Cuomo Blasts Wingnut Rabbi


In compiling a list of those wingnuts — Christian, Jewish and Muslim varieties — who immediately blamed Hurricane Sandy on gay rights, abortion or whatever else they hate, I missed Rabbi Noson Leiter, Executive Director of Torah Jews for Decency. But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo didn’t. He put out a press release hammering the guy:

“The comments made by Rabbi Noson Leiter that sought to link the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy to our state’s embrace of marriage equality are as offensive as they are ignorant. This catastrophic storm claimed the lives of more than forty New Yorkers. This kind of hateful rhetoric has no place in our public discourse, and is particularly distasteful in times of tragedy. Our state is proud to offer equal rights to all our citizens, and we will never tolerate the use of a tragedy like Hurricane Sandy to promote a divisive and bigoted agenda. I call on Rabbi Leiter to apologize immediately for his hurtful comments.”

The only part I disagree with there is the last sentence. Why call on him to apologize? What would it possibly mean if he did? He actually believes that, so any apology would be hollow anyway. But I like that Cuomo is publicly calling the guy out for being an asshole. I almost wish I lived in New York so I could vote for that guy.

Comments

  1. StevoR says

    I almost wish I lived in New York so I could vote for that guy.

    Vote for that guy who? The Rabbi Noson Leiter?

    But I didn’t think you liked him? ;-)

  2. StevoR says

    Why call on him to apologize? What would it possibly mean if he did?

    A few things starting with the acknowledgement he got it badly offensively wrong and has had to admit it. Hopefully that he’s reconsidered and won’t say such stupid things again. Perhaps?

  3. Alverant says

    That’s some god the rabbi worships. Instead of appearing in person, he chose to kill a bunch of innocent people to express himself.

  4. says

    But I like that Cuomo is publicly calling the guy out for being an asshole. I almost wish I lived in New York so I could vote for that guy.

    Been there, done that, have the T shirt.

    He’s not perfect, of course … his response to Sandy was maybe not up to snuff and he was probably part of the problem that led to the massive fail of the power authority on Long Island … but as politicians go, he’s definitely one of the better ones. New York’s marriage equality law is almost entirely his doing.

  5. cottonnero says

    What I want to know is why they never believe that hurricanes are God’s punishment for causing global warming.

  6. says

    I try to argue with wingnuts on their terms. In this instance I would ask: “Was Hurricane Sandy and act of god?” and: “Did Hurricane Sandy help Obama to be reelected?” If the answers are yes, then it is safe to assume that god wanted Obama to win.

  7. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    viscous beatings – Dr. X

    I hate to ask. You cover the victim in syrup first, maybe?

  8. llewelly says

    Why call on him to apologize? What would it possibly mean if he did? He actually believes that, so any apology would be hollow anyway.

    And that is exactly why Cuomo should call for an apology. The Rabbi’s response to the request for an apology is likely to be a doubling-down, or an appalling not-pology. And it will be condemned as such. Either way, supporters of marriage equality get another (well-deserved) chance to harangue the rabbi. The extra round of reinforcement helps spread the message. Changing the rabbi’s beliefs is not the point.

  9. Michael Heath says

    Andrew Cuomo writes:

    This kind of hateful rhetoric has no place in our public discourse . . .

    Of course it has a place, we need to understand what people are thinking in order to optimize the quality of the debate. People do vote after-all.

    If we all practiced the principles of secularism within the public square which created the Constitution, the Governor wouldn’t have demanded an apology but instead demanded the Rabbi present convincing evidence his assertions are true. This was a teachable moment opportunity with the governor instead responding with a juvenile pout. The problem is that the governor can’t be appear to embrace a naturalistic perspective that leaves no room for God, so he’s stuck with, “take it back and shut up!”.

    It’s my perspective that telling others to ‘shut up’ almost always reveals a weakness in one’s own position with no desire to adapt to another position. I suspect that’s true here.

  10. Hank Fox says

    The “teachable moment” is the public nature of the apology. It’s not Rabbi Noson Leiter being taught — fuck him, after all — it’s the onlooking public, especially including those who follow the embarrassed rabbi.

    The lesson is: Think what you like. But some things, you will damned well not say in public.

  11. unbound says

    @7 – According to the wingnut’s interpretation of the bible, god gave use the planet to exploit as we see fit…so global warming can’t be a cause of god’s wrath. Keep in mind, most of them think global warming is just liberal / atheist / science lies anyways…

  12. raven says

    God is in charge and everything happens for a reason.

    God just re-elected Obama. Take that, Rabbi.

    To veer slightly, this storm surge was absolutely predicted. I was reading a government report on it and it was all there, subways flooded, tunnels and lower Manhatten flooded. The date was 2011. It wasn’t a report, it was a prediction by the Army corp of engineers among others.

    This is going to happen more and more often with sea level rise and global warming, which are getting to be facts, not theories.

    We are going to adapt, whether we like it or not. Already there are plans floating around for $20 billion Dutch style storm surge infrastructure systems. It might sound like a lot of money but this storm did something like $30 billion in damage.

    I doubt it will happen until there are a few more storm surges like this. Humans really don’t react fast or well to future events.

  13. says

    I almost wish I lived in New York so I could vote for that guy.

    Given the current presidential political scuttlebutt, you might not have to come 2016.

  14. Sastra says

    Michael Heath #12 wrote:

    The problem is that the governor can’t be appear to embrace a naturalistic perspective that leaves no room for God, so he’s stuck with, “take it back and shut up!”.

    Excellent point. That’s one of the big problems with dealing with religious belief by only attacking the conclusions you don’t like and refusing to deal with whether the entire method makes any sense in the first place. You give up persuasion — and what’s left is force.

    This kind of hateful rhetoric has no place in our public discourse . . .

    Here’s something funny that happened last week. One of my nice, liberal, New-Agey friends told me she thought Hurricane Sandy was the direct result of how angry people have been over the election. When people have hateful or bitter thoughts, these thoughts merge together somewhere and somehow and become a force — an angry, hateful, destructive force — and this is manifested in the weather. Oh, if only people would not be so divisive and upset over politics. Look what they did.

    Somehow, she doesn’t think she’s doing the same thing as wingnuts who blame Hurricane Sandy on gay marriage. No. It’s totally different, you see — because she’s on the side of Love and Peace and Tolerance and they are not. That’s what matters here.

    I don’t know. Even given that truncated method of evaluation, blaming people’s thoughts for for causing hurricanes still looks like blaming people’s thoughts for causing hurricanes. And don’t give me that “it’s not judgmental” crap.

  15. coffeehound says

    @#7,

    What I want to know is why they never believe that hurricanes are God’s punishment for causing global warming.

    This. But what a magnificent smart little god they do have, punishing the gays by picking only gays to kill in the hurricane.
    I mean everybody killed was gay(or liberal), right?

  16. paulburnett says

    Nick Gotts (#10) wrote: “You cover the victim in syrup first, maybe?”

    ..then roll in corn meal and deep fry?

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