1. The Torah and Jewish tradition, in the clearest of terms, prohibit the practice of homosexuality. Same-sex unions are against both the letter and the spirit of Jewish law, which sanctions only the union of a man and a woman in matrimony.The wording here is very precise. There are two lines of Torah that prohibits homosexuality, Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13. As I discussed previously, many, including Rabbi Steve Greenberg, believe that these are specific references to anal sex, not to homosexuality in general.
Jewish tradition is not limited to Jewish law, so the rest of what is written is completely accurate.
2. Attempts to ritualize or celebrate same-sex unions are antithetical to Jewish law. Any clergyman who performs or celebrates a same-sex union cannot claim the mantle of Orthodox Judaism.Better phrasing would be that the RCA does not recognize those marriages as Orthodox Jewish marriages and they denounce those who claim to be Orthodox Jewish rabbis, specifically Rabbi Greenberg, who perform such weddings. There is not hierarchical organization to Judaism and the RCA cannot and does not speak for all Jews, not even for all Orthodox Jews.
3. While homosexual behavior is prohibited, individuals with homosexual inclinations should be treated with the care and concern appropriate to all human beings. As Rabbis we recognize the acute and painful challenges faced by homosexual Jews in their quest to remain connected and faithful to God and tradition. We urge those Orthodox Jews with homosexual tendencies to seek counsel from their Rabbis. Equally, we urge all Rabbis to show compassion to all those who approach them.Very big of them.
4. On the subject of reparative therapy, it is our view that, as Rabbis, we can neither endorse nor reject any therapy or method that is intended to assist those who are struggling with same-sex attraction. We insist, however, that therapy of any type be performed only by licensed, trained practitioners. In addition, we maintain that no individual should be coerced to participate in a therapeutic course with which he or she is acutely uncomfortable.This is an interesting statement. Those who seek so-called reparative therapy are those who are struggling with who they are, struggle because of pressures from society to be other than who they are. Pressures from those like the RCA who make homosexuals feel less than whole and less than welcome. Licensed counselors who practice reparative therapy are doing so despite the ethical codes of the National Assocation of Social Workers, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychological Association, the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and nearly all other medical professional organizations.
5. We pray that God will ease the way for all who struggle with a full heart to feel His presence in their lives.The prayer would be less necessary if the RCA were not creating a greater struggle for gays.
The RCA has its opinion, succinctly written and published. I support their right to deny marriage to anyone they wish, including myself. As a patriotic American, I embrace the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. If my partner and I wed, we will seek a officiator who welcomes us, not one who merely tolerates and "shows compassion" of us.
They still do not get to decide that someone who is a rabbi loses that status. A rabbi may be unwelcome in their group, but that rabbi is still a rabbi.
Maybe one day the RCA will be enlightened and see the errors of their decisions, but I do not anticipate it within my lifetime.
Thanks to Joe My God for the heads up.
6 December 2011, Original Pedantic Political Ponderings post.