Volume 49 Number 60
                    Produced: Thu Aug 18  5:03:13 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bigoted posting (2)
         [Lisa Liel, Tom Buchler]
Separation of Church and State : Bad for the Jews??
         [Leah S. Gordon]


From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 11:41:08 -0400
Subject: Re: Bigoted posting

From: Mordechai <mordechai@...>

>Avi writes
>>To your point in the first paragraph, Eitan did not say that the 
>>Christian far right wants to kill all the Jews and homosexuals. 
>>They want to convert all the Jews and they want to "fix" all the 
>>homosexuals, and in that manner they will have eliminated the Jews 
>>and homosexuals. That is how I clearly interpreted Eitan's 
>Perhaps someone can enlighten me

We can only hope.

>as to why a halachic Jew would oppose any non violent way 
>of "fixing" individuals who practice homosexual behavior so they 
>no longer commit this abomination.

Hey there, Mordechai.  Speaking as a homosexual myself, though what I
may or may not practice is none of your business, I'd point out that
nothing I can possibly do with another woman could ever fall into a
category called "abomination" by Hashem.

Just for the record, do you think you might want to retract what
looks suspiciously like a violation of bal tosif? 

Now... putting aside your regrettable distortions of Torat Hashem, which
I'm sure were only the result of your great passion to serve Him, and
not an indication of any personal malice, I'd like to point out that
"fixing" me so that I'm attracted to men would be somewhat similar to
"fixing" you so that you don't believe in Hashem.

You're operating from an assumption that there's something wrong with
being gay.  I don't believe the Torah supports your view.  Clearly,
heterosexuality is the norm.  The rule.  Just as clearly, those of us
who are not heterosexual are, and always will be, a minority.  But then,
righthandedness is also the norm and the rule, and lefthandedness is
also a minority trait.  And the Torah doesn't criticize either
homosexuality or lefthandedness.

>For those concerned my language is hate speech, it is the Torah that
>condemns male on male relations in that tone.

I'm not concerned about it.  I'm concerned that you might not correct it
before the Yamim Noraim.  As a fellow Jew, I'd like for you to be able
to go into the chagim without that kind of thing hanging over you.

And the Torah doesn't condemn male-on-male relations in the tone you
think it does.  I don't see your outrage at other things that are termed
"to'evah".  There's something more about this that is really upsetting
you.  You can't pin it on Hashem.

>If religious Christians support this, they are advocating the same 
>ideas that we do.  I can't understand why we would use this as an 
>attack on my statement.  It's like condemning a supposed Xtian 
>source because s/he believes in G-d.  True Xtians to believe in
>G-d, but thats a good thing.
>The organizations I quoted are not far right.

Actually, as someone who voted for Bush (and Reagan, back in the day),
and who is pretty far on the right end of the political spectrum, I'd
have to say that the FRC is so far off the scale that you'd need
binoculars to see them.

>They represent the normal mainstream of America.  I will remind my 
>fellow list members, that the drive to legalize homosexual marriage 
>has been defeated in every state, including the extreme far left 
>California, where the voters have had a say.  The only progress 
>the radical extreme gay activists have had in the United States is 
>through the court system.  The pro gay ideology is the extremist 

I'm not sure I understand you, Mordechai.  You say that you don't want
your views to be dismissed just because Christians share some of them,
and yet you want to create some sort of global "gay ideology" that
everyone discussing the issue of homosexuality and Judaism, particularly
with regards to frum gay Jews, has to account for.

Changing ingrained prejudices does take time.  It always has.  It's been
less than a century since hotels had signs on them reading "No Jews or

One does not have to be party to the "rip down all boundaries of sexual
propriety" view championed by too much of the secular/gentile gay
community to say that discriminating against people who happen to be gay
is a bad thing.

Mordechai, I hope you'll forgive me if this sounds a little strong, but
you don't get to decide what the appropriate way of rebuking or dealing
with others is.  The halakha has fairly strict guidelines.  Particularly
when it comes to frum Jews.  Don't take this the wrong way, but maybe a
refresher course in Shmirat HaLashon would be helpful for you.  Read
Pliskin's "Guard Your Tongue", and see what the correct guidelines are
for making assumptions about frum Jews.

>In terms on language the gay activist community frequently compares
>critics of homosexuality to Nazis.

I can't see why they'd do that.  I mean, no one vandalizes the property
of gays the way the Germans did to Jews.  No one ever tried to demonize
and dehumanize gays the way the Germans did to Jews.  No gays or
lesbians have ever been brutally murdered for no reason other than the
fact that they *are* gay.

<shrug> What's to compare?

>They frequently state their critics wish to kill them.

It's a funny thing, Mordechai.  When enough people do get beaten up or
killed because of a trait you share with them, it tends to make you a
little edgy.  When a frum Jew named Moshe HaLevi Spero writes in a book
called "Handbook of Psychotherapy and Jewish Ethics", published by
Feldheim, that we should "persecute" homosexuals -- and believe me, I'm
not making that one up -- it can make you wonder exactly what kind of
"persecution" he has in mind, and how many other people share his views,
if Feldheim continues to publish his words.

>Leftist Jews often use the same language to falsely accuse authentic
>Christians of supporting killing Jews.  I will let Eitan respond for
>himself as to the intention of his posts.
>I will point out that I have refrained from attacks on people,

With all due respect, Mordechai, I don't think that's entirely accurate.

>rather than focusing on their statements and facts (or lack thereof).
>While people have criticised my sources, they actually have not
>presented any of their own to refute my factual statements.

It occurs to me that you are insisting that people try to prove a
negative.  Can you "prove" to me, Mordechai, that people who think the
FRC is not a far right group are not suffering from borderline
personality disorder?  I'm not saying that they are, of course, but it
would be a little funny for me to make such a claim and then demand that
those who disagree somehow "prove" my claim to be false.

>Instead I have had people criticise my alleged lack of critical 
>training (even though they know nothing of my academic background) 

Unfortunately, it's quite possible that you have excellent academic
credentials.  Positions based on emotions, rather than on facts, can
often result in even the best and the brightest advocating things that
are a little off balance.  Theoretically speaking, of course.

>when discussing the nature of homosexuality in history.  To attack 
>the person rather than statement is both poor neitquite and poor 
>All I ask in this debate is that we focus on issues.  I understand 
>this is an emotional topic.  Most important topics are emotional.  
>We all know that interesting as debates over whether to say Brei 
>Shemai or how to respond to kedusha in a shul with a different 
>nusach, it really doesn't matter that much, so therefore we can 
>discuss it without emotin..  Whether society starts writing marriage 
>contracts for two men (which puts us morally lower that Sodom) will 
>have a major effect on the way society views family.

Gay families exist, Mordechai.  Governments cannot make a marriage.
They can only recognize and register relationships that exist in fact.
A kosher wedding does not make people married in the eyes of the state.
Nor does a secular marriage license have any religious significance

And for the record, I think it's a little inappropriate to set yourself
up as judge and jury when it comes to what issues are important.  You
can only say what is important to you.

>That affects us and our children in the most basic manner.

I don't see how.  If anything, the fact that we are fighting so hard for
the right to have a firm legal framework for our relationships should
make the majority heterosexual culture in the country, which has pretty
much given up on marriage as anything but a temporary situation,
reconsider their views.

The more stable families there are, the better it is.  Allowing me to
inherit directly from my partner isn't going to weaken your marriage.
Allowing us to file our taxes jointly or to hold common title on our
home isn't going to affect your children in any way whatsoever.
Hyperbole is nice for rhetoric, but really, Mordechai, how can this harm
you or your children?

>So I understand the emotion and ask we all think before pressing Enter.

I second that.


From: Tom Buchler <tbuchler@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 12:49:03 -0400
Subject: Re: Bigoted posting

>From: Mordechai <mordechai@...>
>Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to why a halachic Jew would oppose
>any non violent way of "fixing" individuals who practice homosexual
>behavior so they no longer commit this abomination.  


I can't speak for others, but for myself, one of the main reasons is one
I unfortunately can only report anecdotally -- a trusted friend of mine,
a psychologist, heard this report from a colleague:

Somewhere around fifteen years ago, the colleague had been practicing
reparative therapy with around a dozen of his frum patients. He was
apparently extremely successful. All ended up married. After around five
or six years, all of the marriages had ended in divorce. By the end of
the tenth year, all had committed suicide. Needless to say, this person
and my friend are now outspoken critics of reparative therapy. Although
it would be inappropriate to extrapolate from one person's practice to
all practioners and their patients, the story is chilling.

I propose it is nearly impossible to get good long-term follow-up
statistics on frum reparative therapy patients, and similarly difficult
to get good statistics regarding gay-related suicides among frum people.
As frum Jews, we're prone to obfuscate details with a chevre kadisha
regarding cause of death by suicide, and certainly don't volunteer
additional details of psychiatric therapy or past or present sexual



From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 08:23:36 -0700
Subject: Separation of Church and State : Bad for the Jews??

>So I really don't believe the Constitutional "wall" has done anything to
>support observant Jewish life.
>Nadine Bonner

After giving examples of how secular society offers rewards that may
tempt people to be less observant, Ms. Bonner ends with the statement

I am afraid that I must vehemently disagree.

I would never want to return to a ghetto-ized lifestyle like our
ancestors had.  If people are forced to live in crowded, desperate
situations, it is true that they are more susceptible to cultish beliefs
of all sorts.  If they are not allowed to associate in free society,
then it is true that they are less likely to intermarry "other" kinds of

But I take a different view of relgious Judaism: I sure hope my religion
can stand on its own even without forced adherence or the lack of any
other ray of hope in a person's life!

Let's also look at a couple of cases of what might happen if e.g.
Fundamentalist Christians took over law in the U.S.  I choose two issues
that currently have huge pushes from Fundamentalist Christians in our

1. If a woman was dying from pregnancy, halakha might demand that she
have an abortion for pikuach-nefesh.  Meanwhile, the Fundamentalists
would have made this illegal.

2. If Jewish kids in a public school were asked to participate in a
Christian prayer, halakha would have a real problem with it.  But this
is a big goal of Fundamentalists.  (Some would say that the Jews would
all be in Jewish schools; I think that this would never happen outside
of major urban centers.  Even if most Jewish kids were in private
schools, some would be victims of the prayer-in-school movement.)

On the positive side, here are some ways that the "Constitutional
'wall'" has supported observant Jewish life:

1. In Massachusetts, laws protect me (and they protected me as a
student) from discrimination in case I had to miss work/school/exams for
religious reasons.

2. In the U.S., if I don't want to go into a church to vote, I can
request an alternate polling location.  Apparently this has become very
common over the years, and now it is very rare that I hear of polling
locations (at least in MA) that are outside of schools or general public
secular areas.

3. In the U.S., a Rabbi can officiate at a government ceremony,
i.e. marriage.  The religious Jewish ceremony "counts" just as much as
any other religion's marriage.

4. In some states (NY and NJ, at least) there are laws on the books that
make kosher-labelling claims subject to truth-in-advertising laws.  This
enables people to rely on hechshers with astounding convenience compared
to the olden days, and even compared to other countries today.

5. Free economic competition has meant the increased availability of
kosher food in all sorts of places - from Disneyland to commercial
aircraft.  (I suppose that this example doesn't really address a person
whose argument is that Jews shouldn't be free/wealthy enough to go to
Disneyland or fly on airplanes.)

6. Increased economic strength among *all* denominations of Judaism,
coupled with American tolerance of denominations by one another (on the
rise in the past fifty years), has led to increased Jewish funding for
Orthodox institutions, from yeshivas to day-schools to mikvahs to
eruvim.  This would have been impossible if we were all just
moneylenders stuck in some corner of the Bronx.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


End of Volume 49 Issue 60