Monday, May 1, 2006


Conservative Judaism has been rethinking the idea of lifting the ban on gay/lesbian rabbis. An editorial in USA Today by Rabbi Gerald L. Zelizer talks about the change that is occurring since 1992 when he was the international president of the 1,200 Conservative rabbis in the USA and worldwide.

As we've said over and over again, the more people know gay and lesbian people the more they will reject the anti-gay rhetoric from the right. Zeilzer, who used to believe that gays and lesbians couldn't be rabbis now says:

I feel differently. Since the last go-round, as I have become acquainted with more pious and knowledgeable gay and lesbian Jews, I have asked myself why God would design some people with a trait — for which there is paltry evidence that it can be reversed — and then designate individuals with that characteristic as "sinners?" Even if triggered by a gene mutation, as some argue, what is sinful about that? Too many gays I met suffered in their efforts to engage in heterosexual sex, marry heterosexuals, even bear children, only to realize that their homosexuality was immutable.

Conservative Judaism has always taught that we must upgrade our biblical understanding with new scientific knowledge. Contrary to the biblical assumption that gayness is a sinful choice, our best knowledge today indicates that it is as determined and irrevocable as blue or brown eyes. Of course, adherents of Orthodoxy and even some in my own movement will charge: "How can one be so presumptuous as to think he can improve on the biblical word of God?" Well, Judaism has done that from its inception, especially when moral considerations required it.

The arc keeps shifting...

1 comment:

Bat Kol said...

Ah, there is light in those words. The Christian right wholly relies upon the Old Testament for its stand against gay people (okay, St. Paul too, but his source is the Old Testament, so same thing). If Conservative Jewish Scholarship begins to break open the meaning of Jewish Law and finds an equal place for gay people, what will the Christians argue then?