Thursday, January 16, 2014

A clarification from Yair Hoffman

Here's a clarification from Yair Hoffman regarding the op-ed he wrote about conversion therapy.  He sent this to my by email following a pleasent conversation and expressly asked me to post it. He also gave me permission to comment on his clarification, which I will do in the near future:

I would like to issue three clarifications regarding a previous post. Firstly, while I too believe that the science behind conversion therapy is faulty and can cause grave damage to the recipient, I want to distinguish between conversion therapy and those who advise not to act upon actions that are violations of both Torah and Rabbinic prohibitions. It is my feeling that a law forbidding conversion therapy can also be applied to the latter group and that is what I feel we should fight against. This is not an attack against the gay community - it is a defense of our religious beliefs, and we must all stand up for our beliefs and rights. If the new bill can be amended to reflect this concern, it would be in everyone's interests.

The second clarification is that I do not have any hate, animosity, or negative feeling to those who are struggling with their identity. All people are created in G-d's image and are loved by Him and should be loved by all of us as well. Is there a prohibition against homosexuality if one doesn't act on it? There is the issue of allowing thoughts to linger (lo sasuru) but no prohibition in who someone is. [The one source that seems to express this view lies in contrast to the view of the Ramban]

Lastly, the op-Ed did not mean to identify and define gays with the term pedophiles. In my thinking, with the admission of the clear possibility of error, there are three types of pedophiles: Type A- inter-gender pedophiles, Type B - same gender pedophiles with no attraction to adults of the same gender, and Type C - same gender pedophiles with an attraction to adults of the same gender. There may also be those that lie somewhere in between B and C. In my view there are many more Type B's than Type C's making it perhaps a different orientation altogether.

Categorizing pedophiles as a fifth and different group than LGBT was my purpose in the abbreviation and perhaps I offended people by including them together with the first four groups. I did not mean to "insult gay people by saying - yeah they are all pedophiles in the negative sense." And I apologize for that implication. I do think that there is a huge difference between consenting adults and a relationship with a child who does not have the ability to consent.

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