why the orthodox/gay thing is important

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I don’t have a stake in this argument, not really. From a macro perspective, this is little more than a small-c conservative community grappling with modern day reality; like with everything (e.g., feminism), they’ll get there, they’re just 40 years behind.

But this issue — how and if gays can fit inside the Orthodox community — is bigger than it seems. Because for the first time, the very notion of Orthodoxy itself, so vague historically, is being put to the test. Before, there were some ground rules — kosher, sabbath, stuff like this — for inclusion, and even those were not strictly regulated. On one level, it could be messily formulated like this: You want to call yourself Orthodox, you’re Orthodox. Very few people were going to ‘fake’ it.

But now the community is disputing that right to self-identify. Orthodox folk who happen to be gay and want to retain their religious bona fides now have to defend them. The subtext of this entire argument, from both sides, is that it’s not a halachik issue; it’s an issue of treatment, etc.  The question is, essentially: Does the community allow the individual to retain the title of ‘Orthodoxy’ despite breakage of law?

It’s more than that, really. People regularly transgress (most) laws without having their Orthodoxy called into question. So it’s not about halacha (it’s never about halacha); it’s that anti-homosexuality occupies a neat little nexus where religion and religious values and political stances overlap. The Orthodox hoi polloi feel it unbefitting.

So, for the first time, affiliation has to be formulated. A line drawn. And if that line happens to fall short for some people — which it likely will — then expect division, maybe even break-offs.

The coming-out of Orthodox men and women is going to increase — and they see no reason why they can’t remain in both worlds; why both worlds can’t be one.

Written by menachemkaiser

24 March at 16:18

Posted in rants

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