Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pride and Protests

The Gay Pride parade is approaching in Jerusalem, and the question is, of course, whether to protest or not, and how to protest?

I think we're much better off not protesting. Don't get me wrong; I believe in the Torah's view of that sin being an "abomination," and I find many gays to be creepy, to boot. But for a few reasons, I think we should just sit tight while the gays prance through Jerusalem:

1) When you look at the history of such protests in Jerusalem, they always seem to lead to chilul Hashem. Whether it's throwing rocks at cars, or spraying bleach at non-tznius women, or even the stabbing that occurred last year, we always come out looking terrible. I was going through R' Baruch Epstein's Mekor Baruch over the yomim tovim, and he discussed how his father R' Yechiel Michel ZTL, when doing business with goyim, went above and beyond the relevant laws in order to avoid even an inkling of chilul Hashem. Shouldn't we take the strong possibility of chilul Hashem seriously? Shev V'Al Taaseh Odif.

2) And let's say we protest. Will that turn the gays straight? Will that suddenly make them attracted to women? What good will come out of this protest? To the mainstream media, we'll come off as intolerant bigots. Whether they're right or wrong is not the issue (of course they're wrong), but the question is what effect will such a protest have. I don't see much good coming from it, and the potential for negative press is huge, especially if people get violent.

And most frum Jews know how evil homosexuality is, and hopefully most of them are bothered by the aveiros in Jerusalem. So by protesting, we're just preaching to the choir. As for the non-frum, I think there are better methods of kiruv out there.

2a) Building on point #2, do we want to develop an image of being anti-everything? When you look at the portrayal of Haredim in the press, it's generally very negative. We're anti-this, anti-that. As wrong as the parade might be, you've gotta respect the gays for being proud of who they are. Where's our pride? Is our religion about being proud of Judaism, the Torah, and our relationship with God? Or is Judaism about hand-wringing and complaining over everyone who doesn't agree with our worldview?

3) Besides, plenty of other aveiros are done in Jerusalem. I've been to the Old City, where women shamelessly walk scantily clad just a few yards away from the Kotel. So let's protest that. Let's protest the people who gleefully speak lashon hora, a sin tantamount to the "big three." Unfortunately, we're still in golus. So why pick on the gays? Plenty of straight people have made out in the streets of Jerusalem.

Speaking of golus, I think we should address the issue as follows: by praying as we did a month ago, that God place His fear in all people and that they should repent. I'd be cool with an Agudah-style kinus tefila, though that would seem like a strange response. But a protest? Things will get ugly, as we know all too well. Dirocheha darchei noam.


This post reminds me of a hilarious exchange on last week's episode of "The Office":
Toby: Okay, Michael, are you aware that you outed Oscar today?
Michael: What? What does that even...
Jan: Coming out is a significant moment for a gay person. And they should be allowed to select the timing and manner of announcing it.
Michael: Well, gay pride, right? Gay pride parade? It's not like..Gay Shame Festival.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

They probably take literally the passage in the Torah about standing by idly hile blood is being shed. That said, I agree with you.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Isaac Kaplan said...

What does a parade have anything to do with "blood being shed"? The gays aren't killing anyone. Is their take based on some Hasidic interpretation?

7:22 AM  

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