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Judaism caught between a rock and a hard place on gay issue

  • 2b-Letter7
In the wake of the recent tragic suicide of a young Jewish teenager at a time when he was questioning his sexuality, there has been a call for change in the Jewish stance on homosexuality.
by Tony Kamionsky, Johannesburg | Jul 18, 2019

It appears, however, that this call is coming from the less religious members of our community, while there has been largely silence – at least in the press – from more religious community members, specifically our religious leaders.

And, who can blame them? If someone was to say that homosexuality is a sin, not only would that be incredibly disrespectful to the family of the deceased, but that person would probably be stoned to death.

But what is the attitude of the majority of the Jewish community towards LGBTIQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer Questioning) people? Judging by the views expressed in the SA Jewish Report, one gets the impression of majority support, but is that really the case, or is it currently not politically correct to make homophobic comments, and so those who do feel this way remain silent when this issue is discussed?

Calls for a change in the Jewish stance on homosexuality pose a conundrum for the Jewish religion, and hence for our religious leaders. On the one hand, if they stand by the religious view that homosexuality is a sin, they risk the Jewish religion being seen as outdated and disrespectful of the rights to freedom of expression and dignity enshrined in the South African constitution. On the other, if they change the religious stance to accept homosexuality, they risk the Jewish religion being seen as doing what suits itself, and/or not respecting the laws of the Torah.

Judaism is therefore caught between a rock and a hard place on the LGBTIQ+ issue, and I, for one, will be keenly following events to see how this all unfolds. 


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