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FANATICS TAUNTED

The SMH’s Adele Horin—usually disinclined to mention Islam—finally discovers a context in which such a mention is acceptable:

The women are subservient to their fathers and husbands. The parents will not send their children to university. Computers, televisions and radios are forbidden. So are mobile phones.

You could hardly imagine a more un-Australian set of beliefs. This crowd do not integrate; will not socialise with the infidel. They send their children to religious schools. The women cover up. They are fanatically homophobic. It is against their religion to vote.

It is not a fundamentalist Islamic sect I am describing. It is the Exclusive Brethren, a fundamentalist Christian sect with a membership in Australia of about 20,000.

Best wishes to Adele, who is no doubt currently in hiding, avoiding her execution via the Exclusive Brethren’s elite ‘splodey squadrons.

Posted by Tim B. on 09/29/2006 at 02:30 PM
  1. It is not a fundamentalist Islamic sect I am describing

    Well obviously it is an Islamist sect she is describing, she is carefully choosing the characteristics of the christian sect that are shared with more numerous extreme brands of islam.

    Posted by Ross on 2006 09 29 at 02:43 PM • permalink

  2. To Tims readers in Australia…

    Does this “Exclusive Brethren” group even exist, and if they do,are they bothering you? Im sure these kinds of isolated Christian groups exist in the US but they are WAY under the radar.Of course you have your Fred Phelps nutjobs, but they are beyond redemption.


    I myself am a conservative Christian   living in the US. We, by and large, work hard, pay taxes,obey the law, and are good citizens and neighbors who participate in society. My guess is that is the case for most Austraalian Christians. Can the same be said for most muslims? maybe/maybe not.

    Posted by debi L. on 2006 09 29 at 02:49 PM • permalink

  3. This has to be a multipart series, wherein the next installment will catalog the near daily acts of barbarism with which we’ve all become all too familiar, carried out in the name of the Exclusive Bretheren.

    The following week, an analysis of the Brethern’s calls for a Holy War and global submission to their one true faith.

    Posted by cosmo on 2006 09 29 at 02:54 PM • permalink

  4. It’s the Amish! See? See? The Xtians are the real threat to Western Liberties!!!


    /caring, sincere and frightened leftist

    Posted by Spiny Norman on 2006 09 29 at 02:56 PM • permalink

  5. I pronounce a fatwa on Adele Horin, spit be upon her, that she be dogged forever by women in funny dresses and men with long beards.

    Posted by RebeccaH on 2006 09 29 at 03:01 PM • permalink

  6. Thank you for mentioning the Amish.  They educate their children only through the 8th grade, and in German.  They all wear the same modest clothes.  The married men wear beards.  They generally keep to themselves.  But - but - but - they do not seek to impose their way of life on outsiders, and give their own children the freedom to “opt out” of the community.  Quite different from some other groups, I’d say.

    Posted by Gandalin on 2006 09 29 at 03:08 PM • permalink

  7. And, Gandalin, they don’t try to kill you if you doodle the odd cartoon of them, or poke fun at them. That’s the nutshell of it.

    The old chestnut of the left is that it is ‘only a minority’.

    I’d like to think it was a minority, but I really don’t have a clue. Gut instinct tells me it’s a minority simply because I think most people are too busy earning a living, raising kids, keeping the house clean etc to be bothered with this nonsense, and can happily can live with their neighbours in peace. I play cricket here in England with a couple of Muzzies and work with a couple and they are really nice guys - no problemo. But that’s all I really have to go on.

    But there is someone who knows. Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, chief of the Muslim Council of Britain - the grouping that Tony Blair’s Government has considered the leading voice for Muslims. He was recently quoted in one of the UK papers as saying: “If that demonisation continues, then Britain will have to deal with two million Muslim terrorists, 700,000 of them in London.  If you attack a whole community, it becomes despondent and aggressive.”

    Yikes.

    Mmm, maybe Muz Abs Baz knows more about this than I do…Story was completely missed by the BBC so Adele probably missed it too.

    BTW, go Swannies. Weirdest weekend in Australian sport ever. Melbourne in the league, Swannies in the AFL.

    Posted by Effing & Blinding on 2006 09 29 at 03:33 PM • permalink

  8. Come on Adele, just because I never heard of this group of people doesn’t mean I think their any less a bunch of twats.

    And the reason they haven’t really come to anybody’s attention is that they haven’t threatened anybody for insulting Jesus Christ or tried to coerce infidels into seeing God and the world in their way.  The moment they do so, I promise to declare a counterjihad.

    Posted by Mark V. on 2006 09 29 at 03:41 PM • permalink

  9. Anybody know to what extent, btw, these extremists cover up their women?  I mean, the Mormons cover up more than the average person, but not head to toe.

    Posted by Mark V. on 2006 09 29 at 03:43 PM • permalink

  10. The Amish would have been a more apt example in that last comment of mine, I think.

    Posted by Mark V. on 2006 09 29 at 03:44 PM • permalink

  11. You’re all blind.  The Exclusive Brethren is no doubt a radical offshoot of the dreaded Presbyterian death cult.

    Posted by wronwright on 2006 09 29 at 03:49 PM • permalink

  12. Oh, puh-leeze, Adele.  This is a friggin’ CULT you are talking about, with no more than 40,000 members on the entire planet.  Not a massive religion where, unfortunately, I’m beginning to believe everyone who adheres to it thinks that anyone who doesn’t should die.  Why are do people insist on trying to draw these self-loathing parallels between Christianity and Islam?  One religion built the West.  The other wants to destroy it.  Is that so hard to understand?

    Posted by EmilyJones on 2006 09 29 at 04:01 PM • permalink

  13. These are not ‘self-loathing parallels’. These critics are deliberately taking aim at Christian groups while pointedly diverting attention from, downplaying or apologizing for any violence committed in the name of Islam. Has this group been associated with any cases of mutilation, honor killings, attacks upon artists, authors or politicians (UK, Holland)? Have they demanded special treatment for their students in school, while simultaneously verbally abusing teachers(Austria)?

    Lileks said it best when he noted that such clowns view Pat Robertson and Co2 emissions as the greatest threats to humanity. Their minds probable collectively melted down once Pat jumped aboard the global warming bandwagon (converted SUV).

    Posted by Blue Hen on 2006 09 29 at 04:15 PM • permalink

  14. Adele Horin is a coward. She knows perfectly well that the Brethren aren’t going to kidnap her worthless carcass and saw the head off.
    Now write about Islam in the same vein, Horin.
    Dhimmi cow.

    Posted by Crusader rabbit on 2006 09 29 at 04:16 PM • permalink

  15. There’s a reason no one (or most no one) has ever heard of the Exclusive Brethren, described as a group with 20,000 members.

    They mind their own business, apparently.

    The publicity they’re receiving has nothing to do with violating any laws—or that would lead the story.
    Oh, and I missed the memo declaring mobile phones a component of the Austrailian set of beliefs!

    I can’t wait for Horin’s upcoming exposes on Wiccans and Zoroastrians.

    Posted by Forbes on 2006 09 29 at 04:47 PM • permalink

  16. What a craven, dishonest piece of twaddle.  Talk about insulting her readers intelligence! Stupid cow.

    Posted by saltydog on 2006 09 29 at 04:48 PM • permalink

  17. #9 Mark V.  I read a description of an encounter with the EB at an airport somewhere.  The women apparently have headscarves, but face uncovered.

    Posted by PeterTB on 2006 09 29 at 04:59 PM • permalink

  18. I mean, the Mormons cover up more than the average person, but not head to toe.

    Not attacking you Mark V- just want to clarify for people who don’t know much about Mormons.

    Married Mormons wear special underwear called temple garments, they are made of thin but sturdy cotton fabric. The shorts are about the same length as baggy surfer shorts and the top is nearly the same as standard cotton under shirts.

    Mormon men and women wear knee length swim trunks and leisure shorts to hide the temple garment out of simple modesty.

    The garments do force practitioners to expose less skin than say nude bathers in Europe but its really not about covering sinful flesh and more about the connection to “special oaths and covenants to God”.

    PS: Some Mormons dont wear the garments and some single people do wear them - it varies quite a bit.

    Posted by 13times on 2006 09 29 at 05:08 PM • permalink

  19. In related news:

    Mormons are attacking Catholic Latinos caught invading their “Holy Land” of Utah. Several beheading have taken place and shown on TV.

    What was thought to be a cartoon lampooning Joseph Smith turned out to be a box of Smith Brothers Cough Drops, but the slaughter continues unabated.

    “Once passions are enflamed, it’s hard to put the jhinni back in the bottle,” said Elder Ebenezer Smith, descendant of the original Prophet.

    Posted by Harry Bergeron on 2006 09 29 at 05:11 PM • permalink

  20. Aaahh!  I see why Adele has a url=http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/07/01/1151174401719.html?from=top5]problem[/url]

    They support the wrong political pary

    Posted by PeterTB on 2006 09 29 at 05:12 PM • permalink

  21. Trying again

    Posted by PeterTB on 2006 09 29 at 05:14 PM • permalink

  22. This shows the difficulties of the values debate when stripped of its racism.

    Will these people ever learn the difference between race and religion?

    The values debate has focused not on this erosion of core freedom but on Muslims who don’t speak English. If the Brethren can be defended, despite the savage discipline they impose on their members, then Muslims who resist integration should be left alone. At the very least critics should target the offensive practice - not single out the Muslims.

    Savage discipline? O-kay. When it comes to Islam, I don’t think resistance to integration is the problem. I think the desire to impose Islam’s standards on the rest of society, by whatever means necessary, is the problem. The Brethren, who by design live exclusively in Christian countries, don’t seem interested in that. In fact, they don’t seem to be at all evangelical. From their web site:

    The Exclusive Brethren practice separation from evil, recognising this as God’s principle of unity. They shun the conduits of evil communications: television, the radio, and the Internet. Their charter is 2 Timothy 2:19 “The Lord knows those that are his; and, Let every one who names the name of the Lord withdraw from iniquity.”

    As a matter of conscience, their social activities and links are reserved exclusively for those with whom they celebrate the Lord’s Supper. This sacred remembrance of the Lord Jesus and His death is the core of their Christian fellowship, and the inspiration to live a life apart from worldly pleasures and pursuits; a precious heritage passed down the generations.

    Members who stray from doctrine are shunned, but I doubt they are in danger of being killed in order to restore the group’s honor. Those who do not want to subserve or who wish to go to university, or even socialize with—gasp—infidels, apparently can do so without fear of harm to anything but their immortal souls.

    While none is my cup of tea, I don’t have a problem with the Amish, Mennonites, Hasidic Jews, Exclusive Brethren or any other religious group that wishes to live apart from conventional society. I ask only that they obey the law and be self-supporting (there are Hasidic communities in the US that rely heavily on public assistance and I do have a large problem with that). But the Muslims aren’t like the Amish, Mennonites, Hasidic Jews or Exclusive Brethren, now are they. And there are way, way more of them.

    Posted by Kyda Sylvester on 2006 09 29 at 05:16 PM • permalink

  23. Here’s something on the dresscode.

    “The women grow their hair long and cover it with a scarf in public, while men should have short hair and be clean-shaven.”

    Posted by PeterTB on 2006 09 29 at 05:24 PM • permalink

  24. Useful Idiots tend to attack conservative christians, capitalism, in fact anything they haven’t got out of their system from the teenage rebellion years.
    Adele’s attempt to tar these odd bods with the same brush as we might use for the islamonuts is puerile and futile.

    Posted by blogstrop on 2006 09 29 at 05:37 PM • permalink

  25. This crowd do not integrate; will not socialise with the infidel.

    Show me one place where any modern Christian sect of any stripe has called an individual outside of their community an infidel. This article is simply an attempt to take the very valid criticisms of many Muslim organisations and turn them against a group associated in the fevered minds of lefties like Adele with her concept of the evil ruling class; old white men. Forget the fact that many of the similarities and “double standards” she detects between the Exclusive Brethren and moderately radical and upwards Islam do not stand up to even light scrutiny. It’s a crude exercise in leftist rabble-rousing, and is consequently largely a logic-free-zone.

    Posted by James Waterton on 2006 09 29 at 05:59 PM • permalink

  26. Adele the Penguin is incorrect about their indifference to politics.
    Some EB have decided to become active in New Zealand and Australia - why, it’s hard to know, with their tiny numbers.
    Be afraid voters, be very afraid!

    Posted by Barrie on 2006 09 29 at 06:35 PM • permalink

  27. I have seen a few members of the Exclusive Bretheren, and like the other religous freaks they are all miserable and serious looking souls.

    Posted by Howzat on 2006 09 29 at 06:38 PM • permalink

  28. “It is against their religion to vote.”

    But to influence the political parties with money appears to be OK. 


    Seems scarves are a common ground for the two religions, Islam and the Bretherens should kiss and make-up as they have so much in common, including a freako leader.

    Posted by 1.618 on 2006 09 29 at 06:56 PM • permalink

  29. Re the EB, a friend of mine in NZ was telling me of a shopping trip recently: As she arrived at the centre, security were escorting 5 EB women out of the place. Word was that these women had gone into Glassons and started berating staff and shoppers alike.

    The clothing in the store was too immodest for the Brethren, apparently.

    This is, of course, hearsay, but it makes for a good story.

    As for parallels between islam and christianity, the Brethren are a long way from being Christ-like. They are much closer to being Mo-like in their rules and regulations and separation from the infidel world.

    As Paul said: (1 Cor 5:9-13)

    When I wrote in my letter to you not to associate with people living immoral lives, I was not meaning to include all the people in the world who are sexually immoral, any more than I meant to include all the usurers and swindlers and idol-worshippers. To do that, you would have to withdraw from the world altogether. What I wrote was that you should not associate with a brother Christian who is leading an immoral life, or is a usurer, or idolatrous, or a slanderer, or a drunkard, or is dishonest; you should not even eat a meal with peopel like that. It is not my business to pass judgement on those outside. Of those who are inside, you can surely be the judges. But of those who are outside, God is the judge.You must drive out this evil-doer from among you.”

    Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2006 09 29 at 06:58 PM • permalink

  30. There is a big bunch of them on farms around carnamah in WA. Apparently between carnamah through to just short of New Norcia on the inland road is brethren country. God must not be all that fond of them, its had some shocking years of low rainfall lately.

    I dont support any group which both rejects politics, and then attempts to influence outcomes behind the scenes.

    Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2006 09 29 at 07:16 PM • permalink

  31. If Horin keeps writing this blinkered, in-denial crap, she’s going to give that Fairafx loon, Mike Carlton a real run for the moonbat money.

    As for Alan Ramsay, well, he’s gone completey nuts so he doesn’t even rate a guernsey in this company.

    Posted by Bonmot on 2006 09 29 at 07:30 PM • permalink

  32. Apparently its Adele who put the whore in Horin

    Posted by hooligan on 2006 09 29 at 07:41 PM • permalink

  33. Yeah 20 000 fundi Christian numbnuts V’s 1.4 billions followers of the Pimp God.
    Leftist dhimmi.

    Posted by 81Alpha on 2006 09 29 at 07:59 PM • permalink

  34. James Waterton: “Show me one place where any modern Christian sect of any stripe has called an individual outside of their community an infidel.”

    Emu Phillips: “Die, heretic!”

    Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 09 29 at 08:10 PM • permalink

  35. I have some friends who have left communities very similar to exclusive brethren. (Except they were able to vote).

    They do disassociate from outsiders pretty strongly, and they also wear pretty old fashioned clothes.

    There is a massive leap from them to the ordinary conservative Christian though, but unfortunately that never quite comes out in any of these articles.

    There are also Open Brethren communities, but they are more like your garden variety presbyterians (for want of another alternative).

    Posted by petedenham on 2006 09 29 at 08:21 PM • permalink

  36. The Prime Minister is right. It is a free country, and people with odd beliefs and values, however distasteful to the majority, are free to pursue them, provided they are law-abiding.

    And, no doubt, no one would have said anything about the Muslims if there weren’t Muslims screaming that Australia will fall to Islam, and all infidels should die.  When was the last time these Brethren people caused a riot on an Australian beach?

    Posted by RebeccaH on 2006 09 29 at 08:25 PM • permalink

  37. This outfit wasn’t on the radar until they started to put the boot into Helen Clarke’s husband (I’m buggered if I know what she uses him for anyway).But they must have touched a serious nerve because all of a sudden the luvvees,here as well as in NZ, rushed to the barricades sprouting the kind of crap that flows so easily and regularly from the warped mind of Horin.

    Posted by Lew on 2006 09 29 at 09:01 PM • permalink

  38. Stupid bitch.

    Once more with the moral relativism.

    Except, the Exclusive Brethren haven’t gone around cutting off heads, flying planes into buildings or calling for the death of non-exclusives.

    Stupid bitch.

    Posted by Wimpy Canadian on 2006 09 29 at 09:06 PM • permalink

  39. Adele Horin is simply using the Chomsky model to prove her point:

    Find a white beach, spend years picking out black sand with a tweezer and dropping them in a pail.  She then uses this evidence to prove that our white beach is no different than their black beach. 

    You can find anything in this world if you look.

    Posted by trainer on 2006 09 29 at 09:16 PM • permalink

  40. #8 Counterjihad. Now there is a phrase we need to fire up the next phase in this 1400 year old war.

    Posted by Wimpy Canadian on 2006 09 29 at 09:18 PM • permalink

  41. Do the left always have to miss the point by such a wide margin. Society has always had groups that separate and keep their own rules and might even penalise people who walk away from them. And we have always had cults such as EB. They are always vanishingly small miniorities that go mostly unnoticed by society at large unless they do something illegal (Aum Shinrikyo in Japan for instance).

    This is a totally different concern from the potential that a certain religion/cultural grouping is advocating violence against the societal structure or that significant numbers of new immigrants may be applying to live in a country with no intention of acknowledging the basic institutions of that society (and no i’m not talking about cricket and meat pies).  The debate should be on the extent of that problem and ways to address it.  If Adele thinks that isn’t really a problem then that’s up to her and she can defend it as such. But the facile undergraduate debating tactics used by many left commentators always annoys me.

    Posted by Francis H on 2006 09 29 at 09:21 PM • permalink

  42. #12 EmilyJones, I dispute your statement that Christianity built the West. The West already existed before Christianity. Christianity was greatly influenced by the West.

    Posted by Wimpy Canadian on 2006 09 29 at 09:23 PM • permalink

  43. Kyda #22:

    “From their web site:

    The Exclusive Brethren practice separation from evil, recognising this as God’s principle of unity. They shun the conduits of evil communications: television, the radio, and the Internet.

    Well, at least they dislike Helen Clark….

    These people shun the Internet, and have a web site?

    Posted by Kaboom on 2006 09 29 at 09:26 PM • permalink

  44. #14

    I see a movie script where, at the end, Wimpy Canadian and Crusader Rabbit ride off to battle with the certainty of death or victory. St. George’s cross and lettuce leaf flapping idly in the wind.

    Posted by Wimpy Canadian on 2006 09 29 at 09:27 PM • permalink

  45. Perview is my fiend.

    Sorry, that should have read:

    These people shun the Internet, and have a web site?  Well, at least they dislike Helen Clark….

    Posted by Kaboom on 2006 09 29 at 09:30 PM • permalink

  46. #34 richard mcenroe

    Not related to this topic, but I’d like to offer you a public apology for being unnecessarily argumentative a couple of weeks ago (regarding a comment you made about Intelligent Design). I didn’t intend to come across as hostile, even if we do disagree about that subject.

    Most everyone here is on the same page when it comes to seeing the threat from Islamism, and that’s important. However from time to time there have been snide remarks about religion in general (not from you) to which I probably also replied too belligerently. Although I still feel it’s a mistake to be snarky about belief in God, particularly Christianity which I think has a lot to offer, I’m sorry for overreacting, regardless of who started it. (Once again, not referring to you.)

    On topic, I’ve met some Exclusive Brethren and they seemed to be very misguided and unreasonable but at least not very dangerous. Fortunately, like most of the cultish groups around, they’re a relatively small minority.

    Posted by Newman on 2006 09 29 at 09:37 PM • permalink

  47. O/T: How many people here were aware the SEIV X loons were putting up their own memorial at lake burley griifin on the 15th of october?
    Check the list of schools involved in suppling these poles, no leftist or anit Liberal bias in those classes Im sure?
    John Stanhope will be opening it.
    The invite
    http://www.sievxmemorial.com/docs/sievx-invitation-sep2006.pdf

    The website.
    http://www.sievxmemorial.com/

    Stanhope is a disgrace. The Uniting church is a disgrace, and any school principal that allowed this blatantly political exercise should be sacked.
    A List of schools and groups involved.
    http://www.sievxmemorial.com/schools-community-groups.html

    Are there any canberra based mini-zombies that could attend this and send photos??

    Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2006 09 29 at 10:06 PM • permalink

  48. Ah, bless Adele’s leftie little heart! It’s the fact that the EB’s have helped finance campaigns against the Greens in both NZ and Tasmania that has her little heart palpitating and seeing a Jihadi behind every bush. Surely, anything that helps a Howard or a Brash is at least as bad as suicide bombing!

    Posted by AlburyShifton on 2006 09 29 at 10:08 PM • permalink

  49. fools - they are really the explosive brethren, aligned to the evil presbyterian warmongering terroristas.  they consort with baby-eating jews & islamic splodeydopes alike, fomenting inter-religious hatreds & prompting conflict, thus furthering their efforts to cleanse the world of all infidels so that they can enjoy exclusive use of god’s bounty.  this menace must be eradicated from our land, especially tasmania, where they threaten st bob of brown.  all means at our disposal must be used, including prolonged harangues by richard neville, breathless four corners reports, leunig cartoons and postings by mr lefty

    Posted by KK on 2006 09 29 at 10:19 PM • permalink

  50. #47 Frollicking I live in canberra and had no idea.

    I won’t be in canberra on that day though.

    If they have a speaker who commends the government on its stand that has seen the dangerous practice of people smuggling by boats diminish and a plaque acknowledging this then i think the memorial is a good thing.

    But somehow i suspect not…

    Posted by Francis H on 2006 09 29 at 10:28 PM • permalink

  51. Horin claims computers are forbidden by the Bretheren. If she was capable of either compentence or objectivity she could have done a google search and discovered that they have their own website - a little difficult to achieve without computers.

    Posted by Susan Norton on 2006 09 29 at 11:05 PM • permalink

  52. Further to the above, I have business dealings with several of the Bretheren (Unlike some others, they pay their bills promptly). They use e-mails.

    Posted by Susan Norton on 2006 09 29 at 11:34 PM • permalink

  53. Susan, from the BBC via the ABC:

    Priest: The whole IT system if you like, the computer area is marked and running into the mammon of sin in revelation. The number 666 I’m sure you’ll know about, and there it is, bar codes and everything. So we seek just simply to live a life separate from that.

    Of course <strike>some Pigs are more equal than others</strike> it’s safe for the Incorruptible Elite to use these (literal not figurative) works of the Devil. Bear in mind I trust Wendy Carlisle about as far as I can throw her.

    Wendy Carlisle: But now there’s been a sudden change of opinion. Faxes, computers, all formerly instruments of the devil, are now OK. But they’re only permitted if they are leased by a company run by the most senior members of the Exclusive Brethren.
    ...
    Reader: All equipment will be owned and operated by ‘National Office Assist’ and no authority is given for individual businesses to purchase their own computer equipment.

    Guess who owns ‘National Office Assist’?

    Wendy Carlisle: According to ASIC documents, National Office Assist operates out of the same business address as two other companies owned by Bruce Hales. The sole director and secretary is a senior member of the Exclusive Brethren, John Kenneth Anderson.

    Bruce Hales is the “Vessel Elect” AKA “Man of God”, the head of this little outfit.

    Disclaimer: I don’t like this group, for a number of reasons. Number one is that they wish all human rights - presumably including the right to Life - be confiscated from those suffering from people suffering certain medical conditions, as they are “marked by the Devil”. I’d be in that category, as would my 5 year old son. They certainly don’t go around chopping off people’s heads though.

    Generally, I wouldn’t care a fig either way, they can believe whatever they like. But recently, despite their not voting because Democracy is a thing of Man not God, they’ve been pumping in unGodly amounts of cash to certain ultra-conservative factions within mainstream parties.

    Wikipedia is a useful reference, as is the Exclusive Brethren’s website itself.

    Posted by Zoe Brain on 2006 09 30 at 12:17 AM • permalink

  54. The Exclusive Brethren are only one of many small exclusive clubs/sects which, regretably, call themselves Christian. I personally don’t think they are following the teachings of Christ, but instead prefer the things they have invented themselves. Once again, however, they are not head-severers or self-detonators. (No KK, they’re not the Explosive Brethren.)

    The non-Exclusive Brethren I’ve met (Plymouth Brethren, Open Brethren, what have you) seemed to be fairly normal conservative Christians, full of faults like the rest of us, but at least trying to follow God, care for their fellow man and lead a decent life. (Not always accomplishing it, by the way.)

    Some famous Brethren are the airplane inventing Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, Francis Scott Key who wrote “The Star Spangled Banner” and George Muller the philanthopist who founded orphanages in Britain.

    Posted by Newman on 2006 09 30 at 12:59 AM • permalink

  55. You could hardly imagine a more un-Australian set of beliefs.

    I think Adele also needs a grammar lesson in the meaning of the words “un-Australian”, “anti-Australian”, and “not typically Australian”.  She seems to be confusing and conflating those terms in unpredictable ways.

    Posted by kcom on 2006 09 30 at 01:25 AM • permalink

  56. What is it about the women of the left? I wouldn’t say they’re universally ugly, but they do look, pretty well, universally cookie-cutter the same.
    Look at Adele Horin, here and note the remarkable resemblance to Helen Clark (NZ PM), and any number of other ABC types. Plain, slightly weatherbeaten (not from outdoor activity), it comes I think from harbouring ingrained bitterness that starts at an early age and is literally, ‘written on their face’.

    Posted by Bonmot on 2006 09 30 at 01:33 AM • permalink

  57. Exclusive Brethren might eschew mobiles, &c., but they don’t mind flying between Melbourne and Perth regularly. Last time I caught the red-eye special Perth-Melbourne there were about 20 of them waiting to board. Harmless.  The woman do indeed wear scarfs, usually blue, and ankle-length floral-print dresses.  My thought was these people are the bottom end of the marriage market; the woman are plain (no make up) and the men nerdy. Not much different to most young regular church-goers in Australia

    I was at a wedding a couple of years back when the parents and most of the friends of the bride and groom (not members) were Brethren.  Nice people but straight-laced. No music. No wedding rings. I asked the bride, “Are you going to seal your vows with a kiss at the end?” “Oh no - our parents would faint”.

    Posted by walterplinge on 2006 09 30 at 02:00 AM • permalink

  58. In a similar vein, there’s an amusing letter in today’s Australian:

    Norm Neill (First Byte, 29/9) shows true courage in mocking Catholic Christianity regardless of the danger of retribution from the dreaded Inquisitors, Crusaders or Opus Dei. No doubt his next barbed and fearless witticism will be directed at Islam. Or will it?
    Richard Congram

    Posted by Art Vandelay on 2006 09 30 at 02:02 AM • permalink

  59. And are these crazy Christians going to mutilate this twit’s vagina?

    Posted by Brian on 2006 09 30 at 02:58 AM • permalink

  60. #1 Ross yeah

    I belong to a group, a kind of late sleeper cell, which spends an inordinately long time putting on their socks in the morning. Disturbing right? If I wasn’t white, imagine the cascade of bigotry that would descend on me for such practices?

    So here is a set of crazies(A) and a set of like crazies(B).  How can you be so worried about set B when set A is just as crazy?  Logical. 

    And this is BEFORE you get to the part about the subset of set B which likes to drive hundreds of ball bearings through the bodies of innocent people with help of explosives because they can’t be bothered to write a letter to The Age and then consider that set A, well, kinda doesn’t do that.

    Posted by Inurbanus on 2006 09 30 at 03:40 AM • permalink

  61. #22, Kyda, I find it very interesting that you include Chassidic Jews among the others mentioned in your post, and would be very curious to see any references to “Hasidic communities in the US that rely heavily on public assistance” (other than tzsedakah from within their own community to cover Torah study costs—a very ancient and time honoured tradition).

    While there are admittedly some “super-ultra-orthodox” that consider Modern Hebrew an abomination and throw stones at cars driving through their community (Mea Shearim) on the Sabbath, I think you will find that that vast majority (and believe me, at an average 7.9 children per household, there are a very large number of Chasiddim around these days—despite the Holocaust) of members of this 300+ year old branch of Jewish Orthodoxy live very much in the world and are—for the most part, quite successful in business and commerce.

    There are exceptions of course. The Satmar Hasidim, for example (no, I won’t go on and on and on, the data are there for all to find if interested).

    It’s just that I am interested in your account of Jews living off the public purse. Most unusual, in my experience.

    Posted by MentalFloss on 2006 09 30 at 05:13 AM • permalink

  62. The exe bro’s are getting a good run in the meeja lately. I’m figuring the left are running a counter boogie man story in case big al and globall vorming freezes.

    All good regressives need a scarey monster. Bwahahaaaaa.

    Posted by gubbaboy on 2006 09 30 at 06:15 AM • permalink

  63. Bonmot I can assure you that not all women of the left look like Adele.  For some women, being of the left is by far their only liability.

    (looks pineingly off to some far horizon)

    Posted by Francis H on 2006 09 30 at 06:54 AM • permalink

  64. I dont’ care what people do in their religions or cults, as long as they don’t think jihad is a virtue and a path to paradise.

    Posted by Narnian1 on 2006 09 30 at 08:42 AM • permalink

  65. #47 Would that be the mad John Stanhope who pushes gay marriage and David Hix’s father for Father of the Year…?
    BTW -Christianity is badd -solemn “the holy season of..“from ABC and sweet baby programmes including Muslim mum’s but christian religion gets"David Koresh follows the teachings of the bible..” and SBS shows the Inquisition show YET AGAIN this year.Don’t they have any other programmes or do they just like inciting hatred for medieval (bad) christian religion.

    Posted by crash on 2006 09 30 at 09:47 AM • permalink

  66. Yes, it is unusual, MentalFloss. As a native New Yorker, I know that most Chasiddim (thank you for the proper spelling) live in the world and prosper (in the market for a diamond, anyone?).

    The example that jumps to mind of some who don’t is the New Square, NY, sect. This is the community that voted en masse for Hillary Clinton and Al Gore (although Chasiddim are normally reliable Republican voters) and were rewarded for their loyalities with one of Bill’s 11th hour pardons (in this case, commutations) freeing several of their members who had been convicted of embezzling millions of dollars from the federal government. The story can be easily found at Google, but here’s Rabbi Barry Block’s account (from a sermon he delivered, in fact) which describes these communities in some detail and has the added advantage of an “official” viewpoint: Clinton Pardons - Jewish Disgrace

    Rockland County, New York is beautiful, with lovely woods, rolling hills, and well-manicured suburban lawns. Though the Jewish population is not enormous there, the county boasts several nice Reform Temples, and a few more Conservative Synagogues. It is also home to scores of Hasidic Jewish communities. Entering one of these towns, one will often see a sign that one expects to see only in certain sections of Jerusalem: Women are requested to dress modestly. Bathing suits and shorts are prohibited in public. Driving on Shabbat is discouraged, if not legally forbidden.

    Visitors in these communities could quickly forget that they are in America. The dress and coiffure are in the style of medieval Poland. The language on the street is sometimes Yiddish, and at other times a dialect of English, spoken as though it were a second language. And yet, each weekday, the residents pile onto commuter buses and travel into New York City to work. They often davven, or pray, on the bus, with men and women sitting separately.

    The residents of these communities are our brothers and sisters, American Jews like you and me. Like us, they are practicing Judaism, as they know best. Like us, they work hard to make a living and to take advantage of the opportunities America has to offer. Sometimes, they live in poverty. They usually have large families, in keeping with their religious beliefs, with lots of children to feed. Many in the community are dedicated to Torah study, with no income. Public schools may not meet their religious needs. Providing private education is expensive, even as it is deemed absolutely necessary. Like us, almost all of these Rockland County Hasidic Jews are honest, hard working men and women, grateful for the ability to live as Jews in a free country. More than most of us, they must struggle to get by.

    These communities also have political habits that are foreign to us. As American citizens, these folks vote in elections. As tightly knit as these communities are, we should not be surprised that their vote tallies are almost always virtually unanimous. In the last Presidential election, most of these municipalities voted 99% Republican, both in the race for President and in the election for United States Senate. However, a few voted Democratic, for Vice President Gore and for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Senate race. One of these Democratic towns was New Square, home base of the small Skverer Hasidic sect.

    The leaders of this New Square community are unfortunately not as honest as their neighbors. Four of them had been “convicted of robbing the government of $11,000,000, by setting up a fictitious yeshiva to receive federal student aid money.” The school did not even exist. The convicts and their attorneys justified their actions “on the grounds that . . . the funds were channeled back into the community[, and not] for personal gain.” (Yoffie)

    What is most interesting to me is had that yeshiva actually existed, it would have been eligible for federal government aid. It is my position that religious sects are free to live as they please (within the confines of the law, of course), but should not expect to have their chosen way of life subsidized by tax payers.

    Posted by Kyda Sylvester on 2006 09 30 at 11:47 AM • permalink

  67. All I know is that I have had Mennonite and Amish neighbors and I never, ever had to fear getting my head sawn off.  Not by my neighbors or anyone else in their religion.

    I now have Muslim neighbors (a few) and Muslim students (a few) and I don’t fear getting my head off by any of them.  However, they continue, in small ways to be sure, defend those co-religionists who I fear *might* saw my head off if they got the chance.

    That would appear to me to be a rather large difference, but Lefties are unusually blind to such I find.

    Posted by JorgXMcKie on 2006 09 30 at 03:30 PM • permalink

  68. If you attack a whole community, it becomes despondent and aggressive.

    Something you should keep firmly in mind the next time your minority community considers attacking mine, Bari-me-boy.

    Posted by Achillea on 2006 09 30 at 05:20 PM • permalink

  69. Quite right, Kyda. I had not been aware of this before your post. The “Skeverer Ganif” (as orthomom calls him). Thanks for the info.

    Posted by MentalFloss on 2006 09 30 at 06:05 PM • permalink

  70. There’s a little confusion here about Exclusive Brethren. The Plymouth Brethren is a dispensationalist, anticlerical movement that begain in 1800s England and Ireland. It was big with educated people, and had its roots in the universities. The movement was plagued with splits over doctrine, so there are hundreds of branches of Plymouth Brethren today. These groups are generally divided into two kinds—Exclusive and Open. Exclusive Brethren are called Exclusive because they believe that the communion ceremony should be restricted only to those who are members of the church, and won’t let just anyone off the street break bread. The newcomer needs to have a discussion with the elders to demonstrate that they’re really a Christian. Open Brethren, on the other hand, allow everyone to participate in communion.
    Now, there is a small offshoot of the Exclusive Brethren called the Ravenites. These people believe that the prohibition on breaking bread with non-believers should be extended beyond communion in church—they believe that it’s wrong to associate at all with non-believers (including Christians who aren’t Ravenites). They also went all Amish. The vast majority of Brethren, Open and Exclusive alike, will only allow their laptops and cell phones to be pried out of their cold, dead hands. 

    I grew up in the Exclusive Brethren (not Ravenites), and they’re not all that different from your local conservative Presbyterian church—the primary differences being that there is no pastor, that women wear headcoverings (during the service), and that there is no political element (many Brethren don’t vote).

    Posted by Sarah Brabazon-Biggar on 2006 09 30 at 06:06 PM • permalink

  71. #70 Sarah
    Members of the one group of Exclusive Brethren I had contact with told me their sect was the only true church and they seemed to feel that all other Christians were apostates. That indicated to me that it was a Christian cult. But apparently that’s not typical of all Exclusive Brethren, based on what you’ve just related.

    Posted by Newman on 2006 09 30 at 09:57 PM • permalink

  72. Newman, yeah, those were probably Ravenites (or Taylorites, basically the same thing). I’ve never met any myself. They definately shouldn’t be mistaken as indicative of Exclusive Brethren as a whole. It’s kind of like taking snake handlers as representatives of all of Pentecostals.

    Your average Exclusive Brethren church is pretty dry, reserved, scholarly, but not weird. And I like them for it.

    Posted by Sarah Brabazon-Biggar on 2006 10 01 at 01:13 AM • permalink

  73. # 53. The point is, Horin has made a false statement, in an attempt, I think, to demonise the Bretheren by making them appear alien. The fact Horin is Jewish by family if not by practice does not make this exercise any more attractive.

    Posted by Susan Norton on 2006 10 01 at 02:14 AM • permalink

  74. Possibly my post above could be taken as anti-Semitic by the ill-intentioned. That is the reverse of my intent. I am saying someone like Horin should know better.

    Posted by Susan Norton on 2006 10 01 at 02:16 AM • permalink

  75. #74, Nonsense. I am thoroughly ill-intentioned, and did not take the slightest offense—despite my Semiticocity.

    Posted by MentalFloss on 2006 10 02 at 03:40 AM • permalink

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