Why is it that when we see a group of orthodox Jews walking down 1300 E. on a Friday evening to synagogue, all dressed up in orthodox attire (thus very distinctive and conspicuous), we don’t really give it a second thought, but when we see a group of FLDS walking down Main Street all dressed in their homespun cloth and plain dresses, etc., we stare and dwell on their oddity?

I suppose the answer is relatively easy: Jews in their traditional religious attire are, although different and distinctive, a fixture or mainstay in our Western civilization. True, they have a long history of persecution based on the perceived differences in their lives and religion. And perhaps the random guy in Berlin might have the same impression of Jews proceeding to synagogue that I have of FLDS people proceeding to court in downtown SLC. Somehow, though, seeing the orthodox Jews, for me, is completely normal. The FLDS, however, really stand out. The scene I see every Friday evening on 1300 E. in SLC could be repeated on Friday evening anywhere that Jews live. On the other hand, FLDS are truly quite local and marginalized on even this local level.

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