Catholics number probably in the billions around the world so there is no worrying about the very existence of the religion anytime soon! Unlike what toshncali's account of the Jewish religion.

    And if you still replace the word Judism with race (ie black/ white/ hispanic) then clearly the mother becomes a bigot. No doubt about it.

    Like I said, it's a thin line we're walking on with the argument. The bottom line I guess is we would have to look at the reason or justification for why someone might feel compelled to impose something on others.... is it because that person is trying to "protect" something? or perhaps trying to "propagate" something? perhaps to spread hatred? What is the agenda behind the belief?

  6. #46
    daydream believer Gypsy Rose's Avatar
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    In my book there's a huge difference between wanting to protect the spiritual integrity of your heritage (ie: as has been described, not wanting to dilute sacred Jewish traditions by incorporating practices associated with Christianity)...

    ...and wanting to protect the ETHNIC purity of your heritage by not "mixing races". Clearly this second example is bigotry.

    I really don't think the first one is. If a person's religious (or political, etc) views are very important (and, in fact, CRUCIAL) to them, it's only natural for them to want their children to grow up and honor the same. Some would indeed call this narrow-mindedness. But I think passionately held beliefs are honorable and commendable.

    I also think it shouldn't make any difference whether you're "standing up" for a cause that is threatened, or one that is widely accepted. A belief is a belief, and certainly nothing is more dear than a passionate spiritual faith.

  7. #47
    FORT Fanatic k1w1's Avatar
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    not wanting to write a novel here but your point about "a belief is a belief" is not quite correct.

    we have to be vigilant in exposing and condemning beliefs that are harmful, especially the ones that spread hatred. History taught us the lessons of the holocast and as recently as the events of september the eleventh.... we can't just burry our heads in the sand and ignore the fact that some numbnut is standing up for a "lost cause" that jepordizes the welfare of humanity. We simply can't accept it. I don't care if those Nazi-sypathizers, for example, hold dear to their believe than an orthodox Jew.

  8. #48
    daydream believer Gypsy Rose's Avatar
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    Well, I figured it would be obvious that I wasn't promoting a philosophy that would condone or defend bigotry and insanity.

    But to say a Jewish-mama has more right than a Catholic-mama to hope her child will marry within their faith? That doesn't even make any sense to me.

  9. #49
    FORT Fanatic k1w1's Avatar
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    it makes sense if you just take the time to look at the history and politics between the two different religions.... and in fact as toshncali said it best, Judism is not just a religious insitution like the catholic church, it is as much a cultural phenomenon as being french, korean or american. And the fact that this "benign culture" is threatened of its existence day by day tells us we or at least the practioners need to do something to save it....

    Catholics numbering in the billions don't need to worry about that problem.

    The bottom line is you have to look at it as what's right and wrong..... the mere act of favoring or imposing some belief system on to someone is not right. But if there is a good justification or a good explanation behind that kind of "imposing" behaviour (ie because the Jewish culture is threatened of its existence) then I don't see any problems with it.

  10. #50
    daydream believer Gypsy Rose's Avatar
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    Not trying to start a big fight, because I know this isn't what you BELIEVE, but I just find this sort of thinking very dangerous. Feeling entitled to "impose" your culture because you feel it's being threatened? Isn't THIS exactly the kind of thinking that escalated into Nazi Germany?
    Last edited by Gypsy Rose; 12-05-2003 at 11:26 AM.

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