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Gay Marriage: The Gulf Between Our Leaders, An Odd Misrepresentation, and More

November 3, 2013 – 11:29 am42 Comments

From the editor:

marriage equality2There have been some communal developments over the past few days:

In this a letter to the AJN editor this week,  Ravs Moshe Gutnick (ORA President), Yehoram Ulman (RCNSW President), and Meir Kluwgant (RCV President) affirmed two things:
1) Canberra’s Rabbi is indeed Chabad’s Shmueli Feldman. They refer to him as, “rabbi of our nation’s capital.” Many in the community, including the ACT Jewish peak body, were unaware of this.

2) That marriage equality is in contravention of biblical teachings and should therefore not be available to anybody.

Meanwhile, Victoria’s Jewish peak body, the JCCV has issued a detailed statement condemning homophobia. The ACT’s peak body’s statement in the AJN last week made it quite clear that many ACT Jews do not share the Chabad Rabbi’s views on homosexuality. There seems to be a growing chasm between our lay and religious leadership.

In other news, conservative Zionist advocacy group, Shurat Hadin, has launched legal action against a Sydney academic who supports BDS. Interestingly, ECAJ  – which many believe also propagates conservative Zionism – does not support this action. according to ECAJ Executive Director, Peter Wertheim, the action is “counterproductive”. He does not, however, specify why he thinks such litigation is problematic.

Finally, Jeanne Pratt has donated $50,000 to Jewish Care. There has been a lot of debate recently surrounding the funding of “legacy” institutions, such as Jewish Care – which has an enviable track record of service delivery- versus funding start ups.

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42 Comments »

  • frosh says:

    It’s amazing how some of our religious ‘leaders’ (and thankfully not all of them) STILL can’t understand both the separation of and difference between private religion and the civil state!

    And yet, they do seem to understand it for other issues, but lose or forget this understanding when it comes to marriage equality.

    After all, no one is campaigning, for example, for public transport services to be unavailable on the Sabbath.

  • Philip Mendes says:

    Congrats to the JCCV and brickbats to the Rabbis on the Marriage Equality issue. If only the Rabbis would stick to things they know something about, they might retain some respect from secular Jews. And in my opinion, the ECAJ’s statement on the legal suit against Jakey Lynch was pretty clear in terms of specifying the difference between political debate and exposure of Lynch and the BDS movement’s ethnic stereotyping of all Israeli Jews and all other Jews who support Israel, and attempts to engage in legal suppression of such views.

  • Yaron says:

    Phillip,
    Wondering what topic would be safe for them to comment on?

    While I am no supporter of the established rabbinate, it would seem many people would want to restrict the rabbis to discussing the parsha, and if we ever reach that point, they will be useless.

  • Philip Mendes says:

    Yaron – but are they trained to do anything else? Granted, many of the non-ultra-orthodox Rabbis have lots of life skills, and often hold degrees in a range of areas. I have no problems with their views because generally they are informed. But the Chabadniks don’t seem to know anything but the Bible. This is why they wade into so much trouble when they engage with broader non-religious issues that they don’t understand: child abuse, abortion, sexuality etc. If they want to comment on these issues, then they need to do the secular training that other communal leaders do. Very simple.

  • Yaron says:

    Phillip,
    The argument that without the proper training one should not comment on a topic is not entirely accurate. A judges in court is forced to rule on topics that are outside their formal training, yet with a well rounded world view they are capable of grasping the various points.

    The problem with many of the rabbis in the world today is their lack of perspective and narrow world view that does not allow them to see the broader picture. Hence the foolish statements.

  • letters in the age says:

    http://m.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/malcolm-turnbull-calls-for-conscience-vote-20131103-2wuv5.html

    Poor lovely “Liberal” Malcolm that is stuck in a party full of extremists…

    No wonder he was the outsider in the room when the ministers were sworn in with the G.G

    Go Malcolm!! I feel for you mate, must be so akward

    ;)

  • Not Impressed says:

    Philip,
    You have of course had many discussions with Chabad Rabbis on all sorts of topics to give your valued opinion!
    The ones that I know, most of them have postgraduate education and have as much right to discuss any topic as you and anyone else.
    Tell us Philip, is the marriage of two people of the same sex a “holy” matrimonial status?
    Of course, you being a secular Jew, the term “holy” has no significance whatsoever.
    But that’s okay… You, being a secular Jew, have the right to argue the case for same sex unions, and others, who don’t agree with you have the same right to argue the case against it.
    To criticize rabbis, because in your opinion, they know little or nothing about the topic is beyond ridiculous.

  • Philip Mendes says:

    Without getting into personal tooing and frowing: I stand by my opinion. Most ultra-orthodox Rabbis are educated to become Rabbis, not something else. If they want to become political commentators or social workers or psychologists or lawyers, then let them do the training. The same problem exists at the moment with the Right to Life activist Dr Mark Hobart, so sympathetically portrayed by Murdoch’s Herald Sun. He uses theological arguments in a health care debate. He should be a priest not a doctor if that is where his sympathies lie.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    So rabbis are free to talk about anything, as long as it’s not practical?

  • Avigael says:

    Rabbis are supposed to give Wisdom, Instruction and guidance from Torah. Apart from a few very dedicated, honest and diligent Australian Rabbis, the majority of Leadership in Jewry in Australia have become so disconnected from Torah and what a Rabbi/leader is to do, that they are no longer capable of effective leadership. This implosion in the Australian leadership is reflected in the direct result of the people not wanting ANYTHING to do with them, creating a massive gap. Unless a huge change takes place,along with the relevant Teshuva and fixing of the abysmal damage done, this trend will continue.

    Anyone wanting not to be disconnected from the Klal and Torah, needs to make serious preparations for Aliyah. Australia can no longer be classified as a Torah Community.

  • Bazza says:

    Whether Philip Mendes likes it or not, the Torah strictly forbids any Homosexual activity, and our sages teach that this also applies to females. What flows from that, is that a so called marriage between two males or two females is forbidden under Torah Jewish Law.

    Rabbis have an obligation and duty, to ensure that Torah Law is adhered to by the Jewish Community. Therefore, they must express their views directly and forcefully against gay marriage.

    In my opinion, Secular Jews like Philip Mendes, find it impossible to understand this basic fact. They also cannot accept the right of Rabbis, to speak out against an issue which goes against one of the most basic commandments in the Torah.

    Now, whether or not the Jewish Community adhere to Torah Law, or listen to their Rabbis, is up to each individual member of the Jewish Community. Whether or not they believe in the Torah, believe in God or observe any of the Commandments, is a matter for them and frankly is no one else’s business.

    None of that, however, in anyway reduces the obligation upon our Rabbis to speak out when Torah law is being challenged.

    Two weeks ago, the AJN published a marriage announcement in which the parents of a Jewish gay man expressed their “delight” that their son was to marry another gay man. The other man aside from being gay was not Jewish, not that that matters in the scheme of things. Aside from my amazement that any parent would be delighted at such a so called marriage, it enforced my firm belief that the Rabbis in our Community DO indeed have an obligation to speak out against such “marriages” as being completely against Torah law.

    I understand completely that while some gay people enter into heterosexual relationships marry, and produce children, generally speaking, males and females cannot help being born gay.

    Every gay person that I know has told me that they would much rather have been born a heterosexual, but since they are not, they are making the best of their lives. I number amongst my friends two gay couples that are in long term relationships and are very happy.

    As much as I consider myself to be an observant Jew, I strongly believe that gay men and women should never be discriminated against and that they deserve all the legal rights that are granted to the non-gay population, and should they wish to declare themselves partners for life, then they should be allowed to do so.

    Secularism is also a Religion, a Religion based on political correctness.

    The Secular Religious Community don’t want to understand, that the word marriage is the term that is used to describe the union, hopefully for life, between a man and a woman.

    If the law is to be changed by an act of Parliament then so be it. However, the word marriage, should never be the one used to describe the union between same sex couples.

    The Homosexual Community have been very successful in hijacking words to suit their own agendas.
    Gay used to mean being happy and carefree. Queer used to mean feeling sick, unwell.

    I am sure with a bit of thought, they will be able to come up with a suitable word to describe their union. Marriage is not that word.

    In the meantime, while the Secular Parliament get around to debating the issue,the Rabbis in our Community and those who believe in Torah and Mitzvot, will continue to state our case against Gay marriage while Secularists like Mr. Mendes are free to express their views.

    To deny anyone the right to express either view, must surely go against everything that Mr. Mendes and his fellow Political Correct Secularists believe in.

    Then again, Mr. Mendes’ posts clearly display that only those that he feels are qualified to express a view, should do so. That alone, should deny Mr. Mendes any respect from anyone in this Community, let alone our Rabbis.

  • Not Impressed says:

    And I say to Philip:
    If you want to give any opinion on what rabbis should or shouldn’t comment on , you need to have shiurim in Talmud or even Chumash with commentaries, first, then Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, and perhaps you then may have some understanding in what a rabbi should or shouldn’t do.

  • Philip Mendes says:

    Final comment on this matter to Bazza and his comrade: you are confusing religion and politics.

  • BAZZA says:

    No confusion on my part, Philip, the confusion is all yours.

    Those Jews who base their value systems on the tenets of the Torah, know exactly where their values lie. They are taught moral, and ethical values from very early on in their lives. For the most part, they are brought up in a warm well adjusted environment, with loving parents, a mother and a father. They learn right from wrong, to respect their peers and the elderly. They are encouraged by their parents to choose a path in life and where possible make a reasonable contribution to society.

    That doesn’t mean to say that all who emanate from an observant home will turn out to be a credit to society. There is always a percentage that go against the grain.

    But at least they will have ingrained in them a moral and ethical compass which may, if they have strayed off the path, bring them back one day, to appreciate that the values that have been instilled in them in the past, are the values to which they should aspire.

    What politics teaches them, and us, is how to lie and cheat, and back stab and do whatever you can no matter what the cost to achieve an outcome that is good for your party, rather than the Country. Self interest rules in politics. Morals and ethics take a back seat.

    I had always thought you top be a reasonably intelligent individual, however your post has completely negated those thoughts.

    One of the points that I was making in my previous post, was that everyone, Rabbis, laymen, politicians, Secularists be they Jewish or otherwise, are entitled to express their opinions on Gay marriage.

    Your hypocrisy on this matter Philip, is on display for all to see.

    Only secularists like Philip Mendes, and politicians, those bastions of wonderful ethics and values, have a right to express an opinion on gay marriage.

    God forbid that a Rabbi enunciating what the Jewish law is on the matter should be allowed to express a point of view.

    This is where you and I differ, Philip. I believe that everyone is entitled to express their opinion on the subject, and as I said, but you obviously either didn’t read the sentence or have deliberately decided to ignore it, “if the law is to be changed by an act of Parliament, then so be it”.

    No confusion on my part there Phil, between religion and politics.

    I have met and known many from left of the political spectrum and secular Jews like you Philip. Most are reasonably intelligent people who, while they may not agree with my point of view, at least respect my right to have one.

    On the other hand, there are those just like you, Philip, that believe in my way or the highway, and cannot see the wood for the trees.

    You would have had far more credibility if you had said ” I don’t agree with what the Rabbis have said on the subject of Gay marriage, but I do respect their right to express an opinion.”

    You are all about stifling debate, not encouraging it. You will proclaim that free speech is the essence of Democracy, but will deny those who disagree with you, that basic right. In this case the Spiritual leaders of our Community.

    That’s about as confusing as you can get.

  • TheSadducee says:

    In terms of the community the rabbis certainly have the right to present the orthodox view on marriage publicly from a theological perspective and defend this.

    The problem arises where the rabbis start to interfere in the political system with impacts on the overwhelming majority of non-Jews – eg. in the ACT by calling on the legislative assembly to postpone votes on proposed legislation.

    By what right do they have to interfere in the civil political system which is secular? And which impacts on the overwhelming majority of non-Jewish citizenry?

    The legislation is not directing any changes to the orthodox view on marriage, nor imposes on rabbis any obligations to act against their faith. If it was, then they certainly have the right to interfere/object – and I would support their opposition.

    My sympathy withers though when I see arguments about the word marriage etc – same sex marriage will not change the orthodox perspective or definition on marriage nor will it impose any changes to the practice. Rabbis will still function as they choose to and there will not be any impacts on orthodoxy.

    Rabbis will still have their exemptions to discriminate legally within Judaism – so what is the issue that motivates opposition in the political sphere?

    Countries that have implemented same-sex marriage have not interfered in orthodox Judaism’s practices in this regard – so what is the issue?

    I also second Philip’s suggestion – rabbis should focus on the spiritual, not the political.

  • BAZZA says:

    Sadducee, So you would also deny the Rabbis their right to express an opinion.

    Apparently secular adherents are permitted to stick their noses into the Religious sphere whenever the mood suits them. Just one example is the playing of AFL football on Good Friday.

    There has been opposition from the Churches for 150 years to the playing of AFL football on Good Friday, which Christians say is their holiest day of the year. I don’t need to go into the reasons why they oppose it, those reasons have been in the public arena for years.

    Whether or not AFL should be played on GF, has been the subject of heated debate, for much of the past 10 years, and the loudest proponents have been Secular Australians.

    When I was growing up, you could not find a retail outlet that was open on a Sunday. The Churches made sure of that. Sunday was their Sabbath, a day of rest. A day for the family. A day to go to Church, come home and have the family sitting around the table eating the Sunday Roast.

    Eventually, due in great part to the protestations of the Secular Community, things changed, and now shops are open 7 days a week.

    Did the Secularists have a right to express an opinion regarding changes to what had been accepted Religious practice in this Country for 200 years? Of course they did.

    Because, and I understand that this has also escaped The Saduccee, we actually live in a Democracy, where you are permitted to express your opinion, as vocally as you can in a peaceful manner.

    The Rabbis are as entitled as anyone to express their view, and to entreat the Politicians with whom they come in contact, not to allow gay marriage, just as much as those who are proponents of gay marriage are permitted to urge Politicians to change the law.

    That is why this is such a great Country.

    God and whomever else you may believe in help us, if the Philip Mendes and Saduccees’ of this Country get their way and stifle any debate that does not comply with their ideas and ideals.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Bazza

    Your argument is bizarre in the extreme.

    There is no religious or legal obligation for people of faith to attend a football match irrespective of when it occurs.

    If it occurs on a religious holiday then I would think that people of faith themselves would prefer to respect their own religious beliefs rather than a football game. I can’t speak for people in Melbourne though – perhaps they have a different perspective! :)

    Again, there is no legal obligation for shopkeepers to open their stores on Sundays and/or Saturdays and/or any other day of the week. Naturally people who don’t hold similar beliefs would prefer the convenience of open shops outside of regular business hours. I would also suggest that many businesses were motivated more by their potential profit increases than by their secularism or by secularist agitation.

    I don’t think anyone is suggesting that religious people don’t have the right to express their own opinions, even to politicians.

    However, as leaders of communities, they need to be aware that their belief systems are not representative of the overwhelming majority of the population and consider the implications of preventing social/secular change on the overwhelming majority because they have a belief which is not shared.

    I still await an articulate explanation by the rabbis of why they think that their minority religious viewpoint should influence the overwhelming majority of citizenry that don’t subscribe to their beliefs?

  • BAZZA says:

    What a load of drivel, Saduccee.

    Football has not been played in Melbourne on Good Friday due to the influence of the Church. Shopping was not allowed on Sunday, for the same reason.

    Obviously, those of a Religious bent who do not want to attend the football on GF will not do so, just as those who are of a religious bent will not open their business on a Sunday.

    But, it is in fact, Secular intervention which forced Geoff Kennett to allow shopping in Melbourne on a Sunday, and it will be that same Secular intervention that will see football played on GF.

    Mr. Mendes wants the rabbis to learn about Secularism before they comment. Where exactly should they do that? In a left wing University, in gay bars and night clubs.

    It is irrelevant whether or not Rabbis “need to be aware that their belief systems are not representative of the overwhelming majority of the population etc”.

    Unfortunately,Rabbis are confronted almost every day with social issues and problems ranging from distraught parents whose child has just come out, young men and women who are observant and gay, marital problems, incest, you name it, they are confronted with it, and are far more qualified than 90% of the population to deal with these matters.

    Their opinion may not be popular with Secular Jews and others, but their wealth of experience with these matters makes them far more qualified than you or I.

    I still await an articulate explanation by the Gay Community who comprise around 2% of our population in Australia, as to why they think their minority viewpoint should influence all those citizens that do not subscribe to their beliefs.

  • TheSadducee says:

    The rabbis when confronted with child abuse failed miserably to address the problems and you expect to assert that they are 90 percent more qualified to deal with difficult social issues and not be confronted…

    I’ll indulge your pettiness btw – gay people as a tiny minority, if you are talking about same-sex marriage, won’t impact the majority. Enabling them to get married won’t harm anyone else’s marriage or life or faith or personal rights.

    But not allowing them to marry because you believe something different does impact their life and personal rights. It’s pretty simple really.

    Perhaps you can provide an articulate and reasonable explanation of why religious minority beliefs outweigh their personal rights? Why is your minority better than theirs in civil society?

  • BAZZA says:

    You have me all wrong, Saduccee.

    As far as I’m concerned gays can marry, men can have sex with sheep and women with dogs, and can marry them if the law was changed to allow it. And I am sure that the way things are going, the age of consent for girls will be lowered to 12 sometime in the next 20 years. Perhaps sooner.

    If our Politicians decide to pass legislation to permit same sex couples to have a union together and call it marriage, well, we live in a Democracy not an Autocracy or Dictatorship, and we voted for them.

    We won’t always agree with their decisions, and at the next election we will have the opportunity to bloodlessly remove those with whom we disagree.

    You mistakenly said “I don’t think anyone said that religious people don’t have the right to express their opinions”, and very nobly of you added, “even to Politicians”.

    However, and that is the word with which you began your next sentence, just like Frosh and Phil Mendes, you spent a paragraph informing us why they should not exercise their Democratic right to do so.

    Everyone, be they Heterosexual, or Homosexual, Rabbi, or lay person, everyone, has the right to express their views to our Politicians.

    Sometimes those views will be expressed based on a Religious view that is held. More often, however, they will be expressed based on a purely Secular view.

    No one method of expression has a monopoly over the other.

    I have had a very broad life in both the religious and secular/ business world. I have met and had experiences with people from all walks of life and at least I understand that we live in a society where there is room for a divergence of opinions from both the Religious and Secular parts of our Community.

    However, when I meet people whose whole life is steeped in their Religious beliefs, or those whose whole life is totally bound up in the Secular world, I always find a blinkered biased view by one side of the other.

    Unfortunately, it is this blinkered biased view of our Religious Leaders, that is behind the criticism of their approach to our Politicians against gay marriage.

    Secular people, particularly from the left of the Political spectrum, think of themselves as all encompassing, wonderful human beings and bastions of tolerance.

    Your posts and those of Mr. Mendes and Frosh, display the complete hypocrisy that is really the hallmark of those of the politically correct left, where tolerance is just a word, not something actually put into practice.

    To you, Democracy is only for the Secular in our society, and heaven help any observant people, or Religious leaders if they should actually express a view.

    So, like Mr. Mendes, this will be my last post on the subject. I encourage people be they Rabbis, or lay people who are against gay marriage to express their views to our politicians. Unlike you Saduccee, I am prepared to accept the umpires decision on this matter. whatever the outcome.

    By the way, I agree with you, the the rabbis at Yeshiva College whom I won’t name here, performed abysmally when it came to their duty of care towards their students. I hope that those who covered up the disgusting events that took place, are exposed, and the full force of the law is brought down upon them.

    But it is disingenuous of you to lump all Rabbis into the same mould as those at the Yeshivah, and I know of other non-Lubavitch Rabbis who have done some wonderful work in this area, in order to protect the innocent young lives that can be so drasticly affected by these sexual predators.

  • Avigael says:

    The majority of Australian Rabbis cant even deal with simple social issues let alone complex ones. They would be in front if they just kept their mouths shut. Unfortunately for everyone, they cant. First, there needs to be a proper Rabbinical Leadership. Chabad does not cut the grade from any angle.

  • Not Impressed says:

    Wow,, this is a new take!
    Being “gay” is a political issue?
    So the only ones who have a right to have an opinion on this are politicians?
    Avigael…. Clearly you have issues with Chabad and rabbis in general.
    Seek counsel. You need it.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Bazza

    Perhaps I have you all wrong, but I let others draw their conclusions about your association with same-sex marriage with bestiality and pedophilia – perhaps your channelling your inner Bernardi there?

    Your arguments asserting absolute democracy and political decisions are also disingenuous – you don’t sincerely believe in that, how could you?

    If so, would you accept anti-Jewish legislation because it was politically decided? How absurd!

    And I do not believe that democracy is only for the secular – I believe that our democracy is defined by a separation of religion and state.

    The difference between me and you would be that if I see oppression in our democracy, even of the religious, I will protest against it – you argue that you are happy to accept that oppression if it is politically decided…

  • BAZZA says:

    Saduccee,
    Since you have raised something a bit different to the topic, I will answer your questions.

    20-30 years ago, the thought of same sex marriage was never a part of public discussion, because communal standards could NEVER contemplate either such an event occurring or that their could be legislation passed by our Parliament to allow it. Who can possibly say that in say 20 or 30 years time, bestiality and paedophilia., which today society finds abhorrent, will not become as accepted by communal standards, as homosexual relationships are today.

    Of course I believe in absolute democracy in political decision making. The fact that both the Liberals and Labour make their Parliamentarians toe the party line whether they agree with a policy or not, is irrelevant to my belief that it is only in a democracy where you have the greatest opportunity to enact policies for that the party in power believe is for the good of the country. As I said, if the public don’t like what the Government deliver, they can vote them out at the next election.

    Democracies are not perfect, but they are a far better bet than living under a Communist regime, or a dictatorship.

    Yes, I would accept anti- Jewish legislation. I wouldn’t like it, but I would accept that it is a right of the Government of the day in this Country democratically elected, to pass whatever legislation they want, provided of course, that they have the balance of power in both Houses.

    Now, unlike our brothers and sisters who were slaughtered in German concentration camps as a result of such legislation, we have an alternative to living here. We have our homeland, it’s called Israel,and we can leave this country, where we currently reside, and go home, to the only country where a Jew can truly feel safe and free, despite the enemies that surround us. At least over there, we know who our enemies are, and have the capacity to deal with them. Not so here.

    I believe that democracy is for everyone that lives in a democratic state. I agree that there should be a separation of Church and State, however, that should never negate the rights of the Church to express an opinion in a democracy, about things which they feel concerns them.

    If the politicians in this Country who have been democratically elected pass legislation which oppresses certain sections of the Community, then being a democracy, you and I and anyone else have the opportunity to air our concerns, and by all peaceful means should do so.

    But it depends what you define as oppression. No one is saying that gay couples should not have all the legal rights afforded to heterosexual couples, and the fact is, they have achieved virtually all of those rights. The sticking point for people like myself, is not that gay couples should not have a union that is approved by the state, but that union should be termed a marriage just like heterosexual marriages.

    Whether they, you, or anyone else likes it or not, gays ARE different. They are not Heterosexual, and to term a union between same sex couples as a marriage is an insult to the term and what the term marriage has always been defined as. The union between a man and a woman.

    The absurdity of calling gays who are together in a union a marriage is never more born out than in the two examples that I am about to give.

    Ellen Degeneris and Amanda Rogers, sorry, stage name Potia Derossi, are “married” according to the law of State in which the ceremony took place in the USA. Ellen calls Portia, her “wife”.

    Does that mean that Ellen is the husband? Ridiculous, so ridiculous in fact that the term husband is NEVER used in a Lesbian “marriage”.

    Elton John is “married ” to David Furnish and refers to David as his “husband”. Does that mean that Elton is David’s “wife”? Once again so ridiculous that Elton is NEVER referred to as David’s “wife”.

    Gays ARE different. And they know it, which is why those that are “married”, don’t refer to each other as husband and wife. By all means, if our Parliament passes an act recognising Gay unions, then let them be called that and nothing more. Even the gays must realise how stupid equating their union to a heterosexual marriage is.

  • Seraphya says:

    I got stuck at this comment:
    ” most of them have postgraduate education” referring to chabad ‘rabbis.’ Certainly if we are talking about the smicha mill that will give you smicha in a year if you are male, jewish and support chabad this is not true.
    If we are talking about communal rabbbis, I still don’t know how anyone could take that statement seriously!

  • Haari says:

    @Frosh – i non jews are not meant to observe the sabbath. Australia is a non jewish country. That’s why Rabbis and other orthodox jews won’t campaign to stop public transport running on the sabbath. Whereas in Israel they do campaign to stop public transportation. Simple.

    On the other hand, according to the Torah view, the laws around sexual morality and the prohbition against homosexuality applies to both jews and non jews alike. Thats why you’ll see orthodox jews campaign against “marriage equality.” By doing this, not only are they are expressing a genuine Torah/jewish view (you are deluding your self by saying thats it’s not), but they are also more improtantly exercising their right to express an opinion in a liberal democracy. They should be able to do so without your attacking/mocking them by putting scare quotes around “rabbis” etc (and deluding yourself by implying with your scare quotes that the Torah would actually endorse “marriage equality)

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Haari, according to your reasoning they should be campaigning against idolatry, or demanding the imposition of the death penalty for theft.

  • Haari says:

    Joe, non-jews are allowed to worship idols (refer to the concept of shituf). more importantly, theft was never a capital offence…not sure where you got that idea from. In any case, capital punishment according to the torah view is no longer applicable.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Shituf is by no means permission to worship idols: it’s a limited justification for allowing Jews to conduct business with Christians despite the fact that this will lead the Christians to make oaths with reference to their deity. From a halachic perspective it’s still wrong, certainly more wrong than a celibate gay marriage. As for execution for theft, read Rambam, Hilchot Melachim, 9:14 – “בן נח שעבר על אחת משבע מצוות אלו, ייהרג בסיף”.

    I always try to judge people favorably, so I presume that Rabbi Feldman isn’t a pusillanimous coward and suck-up; he’s probably just ignorant, and doesn’t realise that ecumenical gatherings have been deplored by the most weighty (Jewish) religious figures, including the late Lubavitcher Rebbe Z”YA. None the less, I hope the learned rabbis who wrote to the AJN might take the time to correct him before he embarrasses himself any further.

  • Haari says:

    A celibate gay marriage?? Thats interesting….so how does that work exactly? Do you really mean to say that the campaign around “marriage equality” is one thats based…. on promoting celibate relationships? Really? And if thats the case (what will “marriage equality” extend to next? A “celebate marriage” between a brother & sister? Or a father and daughter?.as they say “denial aint just a river in egypt.” And i also believe that in addiiton to the opposite gender our sages also extend the prohibtion of yihud to anyone couple who are sexually attracted to each other…including a same sex couple. So forget about “celebate marriage”…they same sex couple cant even be alone together.

    In regards to the Rambam- you got me there. I stand corrected. Nevertheless more than half of the laws that the Rambam brings are not applicable today. Most of these laws were applicable in israel when the temple stood…and the law that you just cited is one of these laws that is not applicable to our times. Today we have no authority to adminster capital punishment for any crime.

    The non jews (accorinding to Rambam and many other leading sages) are allowed to worship other gods so as long as they recognise that there is a “G-d of gods.” In addtion since the times of Anshe Knesset Hagdolah (men of the great assembly) the yetzer hora for ildol worship is not as strong as it used to be. But the yetzer hora for sexual immorality is. Thats why the sages have always taken the threat of sexual immorality (post the first temple) far more seriously.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Why would you imagine that there are no celibate gay marriages? I’m pretty sure that there are many celibate heterosexual marriages. As for your justification for idolatry, och und vei! This is what ecumenical forums lead to! They’re against nature, I tell you.

  • Haari says:

    So how many celibate gay “marriages”/couples are there exactly???

    And no, I wasn’t justifying idolatry…your making whats called a goold old fashioned straw man argument.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    I wouldn’t know how many gay marriages are celibate, because it’s not my business. On the other hand, I feel outraged when Rabbi Shmulie Feldman stands on his hind legs amongst the other clergy of Canberra and purports to represent me. An ecumenical position is ipso facto not a Jewish one; he ought to know better and I wish rabbis Gutnick, Ulman, and Kluwgant had told him to sit down and shut up.

    As for your “old fashioned straw man”, I fear that it may be in breach of halacha in other ways. Do you worship it? Offer libations to it? I am gravely concerned about this and require an answer immediately.

  • Haari says:

    “I wouldn’t know how many gay marriages are celibate, because it’s not my business.”

    err…right.

  • Avigael says:

    cel·i·bate [sel-uh-bit, -beyt] Show IPA
    noun
    1.
    a person who abstains from sexual relations.
    2.
    a person who remains unmarried, especially for religious reasons.
    adjective
    3.
    observing or pertaining to sexual abstention or a religious vow not to marry.
    4.
    not married.
    Origin:
    1605–15; < Latin caelib- (stem of caelebs ) unmarried + -ate1

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Some examples of straw men, whose worship is apparently making inroads into our community.

    I wish I could say I was surprised, but I suppose it was the inevitable result of slipping educational standards. Ignorance of halacha, ecumenical forums, worship of tutelary deities. I blame our schools.

  • Haari says:

    Avigail, thanks for citing a standard english language dictionary to confirm something that we long ‘suspected’ already…that err…”celibate-marriage” is kind of like the term “kosher-shrimp” (i.e. an oxymoron)…

    Joe of Australia, if you are indeed a product of the “slipping educational standards” that you speak of, than you are right – we need a major revamp in our educaitional system. I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt though and say that you are just simply being disengenious rather than being plain naive and ignorant in claiming that halacha would endorse gay marriage and more importantly imply that gays are celibate and/or get married in order to maintain some kind of “platonic” relationship…

  • TheSadducee says:

    Does the irony of someone who has multiple spelling errors in their post remarking on another poster’s education escape everyone? :)

  • Haari says:

    Yes, especially when they accuse someone of being ignorant of halacha after implying that torah is ok with gay marriage and that most if not all gay couples are celibate. The irony has a tendency to run away. Despite the irony escaping everyone, I’m releaved to know that this blog has appointed a resident spell checker.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Relieved Haari, not releaved. ;)

  • Haari says:

    I misspelled that delibratley and feel very releaved.

  • Sunshine says:

    We live in a secular country. This shouldn’t even be up to Rabbis to decide, however they don’t have to marry gay couples if they follow their laws

    However I wish they would follow all their laws because they simply pick and choose.

    Marriage equality is inevitable and if you don’t like it don’t marry a gay person. Otherwise shut up!

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