In defense of ‘centuries-old values’

In defense of ‘centuries-old values’

In response to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s Oct. 22 column on the Jewish view of homosexuality, it never entered anyone’s imagination that any alleged injustice was being committed in the first place until social engineering through Political Correctness entered our lives.

From 1960 until today the much-trumpeted theories of Herbert Marcuse and the Frankfurt School of Germany paved the way slowly but surely to where we are now. It started on college campuses with gender studies and then landed in our living rooms. Perceived sexual repression became the root of all evil. Fabricated social guilt merged with endless media coverage; Hallmark Card movies and sitcoms featuring glamorous gay couples followed. Since television acts as gradual suppressor of shock, it’s no wonder that one social deviation after another became so commonplace in our imagination that they insinuated themselves into our collective sense of misguided empathy. After all, if a behavior is no longer shocking, what’s the big deal? Let’s pass legislation. Let’s change a centuries-old institution. How did we know that for perhaps 5,000 years all of humanity was wrong? Is it possible that after thousands of years, rabbinical scholars suddenly deciphered obscure passages in the Torah that made them conclude, well, maybe we were wrong? I contend that that is not the case. It was the gradual grinding down from many pressure groups and lobbies that did the trick. It was the pressure to feel ashamed of established cultural values. The established religious orders of Judeo-Christianity were now the oppressors of humanity. Our collective worldview has been inverted.

It is for these reasons that an article like this one can be written to conclude that according to Deuteronomy, homosexuality can be reduced to the sin of gossip, or something of that nature. Although Rabbi Boteach took the time to temper his beliefs to include that he favors civil unions instead of marriage, the definitions of civil union and civil marriage are too close for comfort and tends to obfuscate the argument. What’s the big deal about gay marriage? The answer to that could eventually be, what’s the big deal with polygamy? In his last paragraph, he asks, should we merely throw the book at these people? Who’s throwing books? I happen to know many gay couples that are happily living together in comfort with nothing barred to them. Many of them are very prosperous and own multiple homes. The only thing they are missing is a piece of holy document containing a rabbi’s signature. Many alleged discriminatory practices at hospitals could be easily resolved by a document called a Last Will and Testament.

We are heading toward a murky path very quickly. If we cannot say no to some things, why say no to anything? Why do we need religion at all unless it can guide us and unite us to the established truths of our cherished centuries-old values?