Same Sex Marriage – A Debate For Our Times

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49 Responses

  1. Bob Miller says:

    While our influence is limited and non-Jews choose to live in their own, often strange, ways, it’s very bad to live in swamps of brilliantly justified depravity and anarchy. While we’re stuck out here in exile, we have a vital interest in the well-being of our host nations for their good and ours. The more engaged we are with the outside, the more we need the outside to stay civilized. We see that much of what passes for law in America is in direct opposition to the actual Constitution, but that pendulum may someday swing back. We can give it our own little push.

  2. Steve Brizel says:

    It is difficult to read RBroydes piece and not sadly conclude that he is advocating that we as a means of tactical apologrtics surrender what Rambam includes inSefer Kedusha of the Yad and what we read from.the Torah on YK at Mincha as distinctly Jewish values .such an approach must IMO be rejected and is rejected every time we answer Amen to the brachos at a chupah.

  3. Joseph K says:

    “…and has led to individuals of faith being penalized for use of religiously-mandated speech.” Rav Gordimer – can you clarify this sentence? What is the halachic mandate that necessitates the use of a specific pronoun in everyday life? I ask not to condone the LGBT movement, but to ensure that we are very clear what offenses we level against them.

  4. Zave Rudman says:

    I would like to add that based on the Gemarra in chulin 92a and the Midrash in vayikra Rabbah 23,9 we have a great interest in this discussion. The Midrash says that the mabul was a result of writing a kesubah for sane sex marriage. Even though that is not a Halachic source, the discussion here is meta Halachic and Midrash forms an important and crucial part of the process.

  5. Raymond says:

    I find myself agreeing with Rabbi Broyde in the sense that we Jews, for the sake of our survival, should try to stay out of trouble as much as possible. antisemitism has killed off so many of our Jewish ancestors, that perhaps the less we are seen and heard from, the better the chances we have to outlive our haters.

    Having said that, I cannot help but wonder why G-d put us Jews on this Earth in the first place. Yes, G-d created us to perform the 613 commandments, and to build our families and our Jewish communities, both local and around the world, with special emphasis, of course, on Israel. And yet I think our responsibilities extend far beyond that.

    G-d Himself commands us to be a Light unto the Nations. This entails not only serving as role models as G-d’s Treasured Nation, but also to teach the non-Jewish world about G-d and His expectations, which for non-Jews are the Seven Laws of Noah. One of those laws prohibits male homosexual behavior. This means that this issue is not just some fleeting political issue, but rather one of the most important laws to follow in order to create a truly civilized society. And so while I can see us remaining collectively silent on such hot-button exclusively political issues such as, say, taxes or illegal immigrantion, I just don’t see how we Jews can justify remaining silent on an issue that we really have a moral obligation to teach the world about. If anything, we Jews should be at the forefront of explaining to the world why it is necessary to prohibit male homosexual behavior, just as we have been teaching the world not to steal, not to commit adultery, and not to murder our fellow human beings (which is why we should also be at the forefront of those who oppose most abortions).

    But won’t such a stance make so many people that much more angry at us Jews? Well, first of all, antisemites do not need an excuse to hate us. They will hate us no matter what we say or do, and so we may as well stand up for what is right. For another thing, nobody said that we have to be obnoxious about it. Poking fun at gays like I witnessed while a student in my younger days, is probably not the right approach to take. As the people who brought Absolute Morality to the world, it is our duty to find a way to present to the world that morality in a way that the world finds acceptable. Being a true leader means doing the right thing, no matter how much one’s detractors scream and holler.

  6. Avrohom Gordimer says:

    Joseph: My reference to “individuals of faith being penalized for use of religiously-mandated speech” was stated in regard to Dr. Makereth’s firing due to his fairth-based refusal to call a biological man a woman. And violation of California Senate Bill 219, by intentionally calling a transgender person by his biological gender (even for reason of religious convictions), can theoretically land a person in jail for a year. In NYC, it can result in overwhelming monetary fines.

  7. Rafael Quinoaface says:

    I am unsure where R’ Broyde gets that Orthodox opposition is encouraging actions that goes against religious liberty. Rather, what I am seeing is that the same-sex rights movement is inherently anti-religious, in that it hates traditional Western religions as being the source of their discrimination, and as they are gaining more power, clout and legal rights, will use that power to ensure that traditional Judaism, among others, will be unable to say or do anything that discriminates. Those actions are independent of anything that we, as frum Yidden, do or say. I would also add another reasons to support R’ Gordimer’s POV: that at a time when you have OO clergy providing a message that is not neutral, but that hails the SC decision making same-sex marriage as lawful and gives support to these legal and social changes, with only some brief reference to the issurim, if at all, that we, as frum Yidden, have to stand up and show that OO does not speak for us and do not speak for the Torah HaKedoshah.

  8. M. Cohen says:

    The severity of the issue of homosexuality is such (one of the gimmel chamuros) that it is religiously impossible for anyone committed to a Torah life to accept R. Broyde’s view. As odd as this may sound to modern liberal ears, it really is no different than than for example, accepting for political purposes the act of killing of innocent people. As well, if it became known that Orthodox Jews support gay “marriage, besides the massive chillul Hashem that would cause among the non-Jewish world, even worse would be the effect on the chinuch of our children. Neither would be sophisticated enough to differentiate between our political needs and our religious beliefs.

    As the constant barrage of contempt and cries of “hater” and “bigot” etc… are hurled at anyone who disagrees with the gay lobby’s agenda , we Orthodox Jews have a big challenge on our hands.

    Nonetheless, given the severity of their views which undermine our entire belief system on so many levels, we have no choice but to stand firm and not show any weakness or dissipation of our most basic beliefs. No we will not win popularity contests. Yes it might make our other governmental needs more of a challenge to acquire. However for the sake of our integrity and for the purity of our children we need to put our trust in G-d. If we stand up for Him and His Torah, He will protect us and enable us to continue to flourish.

  9. Choni says:

    Among the many problems of this piece is that it is presented as the sole argument in favor of Orthodox Jews sitting out the debate over gay marriage. While Rabbi Broyde takes a more legislative / strategic approach (which is not necessarily wrong), he ignores the fact that married couples have certain rights that unmarried couples do not have. As such, it is unfair, both morally and constitutionally, to allow heterosexuals access to rights that homosexuals do not have. (Unless, we as a community wish to continue to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that homosexuality does not exist). Perhaps the better argument would be to simply not take a stand, as it does not affect us. We as a community should not care about how others view “The Sanctity of Marriage”. As for Rabbi Gordimer’s piece, rather than go line by line and show why he is wrong, it may be better to simply refer to this quote of his “Poking fun at gays like I witnessed while a student in my younger days, is probably not the right approach to take.” To say that “poking fun at gays … is probably not the right approach to take” is antithetical to Orthodox Judaism, unless he thinks that is a legitimate form of tochacha. He should have said it is absolutely not the right thing to do and is an issue d’oraissa.

  10. Bruce says:

    A related — and perhaps stronger — argument for Orthodox non-opposition to same-sex marriage is a a commitment to the (classical) liberal position of maximal freedom. After all, we live in a diverse society, comprised of many people with many different value systems. We can engage in a war of all-against-all, with each group trying to influence the government to impose its values on others. Or we can adopt a more accommodating position, allowing people to live their lives as they see fit and channel disagreements into persuasive dialogue, not government mandate. I would think Orthodox Jews — a distinct minority with many views and practices outside the mainstream of American society — would favor such an approach.

    Of course, Orthodox Jews, like everyone else, should use try to use speech, reason, and persuasion to persuade others to follow a better path. Doing so this way, as opposed to government fiat, respects the dignity of the individual to choose a path, rather than having the path mandated by the government.

    Let me offer a few examples of other issues with halachic challenges. I would ask R. Gordimer and others on his side if they would support using the machinery of government in the following cases, and if not, why not.

    1. Suppose the federal government (or a state government) proposes a law prohibiting idol worshipping. (Suppose this could be more precisely defined and that definition with in accordance with halacha.) Such practices violate both halacha and the Noachide laws. Put aside the Free Exercise issue (and the potential Establishment Clause issue). On purely political grounds, would you support or oppose this law?

    2. Suppose the government decides that increased religious observance is important for national life. It passes a law imposing a small fine on people who violate certain religious laws. After consulting with leading halachic experts, the government decides that any Jew caught eating non-kosher food should be fined $20. (There are similar laws for other religious groups.) Would you support this law?

    And let me offer one more hypothetical with a slightly different question. Suppose a group decides to ban brit milah on the ground that it is male genital mutilation. The argument in favor of this is that it inflicts pain on an innocent baby, it is barbaric and cruel, it is based on a silly antiquated practice that has no relevance in today’s modern world, and if the child really wants this, he can elect to have it done once he turns 18. The Jewish world makes all the obvious counter arguments. And the proponents of this law then say “You tried to impose your worldview on us when you opposed same-sex marriage. In fact, Rabbi Gordimer once argued ‘There are times when one is faced with defending values that are antithetical to his own . . . .’ That’s exactly what we are doing. Allowing the infliction of pain on a baby for bad reasons is a value that is antithetical to our own. We are defending that value, just as you defended your values.”

    What is the theoretical counter argument to that? Note that “we are right and you are wrong” cannot prevail against someone who thinks that they are right and you are wrong. Note also that “we have the political power to impose our views” works when it does, and fails when your opponents has such political power. Is there any neutral principle that would allow us to defend brit milah against such an attack?

  11. Steve Brizel says:

    It is not unimaginable to think that a kiruv group would ne denied access to a college campus because it rejects the LGBT agenda

  12. Avrohom Gordimer says:

    Choni: My article says nothing about “poking fun at gays” and has nothing to do with that issue. Can you please explain to what you refer?

  13. Bob Miller says:

    Would a country that forced us to be silent about grossly immoral behavior, or even to endorse it as an acceptable option—among ourselves or in the general population—deserve our continued presence?

  14. New Yorker says:

    It remains unclear to me whether Rabbi Gordimer and those who agree with him are making a pragmatic argument or a principled one. In other words, does Rabbi Gordimer believe that the Orthodox community must oppose same-sex marriage and other laws that reflect values antithetical to halachic life because of the slippery slope effect of a society whose values are at odds with ours, or because we have an obligation to inject Torah values into mainstream society.

    There is tension between those goals. If the goal is to pragmatically protect our way of life, we might be far better off seeking broad religious exemptions that let us lead our lives as we deem appropriate. But opposing what others seek for themselves — which is required if we are compelled to seek our values adopted for others — is probably not the best way to achieve what we want for ourselves.

    The same tension arises as Orthodox communities seek to navigate the political process. If this is a pursuit of principle, Orthodox Jews in California, New York and many places in between will effectively be marginalized, since there will be no elected officials (at least currently) with whom to associate. Of course, if this is about principle, the goal will be to build a movement so that one day there will be elected officials whose positions on the moral issues of the day reflect Orthodox values.

    Many of Rabbi Gordimer’s rationales seem to suggest a pragmatic purpose. But if this is about the ends, then all we are doing is arguing about the means. That is not a moral debate. And if this is a matter of pure principle, we should acknowledge the costs associated with that approach.

  15. mb says:

    We have strong ideas about sexual orientation in Judaism – ideas that are more than 3,000-years-old – but we do not seek to impose those ideas on society.”
    Rabbi Lord Sacks

  16. Avrohom Gordimer says:

    New Yorker: My argument is one of principles, not pragmatics. I utilized pragmatics to show in part why I do not accept Rabbi Broyde’s position, but the paramount factor is one of principles, as the latter part of my article indicates.

    This is not about pushing our practices upon others. The democratic process allows each group in society to try to craft a society that it feels is most proper – and Orthodox Jews have no less of a role and a privilege in this than do all other groups.

    As I wrote at the end of my article, whether or not the Orthodox community should take a proactive leadership role in opposing same-sex marriage needs to be worked out. But the issue to which I was replying in my article is whether or not Orthodoxy should accept same-sex marriage as a matter of law and thereby forge liberty coalitions with same-sex marriage promoters. This is a question of principles, as I view it.

  17. David Ohsie says:

    “Let us imagine that aligning with the promoters of the legalization of prostitution would serve to broaden support for governmental noninterference in the area of personal, intimate relationships, with the goal of assuring batei din (rabbinic courts) the necessary powers and autonomy to better enforce their rulings in cases of religious marriage and divorce within the Orthodox community. ”

    What would be the problem with that? To begin with, Noachide law doesn’t prohibit prostitution. In addition, as in many other areas, even if you think that prostitution should be discouraged, prohibition may cause more harm than good, because prostitution will still occur, but now under the control of a criminal enterprise.

  18. David Ohsie says:

    “Furthermore, and above all, Orthodoxy cannot dilute or distort its positions in order to score points. Factors of chillul Hashem and religious integrity are not subject to compromise.”

    This is not a very traditional position. Traditionally, we will lie a little about halacha or even violate what would otherwise be the halachah in order to get along better with the Gentiles. Violation of Shabbos to save the life of a Gentile are giving charity to Gentiles are permitted/required so that we get along better. The disclaimers printed in Seforim about how the Gentiles referred to in said Seforim are not the Gentiles of “this place” is another example. I don’t think that we need to even get this far, but if we do, certainly, this is not our traditional approach.

  19. Choni says:

    I accidentally was referring to a comment, rather than a statement you made. Instead, we can look at the silliness of this statement “Let us imagine that aligning with the promoters of the legalization of prostitution would serve to broaden support for governmental noninterference in the area of personal, intimate relationships, with the goal of assuring batei din (rabbinic courts) the necessary powers and autonomy to better enforce their rulings in cases of religious marriage and divorce within the Orthodox community. God forbid that we should align ourselves with the prostitution lobby, for the chillul Hashem and threat to the integrity of Orthodox Judaism would clearly not tolerate it. Same-sex marriage is worse in the eyes of the Torah than prostitution, and all the more so must we therefore not enter into liberty coalitions with the promoters thereof.” You set up a straw man and then tear it down – prostitution is a crime and same sex marriage is not – to try and compare the two is to try and equate the two in reader’s minds. Also, if you read R. Broyde’s piece not as advocating support, but simply remaining silent, then your entire argument goes away. There would be no chillul Ha-shem in not taking sides. If you actually mean “Our Sages exhort us to avoid being in an environment that flouts Torah values and sensibilities; need we approve and voluntarily create such an environment by sanctioning same-sex marriage in every jurisdiction?”, then you should probably find a theocracy, and try to live there – as our U.S. ideals of personal liberty will not pass muster with your religiuos “morals” test of where you should live.

  20. Dr bill says:

    We need a new expression: the road to hell is paved with quotes from the Rav ztl

  21. David Ohsie says:

    “We just read of the firing of Dr. David Mackereth, a 26-year veteran of National Health Services in the UK, for refusing to refer to a transgender biological male patient as a female, due to Dr. Mackereth’s religious convictions.”

    Slippery slope arguments are not coherent in the context where we’re already halfway down the slope. Same-sex marriage is already legal. Orthodox public opposition to it is going to lead people (and has led people) to consider the Orthodox as bigots less worthy of liberty protections, not more worthy. While even unpopular opinions deserves protection, do really we want ourselves to be considered more like, say, the neo-fascists who only grudgingly get protection for their speech?

  22. M. Cohen says:

    CHONI: You wrote: While Rabbi Broyde takes a more legislative / strategic approach (which is not necessarily wrong), he ignores the fact that married couples have certain rights that unmarried couples do not have. As such, it is unfair, both morally and constitutionally, to allow heterosexuals access to rights that homosexuals do not have. (Unless, we as a community wish to continue to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that homosexuality does not exist)
    -Although I am sure this was not your intent, it seems by your statement that you have accepted the idea of the redefinition of marriage. Although homosexuality has always existed, never before in modern history has it been deemed worthy of the title marriage. (other than Midrash Rabbah in Parshas Noach which mentions some sort of marriage document written for these relationships). Never since then has any other society sunk to such a low level.

    Therefore your point that it is unfair that these couples should not be treated any differently seems like an acknowledgement that there is some sort of “truth” to modern notions of marriage.

    As Orthodox Jews I do not believe we can ever publicly and all the more so privately make that statement. It is so far removed from our sphere of thinking that even the thought of such a “marriage” should cause us to shudder in horror. They call this homophobia but yes homophobia is a Torah value no different than non kosher food-phobia, michallel shabbos-phobia or fear of any other avera phobia. We should all be proud to have these phobias as they are a healthy part of our spiritual lives. (how about a “pride” parade celebrating our fear of G-d!!)

    Of course we have all (myself included) been exposed to the constant barrage of “positive” assessments of this lifestyle from the media. They are trying so hard to make us think of ourselves as haters or bigots for clinging to our most basic Torah ideology. This is 100% an attempt by the Yetzer Hara (remember him?) to knock off chas v’ shalom the last remaining faithful Jews.

    In my humble opinion, every honest Jew who cleaves seriously to Torah should make every attempt to be on spiritual guard never to become callous or complacent on this issue. To the extent we have lost a sense of sadness and disgust at this lifestyle and its constant promotion around the world, we have lost a big part of our neshama, our connection to Torah and to G-d.

  23. Rafael Quinoaface says:

    In respect of R’ Broyde’s claim of forging a coalition with SS activists or other such lobbyists to obtain exemptions, do we have any examples of this? If we do, did it work?

    As I understand it, the exemptions coming about are introduced by governments on their own account, organically, and are not the result of any outside groups lobbying or pressuring for such exemptions. If that’s the case, then what good is it to align ourselves with groups that are anathema to our values when we don’t need to do so?

  24. Avrohom Gordimer says:

    Choni:

    1. I do not refer to gay marriage and prositution in terms of their criminality, but in terms of their moral (Torah) status.
    2. Rabbi Broyde was not merely suggesting that we remain silent: “If we acknowledge that their basic right to marry and not be discriminated against is protected…”
    3. The fact that the US is a free country does not mean that we should seek to be exposed to parts of it that engender environments condemned by the Torah. (You also write, “…you should probably find a theocracy, and try to live there – as our U.S. ideals of personal liberty will not pass muster with your religiuos “morals” test of where you should live.” – I think your words are very inaccurate from a Torah viewpoint.)

    David Oshie:
    1. My argument is not a slippery slope one.
    2. I don’t think that opposing gay marriage will get us labeled as neo-fascists; has such occurred with the Catholics and many other churches who oppose it? (And, as I wrote, whether or not we proactively make an issue out of our position is another thing, but we cannot change our statement of beliefs when push comes to shove, as a matter of principle.)

  25. Jeff Schwartz says:

    Edited to fix the typos:

    Much of Rabbi Broyde’s argument seems to be predicated on a 1990 US Supreme Court case wherein more liberal justices were more pro-religious liberty than their more conservative colleagues. But much has changed in the liberal world since 1990. In that world today, religion, with the apparent exception of Islam, is seen as backward and primitive, forcing antiquated and intolerant views on a progressive, more enlightened society. It is difficult to imagine the current liberal justices on the Court ever taking the kind of pro-religious liberty view that Brennan and Marshall took in 1990, especially when the issue is the liberty of a religious person conflicting with the rights of a person liberals view to be an oppressed and less privileged minority. The rights of a religious Christian or Jew are irrelevant if enforcing such rights will mean diminishing the rights of racial minorities, gays, or women. This is the fight we face today, a fight that did not exist yet in 1990.

    That said, I would agree that, other than the Lubavitcher Rebbe, it does not appear that any poseik would hold that we have an obligation to assure that a non-Jewish government’s laws comply with the Noahide Laws. Without such an obligation, we might be well-advised not to take public positions that will just make matters worse by increasing the opposition of liberals and leftists to virtually anything and anyone religious. We may in the near future face battles over things like bris milah and shechitah, as Jews have seen and are seeing in parts of Europe.

  26. David Ohsie says:

    “It is so far removed from our sphere of thinking that even the thought of such a “marriage” should cause us to shudder in horror. They call this homophobia but yes homophobia is a Torah value no different than non kosher food-phobia, michallel shabbos-phobia or fear of any other avera phobia. We should all be proud to have these phobias as they are a healthy part of our spiritual lives.”

    Actually, this is not the Rambam’s approach. He distinguishes clearly between things like murder (Mishpatim) where the very desire to do the act is sinful and things like eating Treif (Chukim) where the desire to do that act is completely fine; we’re just not allowed to do them. Arayos are classified under the second category. So there is no “kosher food-phobia”. What you should say is that you completely understand that a gay man would like to marry another gay man. He has all the same desires for intimacy and marriage that we praise in straight except that he is wired to desire other men and instead of women.

    Your position that “homophobia” is good is quite harmful. There are many kids in orthodox schools, who, when they reach puberty, realize that they are gay. Promoting the attitude that you propose causes them no end of shame and embarrassment for who they are and drives them from Orthodoxy (which you might view as a good thing).

  27. dave says:

    Bruce –

    On a purely practical level, the people most likely to argue that bris milah is “male genital mutilation”, showing their deep care for babies, are the ones who promote abortion right up until birth (and sometimes even afterwards). Their deep care is only noise. Their real target is the Ribono Shel Olam.

  28. David Ohsie says:

    For those who think that we should be taking a public anti-gay marriage stance, do you say the same for “Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson”. This was the case that overturned anti-blasphemy laws in the US. Do you think that such anti-blasphemy laws should be reinstated?

  29. lacosta says:

    i am not sure which party is right . but know this . haredi life in UK will conceivably cease to exist over Gay education in their schools , in an effort to end discrimination and to be a good British citizen….

  30. Steve Brizel says:

    The issue is how we stand on the issue of the slow and steady eradication of religious liberty by judicial and administrative fiat in tbe name of personal lifextyles that the Torah deems abhorrent. The Torah and the Talmud also discusses Asnon Zonah and Issurei Arayos that are vuolated every day and that shohld be abhorrent to any Torah observant Jew.

  31. mycroft says:

    “If that’s the case, then what good is it to align ourselves with groups that are anathema to our values when we don’t need to do so?”
    Belief in a God that we believe is false is not “anathema to our values”?

  32. Bruce says:

    R. Gordimer wrote (in a comment): “The democratic process allows each group in society to try to craft a society that it feels is most proper – and Orthodox Jews have no less of a role and a privilege in this than do all other groups.”

    Is this the really the vision of American society you want — different groups trying to “craft” society in accordance with their vision of what is “proper” by imposing that vision by government fiat? If so (as I asked in a comment above), what principled argument would you make in response to someone who feels it is most proper to ban bris milah on infants?

    Wouldn’t a far better vision of American democratic society be to recognize our (often very significant) differences, promote freedom to the greatest degree possible to allow individuals to live their lives in accordance with their own vision, and channel disagreements into discussion and persuasion rather than government mandate?

  33. Bob Miller says:

    David Ohsie,

    Let’s say that we very simply announced in public that Torah law (written + oral) is binding on us now as always. Somebody would object! Would you? Would you rather have the public believe that we’ve gone “progressive” and we no longer worry about the charter of our existence? Do we just lay low and vainly hope others will think we’re just like them? What if we also made our traditional understanding of the obligations of Bnai Noach better known?

    This prevalence of the idea that true assertions about our faith will get us in trouble in today’s America ought to make us question how long we can hold out here.

  34. mavin says:

    Of course, agree totally with Rabbi Gordimer on this issue. The reason this issue concerns us is that the prohibition against this toeivah is a universal prohibition, part of the Seven Laws of Noach. A prohibition so great that H’ actually destroyed the world with the Great Flood because of it, where only Noah and his family were saved to restart humanity. Secondly, because of the liberalism of many secular Jews, there are many, r’l, Jewish youth & others who have been afflicted (which our Sages tell us rarely existed within the Jewish world). So this has also become a ‘Jewish’ problem. Of course, since these are very chaotic and confusing times as the world has reached a new low and even the Republic seems to be in some danger where freedoms are being chipped away, we as Jews need not make too much noise, but still must show H’ and the world that we care and make known that it is a Torah prohibition (and where the whole world accepted this prohibition up until now) therefore, we should not appease nor agree with those who say it is, c’v, okay. H’ is watching and the great Judgment day is getting closer and closer.

  35. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft-temporal alliances in politics tend to attract partners who have a common foe even if and when the partners have their own ideological differences of a major nature. The US was aided by France in fighting the Revolutionary War. The US and UK allied with Stalin Ymach Shmo against Hitler Ymach Shmo as well. The US , Israel and much of the Arab world have a common enemy-Iran,. The US continues to pay the tab for NATO despite the fact that Americans, not Europeans are expected to fight for freedom in Europe and the EU members enjoy the benefits of socialist welfare states far more than spending the necessary resources to participate as true partners in self defense ( It was only because of American intervention that Germany was defeated in both WWI and WW2). Regardless of our major hashkafic differences with the evangelicals, they both support preserving the family against the onslaught of the LGBT movement and its goals and the socialist progressive ideology that the state knows more about parenting than parents and strongly support Israel-The only Jews who view evangelicals as anti Semites and are threatened even remotely in any way are those who are insecure in their own commitment to Yiddishkeit, and view the progressive program as their definition of Judaism. When civil rights morphed and segued into affirmative action, quotas and identity politics that should have been a clear signal that free exercise of religion would be viewed as an obstacle to the ramming of the LGBT and progressive agenda down our communal threats via administrative and judicial fiat.

  36. Steve Brizel says:

    If one is interested in seeing how the “civil rights coalition” frayed apart-look at the 1968 teachers strike, the failed attempt to build a scatter site housing project in Forest Hills and the SCOTUS decisions on affirmative action and quotas. As of this date, the progressive-socialist mayor of New York has expressed approval of plans to destroy the merit based admissions criteria for Bronx High School of Science , Stuyversant and Brooklyn Poly Tech. ironically , Harvard is facing serious federal court litigation predicated that it allegedly discriminates against Asians.

  37. Steve Brizel says:

    David Ohsie wrote in relevant part:
    “Actually, this is not the Rambam’s approach. He distinguishes clearly between things like murder (Mishpatim) where the very desire to do the act is sinful and things like eating Treif (Chukim) where the desire to do that act is completely fine; we’re just not allowed to do them.

    Orthodox public opposition to it is going to lead people (and has led people) to consider the Orthodox as bigots less worthy of liberty protections, not more worthy. While even unpopular opinions deserves protection, do really we want ourselves to be considered more like, say, the neo-fascists who only grudgingly get protection for their speech?

    Let me suggest the following response:
    1)Rambam defines Sefer Kedusha as including Maacalos Asuros and Issurei Biah. Take a look at Rambam’s history lesson in the beginning of Hilcos Ishus where Rambam clearly sets forth how and why Kiddushin between a Jewish man and woman is the only halachically acceptable means of marriage.

    2) Ramban writes that the LBGT agenda was well known in ancient times in Egypt Canaan and Greece. (It was also widespread in Rome, medieveal and modern Europe as well) It is neither primitive nor unenlightened or supportive of a neofascist POV , to say the least, that such values cannot be reconciled in any way with with Torah observance and should be repudiated as repugnant. Claims of widespread homosexuality in the Orthodox world are fan fiction and the product of an imagination that is jealous of the strong family values and the desire and striving for Yiddishe nachas in our families children and grandchildren. We read Parshas Acharei Mos on YK to remind ourselves that we can live in the most sophisticated and powerful society in the world, but a society whose values are decadent and a clear and present danger to ourselves and our families.

  38. Steve Brizel says:

    The road tohell is not paved with quotations from any Gadol , but rather in attempting to minimize the contemporary relevance and importance of Talmud Torah Lishma and the critical importance of a normal family unit consisting of a father, mother and children who are proudly aware of their role as transmitting the timeless values of the past today to the future.

  39. Steve Brizel says:

    Here is a simple quiz that any student of American and Jewish history in the 20th Century should be able to answer:

    1) Name the president who ignored the Holocaust, was not loyal to his wife and agreed to the de facto creation of the Iron Curtain?
    2) Name an anti Semite who recognized the State of israel.
    3) Name the president who was unprepared for a meeting with Krushchev and was greeted with a version of Yom Huledet Sameach publicly.
    4) Name the president who offered Israel no help in 1967 thanks to the anti war Democrats in the Senate.
    5) name the president who would resign almost one year later who ordered that everything and anything be flown to help Israel during the YK war.
    6) Name president who claimed to be a friend but in reality was anti Israel both in and out of office
    7) Name the president who threatended a reevaluation of American policy towards Israel
    8) Name the candidate for president who advocated America Come Home and had a terriblly left wing and anti Israel record
    9) Name the friend of Israel who supplied the Saudis with tankers and went to the grave of an SSman
    10) Name the president who was a centrist Democrat and a friend of Israel but who never understood pshat in Lo Sinaaf
    11) Name the president who took a helicopter ride over Yehuda v Shomron and defended Israel’s right to defend itself against the second Intifada and whose approval of the surge won the war in Iraq
    12) Name the president who supplied Israel but in his heart never understood why there was a strong American and Israeli alliance, who failed to fight terror domestically or anywhere else, used the administrative agencies to promote a hard left agenda and mobilized the IRS against his opponents?
    13) Name the president who has stood by Israel, walked away from the appeasement motivated deal with iran, insisted on NATO paying its share and has recognized that Federal courts are not a legislature, but courts that try certain causes and controversies.

    The correct answers to these questions will help anyone recognize that political alliances are best when rooted in realpolitik considerations, as opposed to wishful thinking about intellectual and philosophical compatibility.

  40. Raymond says:

    I may know the answers to at least some of Steve Brizel’s questions: 1) Franklin Roosevelt 2) Joseph Stalin 3) perhaps John Kennedy 4) Lyndon Johnson 5) Richard Nixon 6) Jimmy Carter 7) Barack Obama 8) George McGovern 9) Ronald Reagan 10) Bill Clinton 11) George W Bush 12) Barack Obama 13) Donald Trump

  41. Michael Broyde says:

    Thank you all for your many comments. I wanted to reinforce two points as distinct, yet both important.
    The first is halachic. It is clear to me that there is a huge halachic difference between conduct that violates Jewish law (or Noachide law) that is voluntary and consensual and those that are involuntary. There is no obligation to protest the former (and in the right situation) it is permitted to support them. This is why halachic organizations have regularly endorsed religious freedom, even though so many applications of religious freedom entail a violation of Jewish or Noachide law. We endorse religious liberty since it serves our interests and halacha imposes on us no obligation to the contrary. This is exactly what Rav Moshe means in the reference I provided.
    This is in direct contrast to violations of Jewish or Nachide law that entails involuntary violations. As Rav Moshe notes in his teshuva to Governor Carey, secular society bears a duty to prevent violence to its members and can use force to prevent that. Sexual liberty is no more complex as a matter of halacha than religious religious liberty. Both can be miss-used and violations of halacha can be present. But, so long as the violators are voluntary, we bear no formal obligation to protest and we can join as needed. I see no other honest read of the halacha.
    The second issue is merely my opinion as to what is practically wise for the Jewish community in America. I, of course, think that my read of the tea leaves is correct and other policies are unwise. Furthermore, I every expert I have spoken to agrees with this approach. But, I am not a prophet and I could be wrong about this. It is important to distinguish between timeless halacha and timely application and mere political realities as I see them.

  42. Bob Miller says:

    In America, we are ever more awash in “voluntary and consensual” abominations that intrude into our spiritual and physical space. If we really are compelled to let this trend continue, for lack of legal or political means to turn it back, that argues for maximizing our cultural isolation in a decidedly unmodern Orthodoxy. Yes, we can still spot some good—the remains of high culture, undistorted science, and whatnot—among the bad, but that’s dwindling.

  43. Steve Brizel says:

    Rabbi Broyde – we know that freedom.of speech and free exercise of religion are viewed by many on the left including many legal thinkers as inferior to the absolute self proclaimed drsire and “right” of the LGBT agenda snd its advocates to be treated as “normal” at the expense of any and all
    dissenting views and especially the Torah.if that means we must take to the political and cultural ramparts so be it. We should reject any Marcusian based view as was voiced by Hillary Clinton that we must jettison what we forms Sefer Kedusha.

  44. Steve Brizel says:

    Simple hypothetical question- a Kiruv group is,denied access to distibute literature on a college campus because the Torah RL is deemed offensive to the LGBT agenda and women. I think that such a ban is violative of the First Amendment and would not survive a court challenge.

  45. Steve Brizel says:

    If rhe SCOTUS moves conservative i think that we will see more cases underscoring the simpla fact that the free exercise clause should not be neuteed of meaning.

  46. Steve Brizel says:

    R Broyde a prominent former member of Cardozos faculty is not just a free exercise minimaliat she is hostile to free exercise of religion and served as co counsel in a case in which she claimed that approving tbe buding of an.eruv was unconstitutional. Such views must be fought in tne academy and tbe courtroom.

  47. mycroft says:

    “ormer member of Cardozos faculty is not just a free exercise minimaliat she is hostile to free exercise of religion and served as co counsel in a case in which she claimed that approving tbe buding of an.eruv was unconstitutional. ”

    I once attended a lecture by Prof Hamilton-I,saw it advertised a topic on religious rights. I incorrectly thought Id here an objective analysis or one somewhat sympathetic to religion.I was incorrect, a Cardozo Law Prof. I heard a lecture from one who had great sarcasm and contempt for religion.IMO one could have different levels which one could reasonably expect different results on trade offs of religious belief versus societal norms.

  48. Steve Brizel says:

    Professsor Hamilton’s written record and cases in which she has appeared show a not just a minimalist approach to free exercise of religion but rather a hostile POV. She received an award from a prominent atheist group for her writings and efforts.

  49. Steve Brizel says:

    Very important and instructive article on culture clashes and class wars and especially in this century.https://www.firstthings.com/article/2018/08/culture-war-as-class-war

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