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Apocalypse Cow!
October 30, 2002 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Apocalypse Cow! In the most bizarre collaboration between the American Christian Right and ultraorthodox Jewish Zionists in Israel, Pentecostal minister and Georgia cattle farmer Clyde Lott has collaborated with the Temple Mount Institute of Jerusalem to breed a red heifer suitable for purifying the foundation of a rebuilt version of Solomon's Temple, which ultraorthodox Jews hope will lead to the coming of the Messiah. The problem is that the proposed site for the rebuilt temple is on the same site as the al-Aqsa mosque, the holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina. Some Zionist extremists in Israel have attempted to "solve" this problem by plotting to blow up the mosque, which doesn't exactly promote peace in the Middle East. And to think all of this could have been started by a cow that looks like it should have belonged in "the Horse of a Different Color" sequence in the Wizard of Oz!
posted by jonp72 (45 comments total)

 
whoa, religion is fucked! does any of this make any kind of logical sense?
posted by jkaczor at 2:42 PM on October 30, 2002


Poor cow.
posted by riviera at 2:49 PM on October 30, 2002


These people are wackos, although in a somewhat less dangerous way than portrayed. I don't think that even wacko Jews think they can actively bring the Messiah; all they can do is breed the right cow and pray; the rest is up to the Almighty.

In any case, every group has their wackos; it's just that not every group's wackos lead their society/nation.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:51 PM on October 30, 2002


This was covered in the New Yorker a year or more ago.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:52 PM on October 30, 2002


People have a right to be wackos about their religion. Just leave the animals out of it.
posted by soyjoy at 2:53 PM on October 30, 2002


once again, religious extremists prove they're more concerned with certain ritualistic nonsense than say, gosh, being good people and stuff.

[on preview: peepee, stop downplaying one kind of extremism while overstating other kinds.]
posted by donkeyschlong at 2:54 PM on October 30, 2002


tzaar baalei chayim?
posted by Catch at 3:00 PM on October 30, 2002


once again, religious extremists prove they're more concerned with certain ritualistic nonsense than say, gosh, being good people and stuff.

Donkeydick, since when is breeding animals cruel to them?
posted by ParisParamus at 3:01 PM on October 30, 2002


Oh. You're talking about the sacrifices? I'd rather bed one of those red cows than a hoi-polloi vache headed for McDonalds
posted by ParisParamus at 3:06 PM on October 30, 2002


I'm surprised they made such a big deal about a heifer of this color being born--she's not that much "redder" than ordinary dairy cows I've seen. I would have thought it would a fairly simple process to find two normal, darkish-red ones and breed them. But then, I know nothing about bovine genetics.

PP, I don't think donkeyschlong meant that breeding a cow (or more to the point, planning to sacrifice it) makes people bad, but that the energy devoted to this could perhaps have be more usefully directed towards feeding the poor, making peace, etc.
posted by hippugeek at 3:08 PM on October 30, 2002


jonp, I see you have also fallen for the propaganda regarding al-aqsa mosque. Amazingly this site was not important at all until the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem needed a symbolic rallying point for the masses in the years just before Israeli independence. Like most of what that man said it was more about personal aggrandizement than truth.
posted by billsaysthis at 3:10 PM on October 30, 2002


I'd rather bed one of those red cows than a hoi-polloi vache headed for McDonalds


Ehh....do what now?
posted by echolalia67 at 3:11 PM on October 30, 2002


hippugeek: their idea seems to be that the cow has to be 'perfect' for sacrifice, the last candidate rejected when it started sprouting white hair. Even in purebreeds, a truly solid-colour animal is rare, to say the least.

on preview: echo, cut PP some slack. It's his non-English-as-first-language nature, or something.
posted by Catch at 3:15 PM on October 30, 2002


This was covered in the New Yorker a year or more ago.

Also, NPR's "This American Life" did a thing on it a while back.
posted by originalname37 at 3:15 PM on October 30, 2002


peepee, if you're going to obdurately misinterpret what i say, i can't respond to you. if planning to blow up mosques to herald the apocalypse isn't ritualistic horseshit to you just because it's jews doing it and not muslims, you're even more psychotic than i thought. you're a wind-up toy.
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:16 PM on October 30, 2002


As for the wierd connection between American Christian Fundamentalists and right-wing Zionists check out this recent and related mefi thread.
This is not only weird, but very troubling indeed.
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:17 PM on October 30, 2002


Sorry Catch, but the laws of Shechita make it clear that a sharp blade and a swift cut are sufficient to avoid cruelty to animals.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:17 PM on October 30, 2002


How odd. A cow? and red?

Well if a red cow can start a war or herald the messiah, just imagine the miraculous possibilities of; an Irish Setter, an Orangutan, a Red Fox, a Red Squirrel, a Cardinal or this Salmon!

While we're at it, we might want to check the possibilities of these three guys, too.

And I know that the sheer power of this thing could probably start another cold war.
posted by hama7 at 3:20 PM on October 30, 2002


Why not move to India where all the friggin cows are sacred and untouchable, sort of like some of the citizens. Even cows know better than to drink milk.
posted by Postroad at 3:22 PM on October 30, 2002


Hmm, the laws of common-sense dictate that a sharp blade and a swift cut are sufficient to cause an animal to bleed to death. (Don't forget to hang it by it's heels!) But my main sticking point was the avoiding unnecessary suffering bit. I don't think I will ever be brought to see the necessity of slaughtering an animal to get the ashes to purify a temple and so on. So I think I will just watch this thread from the sidelines from now on, seeing as how I don't really give a damn about these obviously important issues.
posted by Catch at 3:33 PM on October 30, 2002


Always the cold war with you, hama7!
Well, compared to what we have now, I miss it, too. ;)
posted by y2karl at 3:33 PM on October 30, 2002


By the way, it recently became illegal to slaughter animals by the laws of Kashrut (Kosher) in yet another country, which is rather outrageous.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:41 PM on October 30, 2002


The vast majority of self-proclaimed "Zionists" are those who push or have historically worked for a secular state. Most ultra-orthodox Jews do not support the existence of a secular state of Israel, and believe that the only authentic Holy Land is the one that will come to be when the Messiah makes himself known (although they have no problem taking tax dollars from non-orthodox and even non-Jewish citizens to support their settlements, schools and kibbutzim). Thus, there are no "ultra-orthodox Zionists." Perhaps you meant to type "ultra-orthodox extremists."
posted by luriete at 3:48 PM on October 30, 2002


Also, NPR's "This American Life" did a thing on it a while back.

"Apocalypse" April 2, 1999 Episode 125
Here it is (at about 4:46 in). I remember it as a pretty interesting telling.
posted by originalname37 at 3:58 PM on October 30, 2002


i say we give 'em Carrot Top.
posted by modge at 4:02 PM on October 30, 2002


"ultra-orthodox extremists."

Seems redundant. How about just "Ultra-orthodox"?
posted by oissubke at 4:06 PM on October 30, 2002


Oissubke: that doesn't work. "Extremists," at least lately, implies political or social activism. There are a tremendous number of ultra-orthodox Jews, as there are ultra-orthodox Christians and Moslems, who don't care at all about the outside world and just want to study their Torah/Koran/Bible. Since the most observant among them believe that the God of their choice will protect from outside influence, be it physical or cultural, they have no need to blow up, set fire, shoot, or otherwise interact with the outside world.

The ultra-orthodox Extremists, on the other hand, use their religion as a crutch for political and social activism of varying degrees of violence, trying to mold the world or their immediate neighborhood into their personal or community ideal.
posted by luriete at 4:19 PM on October 30, 2002


Billsaysthis it seems that you are actually the victim of propaganda. Al Aqsa mosque is in Muslim theology the site of Muhammed's ascencion into Heaven to meet with God and the other prophets. It is one of the seminal events in the life of Muhammed according to the Quran.

The current structure, one of the most beautiful religious buildings in the world, was built in 685 not too long after Muhammed's death. The sheer beauty of the place and its reknown throughout the Muslim world for centuries is enough to make your statement patently false, but the numerous architectual projects commenced over the past 1300 years also belies the ridiculous proposition that the mosque and location only became important in recent times. Al Aqsa mosque has always been an extremely special place for Muslims. You can see this for yourself in nearly any museum in the muslim world, which will contain historical models of the Dome of the Rock dating back hundreds of years.
posted by cell divide at 4:30 PM on October 30, 2002


Isn't there something in Revelations about the four different colored cows, and the four cowboys of apocolypse?
posted by namespan at 4:38 PM on October 30, 2002


namespan: Horsemen, not cowboys! Sometimes you're so cute, I could just pinch your cheeks.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 4:46 PM on October 30, 2002


ParisParamus: You Beef Humper.
posted by tpoh.org at 4:57 PM on October 30, 2002


ParisParamus: You Beef Humper.

now that was a hoi poloi vache if I've ever seen one!
posted by echolalia67 at 5:22 PM on October 30, 2002


Hoy vey, again.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:09 PM on October 30, 2002


Catch, it's something I looked into back in the day when I worked for the Meat Industry Research Institute of New Zealand. Kosher slaughter isn't actually that bad (horrible and relative though that idea is). Done right, the animal is conscious for less than 10 seconds, and doesn't feel bugger-all (that's why the Masai can tap blood from their cattle without problems). The big welfare issue is that kosher slaughter, unlike halal slaughter, forbids stunning the animal first, to ensure the animal is ritually perfect when killed. And to be even minimally humane, it requires competent technique of the slaughterman.

From a welfare point of view, electrical stunning first is the way to go, and it's standard practise here, and in the US too, I believe. Incidentally, a lot of New Zealand export meat is halal, ie a trained slaughterman faces Mecca and recites the appropriate words on cutting the throat after stunning.

Slightly more on topic - one of the pages linked suggests that loons are already practising animal sacrifice on the West Bank, in preparation. I don't understand that, because my dim recollection of the law on this point is that there can be no sacrifice until the Temple is rebuilt, which would make them heretics. Anyone more up on Halacha want to correct me?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:18 PM on October 30, 2002


Joe: this FAQ is brief, reliable and thorough. It addresses the issues raised in the thread and basically says most of the comments here, if not complete rubbish, at least misguided and uninformed. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:29 PM on October 30, 2002


metafilter: most of the comments here, if not complete rubbish, at least misguided and uninformed.
posted by Catch at 6:33 PM on October 30, 2002


Is that a criticism or a guarantee?
posted by carter at 7:44 PM on October 30, 2002


Jeez, are you saying the problem is that two peoples think they have a claim to the same land??? Wow, that is a doozy.
posted by callmejay at 8:19 PM on October 30, 2002


Let me play the straight man!

The particular problem I see here is that a small group of loons are being aided by a larger group of loons to work out their lunacy in meatspace, thus precipitating a literally god-awful conflict. The conflicting claims are one thing, the resulting shitfight another.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:08 PM on October 30, 2002


Wow. MiguelC ... good work on that FAQ. Thanks.
posted by namespan at 9:14 PM on October 30, 2002


Celldivide, If i am not mistaken, the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are two different places albeit a couple of hundred yards apart if my memory of the place is accurate. See the map link in the original NRO article.
posted by donfactor at 4:55 AM on October 31, 2002


The temple mount thing really has very little to do with a red heifer, although that is a pretty interesting little tangent to it. You may recall that the second intifada (that's the one going on right now) began at the time Ariel Sharon, then a rather controversial candidate for prime minister, made an appearance at the Al Aqsa mosque, essentially laying symbolic claim to it as a Jewish holy site (versus a Muslim one). I believe, though I can't find corroborating evidence at the moment, that the Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade (one of the Palestinian suicide-bombing groups) gets its name from this incident.

Bottom line is that the site is very holy to both Jews and Muslims, and serves as a lightning rod of sorts.
posted by whir at 5:53 AM on October 31, 2002


donfactor: the dome of the rock can be said to be 'inside' the al aqsa mosque, as the mosque is said to cover the entire area. There are several buildings on the grounds, the most famous of which is the dome of the rock.
posted by cell divide at 8:04 AM on October 31, 2002


cell, 685 is a long time after the original and even second Temples were built on the site. If you want to play by age.
posted by billsaysthis at 3:44 PM on October 31, 2002


bill the issue was not what came first, but the ridiculous proposition you put forward that the Dome of the Rock had little or no importance until the 1940s.
posted by cell divide at 4:19 PM on October 31, 2002


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