Sunday, 12 September 2010

Rabbi Under Attack

In the present political climate, it is becoming more and more difficult to assert the Torah position on the gay lifestyle without being attacked as homophobic, a term now being used to reflect racism against homosexuals. Recently, this became a real issue in Toronto as an Orthodox rabbi maintaining a Torah position on Jewish communal participation in the gay pride parade was challenged in this manner, in spite of the fact that he, at the same time, maintained that he and his shul welcomes homosexuals in the same way as any other Jews. You can read more about this at:

At present, the argument that one should be allowed to express one's religious beliefs on this matter still carries some weight. My concern in to the future are the voices that I am already hearing comparing Orthodox Jewish and similar religious views regarding homosexuality to the Southern Baptist position, before the Civil War, regarding slavery and the Dutch Reform Church's support of apartheid. The argument is that religion can justify racism and so it cannot have voice. The challenge is to ensure that this weak and false comparison never gains strength.

Rabbi Ben Hecht


Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

You are dealing with a group that has a very specific agenda.
It's belief is that anything other than complete and total acceptance of a honosexual lifestyle as normal is homophobic. The regressive Texas gay-basher and the sympathetic Orthodox rabbi who treats gays with respect while rejecting such a lifestyle as Torah-acceptable are identical to them - homophobic. And if you're homophobic, you're evil, racist, perverted and possibly, just possibly, pro-American.
This attack on Torah values will continue to grow because this group's agenda is to attack all those who disagree with it because in their worldview no one can disagree with them at all. Good luck.

Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

The question is: what to do?

The reality is that Torah Jews are caught, truly, in the middle, trying the walk a tightrope , destined to be misrepresented as adherents of either extreme eventhough what is really being presented in the unique perspective of Torah. We take strong positions on a variety of moral issues but leave any judgement of an individual to God. Those who take such moral stands usually like to attack the sinner aswell as the sin while those who are generally more accepting of an individual usually are also liberal in regard to the essential moral stand itself. We are called upon to maintain a strong moral stand while being also sympathetic to one who deviates from this moral position. That's not easy but that is, in my opinion, the Ratzon Hashem. The question now is: how to maintain this unique position without being labelled otherwise by either side?

Rabbi Ben Hecht

moshe averick said...

Rabbi Hecht,

If we don't act soon, this is just the beginning. Wait until the US Supreme Court rules that there is a constitutional right to Homosexual marriage. An Orthodox shul could be sued and lose it's tax exempt status for refusing to do homosexual marriages.

Moshe Averick

Garnel Ironheart said...

Yeah? Wait until some feminist decides she has a right to sit on the men's side of the mechitzah and takes it to the Human Rights Tribunal. They'll call a Reformer who will say that of course there is nothing wrong in Judaism with mixed seating and there you go.
The only reason there have been no pushes to outlaw non-medical circumcision is because they don't want to offend the Muslims. If they could figure out a way to ban it for us without affecting them, they would, just like New Zealand figured out a way to ban shechitah but not halal.
Here's what you do: I call it the Avi Shafran method. Just pick your ideology and stick to it. Ignore all those comments and positions that disagree with you. Pretend like everyone thinks like you except a few crackpots and present your point of view that way. Stay focused on the message and ignore the detractors. It works for him, doesn't it?

Rabbi Ben Hecht said...


When Canada okayed same sex marriages, the legislation had to specifically include the right of clergy to refuse to perform such marriages (based upon religious conviction) or such clergy could have been sued under the Canadian Bill of Rights for discrimination.

Your comment is actually very real.

Rabbi Ben Hecht