American Orthodox Jews fearful of 'gay marriage' decision
Maybe this will be an impetus for American Orthodox Jews to make aliya. There's some real fear going around about the future implications of last week's US Supreme Court decision forcing the states to allow 'gay marriage' and how that might impact Orthodox Jewish institutions
[T]he Orthodox Jewish community has a different view. This was voiced
by, among others, the Orthodox Union and the Agudath Israel of America.
The latter, in a statement Friday, warned
that its members faced “moral opprobrium” and were in danger of
“tangible negative consequences” if “they refuse to transgress their
To judge by recent events, they are understating the
case. The whole campaign for same sex marriage, however high-minded its
ideals and however real — and all too often violent — the injustices
endured by same-sex couples, has been levied at the expense of religious
Jews and Christians. The U.S. Supreme Court majority knows that full
well. But it dodged the issue, with Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of
the majority opinion, giving the fears of religious Americans less than a
that “religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may
continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine
precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.” He noted that the
First Amendment, part of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, “ensures
that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as
they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central
to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue
the family structure they have long revered.”
That was a reference to the free speech part of the
First Amendment. But it was startling — shocking even — that the
majority gave no mention at all of the Constitution’s second principle
of religious protection, the right to the “free exercise” of religion.
That is where the battle lines are being drawn by liberal and left-wing
factions in America seeking to force religious individuals to embrace
In recent months, Americans have been reading about a
Christian baker who has been the subject of an enforcement action in
Colorado for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding,
a husband-and-wife clerical team that reportedly may have to close
their for-profit wedding chapel because they won’t hold same-sex
nuptials in it, and a New York family that is tangled in a legal
proceeding for refusing to rent out their home for a same-sex wedding
reception. A Catholic adoption agency that would not work with same-sex
couples has been forced out of its charitable work.
“In all likelihood, many of these rear-guard actions
against marriage equality will soon fall of their own weight,” Jeffrey
Toobin, who covers the Constitution for the New Yorker, wrote
after the Supreme Court spoke. “Like so many of their fellow-Americans,
wedding photographers and the like will make their peace with the new
rules that guarantee their neighbors an equal chance at happiness.
(Besides, they need the business.)” Maybe, but I’m not so sure things
will go as smoothly as he imagines in the Orthodox Jewish world.
“The issue here is not whether all human beings are
created in the Divine Image, or whether they have inherent human
dignity. Of course they are, of course they do,” the Agudah said in a
statement after Obergefell vs. Hodges was handed down. But it went on to
assert that “the truths of Torah are eternal, and stand as our beacon
even in the face of shifting social mores.” At some point this is going
to come to a head in a way that will test George Washington’s promise to
the Jews to a degree that we haven’t yet seen.
I'll shut the comments on this post if I have to, but I can tell you that I would not want my children taught by someone who is openly gay. No way. I want my children to be able to look up at their teachers as religious role models. Then again, since I live in Israel, it's unlikely that any of my children's schools (except for the children in university, which is a different category) could be forced to hire gay teachers.
Labels: Agudath Yisrael, American Jews, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, gays, Orthodox Jews, US Supreme Court