Can Islam ever accept homosexuality?

The Bible, the Chumash, has been a source of inspiration for many people over the centuries. She helped them in their pursuit of decency, goodness, and justice. But it also served as a pretext for cruelty and violence and brought much suffering and despair. Many people have done great things in the name of this book. Others did shameful deeds on his behalf.

In the 1st book of Moses, in the Parascha Wajera, we get to know the city of Sodom, a place of great wickedness and corruption. We do not learn from the Parasha part exactly what the depravity of the city consisted of, but we are later told that the men of Sodom were not only inhospitable, brutal and cruel - but also homosexual.

Well, we are dealing with the Bible here. She has great authority. And by associating homosexuality with a metropolis of wickedness and depravity, a place so terrible it deserves God's deliberate destruction, the Bible makes it clear what it thinks of those guilty of such behavior do. You are not worth living.

There aren't very many texts in the Bible that mention or refer to homosexuality, but like this one, every one of them seems to condemn it. So it is not surprising that anyone raised in a Bible-based religious belief, whether it be Judaism, Christianity or Islam, hears the clear message: homosexuality is evil. Not just bad, but really bad.

Despair Think of the suffering and despair that this condemnation has caused over the centuries! Men and women attracted to people of their own sex rather than those of the opposite sex - otherwise decent, kind, and moral individuals - were ridiculed, slandered, and persecuted. And it still happens in our day and age.

Recently, a young homosexual student at Rutgers University who had not come out as homosexual found out that his roommate had been secretly filming him in his room. He later jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge.

Suicides of young men and women who discover they are homosexual are more common than expected - in some cases, traditional religious condemnation is what drives young people to suicide.

Steven Greenberg, an avowed homosexual Orthodox rabbi, had a discussion with a well-known and respected Jewish religious leader some time ago. Greenberg spoke of the many Jewish homosexual men and women who were devoted to the Torah and who suffered great suffering. "Many are leaving the community," he said. "Some young homosexual people," he went on, "are so desperate that they are trying to kill themselves." And what did the rabbi say? "Perhaps they are doing a mitzvah with it." (Jewish Week, October 15, 2010.)

Well, this reaction is certainly extreme. But it also reveals a simple truth. In Greenberg's words, many religious would prefer "if homosexuals just disappeared one way or another." The reaction to this antipathy is obvious: “When young homosexuals begin to understand how intense the community's wish is for them to disappear, how brutal it can be, suicide seems a last, desperate way out, as we alone are in the last Have experienced several times a month. "

Resistance The discomfort homosexuality creates in many religious people has amazing power over them. It will come as no surprise that in Israel, the center of the three Abrahamic religions, interfaith favors are not exactly the order of the day. In Jerusalem, religious Christians, Muslims and Jews walk past each other on the street without any contact between them, let alone a constructive conversation. But a few years ago representatives of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious communities managed to come to an understanding, namely that there should be no gay pride parade in the streets of Jerusalem.

The secular society to which we belong is aware of the intense religious resistance to homosexuality. It affects us all.

There has been tremendous progress in recent years within society as a whole. More and more people are realizing that there is no sin in being gay; that homosexuality (as in the story of the city of Sodom) cannot be associated with depravity any more than heterosexuality. Nonetheless, the traditional distrust and hostility persist.

Advertisement A few weeks ago, a young couple posted a local Jewish newspaper announcing their upcoming wedding. Both partners grew up in conservative Jewish families; they met in a Jewish summer camp; Both are very involved in Jewish community life - one of them won a Wexner scholarship, which I also received while studying at the rabbinical school. After some hesitation, the newspaper printed the advertisement. The couple are homosexual and it was the first time the newspaper ran such an advertisement.

What happened next turned a simple matter into a national news story. Local Orthodox rabbis complained to the editorial staff, and a week later the newspaper apologized for "the suffering and dismay" the advertisement had brought to members of the Orthodox community. The editorial team promised not to print any more advertisements of this type.

Of course, that only heated things up! Conservative and Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis commented on the case, as did many commoners who asked if the newspaper was aware of the "suffering and dismay" inflicted on the couple by their withdrawal. The newspaper publishers apparently heard the outcry clearly and clearly, for the following week they issued a statement in which they changed their changed mind again. The text stated that the editors may have acted too hastily and only listened to part of their readership (New York Times, October 6, 2010).

I'm not telling this story to judge the editors. I'm sorry for you. After all, if they offend the Orthodox, they risk losing their jobs. On the other hand, they risk their job if they offend their left-wing liberal readership. And third, it could be an issue that they need to take a stand on - one way or another. The newspaper's editors could and should have known that their original decision would be controversial. But their indecisive reaction is not unusual. It is a central sociopolitical issue of our time: political poison in American politics.

postcard What should be the role of the religious authorities in this context? Here is one possible reaction: I recently received a postcard. "Alarm! Alarm! It said. "Lead your flock - protect religious freedom!" This postcard invites me and my colleagues to take a close look at the men and women who are running for political office in our district and to record their opinions on the "great ethical questions" of our time. We should then distribute election guidelines in our wards to inform all members of these views.

Now what are the great ethical questions of our time that are worth the effort? "Same-sex 'marriage,' the sanctity of life and religious freedom." (The postcard was sent to me by the National Organization for Marriage, "established to protect traditional marriage between a man and a woman as well as those religious communities, who uphold this marriage ".)

Ambiguity I approach the subject differently. In my view, we must purify our consciousness of the automatic, self-righteous-indignant condemnation of homosexuality if we are ever to live in a world where young people, men and women, need not be ashamed of their sexual orientation. We cannot afford to give ambiguous answers on this matter. It is a matter that makes the difference between life and death.

But even if it weren't, I want us to be open, honest and welcome the full range of sexual orientations in our community. Simply because it is the right thing to do. We understand sexuality differently than our ancestors understood it.

This is not to say that every conceivable expression of sexual desire is acceptable within Judaism. That's not the case. The way modern society deals with sexuality has many aspects, such as the ubiquitous lack of decency, that are highly objectionable.

But God knows, these questionable aspects are not limited to homosexual contexts. We all know that pornography would not be nearly as profitable in our country if it were aimed exclusively at homosexuals.

Homosexuals are still slandered and condemned and persecuted. We must say loudly and clearly that we believe past bigotry should remain a thing of the past; that we believe that other messages, which our religious tradition also emphasizes, namely messages of respect for and love for others, should come first. All of us who are concerned about the role religion should play in our society must play with open cards. It is no longer acceptable to say, “That's what the Bible says. There is nothing I can do about it! ”We have to say it explicitly: homosexuality is not a sin. We can't poke around when it comes to the lives of decent and serious men and women. It is just a shame to continue to condemn people for an immutable aspect of their personality that has no moral taint.

In the Torah we read that God said to Abraham: "For I chose him [Abraham] to charge his sons and his house after him to keep the way of the Lord and to do what is good and right" (Ex Book of Moses 18:19). In today's world, on this matter, we know what these lines mean!

The author is a rabbi of the "Temple Aliyah" community, Needham / USA.