Wednesday, January 21, 2009

participating in a church ceremony

A Guest Post by Rafi G

I was in the supermarket this evening and I bumped into a friend. He asked me a question, and I did not have the answer. Something specific about the Obama inauguration irked him, and he was very disturbed by it.

He was disturbed by the fact that Rabbi Lookstein participated in the ceremony, actively participated by giving his blessings, in a church on behalf of Barack Obama yesterday? My friend insisted it is clearly prohibited to do so, and even if there are certain situations in which one can be lenient to go into a church, clearly halacha does not allow it as part of a ceremony, and even worse to participate in the ceremony!

I don't know enough on that topic, so I am not going to voice an opinion. But I will ask the question.

According to my understanding, and it seems the RCA is of the same opinion (as the RCA put out a statement against Rabbi Looksteins actions), Rabbi Lookstein was wrong and it is not allowed. Do you know, or have any suggestion, on what he based his opinion that he was allowed to participate?
I am assuming he was aware of the problem and decided it was permitted. I am sure he did not just flagrantly go against the halacha. he must have had reason to consider it permitted.

Does anybody here have a suggestion why he would have thought so?

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