Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Why Ultra Religious People Are Assholes

My flight from Newark to Tel Aviv saw a quick immersion into a different culture. Over forty Hasidic Jews from New York were on the flight and it was kind of bizarre.

They had bought their tickets late and so were scattered around the economy section. That shouldn't be a problem except their women could only sit next to relatives while the men were forbidden to sit next to strange women. The plane was grounded for an hour while seating was renegotiated and people moved around the cabin to accommodate their religious strictures.

With all that settled out the next problem was getting them to sit down. The flight attendants would finally get the last two seated when three other men would get up to have an urgent conversation with men elsewhere on the plane. This process repeated. Corralling the Hasidim was like herding cats with ADHD.

This was a red-eye flight and things quieted down until the plane was in the middle of the North Atlantic and it caught up with twilight dawn. With the plane bouncing about in heavy turbulence like a tennis ball in a washing machine the Hasidim got up to rummage through the overhead compartments to get their prayer shawls and religious kit then stood in the aisles praying. The plane jerking about in the turbulence saw the praying men bumping into the passengers trying to sleep. The flight attendants, in both English and Hebrew, were begging the praying men to take their seats but they were ignored.

A half-hour before landing passengers are instructed to take their seats. This is a safety requirement in case the pilot has to take emergency maneuvers to avoid a missile. The announcement to take our seats was interpreted by the Hasidim as permission to get out of their seats, rearrange the overhead compartments, have urgent conversations with other Hasidim, and play musical chairs, changing seats for no discernible reason. More begging from the flight attendants. The pilot ended up having to threaten the passengers, we will not enter Israeli airspace until everyone is seated!

This all reinforced what I already knew, extremely religious people of every religion have one thing in common, they are all selfish pricks. In the United States, ultra religious Christians demand that their every prejudice and hatred be codified in law in the name of "religious liberty." In Israel, the ultra orthodox are constantly demanding that every other Jew be declared not a "real" Jew. While fundamentalist Muslims dial assholery up to eleven and use their religion as an excuse for serial murder.

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