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New Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis vows to maintain ‘orthodox’ stance against same-sex marriages

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  1. He can do whatever he wants – and those of us who don’t believe in his primitive claptrap can shrug and ignore him, since there is no obligation upon us to care what he thinks, or be obedient to it.

    Those who do believe perhaps might want to embrace a variant that will cherry-pick to suit their needs, or realise that it is time to bin the magic and join the real world. You are not liked, embraced or welcomed. Get the message and stop participating in your own oppression.

    1. de Villiers 2 Sep 2013, 12:59pm

      Everyone cherry picks in their lives. We all decide when to tell the truth, when to lie for expedience, when to compromise. Otherwise, we would be robots. Those who criticise others for cherry picking adopt an unhealthy fundamentalism.

      There is nothing wrong in people wanting to adopt a more modern interpretation of their scriptures rather than a seventh century version.

      1. Is it not the niftiest trick of the followers of this kind of dogma to somehow know which bits are merely allegorical/metaphorical, which bits are anachronistic bygones which can be safely ignored, and which are the infallible word of their deity of choice which cannot be questioned in any way, shape or form?

        Don’t you find that an intellectually dishonest sleight of hand? Especially when those categories tend to be completely and utterly self serving? In which case, why believe in any of it at all if it can all be edited at will to suit need?

        Is that not the cardinal problem of religion?

        1. de Villiers 2 Sep 2013, 1:59pm

          It is all metaphorical. The meaning of it can be understood only through learning – as in this way with any discipline. It must be continually revised and reinterpreted.

          When studying English literature in France, I read more than ten different interpretations each of the play ‘Waiting for Godot’ and the poem ‘Goblin Market’. Each new interpretation was revised and understood by different academics in different times. Both texts were not to be read literally but captured a deeper understanding of human nature.

          All the religious stories have been written by men (and perhaps some women). They all sought to explain elements of the human condition. Their relevance is only maintained when they are reinterpreted so to be relevant to our lives today.

          The history of religion and god has always been to reinterpret, to keep what is relevant and to discard what no longer works. Freezing religious understanding in time is a type of fundamentalism.

          1. Deciding what is relevant to your life today from a religious tradition and discarding the rest means inevitably that you have an a priori set of values and capacity for judgement by necessity independent of that tradition and set over and against it. So why keep the tradition? Your position is, in the end, no more rational or coherent than other more dogmatic ones.

          2. de Villiers 3 Sep 2013, 8:25am

            Riondo, I think you do not understand what you have said. It is philosophically incoherent.

            It is impossible to separate an influence from others in determining an independent judgment. All influences have effect in the forming of judgment.

            In your view, one could separate one’s philosophy from one’s judgment, one’s sense of poetry, one’s sense of art, one’s sense of music – because all of these would independent of the ‘rational’ priori set of values. This also ignores that religion depends on the sense of the numinous rather than rational values. Religion is not a rational process any more than the understanding of a piece of music but an experience which is beyond the cerebral.

          3. Strawman, de Villiers. I ventured no ‘view’ on the nature of the independent and a priori judgements one might make about a religious tradition, and certainly did not exclude the influences you cite, including, actually, the said tradition itself. Please don’t put words into my mouth. The fact remains that, whatever the origins and nature of a capacity for discernment and judgement, it must have some autononous character in order to affirm and reject selectively the content of a tradition nonetheless claimed to be ‘authoritative’ or somehow ‘revelatory’. The point is that in practice people claim the validation of a system of thought for values and attitudes whose origins actually vary and which don’t depend unproblematically on such sources of ‘authority’. As you say, religion is not rational. Even when it wears a reasonable face.

      2. which case in order to avoid the charge of blatant hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty they should avoid institutions with a fundamentalist view of gay relationships, such as the catholic church or the orthodox jewish communities or (many) evangelical Christian churches. If they must practise religion let them do so within more respectable denominations.

        1. de Villiers 2 Sep 2013, 2:08pm

          The nominations are, as is said in England, a broad church. There are sufficient parts of the Catholic church which are open and friendly and more than welcoming if you are both catholic and gay, and I expect that the same is for Judaism.

          French Catholics are no less catholic because they take a different view to contraception as did Pope Benoit before he stepped down or Pope François now.

          1. Robert in S. Kensington 2 Sep 2013, 3:52pm

            The RCC only offers a conditional welcome provided a gay man or woman refrains from every aspect of intimacy and remains celibate even if they are in a, loving committed, monogamous relationship and there’s nothing unnatural about homosexual love between two people of the same gender, but the RCC thinks otherwise, claims it speaks for their God, yet Jesus Christ didn’t condemn or even mention it.

          2. de Villiers 2 Sep 2013, 3:59pm

            That depends on where you go.

          3. It can’t matter where you go. A gay married couple can’t be received as a gay married couple and can’t be married in the church. Add to that the appalling statements in the RCC catechism about gay sex being inherently disordered and frankly any gay couple who frequent a Catholic Church must need their heads examining. Stockholm syndrome.

          4. de Villiers 3 Sep 2013, 8:29am

            The catechism is appalling and one cannot be married in the church. So from that orientation you are correct. But I meant that there are parts of the church in which one can receive unconditional welcome from the individuals including the ministers.

      3. George Broadhead 2 Sep 2013, 5:11pm

        But Christians are always cherry picking the content of their bible. For example, Jesus’ unequivocal teaching on hell-fire are ignored by liberal Christians though promoted by the fundamentalist variety.

        1. It’s even messier than that. The NT is rather confused about why people go there. Most fundamentalists think you end up there for screwing your own sex or not believing the right doctrines. Point out to them that St Matthew thought you went there for lack of charity (regardless of belief – he plainly includes people totally ignorant of God among the blessed), and they start to wriggle and splutter.


    3. floridahank 2 Sep 2013, 3:03pm

      Hey Val, you said, ” You are not liked, embraced or welcomed”

      We expect that as Jesus said, “blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separated your from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.”

      So the Truth will never be accepted by the world, only hatred for the Holy Bile and for Jesus Christ. .

      1. Dave North 2 Sep 2013, 3:10pm

        “the Holy Bile”

        How apt.

      2. Or you can stop wallowing about in would-be martyrdom and victimhood and turn your backs on those who would vilify you, rather than engaging in absurd enabling behaviour.

        I really have exactly no sympathy for the religious who are openly loathed by their own religions and consider it the height of stupidity to participate.

        1. de Villiers 2 Sep 2013, 3:43pm

          I don’t wallow in victim hood or martyrdom. And the fervour seems to come from you.

        2. floridahank 2 Sep 2013, 4:07pm

          I don’t believe in religion, but if you would have knowledge of what Jesus Christ did and said, you’d understand that following Jesus Christ has nothing to do about the various “so-called” Christian religions. The two are totally separate when you seek the Truth, which the world doesn’t do.

          1. People who say ‘Truth’ with a capital letter are usually into some sort of religion. What exactly are you saying?

          2. floeidahank 2 Sep 2013, 6:29pm

            Hey Ri….when I speak of the “Truth” I’m referring to those things that Jesus spoke as shown in the Holy Bible. Can you show me anything He said that was untruthful, hurtful, evil or sinful? What He said was everything necessary for mankind to be ready for death and the judgment that will come. I know that atheists and pagans such as you don’t care, will not, and cannot understand the absolute “truth” He spoke.

          3. We don’t know reliably anything about what he said, only what the Early Church wants us to think he said. It is so incoherent that some of it probably authentically reports him, but it is all jumbled up with early Christian doctrine, which itself does not take a single view of him. None of which is relevant to why anyone should believe what an eccentric 1st century rabbi is thought to have said anyway. Whatever your typically condescending attitude might be to anyone skeptical of the nonsense you believe in.

  2. Dave North 2 Sep 2013, 11:19am

    Another day, another brain addled religious goon.


    1. deliver this arse to the palestinians and tell them he want to throw them all into the sea

      the enemy of our enemy is our friend

    2. de Villiers 3 Sep 2013, 8:32am

      Advocating the murder of Jews by Palestinians is a disgusting act of despicable hatred.

  3. So gay Jewish people are invited to attend the synagogue and feel comfortable – but not too comfortable. Just remember that you’re not quite as good as everyone else there. Poor relations at a wedding. As Valksy says, above, gay people who want to be involved in this kind of superstitious nonsense will have no problems finding another group who have cherry picked from their scripture according to their desires.

  4. Like the recent news of the new Pope, same bigotry espoused under a new name. As we see historically, religion will either have to move with the times, or die by them.
    Nothing new here.

  5. That’s okay, let all these religious groups stick stubbornly to their insanity. What do they think is going to happen? We’ll all change our minds and change the law back again? Do they think society will just stop evolving next week and they can do a little happy dance?

    No, society is evolving, religious influence is declining, these people are becoming more and more irrelevant with every passing year, and their complete refusal to develop and grow along with society will see them all fading out of existence.

    Bring it on religious crazies, you’re only hastening your own demise.

  6. Not cold-hearted but just religious bigots who want to impose their peculiar beliefs upon everyone else.

    Should Jewish couples be allowed to marry?

    1. Of course the should…and in those countries where civil marriages are recognised, gay Jews DO marry in the Liberal and Reform streams of Judaism…which are larger now than the Orthodox, which by an accident of genocide, became dominant for a time and seized control of our few institutions.

      There are many streams within Judaism, his is but one of them (there are up to 400!) We don’t actually have the hierarchy of, say, Christianity with its churches and priesthoods. We have no Vatican or Communion. Mirvis is merely the leader of a dwindling unionised set of Orthodox sects formed during the 19th Century along union lines akin to the labour movement of the time.

      So even in Israel, gay couples have civil marriages in Cyrus or religious ones with civil backings in overseas jurisdictions and are recognised by the State of Israel as spouses with the rights of marriage. They have even sought, and been granted, divorces in the civil courts there

      1. (continued)…Oddly enough, it is the GLBTI community in Israel which is the main supporter for civil marriage equality for straight interfaith couples who require civil marriage – it affects up to 300,000 straight Israelis.

        It is easier for gay Jews, or any gay couple, to have their union recognized inside Israel automatically by the Government. And many marry in Liberal or Reform ceremonies in the US or Canada or Europe now. And they will when it is available in the UK, too.

    2. de Villiers 2 Sep 2013, 3:45pm

      Yes. Jewish couples should be able to marry. This religious minister has said that the religion itself will not perform same sex marriage. He has not said that there should be no secular right to it. The chief rabbi did not vote against the same sex marriage.

      1. “New Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis vows to maintain ‘orthodox’ stance against same-sex marriages”

        1. de Villiers 2 Sep 2013, 11:28pm

          Yes – in their synagogues. Perhaps we should read the words of what he said rather than the summary.

      2. President Vladimir Putin signed the law banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships”

      3. Rabbi Mirvis, is also vowing to maintain “traditional” values by opting out same-sex marriages.

        1. de Villiers 3 Sep 2013, 8:34am

          Yes, opting out in their synagogues. It is irrelevant to the secular marriage – which the previous Chief Rabbi did not vote against.

  7. Being Jewish is, for most of us, primarily an ethnic rather than religious identity these days and this man is a dinosaur of one of the least progressive sects which seeks to freeze Judaism in a certain way…and Judaism today is many paths and we have evolved over 57 centuries.

    It would be fitting that his title changes…I am in a Commonwealth country and even then, my allegiance is more towards the Israeli Chief Rabbinates than to the sect running the UK and Commonwealth titular place.

    I am not and never will be Orthodox of his ilk and sect and he is NOT ‘my’ Chief Rabbi.

    1. How do you justify calling Judaism an ethnicity – you cannot call a religion a race – you are a human being who was born into a religion – end of – If you were born in Britain you aren’t a Jewish Jew you are a Brit who defines his faith as Jewish – Christians aren’t an ethnicity any more than muslims are – ALL Superstition does is segregate various human groups – to suite their own hatred of others. This is a pathetic as football supporters battling over which team is best –

      1. Jews themselves consider religious observance only one part (and not always an essential one) of being a Jew. It is one reason Jewishness is considered inherited through one’s mother.

        1. Quite. The Orthodox are different, but all the Jews I know regard their Judaism as an ethnic and cultural trait. I have hardly ever met any who have any religious belief.

    2. de Villiers 2 Sep 2013, 3:58pm

      In France, Jews are considered to be a race. The same is true in England.

  8. Jock S. Trap 2 Sep 2013, 11:51am

    Religious institution is homophobic when it comes to marriage….. Ohhhh what a surprise.

    Nothing changes except people, if they feel the need to be religious, will seek more modern, up to date religions.

  9. How is the UK’s Chief Rabbi appointed? Surely not by some sort of election, as I can’t imagine Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain or the lovely Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger voting for Mirvis.

    1. The Chief Rabbi heads the Orthodox tradition (which has only male rabbis). He is appointed, not elected.

      Even if Chief Rabbis were elected, the two rabbis you mention would never be among the voters. Julia Neuberger is from the Liberal tradition and now associated with Reform Judaism. Jonathan Romain is also Reform. For those two to select the Chief Rabbi would be like Anglican bishops electing the pope.

      1. Thank you, Atalanta. So he’s appointed by other Orthodox rabbis only? The word ‘Chief’ is somewhat misleading, then – jsut as I thought.

  10. Feel comfortable – so long as you remember that you’re a lesser person, your families are fake counterfeits and your love is less and beneath precious straight people

    Feeling comfortable yet?

    I suppose ti’s almost refreshing to know that while the world’s religions will constantly attack each other, we can rely on them to come together for one thing – homophobia

  11. There is nothing like religious leaders who scream about centuries of persecution and they do it to others themselves.

  12. Another bigoted bully who hides his ignorance and hatred of others who do not live their lives as he thinks they should – Why do ALL Superstition people insist on dictating to other people just exactly how they should live –

    1. de Villiers 2 Sep 2013, 3:54pm

      Haven’t you just done the same thing that you criticised?

  13. This is good news. The more homophobic and backward-looking religion remains, the sooner it will wither … and we can all get on in a much more loving, peaceful world.

    1. de Villiers 2 Sep 2013, 4:02pm

      Surely the opposite would be better? Surely everyone agreeing to live and let live is best?

      Why would you want the ways of life of others to be erased or obliterated instead of mutual acceptance.

      1. “New Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis vows to maintain ‘orthodox’ stance against same-sex marriages”

      2. President Vladimir Putin signed the law banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships”

        Rabbi Mirvis said he too is vowing to maintain “traditional” values by opting out same-sex marriages.

      3. de Villiers 3 Sep 2013, 8:37am

        How many times people written on this board that we should render to Caesar what is Caesar’s? That recognises the difference between the personal and the public. What people do in the personal is irrelevant when compared to how such groups behave publicly.

        Your comments are irrelevant to the secular marriage which the previous Chief Rabbi did not vote against, and are based on a journalist’s summary rather than the words that he, himself, said.

  14. Cuddly, fluffy, meaningless spin of the type used by all hard line religious dogmatists nowadays who know that looking too much like the excluding intolerant fruitcake you really are is considered in bad taste. And the liberal and reform Jews have a point; he shouldn’t have a title that suggests that he represents people whom in reality he sees as heretics and avoids.

  15. So nothing new there then….

  16. Not surpising. A couple orthodox in the knesset in Jan 2009 said “gays are like bird flu”

    Which of course is a call for the genocide of the same people who the orthos close relatives shared with the gays in the nazi camps

    Conservative religion is the curse of humanity.. It should be shut down, its bibles etc burned as fuel for keeping the poor warm in the winter,a nd its leaders sent to the gulag.

    BTW my wife is Jewish – I used to go occasionally to the temple (liberl branch) but not any more

    Since I’m old, I’ve solved the funeral problem to a large extent – my final gift to humanity will be my body donated to medical schools

  17. This is quite a change in a hyper-conservative organization. Change in religions is often a dirty word, so give credit where it is due, and remember that making it less uncomfortable is better than making it worse, or staying the same. This is movement – big movement for him, not enough for many.

  18. Please remember that in a very conservative organization this is a huge change. For gay Orthodox Jews this is a great thing – less uncomfortable in the synagogue. Not enough for many but many of us are going to be much less miserable because of this. He has taken a step.

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