The head of the Har Etzion Yeshiva, Rabbi Yaakov Madan, published an article about two weeks ago in which he called for "stopping the parade of abomination," referring to the International Gay Pride Parade that will take place in Jerusalem August 10. However, the real parade of abomination is already under way. One after another, rabbis and Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox thinkers, both eminent and those less so, are jumping on the bandwagon and publishing particularly repulsive defamations, invective and incitement against the homo-lesbian community.
Madan, for example, compares the gay parade to the pagan "high places of Tophet" in the Valley of the Sons of Hinnom. These altars, according to the prophet Jeremiah, served to "burn their sons and daughters in the fire" (7:31). And what can be expected for those who offer such sacrifices, according to the prophet? "The carcasses of these people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth" (7.34).
Madan partnered with Professor Ruth Gavison to create the Gavison-Madan covenant - an important attempt at dialogue between religious and secular people. The crude-spirited article renders Madan irrelevant for many secular people. Homosexuals and lesbians make up a large and important sector in the Jewish people. They are our brothers and sisters, no less than the rabbi. The Har Etzion Yeshiva is the cradle of the moderate religious movement Meimad. Are the values of hatred of those who are different, as well as the fanning of inclinations, the values that the yeshiva wishes to instill in its students?
The editor in chief of the ultra-Orthodox newspaper Mishpaha, Rabbi Moshe Garelik, writes that the religious protest against the gay pride parade will be joined by many national religious people, "who like us are disgusted by the perverts' attempt." Garelik warns that because of the parade, the third exile will come. The question arises as to whether the rabbi has forgotten that Jerusalem was destroyed not because men lay with men, but because of unnecessary hatred?
Madan and Garelik are among the more moderate spokesmen of the religious public, but when it comes to homosexuals, it appears that there are those who believe that any excoriation is permissible. The ultra-Orthodox object, and with great justice, to the use of the word "parasite" against them, because a parasite is not human, and requires disinfection. But for some reason, they believe that it is permissible for them to compare homosexuals to beasts and to mention that in the Bible, their punishment is death, and that it is permissible to warn that they will spread AIDS.
It is the full right of every individual to oppose the International Gay Pride Parade, to try to prevent it in legal ways, and to demonstrate against it, but the campaign of incitement and excoriation the rabbis are conducting against homosexuals is intolerable and unacceptable. This style is made possible partly because homophobes everywhere are convinced that everyone in the public is, deep down, a little homophobe who has yet to come out of the closet of hatred. Any argument about the gay pride parade will eventually arrive at the statement: "You too wouldn't want a homosexual child."
The time has come to root out this assumption. Children's addiction to drugs and alcohol, to joining a cult - including the cult of becoming religious - and to crime is scary. Homosexual or lesbian? So what? Indeed, this is not simple, because of the homophobes. That's because they put both the child and parent into a persecuted minority. But this is no longer complicated. However, if the child grows up to become a benighted fanatic and homophobe, it will be really terrible.
On many Internet forums, the self-righteous sentence, "Okay, let them be homos, but what do they have to be proud about?" often appears. The real meaning of this sentence is: If they can't restrain themselves, let them at least be underground.
But the members of the homo-lesbian community do have much in which to take pride. They can take pride in that despite the hatred, racism, crudeness and ignorance, they have built a life and community, and have come out of the closet. They can take pride in that with great difficulty, they have achieved what is taken for granted by the heterosexual. And above all: They are proud of what they are.
The entire public must come to Jerusalem on the day of the parade. Straight people, too, should be there. Especially straight people. Mass participation will make it clear that same-sex relations are something absolutely normal in an enlightened society, an inalienable part of human variety. And religious fanaticism and benighted hatred are especially repulsive and disgusting perversions.
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