Well, vacation is over. So here is the Part 2 to THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIBERAL AND CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANITY — PART 1. A we observed in Part 1, an article like Where Christian churches, other religions stand on gay marriage (pewresearch.org) suggests which churches are Liberal and which are Conservative and includes a list, Where Major Religions Stand on Same-Sex Marriage. So let’s start with Conservative Judaism.
“Conservative” Judaism supports same-sex marriage? When people abuse words that way, it becomes difficult to take them seriously.
Supposedly, the liberal Jewish denominations are the Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative. My Jewish Learning provides this assessment in an article about the position of the various Jewish denominations on same-sex marriage, Same-Sex Marriage. All these groups seem to accept same-sex marriages, at least to some degree, but the article does not explain why. On the other hand, Orthodox Judaism and LGBTQ Issues clearly states that Orthodox Judaism has problem with same-sex marriage for Biblical reasons.
Here are some of the websites I visited that promote Conservative Judaism.
- The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (uscj.org)
- The Jewish Theological Seminary (jtsa.edu)
- The Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel (masorti.org)
- The Rabbinical Assembly (rabbinicalassembly.org)
My inclination is to say that none of these websites put God’s Word front and center, but that’s a judgement call and maybe a bit of an overstatement. What is more important is whether those who practice Conservative Judaism put obedience to God’s Word ahead of their own desires.
When the Bible explicitly condemns same-sex “sexual” relationships, why is same-sex marriage okay with Conservative Judaism? Here is what I got from my research.
- Condemning same-sex “sexual” relationships hurts the feelings of the LGBT community.
- If we try hard enough, we can convince ourselves the Torah doesn’t mean what it says.
Anyway, here are some various articles on the subject.
- The Rabbinical Assembly was my big source. These include: HOMOSEXUALITY, HUMAN DIGNITY & HALAKHAH: A COMBINED RESPONSUM FOR THE COMMITTEE ON JEWISH LAW AND STANDARDS, RITUALS AND DOCUMENTS OF MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES , Resolutions on Gender and LGBTQ, and You have wrestled with God and human and prevailed: Homosexuality and Halakhah.
- Conservative rabbinic group issues guidelines for same-sex wedding rituals (jta.org). This is a news article about the second document in the list from The Rabbinical Assembly.
- Conservative Halakhah and Homosexuality: An insider’s view of the 2006 CJLS gay vote (myjewishlearning.com).
Except for the fact some people take them seriously, articles like HOMOSEXUALITY, HUMAN DIGNITY & HALAKHAH: A COMBINED RESPONSUM FOR THE COMMITTEE ON JEWISH LAW AND STANDARDS would be funny. This damned thing goes on for 36 pages, but here is the essence of the argument. Homosexuality is not a choice and cannot be changed. Celibacy is too hard. So it is mean to homosexuals to tell them they cannot get married. Doesn’t the Torah tell us to love each other, not to be mean to each other?
Keep in mind that the people writing this nonsense know the Bible prohibits same-sex sexual relationships. They cited two of the verses in the Old Testament. However, they ignored much of what the Old Testament says, and they went out of their way to twist the meaning of those verses. Even so, they had to reach this conclusion.
Yet at the conclusion of this section we must acknowledge that the established halakhah presents a comprehensive ban upon homosexual intimacy. Even if most of the possible activities are banned “only” by rabbinic authority, we are rabbis who accept and promote the authority of our predecessors. Our liturgy, diet, festival cycle, ethical and civil codes and all other aspects of religious life are directed by rabbinic precedent. As individuals and as rabbinic leaders of our communities and movement, we are dedicated to spreading these teachings and inculcating their practice. We understand that there is a need for fences to prevent Jews from transgressing the Torah’s sexual prohibitions. If anal sex between men is a cardinal prohibition, then it is clear why our predecessors thought that non-anal sex should generally be prohibited as a fence around the Torah. Whether we follow Rambam or Ramban, the established halakhah presents a complete ban on all acts of homosexual intimacy. (from here)
What is going on here? According to the scholarly analysis of the rabbis who wrote that extract, the Torah only prohibits anal sex. Other types of same-sex sex are okay, but the traditions of men have prohibited them. In effect, the propagators of this nonsense are trying to fool themselves into believing they are only changing traditions of men, not the plain meaning of the Bible. Don’t think so? Check out (bible.org).