A response to a comment on the last post has become too long, so I'm making it a new post.
Given my inexplicable interest in how Jewish denominations perceive each other, I was very intrigued by the statement below.
>In the UO world, though, anything to the left of RWMO is thought of as secular.
The statement struck me because from a secular perspective, of course LWMO is religious. From the secular vantage point, choices like being shomer shabbos, or keeping kosher etc. are religiously informed. Maybe I'm just being defensive, but I took the term "secular" in this context as not meant to be strictly descriptive or complimentary.i.e. it's meant to be insulting, correct? i.e. Anything NOT UO or a reasonable facsimile is not really religious, i.e. not an authentic/valid way to practice Judaism?
When I was about 13 or 14, my best friend and I were waiting at a bus stop as an UO guy approached. Reminded of my dad's favorite line, I proudly said to my friend, "Hey - he is one of our people". Anyway, when the guy passed us we were completely taken aback because he began to curse us out in Yiddish. All I understood was "shikse" and something that I understood as prostitute.Now with Beit Shemesh etc. there are reports all over of the use of "shikse" as a favorite term for insulting non-UOs by UOs.
For me, being a non-Jew is not inherently insulting, and it would never occur to me to call someone a "shikse" as an insult. In a similar vein, it is not offensive to be called "secular" because I don't see secular as the opposite of Jewish - which, if secular is used as an insult, is the underlying implication. Of course, this is not to say that more secular-influenced Jews have halos hovering over them, and do not insult the UO. The most frequent slur I've heard launched the other way (from Jews of varying denominations including MO) is "crazy". So, while the "UO" look to religion to define "the in group", the more secular-influenced Jews look to ration, and the most readily available insult is "crazy" i.e. irrational.
Or, maybe I'm way off base. Maybe the UO world's perception of "anything to the left of RWMO" as secular simply reflects a misunderstanding of the word secular?
(My apologies for the unintentional lesson on how to actually insult your fellow Jew).