Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An Abominable Act

I have no problem with homosexuals. People who are attracted to members of the same sex are no different in my eyes than are people who are attracted to cheeseburgers or even Chilul Shabbos.

That is because there is no violation of Jewish law in desiring to sin. We all have such desires. The Torah recognizes that. That’s why it legislates against sin. If we didn’t desire to sin, there would be no need for Halachos telling us not to. It is acting on a desire to sin that is forbidden. Although we no longer have the power to execute it - both homosexual sex and adulterous heterosexual sex have the death penalty attached.

The Torah is very clear about illicit sexual acts. It spells them out. Homosexual acts are forbidden. It is foolish to deny it - although amazingly there have been attempts by non Orthodox rabbis to do so.

One can - and should - feel empathy for a homosexual. He is only able to express his desires in forbidden ways. He is never able to do it without violating Halacha. It is therefore very understandable if he succumbs to those very powerful urges. But as in any other sin a human being commits, he has to realize that the homosexual act is indeed a sinful act… one that requires Teshuva – repentance.

Religious homosexuals struggle mightily with these desires. Some go to therapists for help in dealing with them. Perhaps sometimes they even succumb to temptation. It is asking a lot of a human being to never be able to satisfy his sexual urges. I admire their determination to prevent sin and observe Halacha.

As a compassionate people we must treat homosexuals as human beings and full fledged Jews - with honor and respect. ‘Love thy neighbor’ applies to all. Just as we cannot and should not peer into the bedroom of a heterosexual, so too must we refrain from peering into the bedroom of a homosexual. We do not know what goes on in either case nor should we. We have no province in either. At the moment - that is entirely God’s province.

The problem I have is when society start legitimizing, not just the individual but the behavior itself. Then society has passed from the realm of human respect and dignity into the realm of sanctioning the forbidden. This is in effect what California has done. The California Supreme Court has struck down a state ban on homosexual marriage making it legal and equalizing it with heterosexual marriage.

Marriage is more than a civil contract. It is sanctioned by the Torah and initiated by a procedure called Kiddushin. The root of this word is Kadosh – holy. Holiness is a concept that is entirely religious in nature. God is the quintessence of holiness: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts – the world is filled with His glory!’ We recite this phrase every morning in our daily prayers.

The concept of marriage includes all aspects of it - including sexual relations. The use by the state of the word marriage for homosexual unions confers upon them full legitimacy including acts are which are considered by God to be an abomination – and equate it with holiness!

The truth is that homosexual rights advocates did not need this legislation. Homosexuals have the right to live freely in our society. There are laws that proect them from discrimination. And every right granted by marriage to a heterosexual couple can be spelled out in legal documents the same way for homosexual couples.

Homosexual marriage is not about rights. It's about obliterating a biblical precept - one that is accepted by the vast majority of American citizens. And it is an affront to the sensibilities of all religious people that the state of California now sanctions an abominable act - thereby normalizing it.

This may not violate the separation clause of the first amendment but I think it violates the spirit of it. Instead of religious people shoving religion down the throats of a secular public, religious people are being asked to shove an abomination down theirs. And that is an abomination.