Once again, I must commend those rabbis and health professionals who signed the Statement of Principles on the Place of Jews with a Homosexual Orientation in Our Community.
I do not want to minimize the risk they have taken by signing this document. I want to wish them Hakarat HaTov for all their efforts.
However I do have problems with various aspects of the Statement. I mentioned these problems in my previous postings and I will repeat them again, hopefully for the last time.
I have a problem with the fact that it took six months after the symposium to issue this Statement, while those opposed to the symposium issued their attacks within days.
And I have a problem with some of the content, as you can read on my previous posting.
I fully recognize that this was a group effort and as such, it took so long to produce and to reach a consensus. It was, like the proverbial camel, a Statement designed by committee.
But I am just a committee of one, so I have taken up the task of offering a revised statement, written by a parent of a child who is gay. I have a vested interest and I am probably much closer to the issue than any of the signatories may care to admit.
This is a serious effort on my part and I am writing this with no malice intended. I have used some parts of the Statement because the authors have expressed themselves so much better than I could have.
You be the judge..................
1. All human beings are created in the image of God and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect (kevod haberiyot). Every Jew is obligated to fulfill the entire range of mitzvot between person and person in relation to persons who are homosexual or have feelings of same sex attraction. Embarassing, harassing or demeaning someone with a homosexual orientation or same-sex attraction is a violation of Torah prohibitions that embody the deepest values of Judaism.
2. We accept the decision of the American Psychiatric Association in its declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder. Therefore we concur that homosexuality cannot be treated and cured.
3. We categorically reject any efforts by any organization claiming to have the ability to change a person from a homosexual to a heterosexual, especially since these so-called therapies have not been proven to be effective in the least and may have been the cause of suicides at most. Any loss of life as a result of these efforts is one life too many to sacrifice.
4. We recognize that since Creation, man has always desired a mate, and as such, and in spite of the halakhic prohibitions, same-sex relations will occur. We have been witness in the last few years to families with parents of the same sex raising children. In spite of the halakhic implication, we would urge these parents to raise their children, to the best of their ability, in a Torah observant manner.
5. We encourage all Jews to fulfill the obligation of praying b'tzibbur, and as such we ask that synagogues and institutions make all Jews welcome, regardless of their sexual orientation. We encourage all Jews to strive for a Torah observant life and so, we encourage homosexuals who grew up in an observant home, or who are trying to become more observant, in spite of the perceived obstacles, to continue in their efforts to live life as a Torah observant Jew. We would ask all synagogues and minyanim to accord everyone the same rights and honors, regardless. There have been too many situations, over the last few years, where persons have been accorded the highest honors and rights, only to have been found guilty of any number of wrongdoings.
6. Humankind was created "in the image of G-d". We are not worthy to question why Hashem created people in a certain way. We must always remember that everyone is a unique creation and everyone should be treated as hashem would want them to be treated.