Same Sex Marriage, Polygamy and Sharia Law: Some Thoughts

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37 Responses

  1. Ari Heitner says:

    Just so people grok “banning Sharia law”: Ontario banned Sharia law 10 years ago. As a result, all binding mediation agreements (read: שטרי בירורין) are worthless. בית דין cannot enforce anything, no matter what the בעלי דין signed previously, no matter if the בית דין would anyhow mediate in accordance with Ontario law. So now whichever side has the money can bully the other till they get their way; הרשות ניתנה. It’s great fun.

    Obviously, protecting women from the terrible misogynists on the Sharia court or the בית דין goes hand-in-glove with gay marriage. (Torontonians are very upset about the progress of gay-marriage legislation Stateside – it is killing the gay wedding tourism industry)

  2. Y. Ben-David says:

    I am sorry to say this, but the United States, for all the good it did in the past for the Jewish people, and for humanity, is now a degenerate society in terminal decline. There isn’t anything that can be done to stop it. The moral sickness American society is plagued with will INEVITABLY affect even the most insular Jewish Orthodox/religious society. Societal norms that contradict Torah values are now accepted by many Orthodox Jews, particular concepts like Homosexual “marriage” and they are spreading and will reach in everywhere by way of the communication technology that CAN NOT be shut out by anyone. The Torah makes clear that these phenomena are destructive of society and we can not put our heads in the sand to pretend what happens in the surrounding society does not affect us.
    I have had prominent Orthodox Rabbis and thinkers get extremely upset when I point these things out. Whereas the penny has dropped for most European Jews and they have now come to realize there is no future for Jews in Europe, the same is true for American Jewry but many seem to think that “America is different”. Well, it isn’t, in fact it is in faster decline, morally, spiritually and even economically, than Europe has been. No doubt, many who feel comfortable in America and don’t want to live in Israel will invent justifications for their remaining in the US (e.g. “Israel isn’t frum enough”, “Israel faces a complex security situation”, “how will I make a living in Israel”, etc, etc), but it is important to recall that virtually ALL of the traditional Jewish communities that existed in 1939 disappeared within the following 20 years. The tectonic movements of Jewish history stop for no one. Anyone who paid attention to the Passover Hagadah that we read recently should have learned that lesson.

    BTW-Those who think I am exaggerating the situation in the US should read David Goldman’s “How Civilizations Die” and Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart”. Food for thought.

  3. Avi says:

    “America in 2025 will not be the America of 1955 – but will not Iran of 2015, either.” But, will it be the libertine anything-goes 1920s Weimar Republic?…

  4. Avraham says:

    I am puzzled by Y.Ben David’s assertions but not surprised as they are the classic comments that have been espoused by conservatives (politically) for years. Let me make a few points: We all belong in Israel because that is where we can fully experience miztvot as Hakadosh Baruch Hu intended. It really is that simple but all the other rationale – the moral decline of America, the comparisons to Nazi Germany (not espoused by Mr. Ben David but also a common thread among those on the right) – are spurious and unfounded. The experience of the Jew in America has indeed been unique. The changes in American society are mirrored by those in the general Israeli society. Similarly the two nations have comparable economies – both robust but with an unfortunate growing disparity between the haves and the have-nots. Neither points should be the reason behind a person making or not making aliyah.

    Most importantly the change in both secular societies is not the simplistic decline of morality as commonly portrayed. Yes, society no longer mirrors Torah values and that is an incredible challenge for our community. However, much of that change comes from a natural application of moral principles such as equality and fairness. Of course, that does not mean that we change the Torah’s eternal laws – and that is why the danger is so acute – but it makes the issue far more nuanced. Core moral values such as honesty and integrity are not in decline.

    Sadly, it is in our frum community that those very values are in serious decline and while this forum has had many worthy articles dealing with hashkafic dangers to Orthodoxy, this issue that is eating away at the fabric of our society is under represented. When it is normal in the Kollel community to not get legally married so that the wives can get benefits belonging to single mothers, and those same Kollel members are paid in creative ways to allow access to low income housing – just to name a few of the sadly myriad of moral deficiencies – then we are indeed in serious trouble.

  5. Bruce says:

    I see this as more of a libertarian move, rather than a libertine move. If so, why is this a problem?

    For example, America greatly values freedom of speech. However, Judaism teaches that we should restrict our own speech in numerous ways. We enforce the Jewish prohibition through teaching and community standards, not through legal sanctions. If someone proposed making l’shon hara illegal, I would strongly opposed it, even apart from the obvious first amendment problems. We just don’t need secular courts deciding when Jews have run afoul of Jewish law.

    The same is true of (say) idol worshipping. It is a serious violation of the Noachide laws, but it is protected in America under the Free Exercise Clause. Would anyone support a law in the U.S. that prohibited idol worshipping?

    I think the same is true of same-sex marriage. As R. Broyde points out, this would just legalize it for those who choose to participate. And importantly, the Jewish definition of marriage (and divorce) is different than the secular definition. If two Jews married civilly without a ketubah or erusi and nissuin (or divorced civilly without a get), there might be problems under halacha but not under civil law. I don’t think anyone would want to make the requirements for a civil marriage or divorce dependent on satisfying halacha. So given that, civil marriage and divorce, and Jewish marriage and divorce, are separate things.

    And given that, why shouldn’t we have the broadest definition of civil marriage possible. If two people of the same sex want to live together and commit themselves to be a family, they may do so without getting civilly married. Is there a good reason for not extending the protections and benefits of civil marriage to that couple? I understand the halachic reason for not doing so, but — as noted above — civil marriage and halachic marriage are quite different things.

    It seems to me that the best course of action for traditional Jews should be to use the power of persuasion — not the power of the state — to discourage people from action in violation of halacha. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But that is the position Orthodox Jews would presumably take regarding l’shon hara and idol worship. I don’t see any reason why it should also not be the position one would take regarding same-sex relationships.

  6. too tired says:

    normal in the Kollel community to not get legally married so that the wives can get benefits belonging to single mothers

    Where is this practiced? I am not aware of what happens in the chassidic community, but no litvishe rav or rosh yeshiva will be mesader kiddushin without the couple either already possessing a marriage license or promising to procure one post haste.

  7. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Not directly related, but what is Halacha on participating in such a ceremony. For example, would a baker be obligated to turn down the business to make a wedding cake for it?

  8. Y. Ben-David says:

    Rabbi Dr Broyde points out that societies that tolerate things like homosexuality are also tolerant towards religious Jews. Interesting. That’s what Lot said when he decided to move to Sedom and set up his kollel there. A prosperous society that was tolerant of all sorts of behavior. We know he was very frum because he ate matzah on Pesach. But what ultimately happened there?
    I was always under the impression that the Torah represents a comprehensive value system, not only for Jews but for non-Jews as well (the 7 mitzvot for Benei Noach) and this system is often at odds with the surrounding culture and value system. Giluy Arayot (sexual immorality) is forbidden for non-Jews, isn’t it? Doesn’t the Torah say that choices leading to violation of Torah norms, EVEN FOR NON-JEWS can have major unpleasant consequences, even for communities that are wrapped up in their own Torah lifestyles?
    I understand that religious Jews who feel comfortable in the US don’t want to face the facts I am saying. It was the same in other places that no longer have Jewish communities who also resisted seeing the dangers that existed right in front of their face, by putting their heads in the sand and repeating over and over how frum their immediate community was and that was all that mattered. But that is not the case, as history has repeatedly shown.

  9. YEA says:

    Orthodox Jews should oppose same sex marriage for the same reason that atheists should oppose it. I will leave it to Dennis Prager to express why:

    “…at the core of the argument for this redefinition of marriage is that gender doesn’t matter. Marriage is marriage and gender means nothing, the argument goes. So, too, whether children are raised by mother and father or two mothers or two fathers doesn’t matter. A father has nothing unique to offer a child that a mother can’t provide and vice versa. Why? Because — for the first time in recorded history — gender is regarded as meaningless. Indeed, increasingly gender doesn’t even exist; it’s merely a social construct imposed on children by parents and society based on the biological happenstance of their genitalia. When signing up for Facebook, one is offered nearly 60 options under “gender.” In various high schools across the country, boys are elected homecoming queen. A woman was recently kicked out of Planet Fitness for objecting to a man in the women’s locker room. She was accused of intolerance because the man said he felt that he was a woman.”

  10. Avi says:

    Re: Avraham : “Yes, society no longer mirrors Torah values and that is an incredible challenge for our community. However, much of that change comes from a natural application of moral principles such as equality and fairness. Of course, that does not mean that we change the Torah’s eternal laws – and that is why the danger is so acute – but it makes the issue far more nuanced. Core moral values such as honesty and integrity are not in decline.” The understanding of marriage as a vehicle of personal enjoyment rather than an institution for the continuance of humanity is not “a natural application of moral principles.” I am not saying it doesn’t have a logic of its own, but it does have undertones of immoral assumptions. Furthermore, I question whether “equality” is actually a “natural moral principle.” Justice, yes. Equality, not so. We also have to fear a broader de-emphasis on the importance of religious liberties – how else to explain more concern for possible, supposed danger to LGBT-identifying individuals than to religious freedoms legislated in a law based off of the federal RFRA?
    And don’t forget those (including the President) who actually wish to forbid therapists from aiding religious individuals who wish to change themselves…

  11. Avraham says:

    I am sorry to burst “too tired”‘s bubble but I suggest that you check with you local Yeshivish/litvesh kollel as this practice – which is sadly common place in Chasidish circles – has now been adapted by the larger Charedi community as well. I admit that I was shocked and dismayed when I was told this recently but my friends laughed at my naivete’ and shared with me that this indeed in the norm in the Midwest city in which I reside which is blessed with many kollelim. I will point out, however, that it is illegal (in many states) for someone to perform a religious ceremony without an accompanying civil ceremony so the issue is problematic on many fronts.

  12. Reb Yid says:

    This is not the first place that Professor Broyde has made the argument that Jews ought not be too concerned about same-sex marriage. Here, as in the past, he demonstrates his considerable aptitude at finding the straw man to attack. While his remonstration against the Right for opposing same-sex marriage is certainly an approach to which he is entitled, he weakens his putative Torah-sided position by relegating a discussion of the real problem to a mere afterthought in the article. That is, the extent to which anti-homosexuality discrimination laws will directly impair Jews’ freedom of speech and freedom to practice their religion, whether vis-a-vis the tax code, as he parenthetically mentions, or in myriad other ways, such as which selections from Tanach, shas, and poskim can and can’t be taught in schools.

  13. Bob Miller says:

    We need to be prepared for attacks on Halacha as being just like Sharia law. We need to prepare materials describing all the salient differences between the two, as to their nature, details, and who is expected to comply.

  14. Michael J. Broyde says:

    Thank you to the many people who have commented so far. Some thoughts about the various comments.

    Ari Heitner (4:03) is certainly correct that bans on Sharia law will undermine the function of batai din. We should only support such bans if Sharia law is a real threat, since incapacitating the batai din would be a very bad thing.

    I thought Avraham (4:24) responded correctly to Ben-David (5:25) and I think Bruce’s (6:13 — such a rabbinic time) could be correct. But, libertarian times naturally produce libertine times, in that a libertarian supports the right to deviate. We need to be aware of that fact, even if we do not oppose it.

    Ori (2:49) asks about the halacha of participating in a same sex ceremony. My gut is that there is no no firm halachic problem with baking a cake or providing flowers and the like although it is certainly ain ruach chachamimin nocha bah. Being a witness or performing such is much more problematic.

    Ben David (1:58) is, I think, mistaken as a matter of historical practice. Jews have lived in pagan societies — where all gentiles worshiped avodah zarah — and thrived in such locations, until the pagans sought to do violence to so. One does not find historically rishonim or achronim practically advising Jews to leave safe pagan societies merely because everyone is violating the Noachide laws. The analogy is clear

  15. tzippi says:

    I’m with Mr. Miller. The following story appeared in a local county weekly (and apparently, having googled it for the link, a lot of other sources). http://www.hometownlife.com/story/news/local/royal-oak/2015/04/09/lesbian-couple-stands-discrimination-asks-others-join/25532175/ Leave aside the unimpressive writing and focus on the content. We may live in a country that is tolerant towards both homosexuality and Orthodox Jews, but NOT religious people who have any issues with homosexuality.

    And R’ Broyde’s asserts that “We are going to be looking at some enormous pressure on Jewish minds [young and old] to regard their religion as hopelessly tethered to a primitive past. On the other hand, knowing this in advance might just be enough to spur us to develop arguments and resources that effectively explain and persuade people of the cogency of our view, rather than simply rely on what the surrounding culture used to take for granted. It will require restructuring our education institutions – for children, adolescents and adults –in many important ways, and might direct that we change the ways we interact with society around us.” Rather than just a final teaser, I’d be very interested in details – what arguments and resources? What kind of restructuring and changes in interaction with the greater society?

  16. Steve Brizel says:

    The simple answer would be appeared to be that Kedoshim Tihiyu and the entire Parsha of Arayos need to be defended with pride and resolution, as what separates Jews from Gentiles, together with Kashrus ( consistent with their being classified as Sefer Kedusha by Rambam) without apologetics-even if it means that we are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine. Given the current climate in the so-called “mainstream media” , culture, and the college campuses-we must be aware of the willingness of the left to view any expression of religious expression as a value that must be supprressed via the courts and legislation so as not to thwart “gay rights.”

  17. Steve Brizel says:

    R Brodye wrote in part:
    “The liberal sexual culture being created will live hand in hand with America’s commitment to no established religion and a deep free exercise right.”

    The recent reaction to events in Indiana would present a challenge to the above statement. If anything is the case-such events would suggest that the “libertine sexual culture” has no tolerance for “America’s committment to established religion and a deep free exercise right.” One wonders how R Broyde would react if the public reading of Parshiyos such as Acharei Mos-Kedoshim were viewed as politically correct on college campuses where the viewing of American Sniper was viewed as problematic.

  18. Y. Ben-David says:

    Rabbi Dr. Broyde-
    A simple reading of the pshat of the TANACH points out that living in these “tolerant” pagan societies was a PUNISHMENT for us. In any event it is INEVITABLE that societies like this turn against the Jews because, whether we or they like it or not, the Torah opposes idol worship and there ultimately comes a showdown, as most recently happened in Europe where both Nazism and Soviet Communism decided that the Jews had to be eradicated once and for all. I might add that both Germany and Russia granted the Jews full rights and the Jews flourished in those countries just a few years before the axe fell.
    Isn’t Avraham Avinu praised in the Midrashim for confronting the idol-worshippers in Ur Kasdim and wasn’t he threatened with death for doing so? Isn’t Lot criticized for going to live with “tolerant pagans”? Didn’t the Benei Israel end up becoming slaves in Egypt even though one of them saved everyone there from starvation and the Benei Israel benefitted materially because one of the reached the office of Prime Minister there? Is the sum total of the Torah simply finding a room somewhere where we can sit and open up a Gemara while ignoring everyone else, both non-religious Jews and non-Jews around us? Is the new “Torah Way” a modified form of Dr Timothy Leary’s “Turn on, tune in and drop out”?

  19. Brooklyn Refugee Sheygitz says:

    I don’t understand how anyone can compare society in the USA to society in Israel. The USA has a society which by now has had a near complete breakdown of the family structure. the birth rate is in precipitous decline and most births are outside or traditional married parent families. the popular culture is largely degenerate and negative in its influence. the democratic political structure is decaying (read Amon Lord’s recent column )
    Israel still largely exhibits a traditional family values structure. The non-Jewish society in Israel is still largely traditional with large families. Most of the knesset belongs to the elements which support traditional family values. the birth rate – even amongst the secular population is SIGNIFICANTLY higher than anywhere else in the west. While there are elements of popular culture which are disturbing, one see a HIGH DEGREE of traditional Jewish influence in all elements of popular culture. Songs based on selichot, verses of tanach or talmud often find their way to the major playlists. One doesn’t even have to get to chazal’s dictum that it is preferable to live in eretz yisrael in a city with a majority of pagans versus a city with a majority of torah scholars in chutz laaretz. One can venture to say that the situation of USA vs Israel is now largely reversed. Israel is a place with a majority of traditional Jews versus the USA as a society which is largely in decline.

  20. Bob Miller says:

    It has become very clear in Indiana that big business has signed on to the liberal social agenda. This is what took Governor Pence largely by surprise in the recent RFRA melee. It was taken for granted that the liberal media and academia would be so disposed, but business has now sold out to the social enemies of traditional family life and values.

  21. DF says:

    There’s no clarity in this post. What exactly is R. Broyde advocating – that orthodox Jews simply shrug their shoulders as it sees moral society disintegrating all around them? Our mission, despite often being honored only in the breach, remains to serve as a ray of light to the world. So far as I know, no expiration date was ever put upon that mission. It is precisely in modern times, when there is so much confusion – when the perverse is seen as saintly, and the saintly as perverse – that we have to stand up and set things straight. Any considerations to the contrary, if there are any at all, are easily outweighed by this national mandate.

    Nor is just a national mandate that should cause us to vocally oppose homosexual marriage – it is base, selfish, self-interest as well. This country was founded and built up on the backs of religious men. “In God We Trust” is what made America great. The cracks have been forming since God was taken out public schools, but homosexual marriage breaks the dam wide open. (There are Talmudic and Midrashic statements to corroborate, but any sensitive person can feel it.) When religion is so publicly flouted, and when the family unit breaks apart, it is only a matter of time before honesty, decency, and the basic American sense of fair play fall in its wake. That’s not the America I want for my children. So, quite apart from our mandate as Jews to fight homosexual marriage, our mandate as interested stakeholders is equally strong.

  22. tzippi says:

    Steve Brizel says: “Given the current climate in the so-called ‘mainstream media’, culture, and the college campuses-we must be aware of the willingness of the left to view any expression of religious expression as a value that must be supprressed via the courts and legislation so as not to thwart ‘gay rights.’”

    It’s not only the left. I just heard an interview with a spokeswoman from Young Conservatives For the Freedom to Marry. She maintains that the Republican party platform has some odious language for gays and their ability to parent and that being anti gay-marriage is not in step with real conservative values, and even conservative voters. When the host brought up that when it’s gone to the states, most states have voted against it, and that there is the demographic of voters on the religious right who will be opposed, she didn’t have much to say.
    It’s disconcerting. I don’t know how long it’s going to take for the world to see that we were the canaries in the mine. Until then we’re going to seriously marginalized, and worse.

  23. Bob Miller says:

    Tzippi’s comment of April 14, 2015 at 10:30 am should be seen in the context of two prominent “conservative” Republican factions that are active today. One faction is libertarian and against all interference with individual freedom, whether imposed by government or not, and whether based on religion or not. Another faction is religious in the traditional sense and accepts that government has a responsibility to preserve a moral civil society and the religious rights of citizens. Many Republican “conservatives” have views somewhere in between, and generally oppose big government and social engineering by government.

  24. Michael J. Broyde says:

    Tzippi (8:28) correctly challenges me to say more and explain how we ought to prepare for life in such a society and I have to honestly confess that I am not sure. But – and this is why I wrote this article – I am much less concerned about the difficulties of being Orthodox in a sharia law society (as I see that scenario as much less likely present) than a libertine one. We need to plan for the future with care. I furthermore agree with her comments (10:30) that this a libertarian moment as well.
    Steve (9:27) is, I think, not completely correct in that what we are dealing with here is the seven Noachide law. The challenge Orthodox Jews are undertaking is adhering to the Torah’s sexual rules in a society that does not adhere to the Noachide law is, I see, a different challenge than adhering to the Torah’s sexual rules in a society that does obey Noachide law. So too, I think Steve (9:57) is over reading the Indiana issue. Although worthy of its own essay, when economic discrimination ought to be prohibited is a very hard law question and not clear what result Orthodox Jews ought to want, even.
    Ben David (5:34) repeats his view, which I still think is not a correct diagnosis of what is happening in America. America is neither confronting its Russia moment nor its Nazi moment. It is a libertine and libertarian moment with its own challenges. As I noted before, Jews have thrived in societies where pagan norms dominated. We need to craft the right social, religious and educational framework.
    DF (10:08). I am sorry I was not clear. I did try. My view is that we must understand what is happening and plan for the future astutely and that planning for Same Sex Marriage which produces Polygamy and which will then lead to Sharia law is a bad planning exercise as we are wasting our time planning for the least likely scenario.

  25. Bruce says:

    R. Broyde wrote, “But, libertarian times naturally produce libertine times, in that a libertarian supports the right to deviate. We need to be aware of that fact, even if we do not oppose it.”

    I don’t think that’s correct. I am libertarian-ish. I support the right to deviate only in that I don’t think government-imposed sanctions (like fines and imprisonment) should be the consequence for many acts. Instead, I think other consequences, iike social pressure, teaching, ostracism, moral guidance and persuasion, are more appropriate.

    Take my other examples. L’shon hara is protected by the First Amendment. That is, there can be no government-imposed sanction for it. But this libertarian perspective does not lead to libertine consequences. I am strongly opposed to l’shon hara, and I try to avoid it myself, teach my children about it (in our example, we do a lot of talking about some poor slob named Ploni), mention it (gently) to others where appropriate, and I try avoid conversations — and if necessary particular people — where l’shon hara is rampant.

    Wouldn’t this model work equally well for same-sex civil marriage?

  26. shaya says:

    In the current environment, how can someone contemplate sending their children to a secular college? Campus culture has been anti-religious for a long time, but now believing in a traditional religious is seen as akin to being a KKK member, automatically making someone an antiquated, dangerous “bigot.”

    It is certainly possible for our children to succeed after attending frum colleges such as YU or Touro, or their equivalents in Israel, and of course many succeed without college. So why take the risk of placing them in Hellentistic propoganda machine that is the modern secular university?

    As Rabbi Broyde says, we need to reevaluate our relationship with the modern culture, and we need good apologists for traditional morality. We need to join together with other “social conservatives” to promote our cause and win back the support of the public, which so recently was on our side. We shouldn’t be too pessimistic. We can win. A large proportion of the public, probably between a third and a half, is basically socially conservative.

    At the same time, we need to disengage from modern culture more than we already do. We need to keep our children away from popular culture and politics. Even the modern Orthodox should reevaluate. It is going to become harder and harder to keep kids on the derech in this militantly hedonistic and anti-traditionalist cultural milieu. The more exposed they are to contemporary culture, the more they are at risk. Cellphones, internet, films, TV — are these electronic babysitters worth it?

  27. Michael J. Broyde says:

    Reb Yid (9:34) is right that I am not as sharp a critic of homosexual conduct as others are, and the reason is important to articulate. I think that homosexuality is much less likely to spread than many other Torah violations in our secular community and I share the basic views of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein on this matter. https://pagesoffaith.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/perspective-on-homosexuals/ . I do worry about the threat to our religious freedom rights and our general ability to function in secular society. That is exactly why I wrote this post. The more we focus on the real issues, the more likely we are to have solutions to them. The purpose of this post is to focus on the hard issues, even if I do not have solutions.
    Bruce (2:21): I agree with your proposition that it is possible to be an Orthodox Libertarian; I simply do not think that it will be common.
    Shaya (2:31) raises the right issue, but I think much more nuance is needed. I think the term “secular college” is too broad a term that includes Brooklyn College night school as well as many other diverse programs as well as a host of other variable that need to be considered, from the location of the college to whether the child is dorming and the specifics of each child. The same is true about secular culture generally: we need to reengage, albeit on different terms from the past 60 years. But what I do agree is that the policies that worked in the past will not work in the future as the world has changed.

  28. Tal Benschar says:

    If there is a danger here legally, it is that our institutions will be subject to hostile governmental policies, because Orthodox Jewish institutions will discriminate against same sex couples, and could lose, in perfect storm of an environment, the right to accept tax exempt donations (see Bob Jones University v. US). The general policies of religious accommodation that are part of the fabric of American life now, but not mandated by the Constitution, could well disappear to our detriment.

    In my view, this is the main danger here: society is growing increasingly hostile to any deviation from any opinion that deviates from complete acceptance of homosexuality as the moral equivalent of heterosexual. The recent Indiana blowup is a taste of things to come.

    For another taste of what may come, consider this recent development in Britain:

    Faith schools must follow rules that “actively promote” fundamental British values, such as tolerance of other faiths and lifestyles, and law, Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, warned on Sunday. The Department for Education, however, dismissed any suggestion that schools would be forced to teach gay rights against their will.

    Guidance on new rules introduced by Michael Gove, Morgan’s predecessor, after the “Trojan Horse” controversy in Birmingham, will be issued to private schools, academies and free schools this week. The rules give inspectors power to censure schools that do not conform to the Equality Act, which encourages respect for lesbian, gay and transgender people, and other religions and races. Ofsted has made snap inspections of 40 schools, including Christian and Jewish institutions, following the Trojan Horse affair. The inspections have already led to complaints and demands that the rules be revoked. Schools inspected recently claim they have been penalised for not celebrating enough festivals of other faiths, not giving children sex education lessons, not teaching them to be tolerant of homosexuality and not inviting faith leaders to speak at assemblies.

    Granted in the US cases like Pierce v. Soc. of Sisters and Wisconsin v. Yoder would give a basis to challenge such requirements, but one can expect the authorities to try to push the envelope here.

  29. Brooklyn Refugee Sheygitz says:

    The only response that one can give on Yom Hashoah to Rabbi Broyde’s assertion that “America is neither confronting its Russia moment nor its Nazi moment. It is a libertine and libertarian moment with its own challenges. As I noted before, Jews have thrived in societies where pagan norms dominated. We need to craft the right social, religious and educational framework.” is that in Europe of the 1920’s there were no shortage of rabbis and community leaders who said the equivalent of “Germany isis neither confronting its kishinev pogrom moment nor its chmilenitzki moment. It is a libertine and libertarian society with its own challenges. As noted before, Jews have thrived in societies where pagan norms dominated. We need to craft the right social, religious and educational framework.”
    No shortage of people saying that – and even after the newly elected president of the weimar republic began ruling more by presidential order and ignoring the parliament.
    There were also some voices waving the flag of warning – unfortunately they were all too often ignored or even suppressed by the established leadership. Such as Zeev Jabotinsky or Uri Tzvi Greenberg who’s presient yiddish poem on the end of Jewish life in Europe was just translated into English (for those who can;t understand the Yiddish or the earlier English translation).

  30. Brooklyn Refugee Sheygitz says:

    I meant the earlier Hebrew translation – this is the first English translation of that work by U.Z.G.

    In my paraphrase for “Germany” you can also add in Austria, France, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and others. I would imagine that had the German troops followed on at Dunkirk the situation for the Jews in British society would not have been all that much different than mainland Europe….

  31. farrockgrandma says:

    It is easy to say that our values our different, marriage has a more serious meaning for us than it does for the outside world, but how can we insulate our homes and our children from the popular culture and attitudes?
    I have already seen a MO teenager attending a yeshiva high school who believes that the rest of us are hopeless bigots. What do we say when members of the extended family live the LGTB life? What happens when a Jewish teen wants to attend a yeshiva, and his parents are a same gender pair?
    The resurgence in Yiddishkeit and the Baal Teshuva successes are largely affected by the way the frum world engages with the secular world, how will we continue in the future?

  32. Steve Brizel says:

    R Broyde-the Talmud in Chulin 92 posits that Egypt, as a society, never recovered from allowing thye writing of ksuvos for same gender marriages.

  33. Benshaul says:

    Without opining on the merits of the article, Chazal DO tell us that there are 3 merits for the nations of the world. One of them is that they do NOT write a “kesuba” for homosexual marriage. One wonders what that will mean for the future of this great country. As a proud American, for the first time-I truly fear for it’s future.

  34. Raymond says:

    Too bad I came to this discussion far too late. It is too overwhelming for me to read most of the many comments made so far. All I will say here, is that it seems to me, that the soundness of any given gentile society, must be based on to what extent they follow the Seven Noachide laws, regardless of whether they do so consciously or not. Judging by that criteria, the acceptance of male homosexual behavior as a viable alternative lifestyle, is not a positive reflection on our society at all. It is not progress, but rather a regression into Roman Paganism. Gay marriage is simply the way for Leftists to sanction that lifestyle.

    Furthermore, this is not really a matter of increasing freedom in our society at all. On the contrary, it forces all of us to accept a lifestyle completely contrary to Torah morality. Thus the famous case of that family-run bakery that had to go out of business, when some homosexual activists tried to force that bakery to bake a cake for a gay wedding. What is to stop some antisemitic activists from forcing a kosher food store to sell bacon, or to force Orthodox Rabbis to perform a mixed marriage ceremony…not only between a Jew and gentile, but between two men, or between two transvestites? The point is, that once society deviates from living according to the Seven Noachide laws, there is no limit to how civilized society quickly deteriorates and then comes to an end, not with a bang, but with a whimper.

  35. Joe Hill says:

    I’ll accept polygamous marriage far quicker and far more easily than same sex marriage. The former has a legitimate basis, the latter does not.

  36. Steve Brizel says:

    I think that Tal Benschar has hit the nail on the head with the following observation:

    “In my view, this is the main danger here: society is growing increasingly hostile to any deviation from any opinion that deviates from complete acceptance of homosexuality as the moral equivalent of heterosexual. The recent Indiana blowup is a taste of things to come,”

    The website of Commentary Magazine has a linked article about what happened to a professor at Marquette University, who deviated from the above PC consensus-Such incidents require us to reject apologetics and/or feel squeamish about RFRAs on a state level, which emphasize that the First Amendment’s freedom of religion clause contains both a free exercise of religion clause as well as an establishment of religion clause-which many secular Jews consciously or otherwise view as as their expression of a secular creed.

  37. Steve Brizel says:

    Those of us who followed the oral argument in the Supreme Court on the recent case with gay rights should have noted the response of the Solicitor General to a query from one of the Justices as to the relationship between free exercise of religion and civil rights

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