You Are Not My Rabbi: Chabad and The Marriage Equality Controversy
Editor’s note: I received an email from a concerned reader in Canberra who has asked me not to disclose his/her identity. He/she writes about the recent “Abrahamic faith leaders’ ” response to the ACT’s marriage equality legislation.
An interesting topic that has arisen here in the ACT vis a vis our same-sex marriage legislation:
Note that Rabbi Feldman (Chabad) identifies himself as Rabbi for Canberra and Goulburn – explicitly omitting the fact that he is the Chabad Rabbi (with [comparatively few] adherents) and is not representative of the ACT/Canberra Jewish community.
I suspect that a majority of the ACT members would not support such a position nor would they want him representing their position to the public.
I think it is important because the average person in Canberra wouldn’t know his exact situation/position and may assume that he is the religious authority for the community and/or that the community has sympathy for his views.
Although reasonable on the face of it, the call for community discussion is an attempt to delay a vote with the goal of trying to pressure ACT politicians through special interest groups to dump it. (The vote has carried anyway). I don’t believe that it is a good faith call to discuss the matter because they all oppose it doctrinally/ideologically.
It is also another example of the bad faith behaviour of Chabad in the ACT – they have form in misrepresenting themselves here and this is a problem for the community which has been ongoing for a long time.
An interesting point that should be looked at is their lobbying and interaction with official figures here – i.e. you see Chabad at just about every political soiree here in the ACT which involves religious matters despite them having no official position as representative of the community. How much influence do they wield to get themselves on the invite lists consistently? What are they peddling as a Jewish perspective? No one knows for certain in the community but there have been clashes over turf in terms of responsibilities i.e. hospital visits etc.
It might be of value to publicise it to get a response from the community in relation to this – they have a duty to deal with this sort of thing.