Jews! Gays! Jews and Gays!

 

Very nice piece this morning in the Wall Street Journal: an orthodox rabbi’s perspective on homosexuality. Unfortunately it’s behind the subscriber wall but if you can get your hands on a copy, take a look. I don’t agree that homosexuality offends God (if it did, he wouldn’t let them write all the good show tunes) but I love the rabbi’s classically Jewish sweetness and compassion, his willingness to negotiate with God to try to get the Big Guy to see things from our perspective a little. I was also taken aback by the idea – which he ascribes to Pat Robertson and other evangelicals – that homosexuality is “the greatest threat to marriage and the family.” Comes as a surprise to me. Frankly, the greatest threat to my shockingly blissful marriage has always been heterosexuality – namely mine and its indiscriminate attractions. Am I missing something here?

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @GoodBerean

    Wow! What a shamelessly honest and self effacing comment. You should be ashamed!

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    @flownover

    Maybe they are concerned with the issues involving the second generation of gays.

    Well, maybe not .

    New Homelanders in the mail !! Yeah !

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    @Midge
    Andrew Klavan: Frankly, the greatest threat to my shockingly blissful marriage has always been heterosexuality – namely mine and its indiscriminate attractions. Am I missing something here?

    No.

    You’ve just publicly admitted what just about every guy that I’ve known would admit in private — even the pious and good. Or perhaps especially the pious and good, since a big reason they stay pious and good is because they recognize the power that temptation has and they steel themselves beforehand to resist it.

    It’s undoubtedly something I’ll have to admit to myself one day, too, when the right distraction from my husband comes along, and I actually have to work at resisting this temptation myself.

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    @

    Homosexuality is the greatest threat to marriage and families? That’s sheer lunacy. Any of us could think of twenty other factors that represent a greater threat, starting with a government that taxes marriage and subsidizes illegitimacy.

    It’s way, way past time that this society end the gay wars, which are based on a few verses from the Old Testament and an irrational belief that the relationship of a couple of guys in Vermont poses a mortal threat to my marriage in California.

    What particularly ticks me off is that, over the decades, tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of gay people have served and sometimes died in military service to this country and yet we dishonor them as somehow not deserving of our gratitude.

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    @BlueAnt
    Andrew Klavan: Frankly, the greatest threat to my shockingly blissful marriage has always been heterosexuality – namely mine and its indiscriminate attractions. Am I missing something here?

    If we put on a certain set of blinders, it’s more accurate to say the threat is excessive sensuality, and homosexuality “opens up more options” for that to ruin a marriage. QED.

    (Around St Augustine’s time we were supposed to conquer that sensual impulse through godly living and thus set an example for all mankind… but I suppose invoking a higher calling than mere earthly concerns is quaint, trite, or passé now.)

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    @DianeEllis

    Kenneth:

    It’s way, way past time that this society end the gay wars, which are based on a few verses from the Old Testament and an irrational belief that the relationship of a couple of guys in Vermont poses a mortal threat to my marriage in California.

    Just to offer some time of balance here, I think a lot of people of faith — myself included — really struggle with the issue of homosexuality because it isn’t just a few verses from the OT. It’s also discussed in a condemnatory manner in the New Testament. As a Christian, my approach is to treat people with love and respect even if I disapprove of their actions. But what policies should I advocate on a local, state, and national level when it comes to homosexual marriage or DADT or gay adoption, etc? This is something I really have a hard time with.

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    @Midge
    Diane Ellis, Ed.

    But what policies should I advocate on a local, state, and national level when it comes to homosexual marriage or DADT or gay adoption, etc? This is something I really have a hard time with.

    How about this: that when there must be policies regarding such matters, that they be kept at as local a level of government as is possible.

    The way I see it, morality is like charity — or rather, upholding morality is a form of caritas. Christians increasingly acknowledge that, for spiritual as well as practical reasons, charity is better taken care of locally. Subsidiarity and all that. Why not take the same line with moral issues?

    The military, of course, is a national, rather than state, organ to begin with. But why shouldn’t various subsets of the Armed Services have the freedom to work out policies regarding this matter on their own? After all, with the admission of women into the military, the problem of amorous attachment interfering with unit cohesion or combat missions must be addressed one way or another, gays or no gays.

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    @
    Diane Ellis, Ed.

    . As a Christian, my approach is to treat people with love and respect even if I disapprove of their actions. But what policies should I advocate on a local, state, and national level when it comes to homosexual marriage or DADT or gay adoption, etc? This is something I really have a hard time with. · Oct 15 at 11:06am

    I think you just answered you own question. Treat gays with the same love and respect you offer to anyone else. Acknowledge that as human beings, they have the same rights – to marriage, military service or adoption – that you have.

    Don’t forget, Diane, it wasn’t too long ago that you – as a single woman – could not serve in the military or adopt a child. And it wasn’t so long ago that black citizens couldn’t marry across racial lines or serve side-by-side in the same military units as whites.

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    @AdamFreedman
    Kenneth

    Diane Ellis, Ed.

    . As a Christian, my approach is to treat people with love and respect even if I disapprove of their actions. But what policies should I advocate on a local, state, and national level when it comes to homosexual marriage or DADT or gay adoption, etc? This is something I really have a hard time with. · Oct 15 at 11:06am

    I think you just answered you own question. Treat gays with the same love and respect you offer to anyone else. Acknowledge that as human beings, they have the same rights – to marriage, military service or adoption – that you have.

    Oct 15 at 11:22am

    I must disagree. There’s no “right” to do any of those things. Marriage, military service, and adoption are creatures of the state, and the state gets to define them. And in defining them, the state can (and I think should) reach different conclusions. Western civilization has never defined warfare as a heterosexual institution. Marriage is different story, Judge Vaughn Walker notwithstanding.

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    @CatherineLynch

    I think we should come from the stance of live and let live. I personally have no interest in someone’s sexuality; however I find that the civil union should be sufficient. I believe marriage is a religious sacrament that the state has involved itself in. If you want to be married then I think that should be performed in a church and under the rules of that church. Anything other than that should be a civil union. I think someone’s eternal life is judged on more than sexuality (I would hope), however that is ultimately up to God. As a Christian I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, however I do feel that the Civil Union is an appropriate option for homosexuals whose legality is up to the voters in individual districts and states.

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    @
    Adam Freedman

    Kenneth

    Diane Ellis, Ed.

    . As a Christian, my approach is to treat people with love and respect even if I disapprove of their actions. But what policies should I advocate on a local, state, and national level when it comes to homosexual marriage or DADT or gay adoption, etc? This is something I really have a hard time with. · Oct 15 at 11:06am

    I think you just answered you own question. Treat gays with the same love and respect you offer to anyone else. Acknowledge that as human beings, they have the same rights – to marriage, military service or adoption – that you have.

    Oct 15 at 11:22am

    I must disagree. There’s no “right” to do any of those things. Marriage, military service, and adoption are creatures of the state, and the state gets to define them. And in defining them, the state can (and I think should) reach different conclusions. Western civilization has never defined warfare as a heterosexual institution. Marriage is different story, Judge Vaughn Walker notwithstanding. · Oct 15 at 11:33am

    So discrimination is just fine with you, right?

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    @

    Another thought for Diane:

    On three occasions, my life has been saved by Emergency Medical Technicians and emergency-room medical staff.

    I wasn’t in any condition to ask them if any of them were gay, but given that this happened in New York and the San Francisco area, the odds were pretty good.

    Somehow, it never occured to me, upon awakening in intensive care, to tell those folks, “Well, thanks for that. But, by the way, if any of you happens to be gay, don’t for a minute think that you’re entitled to the same rights I am.”

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    @
    Adam Freedman

    I must disagree. There’s no “right” to do any of those things. Marriage, military service, and adoption are creatures of the state, and the state gets to define them. And in defining them, the state can (and I think should) reach different conclusions. Western civilization has never defined warfare as a heterosexual institution. Marriage is different story, Judge Vaughn Walker notwithstanding. · Oct 15 at 11:33am

    As long as Adam you stipulate that the “state” in our Republic consists of the will of the people as expressed through their direct votes and/or elected representatives, then I think you and Kenneth agree and we don’t need to have another 200-post stream on gay marriage (please, please oh please).

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    @
    Trace Urdan

    then I think you and Kenneth agree and we don’t need to have another 200-post stream on gay marriage (please, please oh please). · Oct 15 at 11:51am

    I hear that Christine O’Donnell and Condoleeza Rice are engaged….

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    @Pseudodionysius

    I’m not itching for a guest contributor gig or anything like that, but it would be nice if one of our commenters was able to generate a substantive post synthesizing a live discussion into a post which could then be commented on. Sometimes, even with the most contentious topics, a read of the comments reveals a larger article waiting to be written.

    Just a thought.

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    @AdamFreedman
    Tommy De Seno: Or what if the government said just Adam Feedman can’t get marred?

    Well, I concede, one could do worse as a matter of public policy. But legally? That would be a Bill of Attainder. Come on, Tommy, throw me a tough one!

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    @TommyDeSeno
    Adam Freedman

    Tommy De Seno: Or what if the government said just Adam Feedman can’t get marred?

    Well, I concede, one could do worse as a matter of public policy. But legally? That would be a Bill of Attainder. Come on, Tommy, throw me a tough one! · Oct 15 at 1:04pm

    Good point.

    How about this one: Homosexuality is a desire, and we don’t chose our desires (we may chose to suppress them, but that’s different from chosing to have them).

    In what part of any Constitution, federal or state, is there a grant of power to the government to control an individual’s behavior based upon desire for another adult?

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    @BlueAnt
    Tommy De Seno How about this one: Homosexuality is a desire, and we don’t chose our desires.

    I’d like to let Robert A. Heinlein take a stab at that one:

    “The third ‘right’?—the ‘pursuit of happiness’? It is indeed unalienable but it is not a right; it is simply a universal condition which tyrants cannot take away nor patriots restore. Cast me into a dungeon, burn me at the stake, crown me king of kings, I can ‘pursue happiness’ as long as my brain lives—but neither gods nor saints, wise men nor subtle drugs, can ensure that I will catch it.”

    He was interpreting it in the sense of a positive right instead of the usual negative rights our Founders went for, but the corollary argument is that while governments can’t guarantee you desire fulfillment… they have a very real and legitimate interest in denying some desire fulfillment.

    If you buy that, you get into the question of what role marriage serves a (Western/American) society: mere desire fulfillment, or some larger role?

    (I’d include a line from Aristotle about marriage being the basic political block of society, but I hit the word limit!)

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    @Midge
    Tommy De Seno

    Homosexuality is a desire, and we don’t chose our desires (we may chose to suppress them, but that’s different from chosing to have them).

    In what part of any Constitution, federal or state, is there a grant of power to the government to control an individual’s behavior based upon desire for another adult? · Oct 15 at 1:12pm

    Eh, don’t a lot of states have adultery laws still on the books? An adulterer is desiring “another adult” — literally an other adult: an adult other than his/her spouse.

    There are state constitutions (like Mississippi’s) that mention adultery, at least. That seems to presuppose that it’s something the state has say in.

    Adulterers are, though, not just any adults, but adults violating a pre-existing contract or sacrament. This probably makes them a special case, legally, though I wouldn’t know, as I’m not a lawyer.

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    @JonathanMatthewGilbert

    Andrew, you’re getting up there with Claire when it comes to instigating :)

    Great article, thank you for pointing it out. I know I’ve said this before but I think it bears repeating that it’s very refreshing as a gay man (I’m not sure how many of us there are on here but my suspicion is not a lot…so far) to see a discussion about my rights, privileges, and general existence that for the most part is NOT offensive. Some of you are wrong, of course, but you’re at least polite, considerate, and sincerely compassionate. Try finding that in the comments section of any other article on the web talking about these things…

    (And Claire hasn’t had the chance yet to remove anyone from this discussion so it’s not just a matter of Ricochet policy; it’s the people involved.)

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    @TommyDeSeno

    Have to catch a train to our party in NY. Will respond later!

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    @DavidSchmitt
    Jonathan Matthew Gilbert

    EJHill

    There’s a surprising number of conservatives in musical theatre (by surprising I mean, more than just me), and a growing number of gay conservatives or at least angry moderates who feel the Democrats betrayed them.

    What, Jonathan, do you believe “gay conservatives or at least angry moderates” identify as the matters of betrayal by the Democrats?

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    @Pilgrim
    Jonathan Matthew Gilbert: Some of you are wrong, of course, but for you’re at least polite, considerate, and sincerely compassionate. Try finding that in the comments section of any other article on the web talking about these things…

    (And Claire hasn’t had the chance yet to remove anyone from this discussion so it’s not just a matter of Ricochet policy; it’s the people involved.) · Oct 15 at 1:34pm

    Its easy to be homoaverse (not -phobic, damn it) when you don’t know any gay people, but then you find out that you do — friends, relatives, and coworkers. Its a lot easier to just treat every one as if they were friends, relatives or coworkers. That, plus we are terrified of Claire

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    @WyleeCoyote
    Kenneth: an irrational belief that the relationship of a couple of guys in Vermont poses a mortal threat to my marriage in California. · Oct 15 at 10:55am

    Well, they might pose a threat to your marriage if they sell your wife a lot of expensive furniture. :)

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    @DavidSchmitt
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: ~Paules, your remark reminds me of this Onion article.

    Maybe this is an issue where life really does imitate the Onion (as the WSJ’s “Best of the Web” often reminds us). · Oct 15 at 2:50pm

    LAGALABATATA! MFR, I cannot stop laughing. That is an absolutely hilarious, tongue twister of an acronym.

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    @Claire
    ~Paules: When responsible members of the gay and lesbian community put a muzzle on the radicals, I’ll be willing to discuss gay marriage and DADT. Until then, I stand in opposition to the entire gay agenda, fair or not. · Oct 15 at 2:40pm

    It is unfair–grossly–not to mention irrational. I’m not sure how you’re proposing any American citizen “put a muzzle” on any other. (That doesn’t even sound legal to me–although maybe if two consenting adults are involved and it takes place in the privacy of their own homes, it’s okay.) Anyway, your principle broadly applied would intimate that no one’s opinions may be claimed as legitimate unless he has effectively silenced everyone with an extremist caricature of his opinions. Your own views on the subject would be by this logic illegitimate because you’ve failed to silence Fred Phelps.

    (Edited to correct a grammatical mistake.)

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    @

    I’m thinking that pretty soon Jonathan, Adam, and Tommy will all be at the bar at the Hyatt continuing and resolving this discussion. Please come back and let us know what you all decided!

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    @DavidSchmitt
    Wylee Coyote

    Kenneth: an irrational belief that the relationship of a couple of guys in Vermont poses a mortal threat to my marriage in California. · Oct 15 at 10:55am

    Well, they might pose a threat to your marriage if they sell your wife a lot of expensive furniture. :) · Oct 16 at 2:16am

    And, I would imagine that Kenneth knows full well that what is being claimed is that the threat is directed towards the institution of marriage and family–not that homosexual activities of two individuals has immediate threat to Kenneth’s particular marriage.

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    @JonathanMatthewGilbert

    Alas, I will not be there this evening but I am determined to be at the next New York-ish based event.

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    @TheMugwump

    I would be agreeable to a compromise on gay marriage if the issue was not part of a militant gay/lesbian agenda. “Gay rights” can be an excuse to preach promiscuity in the classroom. “Gay pride” is too often celebrated as a public bacchanal that includes activities too explicit to mention here. “Tolerance” for gays becomes a demand that I endorse the “gay lifestyle.” It’s unfair of me, I know, to lump all gays into one category. But it’s the militants who are the most public and the most vocal. When responsible members of the gay and lesbian community put a muzzle on the radicals, I’ll be willing to discuss gay marriage and DADT. Until then, I stand in opposition to the entire gay agenda, fair or not.

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