Thursday, July 15, 2010

'An Element of Political Content'

Ho hum - until, that is, you get to the bit I've highlighted:

"A father has won the right to stop his children from taking part in Jewish coming-of-age ceremonies after a couple agreed they should be able to make their own religious choice. The mother wanted her children to participate in their bar and bat mitzvahs - ceremonies that mark the beginning of boys and girls taking responsibility for their Jewish faith. But the father, a Catholic who irregularly attends church, wanted them to choose their own religion in a 'voluntary and informed' way, once they were of sufficient age and maturity. The stoush played out in the Federal Magistrates Court in Melbourne where the separated parents... asked the court to determine the religious future of their 3 children... [The mother] had enrolled the children in a religious youth group for two hours each Sunday but [the father] was concerned the groups had 'an element of political content' and wished for the children not to attend." (Father wins right to stop children taking part in Jewish ceremonies, Belinda Kontominas, Sydney Morning Herald, 7/7/10)

Now what could the father possibly be referring to? Such a mystery!

And one which only deepens when you read the account of this case in The Australian Jewish News (July 9) - because there's no mention whatever of the youth group or that mysterious element of political content.


Still, nothing beats the high comedy of the AJN's front page - a close-up shot of a gavel about to descend; a headline - Judge denies bar mitzvah; and, piece de resistance, the following: "A mother's wish for her three children to have bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies was scuttled this week after their Catholic father took the matter to court. Is this a case of a judge overruling God?"

A judge overruling God - G-D for God's sake! - chumitz!

The last time a group of Australian sectarians tried running that line in public was at Hizb ut-Tahrir's recent Sydney conference - and they came under the immediate scrutiny of The Australian's current* Muslim-finder, Sally Neighbour, and were subjected to thundering headlines (not to mention the obligatory, denunciatory editorial) for their pains: "[Visiting British Hizb ut-Tahrir leader Burhan Hanif] said democracy was incompatible with Islam because the Koran insisted Allah was the sole law-maker, and Muslim political involvement could not be based on 'secular and erroneous concepts such as democracy and freedom'." (Muslims told to shun democracy, 5/7/10)

But then, to borrow Orwell, all sectarians are equal, but some sectarians are more equal than others, right?

[*Remember Richard Kerbaj?]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the 'camps' the kids get sent off to (usually once or twice a year, every year, right up to yr 12) are usually organised by the Jewish (religious) schools. They are billed as fun-times away were the kids will learn about Judaic theology and Halakha, as well as ancient Jewish religious history (or myth, if you are Shlomo Sands inclined). However, in fact what is central is to teach the kids (and I'm quoting from the permission pamplets here) "History of Israel" and "Love of Israel". Love - true love - is, of course, is an irrational and unconditional thing.

The theology is mind-numbingly boring and aimed purely at the brain. The stuff on Israel however, is exciting and urgent and aimed at the heart-strings. Needless to say, after going through this year-in-year-out, most of them end up fairly agnostic but emotionally bound to their home-away-from-home.