Marty Moseson posted what I consider a very worthy and important comment to an earlier blog post by me. Here is his whole reaction (slightly edited):
As a man attracted to the same sex, I disagree with you completely. First of all, Gays have it better in Israel than 90% of the world. Things take time to change. Secondly, attacking rabbis is not the way to go. You attack the religious community, you end up hurting the closeted religious kids. This war against rabbis by LGBT is endangering religious closeted men and women because gays are perceived as enemies to orthodoxy and vice versa.
I think there is much to say for your opinion. And still, I maintain my post. Let me explain.
I committed myself to write in my blog things that not everyone writes. So many people praise how well gays have it in Israel. There are good reasons for that tribute. But it also hides that the situation is still terrible.
My post was prompted by speaking to a young Orthodox-Jewish gay guy (He can’t yet say the words gay or homo out-loud) who has nothing to live for because the rabbis don’t agree with him being intimate with anyone ever. We know for years already that a whopping 20% of GLBTQ in Israel tried suicide. Tried – not just contemplated. How horrifying!
For years, I thought like you, Marty. Then I noticed that the rabbis don’t move, except cosmetically. At first, I thought that they were fearing attacks if they would inform themselves and be more honest. But I kept asking myself: How do these rabbis sleep at night? I can tell you now: They sleep excellently. Because they don’t care. They really don’t.
This in stark contrast with thousand upon thousands of straight Orthodox-Jewish parading allies, as I reported earlier.
Thousands of young gay Jews are leaving the religion, the country, live with utter depression and try suicide and the rabbis are silent — except for some token apologetics and private smiles.
We talk about more than a million changed (unable to marry halachically) Jewish men and women!
I agree that being nice to rabbis is important – I am that all the time and many are my friends – but on this issue, hard words are needed. If placating them would work, it’s done plenty, with no results.
And this stagnation keeps me from sleeping soundly. This issue is not merely of academic interest. People jump to their deaths and the rabbis yawn. They have power but don’t use it. They are not part of a solution; they are a major part of – if not sole cause to – the problem.
Sure, many Orthodox rabbis see gay liberation as the enemy of Judaism. However, they had the same problem with Feminism and things did not improve by women being nice(r) to the rabbis. (This is not a rabbinic flaw. Almost all people are lazy and selfish and if you don’t speak up, most people, and especially leaders, will not hear you.)
You can’t spoil the good name Gay Lib has with the rabbis – it has none. And being nice to them has not worked at all. They have not stopped the bullies among them, that have not read up on the issues involved, they have not changed Jewish Law, and they are not even considering it.
Attacks on the rabbis haven’t caused them to see gays as the enemy. Rather, the rabbis still think that being gay is a lifestyle choice instead of a neuro-biological fact. Therefore they see GLBTQ as the enemy. And they are attacked only recently for that. And not the other way around.
Let’s agree to go good cop / bad cop on them. You go good cop, I’ll go bad cop. Not because I disagree with you about being nice. But without attacks on their bastion of indifference, nothing will change. Believe me.
NB: Attacking the rabbis does not mean to degrade them, Heaven forbid. Rather, it means to hold them to their stature and responsibility.