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Rabbi Jonathan Romain chastises religious opponents of equal marriage

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  1. Erica Cook 1 Jun 2012, 12:20am

    This may come off as a little bit strange, but I’m 1/4 Jewish. ethnicity speaking. I love my family in New York, and they’ve always shown nothing but acceptance for me. Not being a practising Jew or even christian means the only thing we have in common is blood, but to them that’s enough. They are the most accepting people I have ever known.

    Then I see people like sign on a synagogue door that said gays are worse than cereal, and they became something I didn’t even recognise. I know they’re different sects, but than the pride protests at Jerusalem. Its nice to once again see someone I can recognise as a part of my family line again.

    1. To be honest, being worse than cereal isn’t so bad :P Being worse than the food that constitutes the most important meal of the day for millions of people around the world isn’t so low a status when they think about it. But obviously, they weren’t thinking about it that way :(

  2. Good reasoning knows no religion. Equality is for all of us regardless of belief. I thank him for his contribution and his good reasoning.

  3. Its always pleasant to see someone from within religion speaking with intelligence instead of ignorance. I wish there were more Rabbi’s, priest, etc. like Rabbi Jonathan Romain.

    1. Bisexual woman in Edinburgh 3 Jun 2012, 3:33pm

      There are plenty – he’s speaking for two out of the main three denominations in Judaism, as both Reform and Liberal Judaism officially support equal marriage now.

  4. Rich (original) 1 Jun 2012, 12:58am

    Just another libertarian with pseudo-judaistic approach….

    1. Rich is just another troll with nothing useful to say, whereas Rabbi Jonathan Romain carefully considers the arguments and then demonstrates the irresponsibility of using an inconsistent approach to Scripture. The Rabbi shows great responsibility and integrity in speaking up for humanity, integrity and honesty.

    2. I didn’t see him mention anything about decentralization or free market economics. Are we reading the same article?

    3. Jen Marcus 1 Jun 2012, 12:41pm

      And evidently your just another scripturally ignorant buffoon that lacks critical thinking and believes everything some manipulative cleric preaches to you and tells you to put money in his collection basket so you can buy your way into paradise.In all probability you also parrot and cherry pick words out of scripture without a clue as to their true human origins and meanings because you think God wrote them.Get an education and know your faith and then proceed to get a life and stop trolling in our space you religious fanatic!

    4. Dead right. Enough of softies like Romain. We must campaign right now to let the Hassidim stone blasphemers, enslave Palestinian women and children, and execute women who fail to report their own rapes. A few Aztecs sacrificing people to the sun god in our town squares will show those liberal pinkoes a thing or two as well.

  5. At last thoughtful religious people like this speak up – those who see scripture for it’s good-willed intention. Like the Catholic Nuns that the Pope slapped down for not being anti-gay. (God forbid they’re more concerned about helping the starving and poor than two men loving each other.)

    Could be a great institution if it put as much effort in to helping those most in need as it did on this one issue. Instead the force of attack from religious leaders seems unbalanced and spiteful even to those who care little about gay issues.

    Best summed up by Jamie Reed MP’s tweet:
    “7 years as an MP. Still waiting for a ‘Christian’ to send me a letter on child poverty. Plenty on homosexuality and abortion.”

    They’re completely oblivious to the results of their wrongly placed actions, namely congregations becoming granny pitstops in death-bound decline and growing irrelevance. For all the good messages they could preach no one will be around to listen.

    1. Great comment from Jamie Reed!

      There are other religious people who have stood up and been counted though:
      Bishop of Salisbury, Desmond Tutu, Dean of Guildford, Dean of Norwich, Dean of St Albans, Dean of Portsmouth, Bishop Richard Holloway of Scottish Episcopal Church, Rev David Coleman of United Reformed Church Scotland, Rev Scott McKenna of Church of Scotland, Paul Parker of the Quakers, Derek McAuley of the Unitarians, Danny Rich of Liberal Judaism, Rev Andrew Morton of the Church of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan Archbishop of Wales, Dean of St Pauls Cathedral, former Bishop of Oxford Lord Harries, Bishop of Buckingham …

      There is support out there and they are trying to make their voices heard, unfortunately some of the media (including church based media) seek to silence their voices and prefer to include agitators such as Sentamu and O’Brien.

  6. Jason Bird 1 Jun 2012, 3:10am

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard it put better!! It is so refreshing to hear a person of faith being supportive of Gay people because it almost never happens. Instead, we are constantly subjected to hateful triads by the religious right.

    This is a big problem, because as gay people, it is too easy to think all religious people hate us, and for us to throw the baby out with the water when it comes to faith. I know (ok, hope) this is not the case.

  7. Except this guy clearly picks and chooses which bits of the old testament to take literally, which to take as metaphors and which to ignore too. All religious people who venerate specific holy books do. They’re internally contradictory mishmash cultural anthologies, and it is impossible to do otherwise with them and still be religious in any meaningful sense.The only other option is to take a sensible, objective, empirical approach and just treat them as cultural documents like any other.

    This Rabbi well be a nice person, which is the important bit. But that just means he picks and chooses how he interprets his holy book to go well with his niceness, rather than with bigotry. Better than being a bigot, sure, but hypocritical nonetheless inasmuch as he’s condeming people for doing what he’s doing himself.

    1. I didn’t get the impression he was presenting himself as someone who doesn’t pick-and-mix in his argument. He was ridiculing those that are pious about verses yet don’t acknowledge they already pick-and-mix from scripture so why not do the same on this issue? It would be some stretch to think he doesn’t know he’s picking-and-mixing when supporting gay rights. (Though saying that, even the “man also lie with mankind…” is questionable as it is out of context: http://hoperemains.webs.com/leviticus2013.htm)

      Nothing particularly wrong with religious people picking-and-mixing, anyone with any sense and an internet connection would. Mis-translations, documented edits, out-dated terms and political twisting of scripture going back to Roman number games are well known. So a smart bible-thumper would try to see the simple, good intention through the actual text from which to pull their values. Tony Blair talks about this as the common ground that unites all religions despite the text.

      1. But if you’re picking and choosing from the text, why bother with the text at all? Clearly you don’t get your morals from the text, because in order to pick and choose you have to use moral criteria derived from something other than the text. You could use any text you like then, because you’re distorting it to fit a moral code derived from somewhere else. You don’t need a text. Any admission that you pick and choose is an admission that there is nothing morally special about this one text at all, and therefore the text is entirely unnecessary for conducting one’s moral ruminations.

        Which is true. Obviously and trivially true. But then what’s the point of being religious at all, much less a Rabbi who devotes a good portion of his time to reading and expounding on this text as if it did have some special moral status? You can’t keep pretending it’s anything more important than just another old book when your moral argument is that that’s exactly what it is and it can be safely ignored

        1. You’re picking a much bigger fight to try and win a small one. It IS positive that religious leaders are condemning prejudice disguised as religious principles. That is a small win that we can be happy with without arguing that “religion is pointless” just now.

    2. The difference is that this is how Judaism approaches the Bible. For example, when the Bible says “an eye for an eye,” Judaism understands this not as an exact commandment but, instead, talks of a monetary equivalent – like how much in livelihood has the victim lost? That is the proper compensation that would satisfy the Biblical injunction. (Just imagine how many more people there would be going without eyes and teeth in Jewish neighborhoods :)

      1. Well, different followers of judaism have different interpretations of how literally each injunction is to be taken. Some of the craziest of them actually do take those injunctions scarily literally. But the majority of liberal, secular judaists don’t, you’re right.

        But, again, that doesn’t mean there isn’t hypocrisy there. Because they still go to the torah and fete and cosset and laud it as something other than just another old book. They still pay heed, or even just lip service, to the notion that the book is morally special in a way other books are not. You simply can’t maintain that a book has any greater moral value than all other books, and yet when it comes to actual moral thinking and decision-making pay no attention to what it says and twist its words to fit other moral schemes. Or at least you can’t without hypocrisy.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m very glad that these people do that, rather than following every nasty bit of bigotry to the letter. But it’s still hypocritical.

    3. Just because you ahve a holy book doesn’t mean you have to follow it 100%. I’m a professed Christian, but I don’t see the bible as the be all and end all of my faith. In fact, there are many parts of the bible which I abhor. I wouldn’t say I’m hypocritical in that sense because I recognise the bible is flawed, but I take what I think are the important good messages from the bible. I certainly don’t think the bible should be used to discriminate against something.

  8. When oh when is the Chif Rabbi Johnathan Sachs going to express an opinion on this issue? he can’t sit on the fence forever – its either FOR or AGAINST!

  9. Very well said, this ‘pic n mix’ approach is exactly what they’re doing. Some of the things religious scriptures say are ridiculously absurd, people just choose to follow which parts personally suit them.

    The bible forbids wearing clothes made of multiple fibres- I don’t see these people campaigning to have all the clothes shops shut down.

    1. Hacker of the Yard 1 Jun 2012, 4:31pm

      Or campaigning for the killing of disobedient children.

      1. Or generally being good human beings :-/

  10. Great to see a clear and honest appraisal of the irresponsibility of those who pick and mix their Scripture to try and justify suppression of the human rights of others.

  11. I’m very glad to read this article as in all of the stuff I’ve seen that the religious anti-gay mob say and print, this has never been addressed this.
    They spout a one-sided argument about biblical quotes and refuse to consider the points raised here.
    This rabbi is absolutely right, and Jamie Reed’s comment is a frightening example of what prioirites religion has these days.

  12. Robert in S. Kensington 1 Jun 2012, 12:17pm

    Thank you, Rabbi Roman, a voice of reason at last. Let’s hear it from more of the clergy. It would be wonderful if Bishop Tutu could join the Out4Marriage campaign.

    1. Hacker of the Yard 1 Jun 2012, 4:33pm

      Invite him to do a video!

      1. Bisexual woman in Edinburgh 3 Jun 2012, 3:35pm

        Rabbi Mark Solomon has done a video somewhere. He’s a gay Liberal rabbi and a respected scholar.

  13. Jen Marcus 1 Jun 2012, 12:54pm

    This intelligent and enlightened Rabbi should teach at the Vatican maybe they would finally learn something?But,then again they wouldn’t listen because they know the truth but if they shared that truth with their followers they would probably leave their church in droves.That,of course, would not do, because it would upset their institution, power and prestige, and more importantly their treasury.

  14. “…taking a ‘pick and mix’ approach to the scriptures, and might as well support stoning children or slavery….”

    Not a truer word spoken!!!!

    1. Was going exactly to say that.

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