Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, in his article titled “We all have our red lines,” reveals, perhaps, a bit more than he intended. He explains that the Orthodox community objects to but has tolerated advertisements and announcements of various items that violate halacha. He goes on to say, “There is, however, a line beyond which many families will no longer be comfortable.â€¦We all have our red lines.”
Yes, that is true. We do all have our red lines. And where we choose to draw those lines says quite a bit about us. Shabbat violators – OK. Non-kosher eaters – OK. People who don’t observe the dietary laws of Pesach – OK. But the gays? Oh no. We can’t abide them. Apparently the Orthodox have drawn a big red line around the gays and decided that they have no place in Jewish society.
I’m sure Goldin means well. But I would ask that he pay closer attention to the choices he is defending. The punishment for two men engaging in intercourse is karet. The punishment for eating chametz on Pesach is karet. Is there a hue and cry raised every year about the ads for non-kosher restaurants that most certainly are serving chametz on Pesach? No, there is not. The chametz-eaters are tolerated and the gays are not. Since there seems to be no halachic explanation for this disparity I would ask Goldin to better explain why he defends these red lines. And if he cannot, perhaps he ought to stand with those of use who are eager to erase them.
I would offer these Orthodox folk a few words of comfort, as I think they have misunderstood the nature of this situation. Goldin writes, “[W]e are now being asked to celebrate a redefinition of marriage that we simply cannot halachically accept.” No, you’re not. You’re being asked nothing. You were not invited to the wedding. You’re not being asked to send a gift. You’re not being asked to give the happy couple your blessing. You’re not being asked to do anything. No response or reaction is required. If you don’t like what you see on the page, you need only turn to the next page and move on. Your own life and home can remain gay-free.