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Monday, June 29, 2015

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 beliefs.”

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 paragraph.
Kennedy emphasized 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 same-sex marriage.
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. 

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At 1:03 AM, Blogger Hutzpan said...

With our BAGAZ, I wouldn't count on that :(

At 7:05 AM, Blogger 2senseplain said...

Don't be too sure the plague won't spread here. Moshe Yaalon, who is supposed to be Defense Minister (cabinet level in other words), and supposed to be religious was quoted yesterday commenting that Israel should imitate the US in this matter. Since there is no civil marriage in Israel, the consequences would be immediate.

At 1:07 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


I don't think Yaalon is dati. Cannot recall ever seeing him with a kipa.

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...

Just a question...

Do you care if your kids are taught English/math/etc by a gay teacher? Or is the issue only Torah?

At 4:53 AM, Blogger Baruch Who? said...

As goes SCOTUS so goes the Israeli Supreme Court. The sad and unfortunate decision by the SCOTUS will impact Israeli law sooner or later. I hope that I'm wrong on this prediction.

At 9:02 AM, Blogger Inmemoryof Yossi said...

I think Carl would agree with me on this.
I don't want my kids taught by someone who robs. Someone who lies. Someone who has an affair. Someone who mocks my religion.
Basically, what I am saying is, as Carl said, kids should look up to their teachers. They serve an important developmental position, that of one of their many role models. Suppose a math teacher openly admits to a class of students he annually cheats on his taxes. That is not someone I want my kids around.
We had a liberal teacher in our school. He told the kids point blank he doesn't believe in the Torah. He said Moses wrote it, and the Red Sea never spilt. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to hear he wasn't returning this past year. He didn't belong in our school.
Just like a religious school isn't going to hire a secretary who dresses like a Hooters waitress, they shouldn't be forced to hire a teacher who is openingly gay. This would be tantamount to a yeshiva or cheder condoning that behavior. Just like if they knew a teacher wasn't shomer shabbos. Or brought ham sandwiches to school. It's against our beliefs. Even the non- Jewish teachers know the dress code, and that certain things are off limits. No Christmas, Halloween, etc.
I wouldn't want my kids taught by an openingly gay teacher. Not at all.

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Yes, I agree with @InMemoryofYossi

At 7:11 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

There will no doubt be turmoil within Jewish communities as day schools stake out positions on who they will hire, what they will teach, etc.

My Rabbi (Chabad) basically took the approach that it is incumbent on parents to ensure that their kids are taught the right values through appropriate vetting of day schools. Progressive/liberal community day schools that are less rigorous in Torah values education and teaching by appropriate example need to be scrutinized. Tax status be damned.

I don't see a happy solution. The one suggested be Rand Paul, notwithstanding his poor standing among most US Jews, may wind up appropriate - just do away with tax exempt status and lower taxes.

That leaves the issue of public accommodations - a new protected class is emerging. Bakers, photographers, wedding halls, pizza shops, clergy take note.


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