Yesterday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he believes President Obama is a US citizen. How did haredim take this announcement from a conservative darling they much admire?
If the American haredi community is to be judged by commenters on haredi news sites, they reacted rather poorly.
Commenters over at VosIzNeias are mixed. A narrow majority are birthers, meaning they do not believe Obama is a US citizen. That is mother was a US citizen who conveys automatic citizenship to her children at birth escapes them.
At Matzav.com the ratio is even worse where birthers outnumber others by about 3 to 1.
At YeshivaWorld, the comments are also running about 3 to 1 birthers over others.
What this means, I think, is that wild conspiracy theories find a receptive home in the haredi community because so much of what haredim believe is anti-rational anyway. A group of people that insist the entire universe is 5771 years old, that Noah really had an ark that held pairs of every animal known to man, and who believe that no matter how blatantly their rabbis err their rabbis are still correct, do not have to make any great leap to believe Obama is really a socialist spy.
In other words, haredim are anti-rationalist, and they live lives that celebrate anti-rationalism – including believing the Ba'al Shem Tov flew in a wagon and that President Obama's real first name is Comrade.