Moral opprobrium: A wonderful thing for other people to suffer

Should I take some sort of satisfaction from the fact Christianity (my faith) isn’t the only religion with a homophobe streak?
The gay rights website Pam’s House Blend reprints a letter from several Orthodox Jewish groups that could just as easily have come from the Christian religious right. The letter denounces same sex marriage as threatening “the integrity of marriage in its current form”; in the same paragraph it states that “we do not seek to impose our religious principles on others” while pointing out the Torah bans homosexuality. And the letter raises the bugaboo that gay marriage means “members of traditional communities like ours will incur moral opprobrium and may risk legal sanction if they refuse to transgress their beliefs. That prospect is chilling, and should be unacceptable to all people of good will on both sides of this debate.”
As the blog points out at the link, the Torah didn’t allow gay marriage, but it endorsed men having multiple wives and concubines, so ancient Judaic law hardly embodies traditional marriage as its now known in the USA.
As for the terrible threat of legal sanctions, it would be unacceptable if the law repressed Orthodox Jews or any other religious group for speaking against homosexuality. However, there’s not the slightest sign of that happening: Massachusetts has had gay marriage for years without repressing anyone’s right to preach anti-gay sermons. And the Supreme Court has accepted Fred Phelps’ right to protest soldiers’ funerals with his anti-gay rhetoric, so it’s hard to imagine what the letter-writers have to worry about (as Slacktivist discusses). Hell, Orson Scott Card called for armed revolution if California struck down Proposition 8, and nobody silenced him either.
The bit about moral opprobrium is given some irony by this Jewish Press article on the importance of moral opprobrium—provided it’s directed at gays and not at Jews. And that if we allow gay people to get married, it will destroy the foundation of straight marriage (as usual, no examples of straight marriages collapsing in Massachusetts or anywhere else are provided) and when courts “lend legal credence to homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle [it] serves to greatly undermine the basic teachings of religious groups throughout the country.”
Of course by that logic, so does eating shellfish. And from a Jewish perspective, so do Christianity and atheism. But I guess gays make a much safer target.


Filed under Politics

8 responses to “Moral opprobrium: A wonderful thing for other people to suffer

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