Monday, January 04, 2010

Homopalooza Continues: The Changes Orthodox Judaism Must Make

Nothing is permanent. In the fullness of time, everything changes. Before the Temple was destroyed who could imagine Judaism without animal sacrifices, yet it came to pass.  I don't think we'll wake up tomorrow and see OJ at peace with gay marriage, but more moderate goals seem within reach. Not that I'm much a of a manifesto writer, but can we find general agreement with the following objectives?

1. Don't criminalize feelings. If you have no halachic evidence that sodomy has been committed, treat someone with homosexual desires exactly as you'd treat any other Jew.

2. Be polite. We all pretend that single straights are celibate. We can give single gays the same courtesy.

3. Be consistent. If you're part of the sort of circle where people talk openly about sex, allow your homosexual friends the same prerogative. A gay man isn't "in your face" if he's following the norms of his own social group.

4. Be honest. Don't cloak your bigotry in "pro-family" rhetoric. Nothing about homosexuality is a threat to you, your marriage, your family, or the social institutions you hold most dear.

5. Drop the toevah talk. The verse in Leviticus is a red herring, used by people who seek justification for their prejudices. The fact the sodomy is termed a toevah tells us nothing about how people with a confessed desire for gay sex should be treated by our community. Remember Leviticus proscribes an act, not an orientation.

Anything else?

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