New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a None, Cozies Up To Faith Communities, Including Baby-Penis-Sucking Hasids

When Bill de Blasio became New York’s mayor, he was touted — or excoriated, depending on who you ask — as “perhaps the nation’s most visible ‘none’.”

Oddly, Hizzonner has since gone out of his way to placate religious groups. Describing himself as not religious but “spiritual,”

Mr. de Blasio has been emerging as something unexpected: a champion of religion whose administration has advanced the cause of faith groups in the unlikeliest of public squares.

In Mr. de Blasio’s New York, public prekindergarten classes will soon be able to include a midday break for observant students to pray. Schools will be closed citywide for two Muslim holy days [I wrote about that here, TF]. He is poised to relax health regulations governing a controversial circumcision ritual that is favored by some ultra-Orthodox Jews. And the mayor says he is intent on finding a way for church groups to continue holding services in public schools on weekends, even as the United States Supreme Court could decide as early as next week to take up a case about whether the city has the right to prohibit the practice.

Bill de Blasio

In finding novel ways to commingle church and state, Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, has carved himself a niche as a more inclusive kind of liberal, one who is willing to embrace religious groups rather than treat them as adversaries.

His moves have put him at odds with some of his usual allies, like civil libertarians, who are increasingly uneasy with what they consider to be an aggressive redefining of the proper separation between the secular and the devout.

Uneasy? That sure is putting it mildly. De Blasio is bizarrely, worrisomely lax when it comes to church-state issues. Take, for instance, his initiative to close schools on two Muslim holidays.

David Bloomfield, a former general counsel for the New York City Board of Education, said the mayor’s move amounted to an unconstitutional endorsement of one religion over another for political gain. By the same logic, Mr. Bloomfield asked, why not close schools on Hindu and Buddhist holidays as well?

He’s marginalized certain cultures and religions by pandering to others,” Mr. Bloomfield said. “Bill de Blasio thinks of religious groups like any other constituency, and his problem is that the Constitution doesn’t treat religion as just another constituency.”

It’s pretty strange that in its 1,500-word story on the topic, the Times avoids any discussion of what is surely the mayor’s most controversial religious accommodation: last month, de Blasio shredded his predecessor’s health policy on the disgusting Orthodox-Jewish practice of metzitzah b’peh, a ritual wherein a rabbinic circumciser called a mohel places his mouth on a baby boy’s freshly-cut penis in order to suck away the blood. Mohels with herpes simplex are known vectors of the virus (consequently, two infants who got infected sustained brain damage. At least two others died).

Taking care to repay the Hasidic community that helped elect him, De Blasio nixed the Bloomberg administration’s already weak requirement that parents at least sign a simple consent form presented by the mohel — one that lays out the risks associated with metzitzah b’peh.

By the way, can you guess how many mohels complied with that rule?

De Blasio administration officials revealed that the city had received just one signed consent form under the old policy, … [as] the regulations were offensive to members of certain Orthodox sects.

A digital rendering of the herpes simplex virus

So what did the mayor do?

In exchange for abandoning the consent forms, the coalition of rabbis negotiating with City Hall agreed that if a baby is diagnosed with HSV-1 [herpes simplex], the community would identify the mohel in question and ask him to undergo testing. If the mohel tests positive for HSV-1, the city’s health department will test the DNA of the strain to see if it matches the infant’s. If it does, the mohel will be banned from performing the ritual for life.

Ponder that. City Hall is going to let infected mohels continue to suck on bloody baby penises until the infants have the disease too; and only then will the mohel be dealt with, if members of the Jewish community decide to point him out in the first place, and after testing ticks away extra days in which more babies can contract herpes.

Call me crazy, but I don’t think grown men sucking on little boys’ penises, bleeding or not, is acceptable under any circumstances. If you’re going to allow that skeevy ritual, at least make periodic health tests mandatory for its practitioners — just as it for professional porn actors, and for the same reason. No clean bill of health, no new gigs for you.

(Top image by Kevin Case via Wikipedia)

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