Exposing the Lie of Homophobia
The Torah religious community is under attack by the liberal media-academic elite because of its refusal to grant social and moral legitimacy to same-gender intimacy, marriage and life style. We are accused of homophobia, a 'politically correct' invented term claiming that we are insensitive, prejudiced and discriminate against people practicing same-gender intimacy (gays or homosexuals).
This article argues that the Torah community must respond forcefully to these attacks. We must explain that the Torah's position is not one of prejudice, but one based on the social truths inherent in the Torah, particularly the truths that serve as a foundation for the holiness of the two parent, extended family. We must explain the moral and social legitimacy of the Torah's position on same-gender relationships in a way that makes sense to the modern, national religious layman.
As the article will explain, this task is much more complex than it seems at first. But engaging the question is an educational imperative for our community. If we succeed, with G-d's help, it will constitute a real sanctification of G-d's name.
The Social Lie of Homophobia
Seemingly, four to eight per cent of the public define their self identity, at critical stages of their life, in terms of same-gender intimacy. Until recently their social behavior and way of life were not considered normative (socially acceptable). As a result many suffered from emotional pain, confusion and trauma.
Even if a certain amount of behavior is genetically influenced, this does not bestow upon the person a 'free pass' regarding the moral legitimacy of such behavior.
The liberal media-academic elite has presented their suffering in civil rights terms, as a persecuted minority community whose non-conventional social behavior is heavily dictated by inborn genetic factors. They are attacked, according to the liberal elite, simply for trying 'to be themselves' according to their predetermined genetic makeup. This liberal perspective claims that they thus deserve to conduct their intimate relationships with the same degree of privacy, respect and civil rights as the remaining 92-96% of the population does. Those who attack or act prejudicially against the same-gender community are homophobic, and guilty of prejudice and discrimination.
The liberal analysis which defines the question of same gender intimacy as an issue of civil rights and homophobic prejudice, and NOT as an issue of social morality, is a big social lie for three reasons.
-One, the degree and extent that same-gender inclination is genetically determined has never been scientifically proven in non-biased manner.
-Two, even if some behavior is somewhat genetically determined, this does not deny the realm of free choice and self determination that a person has concerning the acting out of such behavior in his life. For example, those individuals who suffer from emotional-mental illnesses that have certain genetic origins still possess a very wide range of free choice in their coping efforts.
-Third, and most important, even if a certain amount of behavior is genetically influenced, this does not bestow upon the person a 'free pass' regarding the moral legitimacy of such behavior. Studies show that perpetrators of violent anti-social behavior also have distinct DNA genetic patterns. This does not mean that those who judge and condemn their behavior as immoral are acting in a discriminating way or violating their civil rights.
The Liberal Elite Want to Destroy the Traditional, Two Parent, Extended Family
So why is the social lie, (the liberal perspective) of homophobia so pervasive and powerful? Because for over forty years the liberal academic-media elite has been using/exploiting the social gender confusion and suffering of 4-8% of the population as a battering ram to weaken and destroy the traditional two parent, two gender, multigenerational extended family.
For forty years this elite has been very aggressively packaging and selling a new, alternative liberal understanding of the family, and social morality, based on the following principles:
-One, the moral relativism of all ethical judgments;
-Two, the primacy of individual choice and self determination in ethical matters;
-Three, the primacy of sexual freedom in determining personal happiness; and
-Four, the argument that the gender role model of the traditional two parent, extended family grants undue power to the male, and thus inherently oppresses the woman.
Based on these principles the liberal version of social morality judges the two parent, two gender extended family to be either a frequent hindrance to personal happiness and self fulfillment ,or socially oppressive and thus 'unjust'. For the liberal elite, the old social immorality has become the new, 'progressive' morality. The liberal elite's championing of the rights and way of life of the same-gender community has been a very effective method of promoting and attaining its more primary goal, that of establishing the primacy in modern society of a new,' progressive' social morality, and mortally wounding and weakening the traditional, two-parent extended family.
And, not suprisingly, the liberal elite has had tremendous success in these efforts. For example, seventy per cent of all births in America to mothers under 35 are born out of wedlock. Less than twenty per cent of American children spend the first eighteen years of their life growing up with their two biological parents. Similarly, all of Europe is suffering from very late marriages, from marriages based on social convenience, and a negative child birth.
The Urgent Need for an Educational Project to Defend the Torah's Family Structure
In order to save to save our Torah way of life, which is based on the absolute, social truth of the two parent, two gender, extended family, we must educate our national religious community concerning the big lie of homophobia and liberal social morality. The problem of same-gender social identity is NOT the major problem facing the Torah family. The challenge of the extended period of singlehood is much more serious.
However in order to prevent moral confusion in our own ranks, our rabbis and teachers must directly and explicitly provide answers to the lies of the liberal elite that are all too pervasive in the social media to which our community pays attention.
Our community must clearly understand that liberal social morality is not Torah social morality.
The Five Educational Principles Required to Defend the Torah Family
To do this we must enact a very powerful, determined educational project. But the tone and nature of this ideological project must be very different from the ideological campaign we have conducted to defend the Land of Israel. The latter, for example, requires an outright political campaign, a sometimes strident tone, using the public media, and close political infighting at its best.
In contrast, our educational project to defend the two parent, extended family and deny the morality and social legitimacy of same gender intimate relationships must have a strictly educational nature. It must be based on the following principles:
-One, It must be very humble in its message and delivery. It must strictly avoid all hints of judgmental self righteousness. We know all too well how all of us daily struggle with a wide range of inclinations that make it difficult for us to sanctify our lives the way we should. The Torah does not need an agressive approach to defend its truth. It needs our humble, quiet self example.
-Two, it must be very empathetic, accepting, respectful and non-judgmental in responding to the private lives of those who suffer emotional confusion and pain concerning their same- gender sexual self identity. Part of their confusion and pain grows out of the desire of many to continue to be part of the Torah community while maintaining their same-gender social identity. We must respect the courage of their individual coping and struggles. We must help them attain effective social support and professional counseling.
-Three, this ideological, educational project must be conducted in a personal and informal manner. At all costs, it must avoid all contact with the public media. It must be conducted, at this stage, primarily in our community. It may be conducted in the classroom, in the teacher's lounge, in the parlor meeting and living room, in the beit midrash and synagogue, and in certain internal journals. It must be conducted on the basis of the guidance and teachings of our Torah leadership. Our rabbis and teachers thus have an obligation to study the subject and how to teach it.
-Four, the content of this educational project should be based the educational guidelines of Machon Puah in the field of sexual reproduction and intimate relationships. Machon Puah educates and counsels by combining exacting halakhic knowledge, strict rabbinic leadership,and G-d fearingness (yirat shemayim), with a high level of up to date, academic-scientific knowledge in the fields of medicine, sociology and psychology.
Five, the educational campaign's message must be the difficult, complex one that states, "While we empathetically respect and accept the coping efforts of the private individual, we reject as illegitimate and immoral the way of life into which he has fallen, or chosen for himself, or is promoting."
Any thoughtful observer will immediately understand that this very complex, difficult message to teach and implement. For this we need gifted Torah teachers who can understand and explain the general, conceptual absolute truths of the Torah, and at the same time, apply them with humility and sensitivity to each individual case.
To illustrate the human complexity of this rabbinic leadership task, we can ponder a case of an individual who previously kept the nature of his intimate relationships private, and acted as a High Holiday chazzan, or as a teacher (role model) of Jewish history in a religious school. However, after a period, he decides to publically establish a permanent household with a person of the same gender, and to become politically active in promoting the interests of the same gender community. How should we react? Our rabbis will need much humble Torah wisdom in order to resolve this dilemma in a way that clearly establishes the absolute social truth of the Torah, and yet takes into account the human situation of the specific individual.
Numerically the problem of same- gender social identity is not the major problem confronting our community. But the liberal academic-media elite has successfully exploited this issue in order to sow confusion in our community concerning the morality and social legitimacy of the Torah family structure.
Our rabbis and must urgently conduct an explicit, forceful, yet humble and quiet, educational campaign to defend the Torah's absolute social truth concerning our traditional, two parent extended family.