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Medicine Science

In Israel, Potential Organ Donors Could Jump the Queue 582

laron writes "In Israel, a new law is in the making: Holders of donor cards and their families would get preference if they should need an organ for themselves. Apparently this initiative faces resistance from Orthodox rabbis, who hold that organ donation is against religious law. Jacob Lavee, director of the heart transplant unit at Israel's Sheba Medical Center, and one of the draftees of this new law, hopes that a broader pool of organs will ultimately benefit everyone, but acknowledges that one of his primary motivations is 'to prevent free riders.' (Apparently receiving an organ is OK under religious law.)"
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In Israel, Potential Organ Donors Could Jump the Queue

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  • Hey guise (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:16AM (#31478594)

    Religion is awesome is it not?

  • crazy hypocrites (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:18AM (#31478606) Journal
    That position sounds so insane, that I thought that there must be more to it than that, but no, it really is that hypocritical. Check out this quote from the article:

    "If I can't contribute organs because of my religious beliefs, the state shouldn't be allowed to harm me,"

    Seriously? This is the kind of stuff Jesus was criticizing in the bible: he tried to show that loving each other and helping each other out is more important than following the law to exactness. Fortunately it is a minority that feel this way, most of the rabbis in Israel are more sane (according to the article).

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:35AM (#31478664) Homepage

    That position sounds so insane, that I thought that there must be more to it than that, but no, it really is that hypocritical.

    That's the religious right. Doesn't matter which religion. The Islamic, Jewish, and Christian far right have much in common - ODing on prayer, oppressing women, having big families, keeping kids from learning too much about the real world, enforcing nutty rules, and demanding tax subsidies. They even have similar looking leaders - old guys with long beards wearing black.

  • Sounds fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WiiVault ( 1039946 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:36AM (#31478668)
    I may be missing something, and feel free to tell me. But I have no problem with donors being higher on the list. It makes sense to reward altruism in society and this certainly fits the bill. Sure some religions might interject, but just like organ donation religious practices are a choice and like every choice they carry consequences. That's not to say non-donors shouldn't get organs, but they should not be the priority.
  • by rm999 ( 775449 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:40AM (#31478676)

    Instead of 2 choices (donor or non-donor), how about a third category: donor with preference to other donors. This takes the decision away from the government and to the owner of the organs.

    I'm sure some people would be willing to donate to anyone, but the majority would choose the new third option.

  • That's a good idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:43AM (#31478698)

    Why should you get a organ from someone who just died if you aren't willing to give the same if you die?

    Except for the group of people who have something that means they aren't candidates for organ donations but are candidates for organ transplant (I don't know if there is such a pair, but you don't take organs from people with aids or numerous other illnesses) - they are going to get the short end of the stick. Though it's a simple exception to add.

  • Re:Opt-out (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slimjim8094 ( 941042 ) <> on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:59AM (#31478768)

    Same in the US. I was about to make some snide comment to the effect that that's bass-ackwards too...

    That's not right. I can make up my mind for myself. It's a deeply, deeply personal choice that really cuts the the heart of what you believe about life.

    It'd be one thing if I refrained from answering (in which case it should be up to them), but if I decided one way or the other that decision should be honored.

    While I love and trust my family, they shouldn't be making that decision for me - nor should they be allowed to.

    The way the system should work: Default is "not stated" in which case they ask the closest family members - without family members, default to 'yes'. You can state "yes" or "no", which is permanent unless you change it (which should be easy).

    Is it more complicated then I'm seeing?

  • Re:Sounds fair (Score:2, Insightful)

    by keeboo ( 724305 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @03:19AM (#31478812)

    Humans aren't altruistic in general. It's nothing to be ashamed of - we're programmed to think of ourselves first. Aligning altruistic acts and self-preservation sounds like a great way to encourage altruistic behavior.

    There's nothing altruistic when you do something expecting to be rewarded somehow.

  • Re:Hey guise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IICV ( 652597 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @03:25AM (#31478840)

    Yeah, I don't understand this. Their religion comes from a time when cutting-edge surgery involved a dull axe, some grain alcohol (to get the surgeon's courage up) and maybe some hot tar if you were lucky. How can they possibly justify applying a book written by a bunch of shepherds and nomads to something as modern as organ transplantation?

    And if they think that God intended for His holy book to say something about organ transplants, wouldn't it be right there where it's obvious (like say in the ten commandments), and not hidden away in some obscure little passage?

  • Re:Sounds fair (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Krahar ( 1655029 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @03:25AM (#31478842)
    Generally more blood is stored than is needed for patients to not start dying. So tying receiving blood to blood donation would result in a situation where the doctor has a cheap, easy and viable way to save his patient, but he then does not because it has been decided some people don't deserve it. That's just nasty.
  • Re:Sounds fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by laron ( 102608 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @03:29AM (#31478858)

    I'd be wary of that. There are a lot of people who can't donate blood for many reasons and I wouldn't like to put them at a disadvantage.

    If you have to take heavy medication that makes your organs unsuitable for example, it shouldn't affect your priority to receive organs. It would turn your consent to donate into an empty formality of course.

  • Re:Sounds fair (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EnglishTim ( 9662 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @03:33AM (#31478870)

    There's a sufficiently large section of the population that cannot give blood that such a suggestion would be unworkable.

  • by Paradigm_Complex ( 968558 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @03:33AM (#31478872)
    That'd be an odd statement from anyone familiar with Judaism itself, as opposed to someone generalizing it along with other religions.

    According to most Jews' interpretation of Jewish law, saving lives takes priority over nearly everything else. This is why, for example, taking pig insulin is perfectly okay.

    Consider the stereotype of Jews being doctors. Jews, in general, don't like throwing lives away.
  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @03:49AM (#31478960)

    According to most Jews' interpretation of Jewish law, saving lives takes priority over nearly everything else. This is why, for example, taking pig insulin is perfectly okay.

    And yet, being an organ donor isn't.

  • Re:Sounds fair (Score:2, Insightful)

    by khallow ( 566160 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @03:54AM (#31478982)

    Well, to want an organ but not willing to be a donor sounds hypocritical.

    Unless, of course, being a potential donor makes you more likely to die. The dark side of this sort of policy is that someone decides whether you live or die. If you have a lot of good organs, they might well decide to let you die in favor of a sicker patient.

    A couple more points to consider. The bias is unlikely to result in many more organs. The pool of needy organ recipients isn't particularly large compared to the total population and such people aren't likely when they die to be healthy enough to provide organs. Second, hypocritical people have just as much right to live as anyone else.

    The altruism motive sounds adequate to me. I don't like it since I think we'd be better off economically and morally paying money to donors (and of course, their inheritors when appropriate). It also provides an avenue for doctors to make life and death decisions based on moral judgments. Still, there's a bunch of people who need organs and a bunch of people who could provide them. It's better than nothing, I suppose.

  • by PHPfanboy ( 841183 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:16AM (#31479104)

    Those Orthodox rabbis need to get control of their minds and stop with these ancient laws and notions.

    Er, then they'd be out of a job. Would turkeys vote for an early Christmas?

  • by dziman ( 415307 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:18AM (#31479120)

    Not being an organ donor does not make you a douche bag. People may have valid reasons for choosing not to be a donor. Some of those are religious or ethical, others might be medical.

    Would you want to accept an organ from a person that has a communicable disease and that disease would come to you from a donated organ?

    Would you want to accept an organ from a person that has not taken good care of that organ in their body?

    The organ you receive could actually kill you if your body outright rejects it without appropriate post operative medical care. Should we give organs to people that mark themselves donors, but are unlikely to obtain reasonable post operative medical care?

    Some people may be better donors than others! Would they re-prioritize organs to people that are more likely to be better organ donors than people that are not as good organ donors? For example, lets say that I'm fairly healthy except for this kidney I have that won't work. Would I get the kidney before a person that is less healthy than myself? Which types of organs are more desirable? Age matched? Younger? Older? Larger? Smaller? Is there a grading scale for organ donor-ability?

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:23AM (#31479134) Journal

    A "free market solution" to the problem would, eventually, inevitably boil down to some bankrupt schmuck selling his heart to buy his family a few years of reprieve. Free market isn't moral not just - merely "efficient".

  • by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:26AM (#31479148)
    Saving YOUR life takes precedence. Why is it OK to receive an organ but not to give one? That organ must have been removed in order to be given and then received. If it's a sin to give an organ then it would follow that receiving an organ is benefiting from a sin and thus is a sin in and of itself.
  • Re:Opt-out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:32AM (#31479194) Journal

    I'm guessing it's got to do with the taboo on death that still lingers - probably even moreso in the U.S.

    When I die, my body does not belong to the State.

    I'm inherently suspicious of anything designed to be opt-out...
    And exceedingly suspicious of any opt-out program designed to take property away from me or my kin.

    If you don't know, your corpse belongs to your estate unless it goes unclaimed for a certain period of time,
    at which point your corpse belong to the State (and the remains are useless for anything besides an anatomy lesson).

  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:32AM (#31479198)

    You will notice that no sensible Jew asks a doc not to perform an emergency operation during Shabbat. Saving a life trumps religious doctrines. Even according to the religious law.

    Shabbat is supposed to make you relax and reflect, it's not supposed to let you die on purpose if you happen to get sick untimely. The whole crap about "God's will" somehow didn't make it into the faith system 'til some nutjobs took it into their hands.

    You'll also notice that it's ok for Muslim to interrupt important things like Ramadan in case they get sick, it's quite ok to drink and even eat during the day when you're dehydrated and your body needs it for survival. Like Shabbat, Ramadan is supposed to make you think and reflect, to realize just how good you got it. It's not supposed to torture you for some holy reason.

    Religions originally did actually make a lot of sense. It wasn't 'til the whackos and nutcases took control of it and turned it into a tool of oppression. Granted, that happened quite quickly after their founders croaked, but I'm pretty sure if Jesus, Mohammed or ... well, whoever wrote the Pentateuch could see what became of their work, they'd be quite pissed at their successors.

  • Re:Sounds fair (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dziman ( 415307 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:35AM (#31479210)

    Should a smoker dying of lung cancer get a second pair of lungs before a person that is not a smoker and did not choose to be an organ donor, but instead has lung cancer due to second hand smoke? That's a nice gray area for you.

    Or would you like it a bit more simple:

    A child whose parents are not organ donors, and can't choose because the child is not old enough, is dying of a disease that has destroyed her lungs. Should the smoking lung cancer patient that selected "organ donor" get the lungs before the child?

    These are hard choices.

  • Re:Hey guise (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:38AM (#31479220)

    Wouldn't that be like circumventing the law?

    Folks, God's laws ain't like the human kind. They aren't meant to be searched for loopholes. Either keep them or just ignore them altogether, there's no reason to dance around them. If you think God exists, then you should know that God ain't a judge who'll mutter under his breath when he acquits you on a technicality because you happened to find a loophole. He'll be pissed, first that you broke the law, second that you did so while smugly telling him that you're upholding it.

    Think he'll like that? And think he'll follow due process and all the crap that came way after he invented the whole deal? Hmm?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:39AM (#31479224)

    Yeah, and you also might save the life of someone who goes on to take someone elses.

    Fuck off you ignorant dick, the philosophy of organ donation isn't as simple as "you're a douche if you don't do it".

    Some of us don't like the concept of helping to keep up artificially an already overpopulated species and are happy with the concept that when we die, we're gone, and we're not saved by some donation and even if we were might end us in a state where we can't contribute anything to society, but may consume a disproportionate amount of resources.

    The human overpopulation problem is a big deal- it's the reason for many wars, it's the reason for climate change and other pollution related problems, it's the reason for starvation in many places and it's the reason for many social ills in some places also (i.e. higher crime). Keeping people alive artificially well beyond their means is part the reason for it.

    It's ironic that people like you have such an ignorant, simplistic view of how you might save someone's life through organ donation, completely missing the point that you're responsible in the long run for many more deaths.

    The real douchebags are people too fucking stupid to realise that their do-gooder attitudes actually cause the problems they think they're saving against.

    So no, I'm not going to sign, and I'll continue to actively campaign against opt-out organ donation, because it's just one of many factors responsible for more deaths and more problems amongst the human population in the long run. The human population needs to slow down it's growth, death is a natural check on that, it's sad, but it's an essential part of the natural cycle. People should be able to live in a world where they don't have to suffer the problems of overpopulation, why would I want to contribute to a world where they can't?

    Come back and tell me it's okay to donate your organs when you're been to somewhere like certain parts of Africa and Asia, where there are entire families of people near starving to death and having to work in conditions where they suffer and sometimes lose limbs or lives just so that some guy in the US whose been kept alive through organ donation can continue to live his lifestyle where he consumes daily what an entire such family might consume in a month.

    So again, organ donation isn't as simple as "you're a douche if you don't do it". It's a far bigger, far more complex issue than that, and a lot of people are perfectly justified in not being interested in organ donation.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LingNoi ( 1066278 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:50AM (#31479262)

    Religions originally did actually make a lot of sense. It wasn't 'til the whackos and nutcases took control of it and turned it into a tool of oppression.

    There are two problems with this statement...

    1) Believing in a make believe sky person, for example God(s) qualifies someone as a nutcase to begin with
    2) Religion has and always will be used as a tool of oppression

    In what way does religion ever make any sense? I could tell you unicorns made the earth and I'd have as much proof as any other religion that makes similar claims.

  • I wish the article was clearer. The problem is not organ donation. The problem is that most donations are done after brain death, but before cardiac death.

    Jews consider that murder. As long as the heart is beating the person is alive.

    Donation after cardiac death are always permitted. But that's rarely done.

  • Slippery slope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by VShael ( 62735 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:58AM (#31479302) Journal

    When you start putting an acceptable face on preferential medical treatment, it's the thin end of the wedge.

    How long before this perfectly acceptable and seemingly reasonable tier-ring system is tweaked some more?
    Perhaps soldiers get preferential treatment? I can see that meeting little public resistance.
    Then soldiers and their immediate families.
    And if soldiers, why not fire-fighters or even other medical staff?

    Or politicians?

    At what point do people enter a job market, or start a political campaign, just to help a loved one move up a few spaces on the transplant waiting list?

    And if it did extend as far as politicians, what with campaign contributions being as messed up as they are, how is that any different than buying the organs in the first place?

  • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:03AM (#31479342)

    Religion can actually serve a valuable purpose, especially in primitive cultures. They offer a focal point and a sense of belonging in large groups. The human nature does not allow a sensible cooperation in groups larger than twenty people. Sure, culture and "civilisation" eventually gave us a way to do it, we are today quite able to cooperate with people that do not belong to our "family and friends" group, simply because we learned to do that. Also, we have other structures built that allow us to identify "our" group, from nations to sports team colors.

    Basically religions served a sociologic purpose for early human. When you lack the technology to enforce even the most basic laws (like, say, don't kill your neighbor just 'cause he has the grub you want and you don't feel like going around the corner to the market...), you need some all-seeing all-powerful entity to keep your people in check. Sure, it won't keep everyone in line, but maybe at least a number of the guy won't go at each other's throat for a few handful of rice.

    So yes, religion isn't really a necessity anymore. We can easily replace it with technology. But it did have its place in the history of humanity, and it was quite important in forming our ability to cooperate in larger groups.

  • by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:04AM (#31479350) Homepage

    And for that matter, other members of your family shouldn't be allowed on the recipient list either.

    That's fucking stupid. Why the hell should they be punished for someone else's decision?

  • by dargaud ( 518470 ) <> on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:05AM (#31479358) Homepage

    If you're not a donor, you're a douche bag

    Well, I used to be very pro-organ donation, but having seen 'the market' at work in the US, I now feel pretty disgusted. Larry Hagman (a known alcoholic) getting a new liver thanks to his money while others wait in line ? What about Steve jobs, did he have to wait for years in line ? If all it takes is to be rich and famous, then no, I'm sorry, I don't want to participate. Let natural selection run its course.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:20AM (#31479436)

    Yes, well, however, suitable donors make very unlikely receivers (or is it "acceptors"?). Everyone with family history of illness for which a transplantation is indicated will be compelled to enlist, so the donor list would be filled with "donors" who are more likely to need an organ then to be a source of one. The net worth of such a list would be negative, it would be next to useless.

    Hopefully one day we will be able to predict and prevent or heal the causes that lead to necessity of organ transplantation. This is inherently encumbered with problems.

  • Re:Opt-out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 10101001 10101001 ( 732688 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:26AM (#31479474) Journal

    When I die, my body does not belong to the State.

    When you die, you belong to no one. While you're alive, you can't transfer property rights over your body (one living person can't own another living person) and when you're dead you're not alive to agree to the transfer. Things like wills are constructions of the state to enforce property rights after you're dead. To that end, the state has a lot of power to possess things when you're dead. The fact that a vast majority of people might in fact want to put your body to good use when you're dead is, at least from a moral perspective, a good basis for supporting opt-out systems, anyways. It's not like, after all, you can't say "no" (and yes, clerical errors will likely occur, but there's no way to get around that since you'll be too dead to answer).

    I'm inherently suspicious of anything designed to be opt-out...
    And exceedingly suspicious of any opt-out program designed to take property away from me or my kin.

    Then you must free very suspicious of the legal system in general. Not only can it take your property, it can also take your liberty or your life. There's no real way to opt-out of it except leaving the State (and even then, extradition can get you); but, then, leaving the State also protects you from the opt-out donor system.

    If you don't know, your corpse belongs to your estate unless it goes unclaimed for a certain period of time,
    at which point your corpse belong to the State (and the remains are useless for anything besides an anatomy lesson).

    And estates are a by-product of State law (or a family with a lot of guns and a willingness to defend the property). This is, fundamentally, no different than estate tax laws. If you're really against the whole concept of your corpse being possibly used for organ donation, feel free to vote against it and opt-out if a law pass. But, if the vast majority wants an opt-out system, you don't much standing to complain, really.

  • by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <> on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:06AM (#31479722) Homepage

    Judaism is actually a very well reasoned religion

    Meaning: they are used to making up excuses for their irrational dogmas.

    As I understand it ... man is created in God's image, therefore is as close to perfection as you can already make it

    Cute. Except they make an exception for that one bit that's your most sensitive erogenous zone. And rabbis dare call that bit an imperfection. And even deny the pain that the procedure to "fix it" leads to pain and negative side effects, or even pretend these are a good thing.

    See a dogma, see a contradiction, make up absolute bullshit to keep dogma. Is this "reasoned"? Come on. Judaism is every bit as irrational and retarded as every other religion - but ESPECIALLY retarded for that one dogma, one so insane that it makes my blood boil in rage. If I sound disrespectful, you got it right. I abhor religion in principle, but those that promote genital mutilation, I regard as nothing but evil.

  • by Cidolfas ( 1358603 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:06AM (#31479726)
    I know 3 MDs, about a dozen med students in various years, and way too many pre-med undergrads. All of them would be stuck livid at the notion that they would purposefully let a patient go so they could harvest the organs to save another. It's jut not in their mindset - they might not be super jaded yet, but they try to save anybody, anytime. That's how they're wired.
  • Re:Opt-out (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:18AM (#31479774)

    > And exceedingly suspicious of any opt-out program designed to take property away from me or my kin.

    I'm exceedingly suspicious of anyone who labels their (or their kin's) corpse as 'property'.

  • by darthflo ( 1095225 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:22AM (#31479810)

    That's a lot of talk about overpopulation and world hunger. If you're really this concerned, why don't you grab a flight to "certain parts of Africa and Asia", slash your throat and donate the usable parts of your body to a "famil[y] of people near starving to death"? You'll not only provide food and directly reduce the population but might just cause one or a few cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, reducing the number of people living in such bad circumstances.

    Being a registered donor is a rather elegant way to put my mind at ease with the thought of dying. Should I die through some random act of stupidity, I'll still have done my best to allow someone else to live their life to the fullest. If I'm not going to use an organ anymore, why throw it away? Give it to somebody who needs it and allow them to enjoy a bit of extra time. They might be the one to find a solution to the pressing problems you describe above. And if they aren't, I'll afford them with the responsibility of recognizing that and donating their organs to somebody more deserving.

  • by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:06AM (#31480090) Homepage Journal
    You know, if transplant surgeons took trauma cases, and all organs were universally compatible, and physicians liked getting sued, that might bear some tiny resemblance to an actual moral dilemma. But none of those is the case.
  • by guhknew ( 123675 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:14AM (#31480128)

    I have trouble with the notion that we must somehow feel obligated to "respect" someone's beliefs. I have no respect for a belief system that can not be adequately justified. That's not to say I don't respect someone's right to believe what they want. I imagine that the distinction, however, is lost upon most people (and this confusion is probably the cause of the perception that any nonsense should be respected as long as it's a belief).

  • Re:Slippery slope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:17AM (#31480144)
    When you start putting an acceptable face on preferential medical treatment, it's the thin end of the wedge.

    "Preferential medical treatment" is called triage and is practiced everywhere. The wedge has sailed. People receive according to need. Adding in another in a long line of tie-breakers wouldn't affect that one bit. Or didn't you know that there is already a setup just like you claim is "starting" with this, and that system has been in place for many years?
  • Re:Opt-out (Score:3, Insightful)

    When I die, my body does not belong to the State.

    Well that makes you a selfish, heartless meanie and the modern media won't be inclined to give you much of a platform. So you may a well just stop talking while they get a weeping family who lost someone due to lack of organs to bawl until the next time slot. Once those tears start to flow, your cause is a good as dead. Which is fine anyway, because the majority is just going to vote to make your organs belong to them anyway.

    Isn't democracy grand.

  • by themaneatingcow ( 1430127 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:42AM (#31480636)

    Anyhow, don't eat animals. You should minimize your trust in the processed food supply. For example, see Bribes Let Tomato Vendor Sell Tainted Food.

    So what you really mean is "don't eat fruits and vegetables"...

  • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LingNoi ( 1066278 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:48AM (#31480670)

    I completely disagree with you here. What I think you're saying is that religion makes people obey the law; or something along these lines.

    That's simply not true. Most people in this world are naturally good people and want to do good deeds regardless of what they do or do not believe.

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:49AM (#31480692)

    What's amazing here is that an American city outside Utah acquiesced to demands that a piece of public infrastructure be degraded, on the basis of someone's religious objections to women who are not covered. It was a boneheaded decision to enforce values of a single religious group upon the public at large.

    Why is it amazing? That's the way the U.S. is set up to work - to strike a balance allowing geographical differences in local community standards to coexist with larger scale government standards. The founders never wanted the entire country to be a homogeneous mass with everything being the same everywhere. They wanted some wider principles and and guidelines for the entire country, but the flexibility for local regions (initially States) to do things differrently they way they wanted. So anything not covered by Federal laws are subject to State laws. Anything not covered by State laws are subject to county ordinances. Anything not covered by county ordinances are subject to city ordinances. Anything not covered by city ordinances are subject to smaller official community organizations (e.g. school boards).

    If there are no federal, state, county, or city regulations requiring that bike lanes be present, the local community is free to decide, based on the social standards of the majority of the local residents, whether or not their streets should have bike lanes. If a community is largely comprised of Hasidic Jews who don't want bike lanes, then as long as a higher layer of government doesn't require bike lanes, they are free to do with their community as they wish. That their reason is based on their religion is irrelevant. As long as it doesn't violate a law or ordinance, people can make decisions for their community based on science, religion, Oprah, phase of the moon, or the voices they hear in their head. If someone feels the majority has gone too far and is violating the rights of the minority, they bring it up in court.

    This is what allows right-wing communities to have ordinances which they are more comfortable with (e.g. no nudie bars). And allows left-wing communities to have ordinances which they are more comfortable with (e.g. mandatory recycling pickup). The legal environment set up by these local norms live and die based on people voting - both at the ballot and with their feet (moving into or out of the community). Laws at the local level which don't work get filtered out, with a lesson learned not to try it at a higher level. Laws which do work at the local level get noticed as a good idea, and get tried out at a higher level.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:14AM (#31480932) Journal
    Practicing usury in a society that considered it immoral, for much of that time. Christians and Muslims didn't lend money, because they weren't allowed to charge interest on it, so there was no incentive for them to do so. Jews did. Everyone hates the person they owe money to, especially when they start making unreasonable demands, like eventual repayment. This didn't stop the Christians from borrowing money from the Jews - no one else would lend to them - but it didn't exactly endear the Jews to the rest of the population.
  • Re:Hey guise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IICV ( 652597 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:52AM (#31481326)

    There are at least two documentaries "out there" somewhere, in which today's modern engineering big shots have voiced opinions that they couldn't build a pyramid in the time frame in which the various pyramids were built.

    You know why? Because we don't have slaves any more. What they mean is "with modern safety standards, we couldn't build the pyramids". If you told them "Okay, here's two thousand people, you're allowed to kill ten men for every 20 meters in height", they'd be all "so where do I sign on?"

  • by lucian1900 ( 1698922 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @10:05AM (#31481442)
    Regardless of how they justify it, it's still genital mutilation. And it's still fucking evil.
  • Re:Interesting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Terwin ( 412356 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @10:30AM (#31481742)

    Let's say that 80, or even 95% of people are 'good' as in they would not hurt their fellow man to further their own interests.

    That gives you that one in 20 people who would be happy to slit your throat because he wants to add your wife to his harem.

    At that point you have a number of choices.
    And until you get everyone else to agree as to what exactly should be dun about the murderer in their midsts, you can't really move forward.

    Lots of people have difficulty believing that someone they know is capable of doing terrible things.
    Add in the opportunity for that evil person to persuade those he knows to be gullible, and he can paralyze most of the community with indecision.

    On the other hand, if there is an invisible man living in the sky that says 'if an evil person does X, they must be punished by Y' then you have a set of laws that everyone feels they must follow, even if they don't like doing what they are told to do.

    If you only have a set of laws, then people will ignore them if they have had an argument with that authority, unless that authority has the power to back-up their decrees.

    Back before there was any real law, religion demanded 'en eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth'
    This was very harsh by our standards, but before that, vengeance and feuding would wipe out an entire family for an imagined slight.

    The religions that survive generally do so because they strengthen the society they are introduced into.
    If they weakened the society that founded them, then the religion would be wiped out with that people.
    (think about the middle Americans, like the Aztecs)

    Even now, there are lots of poorly educated people who don't believe they would get caught for committing crimes, but they know that there is that invisible man up there who WILL see them and get them for it in the end, so they don't murder their neighbors for his new shoes.
    (ever notice how many ex-gang members get out of the gang by finding god?)

    Religion can, did, and still does support civilization.

    We cannot become a truly dystopian society so long as religion still holds a strong sway.
    (we are slowly becoming more dystopian because religion is losing it's hold, but tragedies like 9/11 help push the pendulum back the other way)

  • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @10:50AM (#31481990)

    And how do you transport that culture? Imagine we're in 10k BC. You come down some mountain and go to your people, and you tell them "Hey folks, let's stop killing each other and cooperate, we can gain a lot more that way, instead of raiding each other's homes for sustainance, let's cultivate some crops and work together, we'll split the work, one will be a farmer, one will be a carpenter, and we'll trade the stuff amongst us, and instead of bashing each other's heads in when we want what the other one has, we'll barter..."

    If you ever tried to reason with primitive humans and get them to work together on a common goal or against a common enemy (like, say, a high school class for a school project...), you'll know that all you usually get when suggesting something like that is "Huh? Who died and made you king, asshat?"

    Though if you happen to know a bit about astronomy and point to the sky when an eclipse is about to happen and say something like "And because you don't want to work together the sky beast is now eating the sun and a lot of darkness will come to all of us, so you better fall in line and stop being primitive bastards!", the reaction will be a lot different.

    So, yes, religion does serve a purpose when it comes to introducing cultural and moral values into humans lacking any. What purpose it serves today is beyond me, but it does have its use. Or had, at least.

  • Re:Loopholes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:13AM (#31482270)

    Orthodox Jews have a legalistic interpretation of their holy writings, i.e. principally the Old Testament. This leads them to look for loopholes within their own religious writings. This search for loopholes isn't a characteristic of rich and arrogant Jews, but rather of Orthodox Jews, perhaps specifically those who are arrogant enough to think that what man wrote in a book is more important that the intentions that an omniscient God should be fully aware of. This seems very silly to me, but I'm a scientist and a geek.

    Other sects of Judaism, such as the Reform and Conservative movements in the US that represent a majority of American Jews, tend to look at their holy writings as part of their culture, not writings to be interpreted literally. These groups view God through a more modern lens and tend to put aside some or all of the legalistic framework in favor of a more charitable interpretation of God as distinct from the writings of man in the Bible. These groups aren't so obsessed about finding loopholes in their religious texts, since they acknowledge that ancient practices have to be adapted to modern life.

    You can't paint all Jews with one brush on these sorts of things, just like you can't with all Christians. In fact, because Judaism is considered to be "born in" to those born Jewish, many people are considered Jews by the Jewish faith who are for all intents and purposes agnostic or atheistic.

    I'd lump myself into the boat of "American cultural Jews" - I practice the culture of my religion, have passover dinners, tell the stories, can read Hebrew and speak a bit of Yiddish passably, and plan on passing that culture down to my children. But I don't believe in an omnipotent God, or believe that if there is such a God he is disjoint from our universe and unknowable to us, and that good and bad behavior should be motivated by a working ethical framework, not religious fear.

    And I am an organ donor. Because it's the right thing to do and because when I'm dead I won't need 'em no more. Even if I believed in God, I see no reason he would object to organ donation. In any case, the question the Orthodox Jews are dealing with seems to be about when a person can be considered dead - I fail to see why their religious scholars don't admit the limits of their expertise and acknowledge that this is a question better determined by medical science and the families of the deceased than by themselves.

  • by dryeo ( 100693 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @12:20PM (#31483120)

    You're equating getting the most sensitive part of your dick cut off with a hair cut?
    A better comparison would be getting your lips removed at birth because it makes it easier to keep your teeth clean. With enough propaganda and if it is done at an early enough age to most people you would consider lips to be equal to hair.

  • by Golddess ( 1361003 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:06PM (#31484828)
    Ok, I'll feed the troll.

    less infections

    You don't cut off your kids feet because of the bad things that can afflict feet, you teach them to properly care for their feet. Why should a boy's dick be any different?

    be at a lower risk of getting AIDS

    That's odd, I thought it was unprotected sex that could transmit AIDS. Are you telling your child to have unprotected sex? Because that's the only way it could possibly be true that having a mutilated dick puts you at a lower risk of getting AIDS.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:40PM (#31488282)

    So according to you, if you cut your infant daughter's parts - out of love (you want to protect her from evil sex until she marries - and she learns to live like that, maybe even "definitely liking her new parts" never knowing how it would have worked otherwise, it is then ok ?

  • by Philip K Dickhead ( 906971 ) <> on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:05PM (#31488598) Journal

    I Get It.

    Bashing Islam is Freedom of Speech - Criticizing Israel is a Hate Crime.

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