I got forwarded an article with the descriptor “A Jewish community turned against the man who reported a child molester.” This was the first paragraph.
Sam Kellner’s reputation in the Hasidic community of Borough Park, Brooklyn, began to suffer in 2008, when his teen-age son told him that he had been molested by a man who had prayed at their synagogue. Kellner’s first instinct was to run the man over with his van, but he didn’t know if his anger was justified. Molestation was rarely discussed in the community, and it didn’t seem to Kellner that any of the prohibitions in the Ten Commandments explicitly related to it. The most relevant sins—adultery and coveting a neighbor’s belongings—didn’t capture the depth of the violation. Kellner couldn’t pinpoint what was lost when a child was sexually abused, since the person looked the same afterward. But he sensed that molestation was damaging, because he knew a few victims, and they had gone off the derech, or religious way. “They became dead-enders, lost souls, outcasts,” he told me.
The hell? How is this guy the good guy in the story? It doesn’t matter if it was in the ten commandments. Do you really need explicit command from your religion to realize that harming a child is bad? It’s not wrong because the victim might go off the religious way, it’s wrong because a fucking child was damaged. If you hear of a child being violated and your immediate worry is that they might leave your religion, you’re a pretty fucked up individual.
Kellner took his son to a modesty committee, called vaad hatznius, which enforces standards of sexual propriety among Borough Park’s hundred thousand ultra-Orthodox Jews, the majority of them Hasidic. Vaad hatznius disciplines residents who freely express their sexuality or behave lewdly. In a community where non-procreative sex is considered shameful, molestation tends to be regarded in roughly the same light as having an affair. When children complain about being molested, the council almost never notifies the police. Instead, it devises its own punishments for offenders: sometimes they are compelled to apologize, pay restitution, or move to Israel.
Ok, here’s the plain truth as concisely as I can: if your religion, whether Catholicism or a Jewish sect compels you to not call the police when you learn that a child has been raped, or if your religion compels you to continue to take moral advice from the people who fail to alert the authorities when they learn that a child has been raped, your religion is not moral or good for the world.
I can’t believe that actually has to be said.
Long story short, this guy went to the police and the largest Jewish sect in NY turned completely against him, as if seeking out justice from those with the authority to deliver instead of from those who have no actual legal authority is a crime. Welcome to the world of religion, which still thinks it has something to teach the rest of us basing our morality off plain ol’ compassion.