Columnist Rabbi Avi Shafran is infamous for his anti-atheist bigotry, often blaming the world’s problems on the godless set. But now he’s written something so absurd one wonders whether he knew that April Fools was even over. Take this opening line, for instance:
Something tells me I won’t make any new friends (and might even lose some old ones) if I confess to harboring some admiration for Bernard Madoff.
And it only goes further downhill from there. Here’s the next sentence:
And to make things worse, I can’t muster much for Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who safely landed a full commercial airliner in the Hudson River back in January.
And it only goes further downhill from there. Later he writes:
What is more, Madoff likely began his crime spree in the hope of rewarding, not swindling, investors, and by the time it became clear he wouldn’t be able to do that, he was already deeply entangled – and daily becoming more entangled – in the web he wove.
Yes, and obviously Madoff intended to use all that money he stole to save Christmas, cure cancer, thwart the Nazis, and end the Middle East crisis. Aww! Now I feel sorry for him and the 65 billion dollars he stole. Let’s buy him a present. GIVE ME A FUCKIN’ BREAK!! The man ruined more lives than Genghis Khan!
None of that, though, is to belittle the great pain Mr. Madoff caused, and is certainly no cause for affording the iniquitous investment broker respect. No, what I admire about him has to do with his owning up to his crime.
Oh, well that’s different. Since he owned up to it, let’s just pretend it never happened. See Hitler, all you had to do was own up to the Holocaust and Rabbi Avi Shafran would have admired you.
Instead, though, he chose to essentially turn himself in and admit guilt.
Was that before or after they cuffed his ass and hauled him into court?
He apologized to his victims, acknowledging that he had “deeply hurt many, many people,” and adding, “I cannot adequately express how sorry I am for what I have done.”
Yeah, he took your money but he returned it in empty apologies. What more do you people want?! If you prink him, [sniffle] does he not bleed?
Why can’t you all just leave Brittney–err, I mean, why can’t you all just leave Madoff alone? Why? Why?
No one can know if those words reflect the feelings in his heart, but I don’t claim any right to doubt that they do.
Really? After years of remorseless bilking fortunes out of people including Holocaust survivors like Elie Wiesel while lying to their faces and betraying their trust, you’re incapable of doubting his words? Seriously? Yeah, somewhere the world’s smallest violin is playing.
Oh, now here’s the best part:
No such sublimity of spirit, though, was in evidence in any of the public acts or words of Mr. Sullenberger. He saved 155 lives, no doubt about it, and is certainly owed the hakoras hatov of those he saved, and of their families and friends. And he executed tremendous skill.
But no moral choice was involved in his act. He was on the plane too, after all; his own life depended on undertaking his feat no less than the lives of others. He did what anyone in terrible circumstances would do: try to stay alive. He was fortunate (as were his passengers) that he possessed the talents requisite to the task, but that’s a tribute to his training, and to the One Who instilled such astounding abilities in His creations (and Whose help the captain was not quoted as acknowledging).
. . .
Sully has reportedly inked a $3 million book deal with HarperCollins, and is also planning a second book of inspirational poems; Bernie, likely for the rest of his life, will languish in jail.
That may make societal sense, but personally, I’m still unmoved by the pilot, and, at least somewhat, inspired by the penitent.
This is why religion poisons everything. When you’re so deluded that you admire a monster while simultaneously deny the virtue of a hero saving 155 people, you’re truly lost.
My short summary of the difference between religious and secular morality is this: will you obey, or will you strive? Rabbi Shafran’s answer is that you must obey.
My conclusion is slightly shorter.
Rabbi, I think I speak for all of us when I say: FUCK YOU!