11/07/2006

In God’s Country

Last night, I drove past Tzomet Shilat and saw a huge number of police vehicles. They were there to monitoring an anti-pride-march protest that was taking place there. Apparently, such protests were taking place around the country. I have relatives from Jerusalem staying with me for Shabbat. They don’t want to be home on Friday. Understandably.

I think it’s an amazing coincidence that this is happening around the same time as elections in the US. The issue of ‘family values’, and how the Republicans have them, and the Dems don’t, is a major GOP campaign plank. Thus, similar conversations are taking place on both sides of the Atlantic.

I’ve seen a few personal accounts marshaled in support of gay rights. This open letter to the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Martin O’Malley, is genuine and heartfelt. I can’t agree, but I can appreciate the human dimension of the story. There’s a side open to dialogue there, and his religious strivings may remain informed by the Torah, even if there are elements, as there clearly are, that he will never accept.

On the other hand, there are pieces like this, in which whatever sympathy we may have had for an individual’s plight are completely overwhelmed by the conclusions that the author drew from his experience and wishes so impose on us and on the Torah. With Rabbis like this as their ally, the Jewish gay community needs no enemies (though they’re still a-plenty).

Others just don’t get the point. They cite Supreme Court decisions granted homosexual partners spousal rights, etc., and point out that these decisions never were protested. Well, duh. It’s Jerusalem, stupid. It’s about the character of the city – is it, as it always was, a religious center, or is it the capital of a Western Democracy. If it were in Tel Aviv, things would be very quiet. Moving the march out of the center of the city is a good start.

One unrelated crack that I can’t resist: now we know why Israeli busses are called ‘Egged’.

In the name of calm and peace, can all sides agree to the following? It’s not asking much:

The gay community must accept that:

1) The Bible and Koran, revered by billions as the word of God, explicitly and irrevocably forbid homosexual intercourse between men.

2) As long as the majority of this planet adheres to the major religions, they will not change people’s minds about homosexuality.

3) Flaunting homosexuality is insulting to adherents of these religions.

Religious communities must accept that:

1) Some people really ARE homosexual, and will not be changed

2) Making demeaning jokes about homosexuals or treating them as less than humans is bad

Is that possible?

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