Rabbi Shmuley Boteach would like gay people to know that we’re making reconciliation very hard for people like him…
I am saddened that Richard Grennell, Mitt Romney’s foreign policy spokesman, resigned over what the press is saying was pressure from the far right because he is openly gay. Who cares? He had a distinguished career as a spokesman for four United Nations Ambassadors and was widely respected. It is particularly disconcerting to learn that religious groups criticized Romney for appointing him due to his homosexuality.
As an Orthodox rabbi with a gay Orthodox Jewish brother, I have endeavored mightily to reconcile the dictates of my faith with the most human, loving and respectful approach to homosexuality. I have counseled hundreds of gay men and women of faith who seek to find their place in G-d’s love amid a gay lifestyle.
But such efforts at reconciliation are undone by the gratuitous hate-filled bigotry of people like Dan Savage…
Okay…stop right there. Never mind what you’re calling Savage’s bigotry others would say was simply a case of looking into a cesspool and calling the stink out for what it is. Never mind that what you’re calling his hate anyone without an ax to grind would agree is more a case of eminently justifiable anger toward a class of people who simply cannot seem to rest so long as gay people have any rights at all, let alone the right to marry. Never mind all of that. Reconciliation is unlikely to occur so long as people posturing as bridge builders insist on this kind of transparently self-serving false equivalency. Comparing Savage’s behavior, however insulting it may have seemed to anyone in his audience the day those Christianist kids walked out, to what their gay peers have to endure on a daily basis, usually from the likes of the same kids who walked out, is sickening.
Or as Christian author John Shore said, “Theirs was not an act born of suffering. It was a proud show of disdain.”
Reconciliation. In just a few days righteous upstanding North Carolina citizens will be voting on whether or not to cut their homosexual neighbor’s ring fingers off. And from the pulpit right on cue comes this sort of thing:
“So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, “Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,” you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.
Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok?
So I suppose if I call that man a gutter crawling maggot for telling parents they have a duty to break their gay kid’s wrists and punch them out I’m making reconciliation very difficult. You may want to keep in mind the words of Malcolm X: If you stick a knife nine inches into my back and pull it out three inches, that is not progress. Even if you pull it all the way out, that is not progress. Progress is healing the wound… Proudly walking out of a talk because the speaker challenged your right to throw the Leviticus death threat into the faces of your gay classmates isn’t even pulling the knife out a little. Let alone thumping your pulpit that others might punch bruises into gay kids hearts that they will carry for life.
[Slightly different from what I posted in response at Huffington Post, because my words have a little more room to breath here then there]