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Monday, June 19, 2006

Since you forced me to answer… let me just say, uh, ‘No’

Last week I got an email from a very well known blogger with whom I have never corresponded.  As if that weren't enough to pique my curiosity, the email seemed to be a blind copy of a response he had sent to someone else with whom I had no connection. 

It said:

“Shalom!  Here are a list of influential bloggers with good-sized readership:”

Listed below that intriguing sentence was a list that included treppenwitz... as well as the email addresses of such august bloggers as Aussie Dave (Israellycool), Yaacov Kirschen (Dry Bones), and Ted Bellman (Israpundit). 

My initial reaction was to be quite chuffed.

But then I started wondering what had been in the earlier correspondence (none was attached or nested) to which this list of bloggers' email addresses would constitute an answer. 

So I responded politely:

“Thank you... I'll take that as a compliment.  Now if only I knew what the question had been.  :-)”

Within a few minutes I got the following reply:

“First, the staff of Arutz 7 and I are trying to do a media campaign to stop the gay-pride fiasco in J'lem. You are very respected David, and your help would be a major Kiddush Hashem [ed. note: sanctification of G-d's name]. This worries me more than the Hamas. Could you mention something on Treppenwitz?

Second, as long as I have you ear, If you'd agree, I'd be privileged to exchange links with you.”

[~blink~]

Clearly this person doesn't read me very often.

Well, the second request didn't require any thought on my part.  I never respond to such requests because if you are already reading me you should have me on your blogroll without the need for reciprocity.  And if I read you on a regular basis you wouldn't need to ask to be listed.

But I digress since it is the first paragraph that really raised my hackles. 

However, after a moment's thought I realized that the phrase ‘gay-pride fiasco in J'lem’ was just ambiguous enough that I wanted to make sure I wasn't jumping to an incorrect conclusion.  I mean, maybe he was calling the attempts to block the parade a fiasco, right?

So I responded:

“I admit I haven't been following the municipal news very carefully.  Can you clarify 'gay-pride fiasco'.  Is something happening that is different from the same posturing and name calling that has gone back and forth in years past? “

I didn't have long to wait, because within seconds (a response time that suggests a cut and pasted source) I received the following:

“They intend to bring 300,000 people to a happening in J'lem, Aug. 6. It's a super provocation. I don't call others names, and don't interfere with anyone's free choice.  But, when a person wants to flaunt his garbage in front of the eyes of our children and  in the Holy City, we have to mobilize.”

Well, that removed any ambiguity, no?

Now, I know better than most that one shouldn't fisk an email without thinking about it for a few minutes.   But the glaring contradiction between, ‘I don't call others names, and don't interfere with anyone's free choice’… and the sound of the other shoe dropping;  ‘But, when a person wants to flaunt his garbage’,  kinda challenges a reader's willing suspension of disbelief.

So now I was faced with a dilemma.  Do I respond and risk getting into a whole 'thing' with the guy... or do I just blow him off and hope he doesn't follow up? 

I tend to avoid confrontation so I opted to simply not respond.

But almost immediately it became apparent what that original email (the one listing all the blogger email addresses) had been about.  It was a widely distributed chain letter intended to try to shame bloggers who are perceived to be conservative/religious into using their on-line space to take up this anti-gay cause.

I found this out because I began getting emails like the following from people asking/begging me to use my influence to reverse the evil decree:

"Shalom!

I am writing to you as one of the most influential bloggers that have to do with Israel and love for their people.

Please post a protest of the scheduled World Gay Pride parade and week long festival that is due to take place in the Holy City of Jerusalem (and other places in Israel where they will be hanging out) this August 2006.

The GLBTQ Community (Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer -their terminology, not mine )  has chosen Israel as its destination and will be having their parade on the streets of Jerusalem.

I am devastated at the thought, that in a few short weeks, there will be a HORRIBLE defilement of my sensitivities, a threat to my family's innocence and a desecration of the sanctity of the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Now, don't get me wrong, I believe that everyone is free to do what s/he thinks is right for them, within the confines of their own personal space, and certainly behind closed doors.

I am referring to the "International Gay Parade" that is soon to sully the atmosphere of Jerusalem.

From past experience we know that this is not just an innocent parade or conference. (I wouldn't be so vehemently against it).  We have seen the disgusting public display of their actions and their desire to receive acceptance and purification of their abominable perverted behavior.

This cannot be! I demand that my rights and the rights of my family be respected.

Now is the time to stand up for Jerusalem!

a concerned mom"

Yikes!

Well, I hate to say it, but the best way to make me publicly come out for something is to try to shame me into coming out against it.  I'm a contrarian that way.

So, let me just say the following for the record:

I am not pro- or anti-Gay any more than I am pro- or anti-woman, black or left-handed.  These things simply 'are' and to publicly demand a stance against any of them is to fly in the face of the Creator who made people with any and all of these attributes. 

100 years ago women weren't much more than property.  200 years ago blacks actually were property.  To this day, if you are left-handed you are probably resigned to stumbling around awkwardly in a society constructed exclusively for right-handed people. 

All of these things changed (well, we're still working on the whole left-handed thing) because society was grabbed by it's collective lapels and forcibly shaken until it had no choice but to confront a new reality in its midst.  The Gay Parades that periodically arrive in our cities are intended to shake us up.  Perhaps after seeing a 260lb. bearded drag queen kissing a body builder wearing nothing but chaps, the sight of a two guys wearing khakis and oxfords holding hands in the corner coffee shop won't seem so, well,  shocking.

If you want to lure me into a discussion on immigration, abortion, smoking, drugs, government oversight, etc., bring it on.  You see, all of these things are within man's control and require an active choice for them to happen.

But being gay is not a choice any more than, say, being a black left handed woman is a choice. Some people simply 'are'.   We don't need to keep the queers hidden away from polite society.  Your little dears aren't going to catch the whole gay thing like the flu.

Just as with women, minorities and yes, even lefties... historically there has been the equivalent of a swift kick in the pants (in the form of protests, public activism and often even violence/war) before the necessary accommodations are made for people who don't fit into the existing cookie-cutter mold society naturally wants to create for it's members.

As for me (and here's my real response to the emails) I won't be drawn into a discussion of wrong and right when it comes to any of G-d's creations.  I don't have that say... and in the absence of a theocracy and the reintroduction of divine prophecy, neither does anyone else!

You don't consider it 'a HORRIBLE defilement of my sensitivities, a threat to my family's innocence and a desecration of the sanctity of the Holy City of Jerusalem' when Hassidim in Mea Sha'arim throw rocks at fellow Jews or are led away in handcuffs for child\spousal abuse and fraud.  Yet these are all acts of choice that take place in the holy city by purported guardians of all that is holy and sanctified. 

So, where are all the pious letters to bloggers protesting all of that?

Are these miscreants representative of the Hassidic/Haredi world?  Of course not.  But they are a Chilul Hashem (a public desecration of G-d's name) to which you seem perfectly willing to turn a blind eye.   The big difference though, is that these black-hatted coreligionists are perpetrating acts of choice... not simply walking around as nature/G-d created them. 

The truth is, I'll admit I find the various Gay Pride Parades around the globe to be a bit off-putting. But that is probably their goal.  I am a fairly conservative guy who finds the idea of two men kissing to be mildly revolting.  I'm hard-wired that way.  The outrageous drag queens and public groping shock my traditional sensibilities.  But that's what they are supposed to do.  Any small semblance of rights/ equality that gays currently enjoy under the law is entirely due to these very public acts of ostentatiousness that force people to become acclimated to something outside their normal range of personal experiences.

Sure, I'm a bit intrigued/titillated by the whole idea of lesbianism... but that's probably only because I can appreciate the object of their desires.  But I admit that I would be disappointed if my daughter announced one day that she was 'batting for the other team'.  Not because I am anti-gay... but because I would naturally want her to experience the same male-female intimacy I have with her mother.  But her announcing to me that this was not possible would not indicate to me that she had rejected my way of life, but rather that she had been created by G-d according to a different blueprint.

In my humble opinion, the worst sort of hypocrisy is to 'magnanimously' proclaim that you support a person's right to live however they choose... yet demand that they not do so where you can see them. 

In Biblical times there was the concept of forcing people with diseases, deformities and forbidden lifestyles to live outside the company of mainstream society. 

But until you can demonstrate to me that we have returned to such a state of divine intimacy with our Maker and He has directed you to speak on His behalf... kindly shut your cake hole and spend a little more time becoming a shining (but silent) personal example of how we should all be living our lives.

Note:  There are two reason I have deliberately avoided mentioning this blogger's name here (and why I would appreciate other's following my lead in this regard). 

1.  After watching my daughter spend half a year studying 'Shmirat HaLoshon' (the laws of guarding one's speech), and then seeing how diligently she has incorporated these important guidelines into her everyday life... I am trying to follow her example so as to possibly secure a less-toasty seat for myself in hell.

2.  Even though he seems to have sent my email address to every moonbat on the planet, the blogger in question does a lot of very important/very good community work.  I would hate to provoke a flame war with him that might result in anyone's opinion of him being lowered.

Posted by David Bogner on June 19, 2006 | Permalink

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Well said.

Posted by: seawitch | Jun 19, 2006 2:58:57 PM

It seems to me that there is a problem with the gay pride parade, but it is not the fact that the members are homesexual. It is what takes place on the streets where they decide to have their parade. I am offended, or at least very uncomfortable when I see hetorosexual couples publicly displaying more affection then holding hands or maybe a quick hug and kiss on the cheek. Even if they are married and it is 100% within the confines of halcha, I still feel that some things should not be done in public. Maybe I'm just prude... sorry...
And it does bother me even more when these actions, done by any couple, gay or straight, are happening in a holy city, it does seem to desecrate something somehow. If it was just a protest to accept them as people, to raise awarness and pride, fine, I'm all for that, but that's not usually what end up happening. I don't really think it's even what anyone intends to happen. And one more thing is the fact that both sides seem to be doing things very davka to bother each other. If the religious community didn't make such a fuss about it in the first place iI doubt they would come to Jerusalem, it's not a religious event. I geuss it's human nature to be contrary and insist on doing things in the one place that will bother people most, but it doesn't seem like the most mature course of action.

Posted by: G | Jun 19, 2006 3:19:32 PM

I got something similar in my email.

Obviously the writers never read my posts expressing confusion as to why America wouldn't allow gay marriage.

Nor did they read the letter I got published in . . . which newspaper was it now? . . . I think the Jerusalem Post, saying basically this:

If your argument against the parade is that it is unseemly for people to publicly proclaim their sexual proclivities, or that it undermines the holiness of our sacred city, then I ASSUME that you MUST be EQUALLY angry against the near-naked models in advertisements on bus stops, at people who allow their dogs to leave their you-know-what on our holy streets, and the government that allows some neighborhoods' garbage to pile up on the sacred ground. You must, then, also be fighting against people who litter, who spit on the ground, and/or who make out so hard in public that they are practically having sex.

Oh, you mean it's JUST THIS PARADE that is leading you to protest the insult against the sanctity of Jerusalem?

Well then, I have two words for you:

hypocrite, and homophobia.

In my ideal world, this parade would not be happening. BUT, in my ideal world, the streets of Jerusalem would be much cleaner, and the people who make big ads (eg in the central bus station) would CHOOSE, out of their own volition, to maintain a certain atmosphere of dignity and sanctity.

But since I'm not going around complaining about one, I know it would be hypocritical to complain about the other.

The battle for Jerusalem's dignity has been lost for a while. If we want to try to win it again, the gay pride parade is the LAST place to start, when there are so many neighborhoods that are filthy, and people do not control their dogs!

(This comment is NOT meant to equate homosexuality with filth. Not at all! I'm just talking about the DIGNITY of cleanliness and the DIGNITY of keeping sexuality private - regardless of who you are sleeping with!)

Oh, and another message to the email writers: Just because I am religious doesn't mean I'm a knee-jerk homophobe.

::pant, pant::

OK, I'm done now.

Posted by: sarah | Jun 19, 2006 3:43:19 PM

Well, you made me very glad that I have a little obscure blog...gam zu l'tova!!

Posted by: westbankmama | Jun 19, 2006 4:00:16 PM

Seawitch... That's it??? I pour out my guts... and I get two words? :-)

G... The whole 'in your face' aspect of the parade is exactly the point. I am also uncomfortable with public displays of affection when I see them. But the hetero couple you saw practically having sex on the park bench have earned the right to elicit nothing more than a polite 'hey, why don't you two get a room already', while the gay couple is still made to feel that it is doing something immoral or even illegal. I would prefer that my kids not be exposed to either... but until the gay community has the same civil rights as the hetero community you can't blame them for making themselves hard to ignore.

Sarah... I just scratch my head and wonder when we (meaning the religious Jewish community) decided to adopt the most intollerant aspects of Catholicism? [no offense meant to my Catholic readers]

Westbankmama... I've been responding to the dozens of emails I've gotten so far from the moonbat patrol thusly:

Thank you for your thoughtful form letter.

I had not wanted to weigh in on this issue as mine is not a religion/politics blog. But you convinced me to stand up and take a position.

Warm Regards,

David Bogner
www.treppenwitz.com

"Laying the groundwork for an insanity defense since 1961"

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 19, 2006 4:07:47 PM

About issue #2 - when I first started blogging (actually got back to blogging) I was asking people to blogroll me. Shortly after that I matured and realized that is not the way to do it. Just read what interests you, blogroll what interests you, and others who find you interesting will naturally blogroll you. No point in requesting. It makes you look like a pest.
about the gay parade - I am not anti-gay. I believe they have rights like everyone else. I also believe they are commiting a sin just like anyone else who commits a sin - I am not better than them when I sin. It is just a matter of what the sin is. I choose a and they choose b. That being said, I do not go bragging that I am so proud of my sins in public. I am ashamed of them and wish I could stop doing it. While they are gay and have equal rights and nobody should use violence against them, nor should anybodty judge them worse than any other sinner (and who is perfect and can say he is without sin?), for them to flaunt it in public, especially in Jerusalem, is wrong on their part. That being said, we do not live in a halachik state, rather a democratic state, and therefore have no right to stop it from taking place. We can try to use our influence to convince them that it is wrong and improper, but no more than that (and since they will not be convinced, that is also pointless)..

Posted by: Rafi G | Jun 19, 2006 4:21:45 PM

Unlike westbankmama, I'm upset. I'm not important enough to get a stupid letter that I can publically eviscerate? Not fair!

But David, I'm not sure that I understand the disappointment you claim you would feel for your daughter in not experiencing "the same male-female intimacy I have with her mother."

Surely she would be enjoying the equivalent intimacy you experience, just with a woman. When you get technical about it, you and she would have even more in common!

You may as well feel disappointment with yourself for missing out on the intimacy that you don't experience with another man.

Although I'm hypothesizing here, I suspect that the disappointment would be more on the order of all the other things that go along with traditional marriage, including: social acceptance, grandchildren, and just maybe a twinge of feeling that the relationship is a bit outside the norms of Orthodoxy.

Yehuda

Posted by: Yehuda Berlinger | Jun 19, 2006 4:22:36 PM

Rafi G... "I am not anti-gay. I believe they have rights like everyone else. I also believe they are committing a sin just like anyone else who commits a sin..." I'm assuming you misspoke yourself here. Having rights is not a matter of belief. Either you have them or you don't. At present they don't. As to the whole sin thing, as you correctly pointed out at the close of your comment, this would only be relevant if we lived in a theocracy... and we don't. I'm ashamed about much of what I see people doing in public these days... but I don't think their behavior should be outlawed in a liberal democracy.

Yehuda... No, actually if I may be allowed to use the word 'normal' in a non-judgemental way to describe a situation that happens most often in nature, then the 'normal' intimacy I have with my wife is certainly something I'd wish for my daughter. Again, this is not to use the word in a judgemental way or two make it seem better than the intimacy enjoyed by gays. With that said, it is much easier to procreate through 'normal' means than through medical intervention so this would also be an easier path I would wish for my child. Again, this is not a proof that one way is right and the other way wrong. If that were the case then infertile hetero couples who go the 'turkey baster' route would be considered abnormal sinners and scorned as heretics. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 19, 2006 4:40:35 PM

David, what an excellent post. I agree with everything you have said (and Sarah is definitely right on too.)

Just throwing it out there, but is there a reason why Jerusalem was chosen for the parade instead of Tel-Aviv?

I would think that Tel-Aviv would attract many more people just for the fact of it's openess and diversity of attractions i.e, restaurants, bars, clubs, etc.

For anyone who hasn't attended a gay pride parade, you just don't the know the fun you are missing out on. The theatrics are fantastic.

Posted by: jaime | Jun 19, 2006 4:46:21 PM

LIONESS HEARTS TREPPY!!!

Now, homosexuality being worse than Hamas? Isn't that what Hamas thinks as well? How nice when people show a modicum of connection to reality.

I don't care what people's sexual preferences are as long as they behave. Once at a friend of mine's (who's gay but not a flaming queen) one of his friends pinched his boyfriend's nipples right in front of me, at the table, and I found it vile - but I'd feel the same way were it a man and a woman. And quite frankly, gay pride, amusing as it may be at times to be suronded by drag queens, annoys me a bit in the sense that it does NOT make sense bcs on the one hand gay people demand to be treated with respect and want their rights recognised and upheld - as it should be and abt time as well, but then parade half-naked with feathers sticking out of their bums and tongues down others' oesophagi and I am not overly impressed by it regardless of with whom you prefer to do it. There are bedrooms for that, or even secluded bushes.

This blogger, I don't care how much good community work she/he does for the community, seems to be a bit of an idiot and apparently cannot stop obsessing abt what men do in bed together. Well, there are movies that show you, rent one and shut up abt it already. I think it's fair to say he/she should indeed worry abt the children for it is a sad thing when they grow up to be bigots and equal love or even just sex btwn two same-sex people with a terrorist organisation.

Posted by: Lioness | Jun 19, 2006 4:58:19 PM

If not for yourselves then do it for the gateway to heaven. :(

Posted by: pk | Jun 19, 2006 5:13:35 PM

Great Post.


OK, I'll give you more than two words.

I think the guy who told you, "Now, don't get me wrong, I believe that everyone is free to do what s/he thinks is right for them" is probably lying, either to you or to himself. Of course he believes that it's wrong, even in private. Why else would he get so bent out of shape over it?

I don't know how I really feel about homosexuality. Certainly it's not for me. Our party line has also hammered into us that it's wrong and that we will get all kinds of nasty punishments (including death) for engaging in it.

But I also know many gay people whose company I enjoy (and often prefer to their straight neighbors) and so over time I've become more comfortable with the idea. Like you, I'd be unhappy if one of my kids decided to switch sides, but probably not as much as if they told me they were going to intermarry and give up their Judaism. And to me, I think it would be more of an issue with hardship in their future and where will I get my grandkids from etc.

I'm with G though, about the parade. I wouldn't have a problem with a benign "show the banner" style parade (though why in Jerusalem?). But I'd be offended by the "in your face" stuff. I think it would be as inappropriate as a parade celebrating the right to have premarital sex (with visual displays) or pedophilia or whatever.

I'd like to think I'm not as hypocritical as the guy who emailed you, but we can't always control how we feel. I guess that's the whole point of the discussion.

Posted by: psychotoddler | Jun 19, 2006 5:19:00 PM

Tremendous response and much appreciated. I agree 100%. (i.e. well said, but you deserve more words than that).

And, by the way, even if there is some marginal element of choice in homosexuality, male or female, my response isn't to stamp out any public hint of its existence. Modeling and teaching go a lot further in my mind, but then again I feel that way on a lot of subjects.

Posted by: AbbaGav | Jun 19, 2006 5:28:03 PM

Trepp, great post. Personally, I think you show great restraint by not using this blogger's name. Obviously he is not ashamed of his opinion...he chooses to spread his vile email around. And that constitutes "good community work"...HOW?

Posted by: cruisin-mom | Jun 19, 2006 5:31:37 PM

kindly shut your cake hole

Sorry, I prefer pie hole. It just sounds better to me. ;)

I have received a few similar letters. Some of them have been so obnoxious that I didn't bother responding because I knew that I would end up flaying them alive.

There is a lot of ignorance in the world and the people who write these letters are a big part of it.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 19, 2006 5:40:52 PM

Good response!

I guess that means that I'll be in Israel for the parade then... is this the big World Pride thing they wanted to do last year but was postponed because of the Hitnatqut?

I remember how people put up these offensive signs about "Sodomites" and the destruction of Sedom and how that would happen to Yerushalayim, or there would be an earthquake or something, if the LGBTQetc parade goes on. Hah. Don't they realize that in the Jewish tradition, the major sin of Sedom wasn't forbidden sex acts but cruelty to guests and strangers?

Posted by: Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) | Jun 19, 2006 5:46:23 PM

I am sorry that I will not be able to be at the parade (I am travelling abroad).

Homosexuality is not a sin, and I find people who vomit in public after drinking a lot and the garbage (literal garbage) that covers Yerushalaim because of the holy and dirty people that inhabits it repugnant in a way that I don't see two men kissing as that.

Agree with Treppenwitz and Steg.

Posted by: Fabian | Jun 19, 2006 5:57:03 PM

Just to keep my name clean, I would like to state for the record, that it wasn't me!

Posted by: Jameel @ The Muqata | Jun 19, 2006 6:16:02 PM

As an openly gay person, I take offense at being told that somehow I am flaunting my behavior or lifestyle.

I am expressing affection for my partner/spouse.

I am opposed to extreme public displays of affection by any couple - straight or gay.
Holding hands, or putting arms around each other or greeting or parting ways with a kiss on the lips are all very acceptable behaviors for ALL people.

The parades are not my favorite aspect for getting our cause noticed, but it does get people thinking about/discussing it. I don't feel that the parade marchers accurately portray all gay people. There are plenty gay people who don't dress up in drag, dress in leather, etc... and perhaps these 'tame' gay people need to get out there and march, too.

A parade, though, should not be something that is looked upon as threatening to anyone. It's a group of people marching for pride. Pride for who they are and celebrating whom they love.

Nicely written post, David.

Posted by: val | Jun 19, 2006 6:21:09 PM

I'm with G and PsychoToddler on this one. I also find it interesting that it's being done in Yerushalayim, when the "Love Parade" was in Tel Aviv the years I was in Israel - it definitely comes across as an attempt to incite large groups of people in a more religious city.

Nevertheless, I don't find myself liking the way this person went about it. In a way, it is just as much his right to protest the parade as it is theirs to have it - but I don't think that's enough. Calling it "worse than Hamas" is just stupid.

Also, I liked what AbbaGav said: And, by the way, even if there is some marginal element of choice in homosexuality, male or female, my response isn't to stamp out any public hint of its existence. Modeling and teaching go a lot further in my mind, but then again I feel that way on a lot of subjects. My grandfather-in-law was a respected psychologist who felt that homosexuality was in fact a choice, certainly for most gays if not all. But nevertheless, that does not mean they should be treated any differently - imagine if we treated people who spoke lashon hara that way. What, they can't control it? The argument should not be "they can't help it," because that just turns into a debate over whether that's true. The point should be "it doesn't matter."

One quick note, though... Many people DO consider it 'a HORRIBLE defilement of my sensitivities, a threat to my family's innocence and a desecration of the sanctity of the Holy City of Jerusalem' when Hassidim in Mea Sha'arim throw rocks at fellow Jews or are led away in handcuffs for child\spousal abuse and fraud... Even people who are against this parade. But the rock-throwers and child-abusers aren't having parades that the writer can protest against, even if he wanted to.

[Note: I am NOT equating rock-throwing to gays. I just thought that paragraph was a bit gratuitous.]

Posted by: Ezzie | Jun 19, 2006 6:22:55 PM

Seawitch... That's it??? I pour out my guts... and I get two words? :-)

I wrote a post on the subject of gays about a week ago. You said it more eloquently than I did. Just complimenting you! :)

Posted by: seawitch | Jun 19, 2006 6:44:50 PM

Outstanding post David.

However, I'm very upset that I didn't recieve the email.

Ezzie, the Love Parade in Tel Aviv is not the Gay parade, although the Love Parade is very popular with the Gay community. There is however a yearly gay parade in Tel Aviv - which is not to be confused with the one in Jerusalem. The parade in Jerusalem is more of a march. And the march is not just gays, it's also friends and family of gays.

Frankly, even though I have many friends who are gay, the thought of marching never crossed my mind. The whole mass conformity thing doesn't sit well with me (I don't like chanting either!) but the more I read about the opposition to this harmless event the more likely I am to go to show my support to the gay community of Israel.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 19, 2006 6:48:45 PM

If I quote Leviticus 20:13, you will surely think me a bigot. But let's be clear, those words are what they are. Your argument isn't with bigots - it's with the words of the Bible.

Posted by: Bob | Jun 19, 2006 6:56:51 PM

David, Amen VeAmen.

Like Harry, I find myself dazed and confused as to why I didn't receive this email... ;-)

BTW Harry and anyone else "local"- I'll also probably be there to show solidarity (Kal VeChomer after this expose) and I know people coming from all over the world. So if anyone wants to stab me, maybe I'll get a T-shirt printed with my parrot logo on it so I'll be easy to spot among the drag queens.

Posted by: PP | Jun 19, 2006 7:01:58 PM

Just a word on one of the more popular non-sequiturs you borrowed:

"These things simply 'are' and to publicly demand a stance against any of them is to fly in the face of the Creator who made people with any and all of these attributes."

The Creator made the attributes, but that has no bearing on our position toward them. The same could be said of a person who rapes children. Indeed, some of them say they are "Just Gay". We have values and we say that it doesn't matter whether it's innate or not, it's forbidden. Not to imply that raping children is the same as being gay. But to point out that the argument around the idea of "Innate from the Creator" is not a good argument. If it were a good argument, it would apply to everybody. My values come from the Torah and the Lord tells me that homosexuality is an abomination. It may seem fair and generous to treat homosexuals the same as heterosexuals, but it doesn't matter what it seems. What matters is what the Lord tells us.

Actually, science has not determined for us whether homosexuality learned, acquired, inherited, or something else. For many people the idea that something is "Innate from the Creator" is the same as saying "Inherited", so I'm bringing it up. Of course, something learned or acquired is also from Hashem.

Ideas that I first had today, including this comment, also come from Hashem, the Creator. It's a profound truth but sometimes not relevant.

Posted by: Warren | Jun 19, 2006 7:17:57 PM

Mixed bag response:

1. "there will be a HORRIBLE defilement of my sensitivities" conjures up all sorts of fascinating images.

2. Love when English speakers use "happening" rather than "event".

3. Don't think this is really about religion rather someone using religion to cover up their own neurosis.

4. Bible MAY/MAY NOT have something condemning homosexuality (I'm not qualified to make either argument) but I'm pretty sure there is nothing there condemning gay people marching.

5. If the march is meant in part to stimulate debate, they have certainly done that.

6. Was in Austin Texas on business - Friday was Republic of Texas bikers parade, Saturday Gay Pride Parade (missed it). Gotta love Austin!

Posted by: lisoosh | Jun 19, 2006 7:22:42 PM

I wanted to say "great post" but was hesitant to leave a two word comment. Now that I've covered the extra words... GREAT POST. :)

Posted by: jg | Jun 19, 2006 7:44:56 PM

My advice to anyone who may be offended or uncomfortable with a gay pride parade or march... would be not to go.
I myself am not a fan of loud, fast race cars for example - so I tend to avoid NASCAR events.

Posted by: lisa | Jun 19, 2006 8:04:15 PM

Terrific post, David.

Here is another place where a crazy-right-winger like me and a social-liberal-who-hates-labels-but-has-very-traditional-values like you have a lot of common ground.

If you bear with me, let’s see if we can chisel out a common space in the center of this issue.

First of all, I take it for granted that:
1) No one chooses to be gay or lesbian. The causes of homosexual orientation are still mysterious but to believe that this is something that is chosen flies in the face of the millions of gays who do not recall such a choice and presumes that anyone would choose a dramatically more difficult life for oneself without any obvious benefits.
2) The way in which we express our sexual orientation is a choice. Meaning, monogamy is a very unnatural thing for men. We are hard wired to want to have intercourse with as many women as possible. We don’t choose this orientation, but we choose how we behave. Society expects us to limit our sexual behavior to one wife, and stigmatizes any extramarital sex. I think this societal restraint on our nature is very important and very valuable. I don’t want a secular law against adultery, meaning I don’t want the government involved, but neither do I want a society in which anything that to which adults consent is considered equally valuable and in which “open” marriages are OK.

With me so far?

3) Men and women are different in their psychosexual drives. Men are hard wired to seek infinite sexual variety. Women are hard wired to seek infinite intimacy. The Darwinian benefits of this arrangement should be clear, but if it’s not, let me know and I’ll be happy to explain. The best evidence for this difference between men and women is the typical promiscuity in the male gay community, and the typical monogamy and long-term relationships among lesbians. Obviously, these are just broad observations and individuals are free to behave differently and many do. My point is not to prejudge any individual; it’s just to note broad differences between men and women.

4) If (3) is true then it’s possible that it may be best for kids to be raised by a mom and a dad, all other things being equal.

So I’m happy to part with the far right because I think that gays are not trying to convert my kids and I think that any discrimination against them in the workplace is foolish. I also think that they are created equally in the Divine image and are capable of as much holiness and debauchery as anyone else.

Where I part with the far left (and am curious if you do as well) is that I will not affirm that there should be no preferences between different consensual behaviors. On the contrary, some consensual behaviors are better than others.

For example, I think bisexuals should be encouraged to marry a person of the opposite sex and raise children (not by gov’t but by social pressure), but if you suggest that to a gay-rights activist then you are branded a bigot merely for upholding that society have preferences.

What do you say Trep? Can you follow me there, or does anything go? And if anything goes, what’s the argument against a husband that has a couple of girlfriends, as long as everyone knows and agrees?

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jun 19, 2006 8:59:25 PM

Oh and Harry brings up an excellent point, if I were in Israel I would most certainly be there bcs the thought of gays not being able to act as appalingly, averagely or greatly as all heteros simply bcs they are gay is too obscene for words.

Posted by: Lioness | Jun 19, 2006 9:37:13 PM

Your argument isn't with bigots - it's with the words of the Bible.

Only if you are a literalist.

Can you follow me there, or does anything go? And if anything goes, what’s the argument against a husband that has a couple of girlfriends, as long as everyone knows and agrees?

We don't have to take each argument to its extreme. For example approving gay marriage does not have to lead to men marrying their dogs.

It is not an all or nothing choice.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 19, 2006 9:41:12 PM

Jack: A middle position is what I'm advocating. A position in which everyone is tollerated, but society still states that some things are better than others. That's not extreme. The extremes are either "anything goes. who are we to say what's right?" or "gays are sinners".

You in?

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jun 19, 2006 10:07:58 PM

Actually, Jack, if you were really a literalist, you'd believe that the Bible only mentioned male homosexual intercourse (perhaps only make homosexual penetrational intercourse, depending on how you read 'k'mishk'vei isha')... which is far less than what most of the militantly anti-gay camp claims is an 'abomination'.

*grins*

David, a well-articulated response. *applauds* I'm somewhat curious, though... does the originator of this message actually believe that all of these bloggers will write something in support? Most bloggers I know would write something against the suggestions just to be contrary. ;)

Posted by: matlabfreak | Jun 19, 2006 10:52:34 PM

Jaime... I'm guessing that J'lem was chosen because having it in Tel Aviv is too much like preaching to the choir. Also, when one wants to make a policy point in the US, one marches in Washington. Why shouldn't the same hold true for the Israeli Capitol.

Lioness... "I don't care what people's sexual preferences are as long as they behave." Clap... clap... clap. Brava!

PK... Care to explain?

Psychotoddler... Although the event is nominally a parade, it is really about protest. Just going out and showing a banner is a few years away. Right now they are trying to be deliberately shocking (so it seems to me) so that something more tame (like two men holding hands at a coffee house) won't be shocking.

AbbaGav... I agree. Modeling and teaching is the way to go. But I don't believe that there is any choice. I feel this way because I did not choose to be hetero yet I couldn't be anything but.

Cruisin' mom... I also didn't want the discussion to be about him. In cases like this where a high profile person (think of any televangelist) says something truly hateful about gays or Jews or what have you... the ensuing discussion ends up being about them and not the group they insulted.

Jack... You, I use them interchangeably... but 'cake' just sounds somehow meaner. :-)

Steg... Good point, although the reason for their destruction was probably lost on the sodomites. :-)

Fabian... Well, actually it is a sin in several religions (at least for men). But we're not talking about religion here... were talking about the rights of gays to live as equal and full members of society in a liberal democracy. All the trouble begins when people blur the lines between religious and civil law.

Jameel... I couldn't be you. You wouldn't have had to ask for reciprocal linking.

Val... As I told Psychotoddler, My theory about the over-the=top aspect of the parades is to shock people so badly that 'normal' behavior like holding hands, kissing hello/good-bye and two mommies of the same child at a PTA meeting will seem, well, normal by comparison.

Ezzie... That is precisely why they are coming to Jerusalem. SO long as their very presence is considered incitement... there is a need to march. Trust me when I tell you that parades will become very passe and tame once gays have full rights and protection under the law.

Seawitch... I was just kidding. I accept compliments in all denominations. :-)

Harry... Thanks, and nice to hear from a fellow contrarian. BTW, if you'd like I can forward your email address to the moonbats. :-)

Bob..., The bible also says that if you 'spill your seed' you will be cut off from your people. You can tell your doctor about your 'tennis elbow' all you want... but you're gonna have some 'splainin' to do to the Big Guy on the judgement day. :-)

PP, if the only thing that would help people differentiate you from the drag queens is a mark on your clothing... :-) Actually, since I've met you I can personally vouch for your very feminine appearance.

Warren... You danced around the sharp edges of several very controversial and potentially offensive things in your comment. Talking about rapists and pedophiles during a discussion of gay rights is like casually mentioning any of the tropes found in 'The protocols of the learned elders of Zion' during a discussion of Jewish rights. It plays on the most bigoted fears that people have and is exactly the sort of thinking that perpetuates hate and fear. Like at least one other commenter you are confusing religious law and civil law. Each religion has the right to proclaim what is wrong and right. But civil law must protect everyone equally.

Lisoosh... I'm sure the use of the word 'hapenning' was intended to conjure up conservative fears associated with this hippie word. As to the biker and gay parades a day apart. I guessing that someone could have shown up on the wrong day and not realized it due to all the leather. :-)

jg... Thanks. :-)

Lisa... So when we wandered into an impromptu parade with the kids out in PTown ("Abba, why dies that lady have a beard?"), that would be like the Indie 500? :-)

Doctor Bean... I think each community should be allowed to create its own social taboos and norms. Religions do that... as do certain neighborhoods. The accepted modes of dress and behavior vary greatly between West Hollywood and the Valley, do they not? But people in both places have the same civil rights. That's all I'm looking for. There is no one thing called society.

Lioness... I never considered it before, but I'll bet you and Harry (and his lovely wife Ziva) would hit it off famously.

Jack... Not to mention that a certain right wing religion out in Utah views multiple partners favorably, so you can't chalk that kind of behavior entirely up to the left. :-)

Doctor Bean.. like I said before. The norms of society vary widely depending on where you are. It is precisely because there is such subjectivity in the application of social pressures (or the lack thereof) that the law should be blind to such considerations.

Matlabfreak... Thanks. As I pointed out, he seems to have included only bloggers he considered religious and/or conservative. That he didn't bother to get to know any of us before making such a presumptuous request speaks volumes.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 19, 2006 10:53:23 PM

Dr. Bean, I'm not sure of your logic between 3 and 4.

You have men as tending promiscuous and women tending monogamous. The examples of a preponderance of long term relationships among lesbians and active promiscuity among gay men provides and interesting if unproven theory. However, how you decide that this "proves" kids should be raised by a mixed couple is dubious logic.
What you seem to say is that kids should have one "monogamous" parent and one "promiscuous". If the standard is that lesbians are particularly monogamous and kids need stability then it would be fair to say that the logical extension of 3 is that all kids should be raised by lesbians.

I'm not arguing here either for or against gay couples raising children. Just pointing out the fallability of your logic.

Oh and this:

" some consensual behaviors are better than others.'

We seem to disagree when it comes to assigning value to culture/behaviours etc. So please enlighten me. What is your definition of "better" in this case?

Posted by: lisoosh | Jun 19, 2006 11:08:32 PM

Amen Trep. After seeing the BS (mostly, incidently, from American yeshiva students) at last year's Jerusalem gay pride parade, I wish I could march in this year's parade but I will be in America for my sister's wedding. I also wish there were some more right-wing/centrist political groups represented.

In fact, I wouldn't have wanted to march in this parade if not for the vehement (and idiotic) hatred expressed in trying to stop it. And Sarah's right -- you want to clean up this Holy City (my home, I must add), start with the run down downtown and the dirty dogs and the dirty delapitated neighborhoods (including the Haredi neighborhoods). And, if you don't live in Jerusalem (or Israel), stay out of our internal politics. (i.e. Mayor Lupiolaksi needs to spend his time cleaning up the city, not engaging in pure homophobia)

Posted by: amechad | Jun 19, 2006 11:49:25 PM

I am with Doctor Bean on this one.

Re the parade itself, I am kind of conflicted on the issue. On the one hand, I am a staunch supporter of freedom of peaceful demonstration. On the other hand, I am very uncomfortable with flagrant display of sexuality, no matter who does it. Nor do I think that that basing a civil rights movement on the display of one's sexuality is the best way of going around getting accepted. My big issue with this is that I find that it is indeed possible to fight for one's civil rights while being sensitive to the needs of others at the same time. You're not going to get many supporters if you go around shoving your agenda down everyone's throats by deliberate display of what that "everyone" finds revolting. At the same time, I'm not advocating any legisltative measures. And, in fact, I would be equally opposed to such a parade by heterosexuals if a similar display of sexuality were to occur. I am with Sarah and others, who have expressed their disgust with the other ways of defiling the city - not picking up after dogs, drinking excessively, etc. I am very much opposed to all these things. And you have to start with your own personal behavior and small things if you want to change anything. But at the same time I understand outrage aimed at the excesses of display of sexuality. : (

Posted by: Irina | Jun 19, 2006 11:54:56 PM

Trepp -- The Bible says many things. Again, your disagreement isn't with me. Personally, I'm a very "tolerant" guy, but I don't delude myself into thinking that my opinions are superior to Hashem's.

Posted by: Bob | Jun 20, 2006 12:18:09 AM

"Abba, why dies that lady have a beard?"

Explaining these things to my daughter has always turned out to be so much easier than I expected. When she was about 9, we were walking along and a GORGEOUS transvestite walked past us. I very casually watched ~T~'s reaction as she went by. A few second later, she turned to me and asked "Mommy, was that a man?" I said "Yeah, how could you tell?" She answered "The way she, um, he, walked. Why was he dressed like that?" I said "Maybe he feels more comfortable that way." ~T~ said "Oh, ok." That was it.

Re: who should raise children: A gay couple that I know is planning to adopt soon. I'm sure they will be great parents - better than a lot of straight men. Their child will be lucky to have them. Good parenting depends on the individual, NOT their sexual preference.

Posted by: jg | Jun 20, 2006 12:21:55 AM

David - there certainly was a lot of leather. And sweat.

Posted by: lisoosh | Jun 20, 2006 12:59:21 AM

David: You know that I think you are most groovilacious, so I know that you’ll understand that my continued argument is an effort to sharpen both of our opinions and is not at all personal.

I don’t think you’re being fully honest. You say that this is about civil rights but admit that it’s actually about shifting what the public finds outrageous. It’s much more about public opinion and social pressure. I know nothing about the planned march (and have no problem with it at all; I probably feel closer to the marchers than the anti-marchers) so if it’s just about the right of same sex couples to marry, nobody has said that on this thread.

“Different communities have different standards” is just a way to cop out of having to defend your standards when all standards are under attack. Do you really have no preference? Is your position identical to Lisoosh’s?

Lisoosh: You misunderstood me. Please let me clarify. (3) was simply to argue that men and women are different. The argument about their different sexual expressions was not to prove or argue for (4) but merely to support (3). My argument is that if men and women are fundamentally different, perhaps depriving a child from being raised by one or the other is suboptimal. I hope that makes the connection clear.

“So please enlighten me. What is your definition of "better" in this case?”

Oh, come on. Put away the radical egalitarian hobbyhorse for just long enough to read what I’m writing. You want some examples of adult consensual behavior that is better than other? OK. Here: I believe that sex within monogamous marriage is better than adultery, even if the adultery is not secret and consented to by all parties involved. I believe that consensual sex between unrelated adults is better than consensual sex between adults who are siblings, even if pregnancy is impossible. I believe that monogamous marriage is preferable to polygamy.

How’s that for a start? Can I get grudging agreement from you, or would you not dare cast judgment on the incestuous-American community, who after all deserve equal civil rights to all of us?

JG: You may have misunderstood me. I don’t care what the sexual orientation of the parents are. I think (again, all other things being equal) that kids are best raised by a man and a woman. The sexual orientation is irrelevant.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jun 20, 2006 1:11:00 AM

thanks for posting this. I agree with Jack, though. Piehole.

Posted by: stepima | Jun 20, 2006 1:11:33 AM

I think (again, all other things being equal) that kids are best raised by a man and a woman.

As long as you are talking about a loving environment. I am not saying that you aren't, but all too often people make the statement without taking it to the logical conclusion.

Man and woman is not always superior just because they are man and woman.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 20, 2006 1:59:48 AM

The Chofetz Chaim considered loshon hora to be the worst misdeed of all, in part because it violates so many aspects of Torah. I do this bad thing many times per day, blatantly. How many people protesting this parade can go one day without doing it? That's where I feel confused on this issue. Many people who know a zillion times more about Torah- and who live lives that flow from the Torah much more than I- feel that protecting Jerusalem in specific is very important. I just can't help feeling I have a point on this one.

Oh, and leather chaps are just gross. Anywhere. Especially on big hairy guys, in the summer, outside. I'm against it!!

Posted by: Alice | Jun 20, 2006 2:22:09 AM

Amen.

Posted by: Ezer Knegdo | Jun 20, 2006 4:31:49 AM

Doc Bean, don't take this wrong, but I am a little confused with your comments. How are they relevant to what David is pointing out in his post, except as another attempt of yours, to 'out him' as a conservative? (David, not that there is ANYTHING wrong with it.)

I wanted to write this earlier, but I wasn't sure how it would come across. I don't think Jerusalem is the right place for a parade of theatrics, or of playful or shocking promiscuity. There are cities in which it would be appropriate, no matter the level of shock value, but if they are choosing Jerusalem for a specific goal or message vs, Tel Aviv, then, the organizers should definitely advocate that the participants and spectators toned it down to a respectable presence. Using shocking behavior only leads to negative reinforcement.

So as much as I said, previously, that I enjoy the party atmosphere and theatrics (including the decadent behaviors), I would not want it in Jerusalem either. Jerusalem has a spirituality and beauty that touches almost anyone who lives or visits her. If the organizers of the parade want it in Jerusalem, I belief, the parade should reflect that and respect it.

Posted by: jaime | Jun 20, 2006 4:40:01 AM

One question: isn't Israel kind of a theocracy? Doesn't a strict interpretation of Jewish law inform civil legislation? (Because, you know, I live in the Good 'ol US of A, where we certainly don't have an acting theocracy. Religious beliefs NEVER inform legislation here. Cough, cough.)

Posted by: Ezer Knegdo | Jun 20, 2006 4:58:29 AM

This is tragic actually. Political Correctness out of control. Most of you are talking through your hats. I was once married to a girl who's father owned a gay bar in San Francisco ... was a famous gay performer and died in the eighties from AIDS.

The girl and I lived on the same small ranch with her father and we lived as a family for SIX years. I saw and spoke with this man and his lovers and his friends (hundreds of them) every day. I went to gay bars and danced with gay men. I've had many intimate conversations with many gay men and asked them about their proclivities and how they develolped them. I was quite curious how they could all be so .... over the top and perverse.

I found that they all traveled a road of increasing sexual appetite and perversity. Most of them had tried everything and regularly did things that would make most of you here vomit if you saw it. I found a very strong typology amoungst gay men. Most of them had cold aloof dictatorial fathers and overbearing controlling mothers. This is a known and well researched fact to the science of psychology but has been surpressed since the politically correct American Psychiatric Asc. decided to normalize homosexuality, took it off the list of aberrant behaviour and dictated that ANY mental health professional who dared to 'treat' homosexuality would have his license to practice removed.

Not long ago I mentioned in a post that western society has removed the guard rails in our civilization. When homosexuality is condoned as David and those in agreement with him here are doing ... when it is labeled a reasonable and equal alternative to heterosexual behaviour ... you are in fact endorsing, enabeling, and promoting it.

David is absolutely wrong when he says that every homosexual is born that way. I KNOW that many are not. It is very often an aberrant psychological reaction to very bad parenting and abuse from within and without the home ... just as is sociopathy. If all homosexuals are born that way then how do we explain the bi-sexual? Born that way? Or chosen? Tell me that many many lesbians are born that way! Hells bells lots of them have past marriages and kids! They were faking it all those years right?

Society DEMANDS that people controll their sexual urges. Especially men because the male libido without restraint is violently dangerous. Try and have a happy well adjusted marriage when you've had a couple hundred sexual partners before you get married. (I assure you it sucks ) But gays are encouraged to give free reign. Screw yourselves to death ... literally. Taking shame and social pressure out of a society will lead to chaos and disease. I promise you.

It is already happening. Your own early teen kids are bedding each other like rabbits (no actually rabbits are chaste compared to western teenagers) and you don't even know it. Your heads are in the sand. Your kids live a life you know nothing about. We have taken down the guardrails and we shall pay the price.

Posted by: Scott | Jun 20, 2006 9:33:21 AM

Trep, you noted in two replies that your stance is based on the common rights of individuals in a "liberal democracy." So it is fair to assume that you see Israel in that political state, and with such a perspective you are inarguably correct that having the parade is in line with that political atmosphere.

Would you then say that if Israel was not a liberal democracy that you might take a different stance?

Finally, Trep, if you were to be the one to choose the political/social status of Israel as you wish it to be what would be your stance on the parade?

Posted by: yonah | Jun 20, 2006 10:18:10 AM

Lisoosh... I get where Doctor Bean wants to take me/us, but I'm being deliberately obtuse for a reason. The fact is I don't disagree with his statement about assigning a value judgement to behaviors. However, the crux of my argument is that being gay is not a behavior... it is a trait with which one is born. The shock value of the parade is very much about behavior and is quite deliberately over the top... but the reason for this is to drive home the point that gay rights can no longer be ignored. Once they get a modicum of equality under the law they will stop marching in such an 'in your face' manner. Think about this: You don't see to many protest marches in Selma AL since African Americans got their civil rights codified and protected under the law, do you? Back then the idea of blacks actually taking to the streets to demand their rights was far more shocking behavior to the populace than any little gay parade is for us today.

amechad... These folks seem to be confused between mitvot bein adam l'makom (commandments between man and G-d) and mitzvot being adam l'havero (interpersonal mitzvot). I can actively protest against you if you move the boundary marker between our properties or if my ox falls into a hole you dug and then left uncovered. But without a Sanhedrin, what right does anyone have to protest a perceived violation of Jewish law that is entirely between man and his Maker?

Irina... As I've said several times already, the outrageous and admittedly inappropriate public displays of sexuality are designed to shock. Any small advances the gay community has made in getting recognition and better treatment under the law is entirely due to Act Up and similar groups that actually bear no resemblance to how gays actually live and act. It's street theater pure and simple and it isn't intended to put people at ease.

Bob... You need to put down the Good Book for a second and actually read what I have written. The reason I gave you such a snarky response before is that you and people like you can't get past the fact that your religious beliefs are not allowed to extend to denying someone else their civil rights. You have the right to live as you wish and believe what you wish... but you do not live in a time period or in a place where your beliefs are enforceable against anyone else. You say these people are sinners... and for you this statement is 100% correct. I say driving on Shabbat is a sin yet I am not allowed to go into Tel Aviv and confiscate people's car keys on Friday afternoon. Sucks, doesn't it?!

jg... My orthodox Jewish children have lived their whole life with a gay aunt who they love unconditionally. We have never really discussed her 'story' with them, mostly because we have never felt compelled to discuss our straight friends' 'stories' with them. Kids understand as much as they are able... and that increases exponentially with age.

Lisoosh... I'm dry heaving over here. :-)

Doctor Bean... It's a good thing you went to medical school and not to law school. I love you like a brother but you'd have made a sh*tty lawyer. The big flaw in your reasoning (and the sole reason I haven't answered you directly) is that you have not related to what I wrote. Instead you have decided to stray off into social Darwinism and pop psychology. It doesn't matter to this discussion that men are more promiscuous or that women are more nurturing. It doesn't matter to this discussion that in one community people say 'please', 'thank you' and 'have a nice day', while on the other side of the planet people would take such niceties as insincerity and putting on airs. The Gay Parade is not meant to be socially acceptable. A man walking down the streets of Judaism's holiest city with an Emu feather sticking out of his *ss is not supposed to be OK. But it is also not OK that men and women who are born into this world with their circuits configured so that they are attracted to the same gender are denied the right to enter into legally recognised unions. They can't inherit property from one another or automatically become the legal parent of their 'spouses' children or even give legally binding orders to a physician should their loved one become incapacitated. Sure they can jump through legal hoops to patch together powers of attorney, trust funds and legal guardianship of minors... but why should they have to when you and I don't? Marching in Tel Aviv wearing shorts, t-shirts and sandals might better represent who these people really are for the other 364 days of the year... but it won't get them the rights they deserve. So they are doing something that you and I both agree is disturbing. that's the nature of protest. Would you rather they burn buildings and throw stones? Stick to the facts, counselor.

StepIma... OK, can I tell you the real reason I chose the less satisfying 'cake hole'? The word 'pie' is also part of a euphemism for an intimate portion of the female anatomy and I was concerned about opening a door through which several of you would certainly have walked. Putting the word 'Pie' and 'hole' in close proximity seemed ill-advised given the subject matter. :-)

Jack... I agree, but both you and Doc Bean are way off topic. :-)

Alice... Several other commenters have pointed out ways in which Jerusalem needs protection that have nothing to do with this one day event. If people were really that concerned about the honor and dignity of this holy city they would be hanging negligent dog owners from lamp posts and demanding that the mayor triple the budget for sanitation services.

Ezer Knegdo... Wow, just one word. :-) BTW, thanks for the mention on your site. I'm still blushing.

Jaime... I don't think Jeruselam was chosen because the organizers thought it would be 'the right place'. In fact I think the choice of this city was becasue so many people would feel quite the opposite. Your comment seems to bear this out. Remember, this is about protest, not just celebrating. The civil rights march in Selma Alabama wouldn't have done much good if it had taken place in New York.

Scott... You and a few other people need to get down off your soap box and recognize that you are missing the point. You are blurring the lines between bad parenting, absent social barriers and destructive behavior and the requirement that human beings enjoy equal legal/civil rights. I don't care how many gay men you danced with or how much 'inside knowledge' you think you have. If an adult has sex with someone below the age of consent, he/she is a criminal. If two adults have consenting sexual relations that is nobody's business. In both of these cases the gender of the participants is completely irrelevant. To put it in another light, I work with a man who is short, fat and has thick curly hair on every square inch of his exposed skin. He looks like a big sweaty bear or a walking bath mat... and the idea that that he actually has a wife who is willing to sleep with him makes me queasy. But it's not my call so I just think about baseball stats whenever I see him. By the same token, if I ever found out that someone was sexually abusing one of my kids the police would never find his/her body. See the difference. In one case I have no say/rights to interfere. In the other the perp has no say/rights.

Yonah... We might as well talk about how many fairies (bad choice of words) can dance on the head of a pin. I pray three times a day for the re-establishment of the Temple and the coming of the Messianic era. I wish with all my heart for the city of Jerusalem to be the center of G-d's eternal kingdom rather than just the capitol city of the State of Israel. But so long as these things haven't come to pass, I have no right to take the cheeseburger out of anyone's mouth or tell any of G-d's creations that they can't violate a Torah law that is entirely between them and their Creator. To answer your last question, I would hope that when we are living in Messianic times G-d will create us in such a way that we are better able to serve His purpose while keeping His commandments... all of them!

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 20, 2006 11:19:56 AM

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