Beyond the Cusp

July 8, 2017

One Single Judaism for One Unified Israel

 

Of late, there has been much unrest and noise from out of the Jewish New Orthodoxy, the Torat Chayim, Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox organization, demanding that Israel bend to their versions of acceptability for conversions that are not strictly Halachic according to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. They were kind enough to put their demands into a letter written to express their obviously superior and more pluralistic views, which will allow for a more pleasant Israeli expression of Halacha, which could be acceptable to a larger general group of American Jews. The claim is that the Jews in America are turning away from Israel because Israelis demand that conversions be performed and approved by the Israeli Rabbinate that recognizes numerous Synagogues for meeting their Halachic standards. They were kind enough to even put it into writing, so, please allow us to quote:

As progressive, pluralistic orthodox rabbis associated with the rabbinic group Torat Chayim, we stand fully as allies with our sisters and brothers throughout the entire Jewish community in support of pluralism in America and Israel. We were disheartened to read that the Israeli government has rescinded its commitment to create a space for alternative and liberal groups to pray at the Western Wall and is moving to delegitimate all conversions but those done by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.”
“Imposing one narrow version of Orthodox Judaism as the official standard for prayer and for conversion in Israel harms the unity of the Jewish people and it harms support for Israel in America. We encourage all Modern Orthodox Jews to publicly support freedom for multiple religious approaches to Jewish life. The Torah demands that we embrace humility in our dealings with fellow human beings. Pirkei Avot teaches: Do not demand to be the sole judge (of what is right or wrong in religious matters) for only God — and not humans representing God — has the capability of being the sole judge.
“This means that we should bring humility – not arrogance; and wonder – not certainty — to our relationships. The Sages teach that we are stronger when we disagree openly and respectfully while continuing to engage with one another and honor each other’s human dignity. We honor the different paths of our fellow Jews, even if we have our disagreements for the sake of heaven, and we yearn deeply to see a truly pluralistic Israel.”
Signed,
Rabba Dr. Carmella Abraham-Rabbi Dr. Marc AngelRabino- Daniel Askenazi-Rabbi Ben Berger-Rabbi Dr. Ariel Burger-Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo-Rabbi Menashe East-Rabbi Michael Cooper Emerson-Rabbi Dr. Zev Farber-Rabbi Avidan Freedman-Rabbi Marc Gitler-Rabbi Daniel Goodman-Rabbi Dr. Mel Gottlieb-Rabbi Ben Greenberg-Rabbi Dr. Yitz Greenberg-Rabbi Herzl Hefter-Rabbanit Bracha Jaffe-Rabbi David Jaffe-Rabbi David Kalb-Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky-Rabbi David Kashe-rRabbi Ysoscher Katz-Rabbi Will Keller-Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn-Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz-Rabbi Yehoshua Looks-Rabbi Asher Lopatin-Rabbi Dr. Ariel Evan Mayse-Rabbi Avram Mlotek-Rosh Kehilah Dina Najman-Rabbi Micha OdenheimerR-abbi Haim Ovadia-Rabbi Dr. Ariel Picard-Rabbi Aaron Potek-Rabbi Dr. David Rosen-Rabbi Abe Schacter-Gampel-Rav Hanan Schlesinger-Rabbi Gabriel Nachman Kretzmer Seed-Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller-Rabbi Daniel Raphael Silverstein-Rabba Ramie Smith-Rabbi Devin Villarreal-Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

 

Women Rabbinic Signatories from Above Letter

Women Rabbinic Signatories from Above Letter

 

With such an impressive list of names, one would think that this is a movement with tens of thousands of members. They represent, at most, a few thousand Jews. Most of the names above were either in the initial movement of graduates of the Yeshiva run by the Torat Chayim, Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox organization. Perhaps the initial discussion we should entertain is the actual feelings towards Israel that is honestly held currently in the United States. As former members of the Conservative Synagogue, which was the better choice between it and the Reform Synagogue, as the town had no Orthodox and the closest Orthodox group met at one person’s residence a little over a hundred miles from our home, just a tad beyond walking distance; we got a first hand sample of the true and honest feelings of a typical congregation, and from the sample of those who attended Saturday Morning services, alias, the really seriously religious group. We will get to our sampling, but first some, reality check, facts. When the Israelites left slavery in ancient Egypt, according to our Sages, approximately twenty percent of the Jews decided to leave and the remainder preferred the safety and security of Egyptian slavery. When the Jew returned from the Babylonian exile, our Sages tell us, again about twenty percent decided to return and build the Second Temple while the remainder figured they would sample Persian culture and practices. When Israel first opened up to Jews the overwhelming reaction was not exactly excited exhilaration. Simply put, very, very few Jews left whatever comfortable lives they had in Europe, America, Russia, the Arab world of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Iran, India, Ethiopia, South Africa and wherever else the Jews were living in the 1800’s and first quarter of the 1900’s, before the British decided to close the door, the flow was light to a trickle resembling anything but a torrent. The Jews stayed put. Even when Ze’ev Jabotinsky (one of our main heroes) visited Eastern Europe and tried to tell the congregations that the Nazis and Hitler were going to be a huge problem for them and they should come to Eretz Yisroel, you know what happened? The Rabbis, once the word got out, refused to allow him into their Synagogues and, even when he managed to tell their congregations, they told their congregations that Ze’ev Jabotinsky was a lunatic and scare-monger who had no idea what he was talking about and they were fine and should simply stay put. The point, the Jews are like all people, they prefer the comfortable place that has been home no matter the situation and are apprehensive about change. Imagine that.

 

That said; let us move on to the next little misconception. When they poll any sample of Jews about their feelings towards Israel, the question is virtually always something like, “Do you support Israel?” Surprisingly, the response usually receives seventy-five or eighty percent say yes. But how about when the question is, “Do you support the Two-State-Solution and a state for the Palestinian people?” Believe it or not, you still get well over fifty percent sometimes as high as seventy-five percent yes. Now we can get to a more particular poll where the question becomes, “Do you support Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government?” Now it depends on whom you poll amongst Jews. Strictly Halachic Jews will respond well over fifty percent and probably close to ninety percent supporting. Reform Jews will respond exactly the opposite with over three-quarters not approving the Netanyahu government. The Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox Jews will probably respond favoring the negative side as they see the Netanyahu government as their opposition and not favoring their position of a more understanding and liberated Judaism. The Conservative Jews will poll, unfortunately, closer to the Reform than the Halachic Orthodox Jews when it comes to the Netanyahu government. If Amir Peretz, the new Labor Party leader, or Ehud Barak, a newly active Labor Party former leader who also has decided he might desire a run against Netanyahu, and either of these leftists were to become Prime Minister of Israel, then the non-Orthodox Jews would suddenly love the government while the strictly Halachic Orthodox Jews would still support the government and Israel because their support is not tied to politics. They would also express some wariness towards such a government but would still support the government and oppose maybe some of their ideas.

 

Co-ed rabbinic ordination ceremony at Yedidya with Rabbi Daniel Landes

Co-ed rabbinic ordination ceremony at Yedidya with Rabbi Daniel Landes

 

So, where are we going with all of this discussion? Well, let us go straight to the really big question and what if they asked all the American Jews, “Are you planning on making Aliyah in the next ten years?” This is the one question where the answer would be rather consistent across all stripes and it would be a rather solid, “No!” Perhaps this would be the good spot to talk about our pre-Aliyah experience. First and foremost, our Rabbi, Hashem bless the man, was supportive and overjoyed for us and his enthusiasm was wonderful. The congregation broke into three distinct groups, which mirrored their politics almost to a person. The conservatives, both the openly conservative and the friends who preferred that we never reveal their politics, to a person were happy and many expressed their desire to also make Aliyah and many of these are planning on retiring to Israel and we invited them to come to the same area we chose, though some expressed a great desire to move to Jerusalem. The through and through leftist members all but to a person considered us to be borderline insane for wanting to move to Israel and leave the United States, the best and most natural place for any Jew to live. Many pointedly bet that we would be back in the United States within a year, two at the most. The more moderate congregants were less declarative but the majority of them simply wished us well but thought that we were making a mistake to leave the United States and especially to go to Israel. Honestly, we were surprised by the reaction being from the greater majority of congregants we knew and were social with were discouraging in their expressions towards our making Aliyah. The really odd thing was that they were confused about our enthusiasm for moving to Israel and leaving the United States. Most who asked why we were making the move did not believe the answer that one of us had always wanted to make Aliyah and the two of us both really loved our pilot trip and were anxious to make the move. Lastly, the ones who thought we were going to come running back to the United States are in for a surprise, we love it here in Israel.

 

The reality is that the vast majority of American Jews cannot see moving to Israel in the coming years and believe that leaving the United States is a foolish and idiotic idea. They will say they support Israel whenever they are asked by a pollster. They say this because it requires nothing from them. Many will send money to Israeli funds and charities because that is what Jews do. But when they are talking amongst themselves, they tell a different story. They are not in any way Zionist and have referred to the Israelis living in Judea and Samaria as settlers and many honestly believe they are living on Palestinian lands. The majority believe that if Israel would be more flexible and just give the Arabs the lands beyond the Green Line that there would be peace. They agreed with President Obama that Israel was the reason there was no peace. Often having conversations with many of our fellow congregants, we found that avoiding the subject of Israel was the wisest of decisions. The average American Jew doesn’t give Israel much thought, as they are far too busy with life. Their first and foremost thought politically is support of the Democrat Party and liberal ideology. One of our friends from the congregation e-mailed us after the election and since and told us something we could have simply assumed ourselves. The congregation was largely in a funk being excessively distraught about having President Trump elected with Hillary Clinton somehow not being permitted her coronation. What can we add; they are good, loyal, leftist Democrats who place their party as amongst their highest priorities. It’s good to know that things have not changed, well, not exactly.

 

Many Jews in Europe are rapidly learning how fragile the societal acceptance of Jews can be. Many of the nations in Europe have rapidly growing anti-Semitism, which is starting to frighten many of them. What has been even more upsetting has been that from what we have noted, many of the Rabbis are telling their congregants that everything is under control, the government will protect them and that there is no reason to panic. The reality is that there is plenty of reason to panic. One perfect example comes from, of all people, Chief Rabbi of Russia and President of the Conference of European Rabbis Pinchas Goldschmidt who called for the Jews to take unity with European Muslims as they have a common cause in resisting attacks on minority religions and defending religious freedom. He was quoted in the Guardian stating, “When there is tolerance for other languages, other cultures, religions, traditions, we Jews feel more accepted. Jews always felt more comfortable in places where other cultures and religions were respected. At the moment when an ultra-nationalist wind begins to blow, it makes Jews, as a minority, uncomfortable.” Meanwhile, in France many Jews are wearing kippahs woven to match their hair so as not to draw attention while others simply ceased wearing them in public. Unfortunately, time has made the situation unavoidable and most of the Rabbis have taken to heart the need for their congregants’ safety. Some have began to admit of the necessity of caution and possibly for leaving Europe for the United States, Canada (postponing the inevitable) or Israel. Chief Rabbi of Brussels Avraham Gigi has stated, there is “no future for Jews in Europe.” He told a radio audience that, “There is a sense of fear in the streets, the Belgians understand that they too are targets of terror. Jews now pray in their homes and some of them are planning on emigrating.” The remainder of his radio interview can be read at the above link. A simple search tells the terrifying story facing European Jews but despite all the evidence of danger, many Jews remain passive refusing to leave their homes for the greater fear of the unknown.

 

Mind you, there is something Israel could do which would make this an easier sell that we believe that there is only one Judaism, that would be to have one Chief Rabbi. The great news is this will come to fruition once the Knesset passes a bill unifying the Chief Rabbinate and instead of having one Chief Rabbi for Ashkenazi and another Chief Rabbi for Sephardi, Israel would have one Chief Rabbi for all the Jews. One Chief Rabbi, one Judaism, and one Jewish People as unified Jewish community, then Israel can claim that one Jewish Law exists for all Jews. That would be the strongest message Israel could give the world and would allow for a single voice of the one Chief Rabbi of Israel telling the Torat Chayim, Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox organization, that there is but one Judaism and one Halacha for all Jews and this cannot be denied. Watering down Judaism or making a new and more “open” Judaism which permits for each Jew and each Synagogue or community to make their own Halachic laws and interpretations, then what is Judaism but a series of clubs each with their own charter. This experiment was already tried and it started in Nineteenth Century Germany with the early principles of Reform Judaism formulated by Rabbi Abraham Geiger. This more open form of Judaism was designed as Jews were, for the first time, recognized as members of the population of the nations in which they lived. The Ghettos were opened and the Jews were permitted to live wherever they wished amongst the general population. The new Judaism was fashioned to permit the Jews to enter into the general population as equals without being seen as different and so they would be accepted more readily. Many ‘unnecessary’ rules which were not ‘absolutely required’ or really all that ‘important’ to the essence of being a Jew were made ‘voluntary’ and Jews began to be assimilated. If you want to see the effect of making Judaism fit the desires and needs of each Jew individually instead of making each individual Jew fit Judaism as defined by Halacha, just look at the Reform Jews in the United States and you get your answer. According to estimates done near the end of the last century, the rate of intermarriage of Reform Jews was approaching three out of every four marriages. That makes Reform Jews merely with a one out of four chance of marrying within the faith. That is assimilation’s result, the end of the Jewishness of Jews.

 

I must admit that I only realized the necessity of strict Halachic Judaism as the sole allowable form after coming to Israel. This realization came along with the realization that being a Halachic Jew is actually far more easily accomplished in Israel. The supermarket only sells kosher food, the major ones while there are specialty markets, which are not necessarily kosher. There are Synagogues within walking distance throughout the town where we live. The main reason a Jew in Israel would not live a Halachic life is by choice, not lack of opportunity. In the United States, if a Jew does not reside in a neighborhood within walking distance of a Synagogue or have somebody from the congregation willing to put them up every Shabbat who does, then either they never attend Shabbat services or they use some form of conveyance on Shabbat. Those are the choices. To be a Halachic Jew in the United States you will need to either shop at one of the specific markets out of the many or be very specific in the brands you purchase. A Halachic Jew may only purchase meat from specific butchers. The basic idea is that being a Halachic Jew outside of Israel is only easy providing you reside in a very specific neighborhood, a luxury which is not necessarily affordable for all Jews. In many a city the Jewish ghetto, and that is what they actually are even if gilded, does not resemble a ghetto and can be very pricey. In Israel, being a Halachic Jew is possible in every price neighborhood.

 

Another reason there can only be one Judaism and that it must be Halachic as defined by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel is because the big century-long experiment with cafeteria Judaism has failed and failed miserably. Tailoring Judaism to each fancy will lead to only one thing, no Judaism. Yes, a congregation of Torat Chayim, Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox, Jews can be held together most often by the Rabbi leading it. But what happens after the founding Rabbi? Does the next Rabbi have the strength of personality to hold everyone to the exact standards? Will the next Rabbi have that ability as well? Eventually the congregants will seek different Rabbis and each time the rules will be altered, weakened just enough to fit the new desires and demands of each successive congregation. The freedom initially taken to alter Halacha leads only one place, no Halacha just as the Reform movement proved. Sure the Torat Chayim, Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox, will claim that theirs is a different system and that it can hold the line. The problem is they have already proven they cannot hold the line as their own ordained Rabbis have allowed same-sex marriages and are now calling for an allowance to be made for intermarriage. Where now are they going to stop? The best bet is they will simply be the next revolution and will be exactly the same as Reform Judaism was except their decay from Halachic Law will be faster and more detrimental to Judaism than was the Reform movement. That is why Israel needs only one Chief Rabbi and Judaism only needs one Halacha.

 

All we wish to say is, “Judaism is One Religion for One People in One Nation with One Chief Rabbi.”

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 21, 2016

Jewish Americans and Love of Israel

 

Way, way back in another era during the Six Day War in my public high school teachers had two choices for that week, have the television on whatever channel was covering the Arab Israeli war or have an empty classroom. The choice was that simple. Teachers who had the television tuned to the news coverage had classes filled to the brim on the first two days as students simply reported to school and went directly to the classroom they knew would have their agenda correct. My high school was close to 80% Jewish and the remainder skipped school if they were not interested in the war as they knew there was no taking roll, as anything that organized was hopeless. By the end of the war virtually every classroom had the news on and the teachers had caught the fever of realizing that we were learning something, we were learning politics and watching a historic event, and it had proven so. That was then and this is now, almost half a century later and even in a public school with such a high percentage of Jewish students there would likely be almost no interest in such events. A school of Evangelical Christians would be more likely to be interested in events in Israel. Don’t get it wrong, there are many Jewish groups and charities which assist Israel, but as an issue Israel has proven to be a disappointment to most American Jews, especially those Jews on the left; the further left the less they care. Such a disinterest explains why the Democrat Party could not get the votes necessary to place belief in our Creator into their platform and had the same difficulty with having a statement supporting Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. The Republican Party had no such difficulty as they placed both in their platform easily while the Democrats had to pretend they got the votes on their third try despite the obvious lack of support. Claiming things have changed would be a horrific understatement. So, what happened?

 

The first item has been a change in the Jews remaining in the United States. The majorities of Zionist Jews have made Aliyah and are now residing in Israel full time or between Israel and the United States for a number of others. In many cases entire families made Aliyah leaving no or few relatives behind. Also the Baby Boomers were mostly the last generation to have a sizeable percentage of Jews who were Zionists and either they are in Israel or their lives having moved onto other items of importance squeezing out their desires to move to Israel. You ask any of the majority of American Jews where is the best place for a Jew to live; their answer will be the United States and if then asked why, their answer is that it is the safest and best place for a Jew to be happy. If pressed on Israel, they may say that is a nice idea and they will mean it is a nice idea like having a car wreck and surviving is a nice idea. In many cases it comes down to one of two things or some combination. The first is they believe Israel to be a very dangerous place from all the news about terrorism and wars all around the Middle East and the potential for Iran to attack or have Hezballah attack possibly using chemical weaponized warheads. The second and more honest answer is that they have no desire to even visit Israel as Israel to them is a horrific embarrassment and is full of these crazy right wing nationalist, they might even say fascist, crazies who want to take over everything and refuse to make any concessions for peace. The fact that Israel is the only side to have made even a single concession, not to mention made all of the concessions thus far, this truth does not register and if you were to make the point they would ignore you or call you a liar and apologist for Netanyahu.

 

Many American Jews will never ever be able to forgive Prime Minister Netanyahu for opposing President Obama so vocally on the Iran Nuclear Deal and doing so with such public affect as possible addressing a joint session of Congress. Never mind that Netanyahu’s address was made all the more public by the antics of those supporting President Obama and vocally stating their intent to boycott the speech. The Jews actually worked to reelect most of these Congresscritters. They saw his speech not as protesting and representing Israel, instead as his having shown bad manners and being ungrateful for all President Obama has done for Israel. Even telling them, showing articles that prove the facts, that President Obama and members of his administration have compromised at least three strikes Israel had planned for destroying much of the Iranian secret nuclear facilities does not faze them in the least. These dastardly undercutting of Israel included exposing cooperative nations causing them to back out as these were Islamic nations and finally promising to shoot down any Israeli aircraft found heading towards Iran using all Iraqi and naval deployments of anti-air assets. The United States placed their entire military, industrial complex, CIA and military intelligence units, and diplomatic core all against any Israeli plan to address the Iranian threat to Israel, Europe and the United States as well as their using nuclear weapons as an umbrella sheltering their terrorist forces outside the nation.

 

The claim that Iran is only a threat to Israel and would never plan to strike the United States denies one crucial piece of information. Why is Iran continuing to develop multi-stage warhead carrying rockets and missiles as they have many rockets and missiles they can have strike Israel. Iran has no need for two and three stage Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) to strike Israel, these are only necessary to strike distant targets such as the British Isles and the United States and other potential distant targets. Their developing such warheads should trouble President Obama but all the President cares about is pushing any and every problem down the road and eventual first strike nuclear weapons will most certainly be a part of Iran’s future game plan. The sole concern of the President is to make sure when everything falls apart he will be long gone and only the alert will count President Obama as the gift that just keeps on giving. During his eight years in office he was integral to the Nuclearization of Iran and the new push by Islamists to control Europe and the generalization of the Shiite Sunni war spreading from Syria on to Iraq, Libya, threatening Egypt in the Sinai and empowering Iran and through Iran Hamas and Hezballah. Additionally President Obama is more than an observer in the making of the Islamic State but it was directly due to his dithering and fiddling away the power and influence in the world that used to be held by the United States in preserving order and instead the United States took an eight year vacation completely vacating her self-defined responsibility as the adult on the block. As everybody knows, when the adult leaves the house the children will run wild and the pets will get into everything taking special attention to anything they believe is edible and spreading it liberally around the house. Hopefully the Americans will awaken to their real role in the world and elect somebody credible, oh, wait, they already threw that option out during their little temper tantrum during the Primaries while the other Party simply promoted the inevitable one and it is almost difficult to choose between them. The choice is the walking temper tantrum against the crooked last mile on its way to prison.

 

Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman Trump’s Israel and Middle East Advisors

Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman
Trump’s Israel and Middle East Advisors

 

Meanwhile we have an actual difference when we look at the race as on things Israel Trump is clueless but he did appoint a pair of decent advisors to advise on all things Israel and Middle East, Mr. Jason Greenblatt and Mr. David Friedman. This is a far cry from the record of Ms. Hillary Clinton who has in her record one of the most destructive relationships with Israeli elected leaders of any Secretary of State including Secretary of State James Baker who was the first American official to negotiate directly and officially with Palestinians and the first senior U.S. official to leverage American aid to Israel in an attempt to halt Israeli settlements. On top of this was his reasoning summed up in one infamous quote, “F%&k the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway.” One special Hillary act was kissing Ms. Arafat immediately after she gave a speech accusing the Israelis of handing out poisonous candy to Arab children and Israel was using poison gas to pollute the West Bank’s water and land. Ms. Clinton had also stated during a video linkup speaking to a group of Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian teens who were members of the Seeds of Peace group, Clinton stated very adamantly and clearly her position on Israel’s future and the question of Palestinian Arab statehood, “I think it will be in the long-term interests of the Middle East for Palestine to be a state.” Still, we feel we can safely bet that she will receive well over three-quarters of the Jewish vote come November as for too many American Jews being a leftist and a Democrat is far more important than being Jewish or remembering Jerusalem. Despite at least half would know the Biblical quote from the Song of Babylon, “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy.” Well, they may not recall the entirety but probably would get it mostly correct up to “right hand forget her cunning” and maybe even including “let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,” but no further. Additionally, Hillary Clinton’s long time special aide, and she is the wife of disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin is yet another Arabist and anti-Israel advisor close to Ms. Clinton.

 

Hillary act was kissing Ms Suha Arafat  and with Ms Huma Abedin which pose  a double Arabist Love Affair Problem  for Hillary President Bid Past and Present

Hillary act was kissing Ms Suha Arafat
and with Ms Huma Abedin which pose
a double Arabist Love Affair Problem
for Hillary President Bid Past and Present

 

Closing comments are simple and to the point. Israel is a non-issue with the vast majority of Jewish voters outside of the Orthodoxy. The average Leftist Jew cares more deeply about gun control, free abortions, same sex marriage, United States as the greatest polluter of the Earth and any number of false or misleading lies masquerading as serious issues and they further find Israel with its nationalism and pride in being Jewish as over the top and disgusting. Jews are supposed to be compliant and seek the path of least notice and keep their heads down. Israelis charge towards danger and do not shy away when challenged and that makes the American Jew frightened as it means more people might look at them as well and that is the most frightening thing. One thing for sure, they will likely not see what is coming and coming fast until it is too late, but at least this time the doors to Eretz Yisroel are in Jewish hands, not British; so these doors will remain open for there are two things Israeli and American Jews have in common, we are both Jews and we love our brothers and sisters with their faults. As without their faults, loving them would be far too easy. Now it is true love because we forgive their voting with eyes fully shut.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 29, 2014

Are Civil Rights for Sexual Preferences Tantamount to Civil Rights for Minority Races

Looking back to the first plaintive cries petitioning for acceptance and protection from being segregated against in life; many of their complaints revolved around workplace, refusal of housing or rental properties, refusal of service in restaurants or stores, and other generalities which today are granted without even a second thought. No longer is it acceptable or even forgivable to physically assault same-sex partners simply because they disturb your preference for a normalcy where such a situation either never exists because no one desires relations other than the norm or such relations are barred from the public realm.

The initial indications that the demands from the more adamant, some might even say militant, alternate life partners and sexual preferences began to compare their struggle to the Civil Rights Movement of a half century ago. These statements also brought to the fore the first warning protestations that the gender identity lobby was going to aim to overturn every last vestige of normal sexuality forcing their way into mainstream and eventually making their lifestyle and sexual proclivities the norm and traditional relationships the exception, or at least the perception of such. Those making these warnings were mostly ignored as paranoid extremists. Their main claim was that the alternate gender lobby would eventually demand a change in the definition of marriage and even force religious institutions to perform alternate gender weddings regardless of their religious convictions against such relations. Obviously these people were insane and had a very loose grip on reality. Nobody was thinking of challenging the definition of marriage as being a bond between one man and one woman. Such claims had to be absurd and dismissed out of hand, until when in more recent times this exact demand came to fruition. Recent court rulings have gone even further making objections enacted into laws, even those which have passed as citizen initiatives receiving solid majority backing when placed on ballots, have been overturned using Civil Rights Laws and equal access laws as the basis for striking down enacted laws which ban same sex marriages.

As I wrote back in March of 2013 in the article titled The Sane Solution to Same Sex Marriage, the easiest solution is to separate marriage and civil unions making one the purview of the state and the other reserved for religious institutions. With the individual states and other legally approved jurisdictions issuing a license for a civil union which qualifies those so joined all the benefits currently described as marriage benefits such as tax breaks, visitation in public hospitals and other similar rights while marriages will be issued through a religious ceremony and would have no actual civil benefits under the law. With such a difference established the state would still receive their revenue from issuing licenses for marriages and gain additional revenue for same sex unions without all of the aggravations and protestations from the religious and conservatives who have protested allowing marriage to be redefined by statutes or court decisions. The individual states and even more local jurisdictions such as counties, parishes, cities, towns and whatnot can make whatever allowances and combinations to qualify for a civil union without having any effect on the definitions of marriage which would remain with religious institutions. If an union other than traditional marriage of one man and one woman is permitted by any particular church, synagogue, temple, mosque, cathedral, monasteries or other religious institution desires to issue a marriage license to non-traditional couples, then that would be their right as well and they could attract such couples into their fold.

The coming disaster will be the eventuality when men of the cloth will no longer be permitted to even read scripture wherever the original scripture excludes nontraditional civil unions. Such an atmosphere has already cast a pale over the pulpits of Houston, Texas; yes, Texas of all places but such is Houston where they reelected Mayor Annise D. Parker who lives an open lesbian lifestyle. Her sexuality would have little to do with her position as mayor except that her administration recently was embroiled in a tempest over an apparent attempt to force the religious leaders to turn over any sermons or other material which they may have given, written or otherwise distributed which may have had any relevance to be subpoenaed. This action caught a great amount of indignation, challenges and even some outright refusals all basing their hesitance or resistance on religious freedoms under the First Amendment. This did force the Mayor to redefine the subpoena narrowing its coverage but the argument has been started and is not going to end soon in Houston. This was but the initial shot over the bow, given time this type of action will be repeated and slowly but surely it will become accepted and soon clergy will no longer be permitted free range of subject material and will begin to restrict their public positions to politically correct and approved subjects. This is the first step to thought crimes where people can be arrested for holding certain opinions and is the beginning of a dangerous slippery slope to slide down to a dark and hurtful place.

Meanwhile, the gender identity movement has one glaring difference from the Civil Rights Movement. While a minority individual cannot choose their minority status and in everything they do and everywhere they go they continue to obviously be that minority, they literally wear their minority status wherever they go, whether they are alone or in a group, they remain a minority. There is absolutely no choice or manner in which one can disguise or act in some manner and not be perceived as a minority. The same is not true for people with gender identity issues. A same sex couple when walking down the street would only be identified as potentially a same sex couple if they were walking hand-in-hand or with their arms around each other, though such would not necessarily always be accurate as such acts could have other motivations. Still, should a same sex couple simply be walking down the street or walk into a restaurant to have a meal they would not be depicted as such and could pass as two friends walking or taking a meal together. A minority is a minority walking down the street, having a meal with a friend and that is a simple fact which cannot be altered. That is the difference, a choice is made to announce or otherwise make known when a person has gender identity or sexual preferences which may be considered non-traditional otherwise they could just as easily pass as being no different than the next person or group, a minority individual cannot hide their being a minority, period. That is a large difference but the reasoning made by the gender issues advocates is that they should be able to announce and make their difference from the traditional majority without any reactions.

What does one believe would be the reaction if my wife and I entered an establishment which was known to favor people who live alternate lifestyles and we announced we were a traditional couple. Hopefully we would be accepted and not made to feel out of place and uncomfortable. I would hope in most public institutions that the same acceptance is shown people of non-traditional relationships or gender identities. Where the problem arises is solely when religion gets into the mix. This may be the single place where those who live nontraditional lifestyles or have other than traditional gender identities may have to found their own religious institutions or seek those which would accept them as they are. Should they instead choose a traditional religious institution they should expect to need to conceal, or at the least minimize, their nontraditional lifestyle or preferences. The same would apply to traditional individuals should they decide to become members of a religious institution which accommodates solely to people with nontraditional relations or gender identities.

Beyond the Cusp

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