‘There Shall Be Signs’: Societal Declines, Forced Morality & Violence, Pt 4

posted by Dr. Jael Ever @ 2:15 AM
February 22, 2013

        Cultural changes rushing through nations with updated 21st Century values often lead to confusing societal declines, as well as to militant attempts to re-install traditionally valued morals through intimidation and violence.

Such attempts to re-enforce past tradition is even in the United States where New York shop keepers are threatened to maintain Orthodox Jewish standards.  Joseph Berger writes in ‘Modesty in Ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn Is Enforced by Secret Squads,’ that a Brooklyn shopkeeper received a call at home:

“. . . a man who said he was from a neighborhood “modesty committee” was concerned that the mannequins in her store’s window, used to display women’s clothing, might inadvertently arouse passing men and boys.

“. . . on Lee Avenue, the commercial spine of Hasidic Williamsburg, the warning carried an implied threat—comply with community standards or be shunned. . .  a potent threat . . . where shadowy, sometimes self-appointed modesty squads use social and economic leverage to enforce conformity.”

Jewish leaders in New York claim not to know who such enforcers are or who they represent.  However, shop owners, feeling threatened, and powerless, see no protection.  So most comply with intimidators’ requests.

The same fear and intimidation exist in Israel overseas.  ‘Jewish ‘Modesty Patrols’ Sow Fear in Israel’ expounds:  “In Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, where the rule of law sometimes takes a back seat to the rule of God, zealots are on a campaign to stamp out behavior they consider unchaste. They hurl stones at women for such ‘sins’ as wearing a red blouse . . .”

The article continues:  “In recent weeks, self-styled “modesty patrols” have been accused of breaking into the apartment of a Jerusalem woman and beating her for allegedly consorting with men.”

Young Orthodox defender Elchanan Blau responds:  “These breaches of purity and modesty endanger our community.  If it takes fire to get them to stop, then so be it.”  Other ultra-Orthodox Jews are upset by the violence, but rabbis seem to approve, because it “keeps secular culture out of their cloistered world.”

While these clashes usually involve the role of women––as in Afghanistan where the Taliban seeks to re-establish oppressions against women––in some cases violent clashes are often between traditional religions losing battles with new ones.

Hindus in India complain loudly to their non-responsive government that Moslems trample over their holy shrines as tourist attractions, especially during the present Vasant (Basant) Panchami holy days, “damaging ancient idols of Deities and other signs of temple.”

These escalating clashes of cultures test an axiom of anti-Christian fiction:  i.e. that morality can be forced on adults.  As Apostle John argues in all his writings, true religion is based on “whosoever will, let him let him take the water of life freely (Revelation 22: 17).”  If will is forced, revolt still resides in the heart.

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