Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Conservative Rabbis Issue Incoherent Ruling on Gay Rights

It seems like the leaders of the Conservative movement weren't brave enough to bare the full monty, so they came up with a split decision that, in its particulars, is incoherent.
With the endorsement Wednesday of three conflicting teshuvot, or halachic responsa, by the movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards — two upholding the longstanding ban on homosexuality and one permitting ordination of gay rabbis and commitment ceremonies — it’s likely that other rabbis will now begin performing such ceremonies, comfortable in the knowledge that they enjoy halachic sanction from the movement’s highest legal body.

So they rule against homosexuality, but for commitment services for homosexuals.


What will they do if an ordained gay rabbi chooses a mate? Are they going to do the Jewish equivalent of defrocking (what's the word for that, by the way?) - or just politely ignore the issue and pretend there is no contradition with the halachah? I assume the latter - which is why the decision is incoherent.

Interestingly, this leaves the Conservative movement in much the same position as the Anglican Church - with a large possibility that there will be a split in the movement on this particular issue.
With advocates on both sides of the issue warning that it could irreparably fracture the movement, Rabbi Menachem Creditor, a leading advocate of gay ordination, told a gathering at the Jewish Theological Seminary on Tuesday to remember that Conservative Judaism is a large enough tent to accommodate differing opinions.

This comparison to the situation of the Anglican Church, in trouble with its more devout congregations over gay ordination, intrigues me, I admit, because for years I've described Conservative Judaism as the Jewish equivalent High Church - in other words, that's like the Anglican Church vis-a-vis Catholicism on one hand and low church Protestant denominations on the other.

Now this is just downright absurd:
Though he has said publicly that he supports gay ordination, incoming Chancellor Arnold Eisen has outlined a process of consultation with students and faculty that he intends to follow in deciding whether to ordain gays.
So now the students get to influence the decision making on practical halakhah - presumably based on the PC mentality they all bring to the school?

I thought in Judaism - even in Conservative Judaism - we believed that halakhic experts should settle difficult matters of interpretation - not ill educated students who have not yet developed a width and breadth of Jewish scholarship and the correct judicial demeanor towards the law - of the objective, non-emotive sort, historically minded sort.

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At 5:54 PM, Anonymous steven said...

Actually, the term is "excommunicated." However, excommunication can only occur on a case by case basis for each individual synagouge. That's why no one was really put out when Sen. Leiberman was excommunicated by a synagouge in NY. It's not like he's going to be going there anytime soon. A movement wide excommunication requires every synagouge affiliated with a particular movement to agree not to allow a Rabbi or individual to attend or perform services at each synagouge. That's almost impossible, if not outright impossible.


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