We Call Out Homophobic Clerics, But What About The Rabbis?

jews _ homophobes torah
We Call Out Homophobic Clerics, But What About The Rabbis?

Murdoch based outlets have been chasing down Muslim clerics for their views, but leaders from other faiths with a poor history on LGBTI rights don’t draw the same attention.

In the week since the Iftar hosted by the Prime Minister, the Murdoch press has scoured the records of Muslim clerics in attendance. They have documented repulsive comments towards homosexuality, with Murdoch bloggers (and Media Watch) pursuing with great interest the question of Islam’s relation to homosexuality. The ABC’s Paul Barry says that this is “a subject our political leaders and the media will be forced to confront.”

Religion is never an excuse for homophobia. There is a need to challenge reactionary religious leaders with appalling views on homosexuality and LGBTQI communities. I’m sure that the Murdoch press has been challenging Muslim leaders because of its heartfelt concern for gay people in Australia.

Due to this touching concern, I thought I’d bring to their attention a few cases of homophobic rabbis, who have somehow escaped their exhaustive quest against prejudice.

Pictured below is a meeting of various leading rabbis associated with the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott last year. Rabbis present include Rabbi Yehoram Ulman, Rabbi Paul Lewin, Rabbi Yaakov Glasman, Rabbi Meir Klugwant, Rabbi Pinchas Feldman, and Rabbi Chaim Ingram.

jews _ homophobes _Rabbis

Second from the right in that picture, face partially obscured by Abbott, is Rabbi Ingram.

Rabbi Ingram has repeatedly argued that gay Jewish people should commit suicide, rather than engage in homosexuality.

In the 20 July 2012 edition of the Australian Jewish News – two and a half years before meeting the Prime Minister – Rabbi Ingram argued in an article that Orthodox Judaism sees homosexuality “as a sin for which one must be prepared to give up one’s life as necessary”.

The following week, the AJN ran what it called an apology. It said “Rabbi Chaim Ingram expressed an opinion on homosexuality held by certain sections of the Jewish community. The AJN apologises for any offence caused.”

Not a minority opinion. Not an unpopular opinion, let alone a reprehensible one. Just an opinion held by “certain sections” of the Jewish community. Rabbi Ingram himself did not apologise. He continued to advocate his position. On October 19 that year, he wrote in one of his many letters to the AJN that “homosexuality is one of a handful of offences (and prawn-eating is not one of them), which one is bidden to resist even on pain of death.”

jews homo phobes letters-to-ajn

No “apology” was issued for that letter. Some letter writers harshly criticised Rabbi Ingram, and he responded by criticising one person’s “intolerant desire to silence me”.

Rabbi Ingram is among the more prominent rabbis in Australia, as shown by his inclusion in the ORA delegation. In March 2012, he was among the signatories of the Rabbinical Council of NSW’s submission to the Senate inquiry on marriage equality. Rabbis Ulman and Lewin also signed the submission, though inquiries were to be directed to Honorary Secretary, Rabbi Ingram. The submission argues that “all humankind remains bound by” the “universal moral code” of the Torah. “Central” to its “key universal values… are norms relating to human sexuality which endorse the stable sexual union of a man and a woman in a socially recognised relationship of mutual commitment whilst rejecting other sexual unions notably adultery, incest, bestiality and homosexuality.” (emphasis added)

That is, the submission of the RCNSW explicitly classed homosexual unions in the same category of rejected sexual unions as bestiality. Three of the four signatories to that submission met with the Prime Minister Tony Abbott within a few years. In December 2013 – over a year after Rabbi Ingram had repeatedly expressed his view about what weak-willed gay people should do – he launched a book. Warm speeches were given by other influential rabbis, like Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, the leader of Chabad in NSW.

During the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Rabbi Feldman allegedly told a perpetrator of child sexual abuse that he should take steps to avoid it, but otherwise took no action. He also didn’t tell police of an alleged perpetrator leaving Australia because he “did not know there was any such obligation”. And before the Royal Commission, his son Rabbi Eli Feldman called a perpetrator, later convicted, to ask if he had had a conversation with Rabbi Feldman in the 1980s.

Rabbi Klugwant resigned as President of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, and as executive member of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, in the wake of damaging revelations. Specifically, in response to one victim of child sexual abuse urging victims in an email to come forward, Rabbi Klugwant told the victim he shouldn’t have sent the email. When the father of another victim gave evidence, Rabbi Klugwant called the father a “maniac” who was “attacking Chabad”. Again, Rabbi Klugwant met with the Prime Minister.

As for the Rabbinical Council of NSW, its President, Rabbi Yossi Feldman, remained President in 2011 after emails leaked, in which he urged rabbis to tell victims of child sexual abuse not to go to the police, but to only report the crimes to rabbis. He stepped aside for several weeks, but was then reinstated until the 2012 AGM. He also argued that complaining to the police would hurt his “friend”, later convicted as a child sexual abuser, and that victims don’t know if the perpetrator will re-offend anyway. Other highlights include his position that media attention merely encourages “fake victims”, apparently including “phony attention seeker” Manny Waks.

Or take another luminary of the religious Jewish establishment. Rabbi Shimon Cowen doesn’t give popular lectures on YouTube, but writes complex essays in sophisticated language. In July 2011, he argued that it was “Stalinist” how “opposition to homosexual behaviour” was treated as an illness, instead of homosexuality itself. In an article devoted to criticising the Safe Schools Coalition program in Victoria, he argued against teaching children that homosexuality was normal or acceptable, but was merely an abnormal urge which could be overcome with therapy:

“From a religious standpoint, if a person felt an overwhelming homosexual impulse of the deepest nature, that would be viewed with compassion but it would not constitute permission to indulge homosexual activity in practice. It is an abnormality, which as far as possible should be treated. However, there is a wide spectrum of children and persons who experience sexual identity confusion and can yet prevail upon themselves to accept what for the world religious cultures is the normative model of heterosexual behaviour. The homosexual lobby has a stake in rejecting therapy and the idea that humans can change and take control of their impulses. Paradoxically, it can be argued, their attempt to block this change and drive children deeper into malaise is the potential cause of great suffering. Those who insist that a child is homosexual and should embrace a homosexual lifestyle can compound the psychological malaise. They compound an illness.”

Rabbi Cowen is the Founding Director of the Institute for Judaism and Civilisation, an Associate at Monash University when he published his essay. In June 2012, a year after the above essay was published, his Institute received a $20,000 grant from the government. It was part of the Federal Government’s Building Community Resilience, to resist “intolerant ideologies”. Other contributors to his forums include Coalition MP Cory Bernardi and Labor MP Michael Danby.

In May 2012 – not long before Rabbi Cowen received his generous government grant – he once again advocated at length for his position, which he also attributed to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, that gay people, “with the exercise of free will and the help of educators, therapists and counsellors, individuals can overcome these drives”. Sadly, the current day American Psychiatric Association “rejects freedom, choice and cure in homosexuality.”

The peak body for Jews in Australia responded to Rabbi Cowen’s 2011 essay in February 2012. It supported anti-bullying programs in schools. As for the Rabbi, they wrote: “Rabbi Dr Cowen is highly respected in our community but that does not mean that his views on any subject are representative. We note also that in his recent article, Rabbi Cowen fully condemns bullying of any child inter alia on the grounds of homosexual behaviour.”

It’s a miracle the Rabbi survived such a vicious rebuke. Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, at the time President of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, defended Rabbi Cowen’s essay on the Safe Schools program.

Back in 2011, the Jewish News criticised an “alarmist” report which Rabbi Cowen said “misquoted” him, to the effect that Jewish schools and hospitals wouldn’t hire gay people. Rabbi Cowen clarified: “I did not say that a Jewish school must necessarily make a close examination of the background and private lives of its teachers… But where it is evident that a teacher models, in a known and outward manner, sexual practices which run contrary to Judaism, a school has every right not to hire that teacher.”

So there you have it, our community’s “highly respected” rabbi doesn’t think all gay people should be barred from employment at Jewish schools. Just the ones who are noticeably gay. His view was naturally supported by the then President of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, Rabbi Yaakov Glasman. He thought religious institutions should be able to hire people who adhere to religious values.

About four years later, he also met with the Prime Minister. He’s also in the picture at the top of this article.

So there you have it. Rabbis who oppose hiring gay teachers, who think gay people should be treated so that they can overcome their illness, who compare homosexuality to bestiality, a rabbi who thinks weak-willed gay people should commit suicide, and a sample of the sorry record of leading rabbis on the sexual abuse of children.

It’s all public record, and it’s all pretty awful. What will this achieve? Maybe nothing. I’m not sure that a Jewish atheist associated with harsh criticisms of Israel calling out this or that Rabbi will have much constructive effect.

Yet the last week has shown us that the media believes deeply in the value of calling out reactionary religious clerics. Surely, I have now done my bit, and lent a helping hand. Consider the above my contribution to the stories that I am sure are on the way.

I contacted a journalist at the Australian, asking if they would report on homophobic rabbis. I haven’t heard back yet. I’m sure it’s coming. They’re opposed to all homophobia, right?

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Why Islam Doesn’t Explain The Orlando Mass Shooting

Why Islam Doesn’t Explain The Orlando Mass Shooting



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Looking at the history of Omar Mateen, as well as the religion itself, throws into doubt the gunman’s understanding of the faith he claimed to represent. The same goes for larger terror cells, writes Michael Brull.

In the aftermath of the massacre in a gay nightclub in Orlando, many LGBTQI people and groups expressed solidarity with Muslims, urging that this attack not be used to demonise Muslims or Islam. Muslim intellectuals and groups have reciprocated the sentiment, expressing solidarity with the victims and LGBTQI people generally. Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, the Grand Mufti of Australia, responded to the massacre immediately with condemnation on moral and religious grounds. On Wednesday, a similar statement was released by Muslim organisations and prominent figures.

Brull1 Statment

Regardless, right-wing politicians and commentators have hurried to link the attack to Islam and Muslims generally, using the massacre to promote goals like banning Muslim immigration.

While others have responded with critiques of the overt racism of some of these voices, in this article, I want to explain why these claims about the responsibility of Islam for this massacre are substantively wrong.

Early Muslim Culture Was Often Warm To Homosexuality

The University of Chicago Press published John Boswell’s National Book Award winning study, Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality 16 years ago. In his landmark book, Boswell discusses early Muslim attitudes to homosexuality. In this passage, he discusses the aftermath of the Muslim invasion of Spain in the eighth century (I omit the footnotes). He explores at length the extent to which homosexuality was regarded “with indifference, if not admiration”, and widely featured in contemporary poetry:



Boswell then gives various examples of cultural expressions of homosexual relationships:


Boswell concludes that acceptance of homosexuality was pervasive, even as it was ruled by rigid Muslim jurists who were regarded as “fanatics in the rest of the Islamic world”:


In a 1997 essay in Feminist Issues, As’ad AbuKhalil argues that current Islamic opposition to homosexuality is a result of Western influence. AbuKhalil wrote that the “regularity and apparent legitimacy of homosexual relations” in the Muslim world “were seen by Medieval Christians as evidence of the moral decadence of Muslims”:

What passes as Islamic mores and conduct in much of the Islamic countries is in fact the impact of Westernization. ‘Puritanical Islam,’ which people from the past like medieval Christian polemicists or even Max Weber would never associate with the religion of Muhammad, owes much to European Protestantism. This change in Islamic treatment of the sexual question came about after centuries of Christian criticisms of Islamic moral permissiveness.

Whereas Christianity “stood for a puritanical morality and strict ethical code, Islam was ridiculed as the religion of sexual permissiveness and ethical laxity. Short of polytheism, all is forgiven in Islam. Medieval Christians found the God that Muslims worshipped too forgiving for their taste.”

AbuKhalil concludes that homophobia, “an ideology of hostility against men who are homosexuals, came out of the Christian tradition and has no counterpart in the Islamic tradition despite the homophobic inclination of individual Muslims, like ‘Ali or Abu Bakr in early Islam.” Furthermore, “violence against homosexuals, which is still common in Western societies, is quite rare among the Arabs”.

The point of revisiting this history is to illustrate a simple but important point. Religion, like culture, is not static. It develops over time, and is influenced by a variety of factors, just as religion can influence individuals and societies in complex ways. Blaming “Islam” for anything is simplistic, because it is not monolithic, it does not have one essence, and it is not consistent.

Today, there are many Muslims who regard homosexuality as sinful. There are also many people of other faiths who are opposed to homosexuality, including Jews and Christians. As noted by Glenn Greenwald, a US poll found American Muslims have comparable levels of approval (45 per cent) of societal acceptance of homosexuality as American Protestants (48 per cent). Among ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel (Charedim), only 8 per cent expressed support for gay people having full equality, as opposed to 89 per cent of secular Israelis.

The overwhelming majority of people of all faiths who object to homosexuality do so without that hatred manifesting in murder. There is a passage in the Torah that calls homosexuality an abomination, explicitly urging the execution of a man who lies with another man as with a woman. This is ignored, just as Jews ignore the passage ordering the execution of disobedient sons.

This is because the way people interpret their religious texts is complex. While fundamentalists and Islamophobes may insist that Islam is one thing, now and forever, that is not really how religions work.

The Complex Motives Of Omar Mateen

While the usual suspects were eager to blame Islam (or “radical Islam”) for the Orlando shooting, it is hard to take this too seriously. The murderer was apparently a regular at the gay nightclub he attacked, and was also a long time user of an app for gay dating called Jack’d. Much has been made of his statement of support for ISIS. Yet he has also declared support for Hezbollah and the Al Nusra Front. All three groups have killed each other’s members in Syria. It seems his understanding of these groups was about as sophisticated as that of Australian Islamophobes.

The murderer used to talk “about killing people all the time”, according to a former co-worker. He used to beat his ex-wife, who said he wasn’t very religious. She also claimed that he was “mentally unstable and mentally ill”. She said he had bipolar, and used steroids. His father, an admirer of the Taliban, commented that the murderer “doesn’t have a beard even”.

At this point, we just don’t know why he murdered so many people. Several factors may have contributed. It may have been some form of twisted revenge. As many have argued, it may have been a homophobic attack. If he was gay, it may have been the act of a man experiencing a great deal of inner turmoil. Without wishing to diminish the horrors of the massacre, he too may have been a victim of homophobia, who acted out the hatred he learned and internalised on others.

Calling This Islam Validates Terrorists

A delegate reads the Koran at an anti-extremism conference. (IMAGE: AMISOM Public Information, Flickr)
A delegate reads the Koran at an anti-extremism conference. (IMAGE: AMISOM Public Information, Flickr)

When someone commits an atrocity, and claims that they do it in the name of a religion followed by a great number of people, that claim is made to legitimise their act.

Trying to legitimise an immoral action with reference to ideals is not something unique to Muslims. When no WMDs were found in Iraq, suddenly Western politicians and intellectuals claimed the war on Iraq was a war for democracy and freedom. This doesn’t delegitimise democracy or freedom, because that’s not what the war was about. The point of using that rhetoric was to transfer the social currency of those concepts to an unjust war waged on fraudulent pretexts.

Likewise, the shooter in Orlando claimed he was part of a greater cause. Being an angry and hateful bigot is less glamorous, and would not garner the same public attention.

When hateful murderers claim Islam legitimises their actions, we should remember that they are trying to bring themselves under the legitimating umbrella of a faith practiced by about 1.7 billion people. No one has ever appointed any of these people as their spokesperson. While Westerners often call for Muslims to condemn these actions, they never pause to ask who has praised them. Terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS have never received the blessing of any prominent Muslim theologians, and have often been condemned even by other salafi-jihadists.

Though people in the West continue to take seriously the credentials of these groups, many Muslims regard them as theologically dubious or theologically illiterate. Take this interview with Osama Bin Laden, from October 2001. The interviewer from Al Jazeera pointed out that the “killing of innocent civilians” is banned under Islam. Bin Laden responded by agreeing that “the Prophet Mohammed forbade the killing of babies and women. That is true, but this is not absolute.” He then argued inconsistently that the Twin Towers wasn’t really a civilian target, and that anyway, “If they kill our women and our innocent people, we will kill their women and their innocent people until they stop.” He called this “the good terrorism which stops them from killing our children in Palestine and elsewhere”.

Note: this is not a religious argument. And as Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at the American University Akbar Ahmed argued in The Thistle and the Drone, revenge is hardly an Islamic response.



One of the world’s leading scholars on jihadis and Islamists is Professor Fawaz Gerges, from the London School of Economics. In his book on ISIS, he argues that ISIS has even less theological credibility than Al Qaeda. Gerges argues that Abu Musab al “Zarqawi and [ISIS leader Abu Bakr al] Baghdadi are theologically illiterate… What distinguishes the post-al Qaeda wave from its predecessors is its poverty of ideas.” In one telling instance, Islamists in Syria challenged ISIS to submit to a sharia court to resolve a dispute between them. ISIS responded by saying that “The only law I subscribe to is the law of the jungle”. On another occasion, when criticised theologically, ISIS replied that those scholars should spend less time on “writing and authorship”, when they “have never fired a single bullet”.


In the West, ISIS is treated as though they are sophisticated and authoritative Islamic theologians, rather than hyper-violent thugs with a thin veneer of legitimising rhetoric. Gerges observes that ISIS could not have made the strides it has made without “the breakdown of state institutions in Syria and Iraq and rising sectarianism. It is a result of decades of dictatorship, failed governance and development, and abject poverty, made worse by ongoing foreign intervention and the Palestinian tragedy.”

The ‘Radical Islam’ The West Doesn’t Talk About

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 4.26.08 pmAustralian right-wingers lament the fall of Tony Abbott, and the rise of Malcolm Turnbull, fearing the latter is too soft on “radical Islam”. Yet their beloved Tony grieved the loss of the dead tyrant of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. He offered his “deepest condolences” for this tragic loss, praising the King’s “many achievements”, and flying the flags at half-mast.

Saudi Arabia beheads dozens of people each year, and practices many of the same punishments as ISIS for “crimes” like blasphemy and adultery. As observed by Gerges, ISIS school education guidelines “seem to borrow heavily from Saudi Arabia’s ultraconservative Salafi curriculum”.

The extreme sect of Islam that is closely allied to the ruling house of Saud is a strain of Salafism called Wahhabism. The outstanding Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn observed that “Wahhabi beliefs are close to the Salafi-jihadi ideology and over the last fifty years Wahhabism has become an increasing influence over mainstream Sunni Islam… Supported by the vast oil wealth of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf those trained to preach and oversee mosques have become increasingly extreme and, while they may not support terrorist attacks, their beliefs provides fertile soil for those who do.” He concludes that until Western states are willing to “confront their Sunni allies in the Middle East… Orlando will only be the latest in a string of atrocities.”

Yet it is not just the governments that refuse to do so. While anti-Muslim ideologues often attack Islam, urge bans on Muslims, or otherwise decry the failure of Western liberals to oppose “radical Islam”, they rarely seem to have any interest in Wahhabism. Whether it’s right-wing politicians, right-wing anti-Muslim movements, or Murdoch columnists, this form of “militant” and “extreme” Islam always gets off the hook.

Because their concern isn’t “radical” Islam at all. Their concern is Muslims. And that tells you all you need to know.

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Anti-Gay Therapist Monsignor Tony Anatrella, a Vatican Adviser, Suspected Of Sex With Male Clients

Anti-Gay Therapist Monsignor Tony Anatrella, a Vatican Adviser, Suspected Of Sex With Male Clients

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For decades now, young French seminarians and priests who were deemed to be “struggling with homosexuality” would often end up in the office of trusted Vatican adviser and anti-gay therapist Monsignor Tony Anatrella.


Via Religion News Service:

Now Anatrella … is facing mounting allegations that he himself had sex with male clients under his care. … So far, European media have relayed accusations from as many as four men — only one of whom agreed to be identified by his real name — who say that Anatrella engaged in various sex acts with them during counseling sessions in his Paris office, with the activity allegedly occurring up until a few years ago.

According to Daniel Lamarca, an ex-seminarian treated by Anatrella in the late ’80s,

Anatrella told [him] he could rid him of his “pseudo-homosexuality” and sought to do so by performing sex acts on Lamarca. “I know details about Anatrella’s body that could only be known to someone who has seen him naked,” Lamarca told Nederlands Dagblad [a Dutch newspaper]. … In recent weeks, another ex-seminarian, who goes by a pseudonym in the articles, told French outlets that he was counseled by Anatrella for 14 years, from 1997 to 2011, and that after the first few years Anatrella began “special sessions” that included episodes of mutual masturbation.

The Paris archdiocese is asking other clients of Anatrella to come forward with any complaints of sexual impropriety. If it’s confirmed that the therapist had sex with young men under his pastoral and professional care, he’ll have some explaining to do — especially because he is on the record as saying that homosexuality is

“like an incompleteness and a profound immaturity of human sexuality,”

and that

gays are “narcissists” and … homosexuality is “a problem in the psychic organization” of a person’s sexuality.

(Photo by Peter Potrowl via Wikipedia)



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Is Homosexuality an Abomination?

Is Homosexuality an Abomination?

One of the things I like to do here is point out how those who claim to follow the Bible, or whatever holy book you choose, pick and choose the passages that support our chosen beliefs and prejudices.

Right-wing Christians are fond of pointing out, for instance, that homosexuality is a sin because the Bible says so, not because they have a personal problem with the Bible.

And yet they allow their friends and neighbors who choose to do yard work on the Sabbath, to live when they should, according to the Bible, be put to death. The following clip from the West Wing does a fantastic job of making this point.

Gay Scientists Isolate Christian Gene!

Gay scientists isolate gene for Christianity

We may soon have the tools to treat this condition that seems to inexplicably make some people Christians!

American Religious Fascists Praise Uganda’s Theocratic Dictatorship

American Religious Fanatics Praise Uganda for Making Homosexuality Illegal
Bad craziness
Posted by Charles Johnson
The far right freakazoids at World Net Daily are praising Uganda’s fanatical Christian fundamentalist president today for making homosexual behavior illegal and for staging a public show of “repentance.”

And American Christian Taliban leaders are pointing at Uganda as a future model for the United States.

Massachusetts pastor and activist Rev. Scott Lively believes Museveni is a model for other national leaders.

‘The Museveni prayer is a model for all Christian leaders in the world. The leaders of the West have declined in proportion to their degree of rejection of God,’ Lively said.

Lively also believes Uganda will rise as a major African power as America continues to decline. He uses Britain as an example.

‘Britain was at its height as a world power when it honored God as the Ugandan president has just done. America’s greatness has similarly diminished as we have shifted from a Christian to a secular-humanist country. But watch now for Uganda to be blessed by God for their desire to be His,’ Lively said. …

Homosexual activist groups have criticized the government of Uganda and Museveni for passing laws criminalizing homosexual behavior. A current bill before the Ugandan Parliament increases the jail sentences for homosexual acts and includes criminal penalties for those who encourage or promote homosexuality. …

Lively said he didn’t agree with the death penalty provision but supports the nation’s strong stance against homosexual behavior.

For another example: American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer is crowing, “It can be done!”

Homosexuality now against the law in Uganda, just as it was for 200 years in the US. It can be done.

Is Some Homophobia Self-Phobia?

Is Some Homophobia Self-Phobia?

Over at Science Daily, a report on a study that suggests that the answer is yes:

Homophobia is more pronounced in individuals with an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex and who grew up with authoritarian parents who forbade such desires, a series of psychology studies demonstrates.

The study is the first to document the role that both parenting and sexual orientation play in the formation of intense and visceral fear of homosexuals, including self-reported homophobic attitudes, discriminatory bias, implicit hostility towards gays, and endorsement of anti-gay policies. Conducted by a team from the University of Rochester, the University of Essex, England, and the University of California in Santa Barbara, the research will be published the April issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

“Individuals who identify as straight but in psychological tests show a strong attraction to the same sex may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves,” explains Netta Weinstein, a lecturer at the University of Essex and the study’s lead author.

Gay Hating Jewish Ultra Orthodox Rabbis Spurn Science

 ‎Today, ‎29 ‎November ‎2011, ‏‎11 hours ago | Zack Ford
Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky

A group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders have secretly passed around a “Torah Declaration” on “The Torah Stance on Homosexuality.” It rebukes homosexuality as being “not an acceptable lifestyle or a genuine identity” and assumes that gays are by definition “unable to find happiness in a loving relationship.” To abide by the Torah, the Declaration stridently demands ex-gay therapy, including of teenagers, to repair “childhood emotional wounds”:

We emphatically reject the notion that a homosexually inclined person cannot overcome his or her inclination and desire. Behaviors are changeable. The Torah does not forbid something which is impossible to avoid. Abandoning people to lifelong loneliness and despair by denying all hope of overcoming and healing their same-sex attraction is heartlessly cruel. […]

The therapy consists of reinforcing the natural gender-identity of the individual by helping him or her understand and repair the emotional wounds that led to its disorientation and weakening, thus enabling the resumption and completion of the individual’s emotional development…There is no other practical, Torah-sanctioned solution for this issue. […]

It requires tremendous bravery and fortitude for a person to confront and deal with same-sex attraction. For example a sixteen-year-old who is struggling with this issue may be confused and afraid and not know whom to speak to or what steps to take. We must create an atmosphere where this teenager (or anyone) can speak freely to a parent, rabbi, or mentor and be treated with love and compassion. Authority figures can then guide same-sex strugglers towards a path of healing and overcoming their inclinations.

This declaration is incredibly more dismissive of the lives of gays and lesbians than the more affirming Statement of Principles many Modern Orthodox rabbis signed in July 2010. These theology-based therapies, along with the notion that gays are incapable of love and doomed to loneliness, present an incredible potential for harm to young people. Jayson Littman, who published the declaration publicly for the first time today, shared a quote from ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Chaim Rapoport: “I am not obligated to believe in a failed therapy because it fits my theology better.” Point in fact, these rabbis are using their theology to deny decades worth of scientific knowledge, oblivious to the incredible threat they pose to young people’s mental health in doing so.

Via:- Ultra-Orthodox ‘Torah Declaration’ Calls For Ex-Gay Therapy For All Who ‘Struggle’ With Homosexuality

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