What is and should be the relationship between the conservative movement and conservative homosexuals? What should be the relationship between the conservative movement and homosexuality more generally? Those questions are implicated in the decision to invite GoProud to attend the CPAC conference and the decision by World Net Daily and the Family Research Council to boycot the event. It is also the subject of a post by Daniel Blatt of Gay Patriot. As he sees it: While the fact that some groups are boycotting does show that that not all conservatives are willing to include their gay and lesbian confreres, overwhelmingly, conservative organizations don’t have a problem working together with gays in common purpose. And that purpose is reducing the size and scope of the federal government while standing up for basic American values, including the freedom to live our lives as we choose. Well said and, I believe, very true. People of faith insist that homosexuality is the most serious of sins because the Bible calls it an abomination. I think the Rabbi has it right - and his views closely track my own. And no reader of this blog could possible characterize me as anything other than a conservative whether fiscally, socially or in matters related to defense.
We may not agree with some of these organizations on all issues (nor they with us), but at least they welcome us into the conservative fold. And that really should be the takeaway from this kerfuffle, that the conservative movement is increasingly opening its doors to openly gay men and lesbians.
One of the comments to Daniel's post caught my eye. It was from an Orthodox Rabbi who expounded on how he, as a social conservative, views homosexuality:
But the word appears approximately 122 times in the Bible. Eating nonkosher food is an abomination (Deuteronomy 14:3). A woman returning to her first husband after being married in the interim is an abomination (Deut. 24:4). And bringing a blemished sacrifice on God’s altar is an abomination (Deut. 17:1.). Proverbs goes so far as to label envy, lying and gossip as that which “the Lord hates and are an abomination to Him” (3:32, 16:22).
As an Orthodox rabbi who reveres the Bible, I do not deny the biblical prohibition on male same-sex relationships. Rather, I simply place it in context.
There are 613 commandments in the Torah. One is to refrain from gay sex. Another is for men and women to marry and have children. So when Jewish gay couples come to me for counselling and tell me they have never been attracted to the opposite sex in their entire lives and are desperately alone, I tell them, “You have 611 commandments left. That should keep you busy. Now, go create a kosher home with a mezuza on the door. Turn off the TV on the Sabbath and share your festive meal with many guests. Put on tefillin and pray to God three times a day, for you are His beloved children. He desires you and seeks you out.”
Once, I said to my friend Pat Robertson, whom I have always found engaging and open in our conversations, “Why can’t you simply announce to all gay men and women, ‘Come to church. Whatever relationship you’re in, God wants you to pray. He wants you to give charity. He wants you to lead a godly life.”
He answered to the effect that homosexuality is too important to overlook, seeing as it poses the most grave risk to the institution of marriage. Other Evangelical leaders have told me the same. Homosexuality is the single greatest threat to the family.
BUT WITH one of two heterosexual marriages failing, with 70 percent of the Internet dedicated to the degradation of women through pornography and with a culture that is materially insatiable even as it remains all-too spiritually content, can we straight people say with a straight face that gays are ruining our families? We’ve done a mighty fine job of it ourselves.
The extreme homophobia that is unfortunately to be found among many of my religious brothers and sisters – in many Arab countries being gay is basically a death sentence – stems from an even more fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of sin. The Ten Commandments were given on two tablets to connote two different kinds of transgression, religious and moral. The first tablet discusses religious transgressions between God and man, such as the prohibitions of idolatry, blasphemy and desecrating the Sabbath. The second tablets contains the moral sins between man and his fellow man, like adultery, theft, and murder.
The mistake of so many well-meaning people of faith is to believe that homosexuality is a moral rather than a religious sin. A moral sin involves injury to an innocent party. But who is being harmed when two, unattached, consenting adults are in a relationship? Rather, homosexuality is akin to the prohibition of lighting fire on the Sabbath or eating bread during Passover. There is nothing immoral about it, but it violates the divine will.
For the record, I am in favor of gay civil unions rather than marriage because I am against redefining marriage.
But I hardly believe that gay marriage is the end of Western civilization.
For me the real killer is the tsunami of divorce and the untold disruption to children as they become yo-yos going from house to house on weekends.
The American religious and electoral obsession with all-gay-marriage-all- the-time has led to a values-vacuum where it is near impossible to discuss real solutions to the erosion of family life. For instance, making marital counselling tax deductible would do infinitely more to bolster the crumbling institution of marriage than any opposition to gay relationships.
Likewise, promoting a code of gentlemanly conduct for men on American college campuses and negating the prevailing hook-up culture where sex even precedes dating could spark a return to romantic and long-term commitments.
Finally, getting more families to sign up for our international “Turn Friday Night into Family Night” would give children in general, and girls in particular, greater self-esteem as they are focused on by their parents for at least two hours each week without any electronic interference. And children with self-confidence later create stronger adult relationships.
I have numerous gay friends whose greatest fear, like so many straight people, is to end up alone. Should we merely throw the book at these people? Does not the same book, the Bible, also say, “It is not good for man to be alone?” And all I’m asking from my religious brethren is this: Even as you oppose gay relationships because of your beliefs, please be tortured by your opposition. Understand that when our most deeply held beliefs conflict with our basic humanity, we should feel the tragedy of the conflict, rather than simply find convenient scapegoats upon whom to blame all of America’s ills.
The writer is the author of Renewal: A Guide to the Values-Filled Life and is founder of This World: The Values Network, a national organization that promotes universal Jewish values to heal America. Follow him on Twitter@Rabbishmuley and at http://www.shmuley.com. Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive news updates directly to your email http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=191923
That said, someone's homosexuality is not my business nor the business of the state. Homosexuality defines one's sexual preferences, not their character nor the goodness of their soul, and it is only the latter two that add up an individual's benefit to society. I welcome anyone, regardless of sexual preference, into the conservative tent if they share conservative's concern with issues of freedom, democracy, fiscal sanity and defense.
I do have some significant reservations concerning the push for "gay rights." One, as a religious person, I disagree with sanctioning gay marriage, though I support the concept of gay unions. Two, as a former infantry officer and company commander, I disagree with lifting DADT on pragmatic grounds. Three, I get absolutely livid over attempts by the radical left to normalize homosexuality in grade school. And four, I get equally livid over using the police power of the state to suppress speech critical of homosexuality. Indeed, that last is particularly outrageous, as are all "hate speech" laws and policies.
Beyond those areas of disagreement that I might have with many homosexuals, including some conservtive homosexuals on points one and two I suspect, there are thousands of other points on which we may well agree. To your average left-wing single-issue homosexual, I would no doubt be described as a raging homophobe. To a conservative homosexual, I would no doubt be described as that short, intellectualy challenged guy that likes to talk politics with them over an ice cold beer or glass of home-made mead.
In any event, I am glad GoProud has been invited to CPAC. I am disgusted with social conservatives who are boycotting CPAC on those grounds, not because of their stance against homosexuality, but because of their cowardice. If there is a debate to be had on social issues, let it be in full sunlight under the conservative tent. Taking one's chips and going home is hiding from the debate, and that is something I only expect from the left.
While the fact that some groups are boycotting does show that that not all conservatives are willing to include their gay and lesbian confreres, overwhelmingly, conservative organizations don’t have a problem working together with gays in common purpose. And that purpose is reducing the size and scope of the federal government while standing up for basic American values, including the freedom to live our lives as we choose.
Well said and, I believe, very true.
People of faith insist that homosexuality is the most serious of sins because the Bible calls it an abomination.
I think the Rabbi has it right - and his views closely track my own. And no reader of this blog could possible characterize me as anything other than a conservative whether fiscally, socially or in matters related to defense.