I’ll grant you it wasn’t well handled at the Yeshivah Michael, but it wasn’t Rabbi’s who “caused the mess”. The mess was caused by sexual predators who delighted in sodomizing little boys. The Rabbis you refer to were not the perpetrators, unlike the gay Catholic priests at Ballarat and the gay teachers at Knox Grammar.
The sexual orientation of paedophiles is irrelevant and does not contribute in any way to the abuse. Further, the victims of some of these male paedophiles were girls as well as boys.
The following comment by Robert Weil compounds the bigotry demonstrated in his attack, this time on transgender people. He diminishes the merit of the relationship reported in the story by labelling it as a “dysfunctional situation” and presenting it as shameworthy:
Ben, don’t be so dismissive of Rabbis. They understand far more than you, as they are generally the ones that have to be called in eventually to try and clean up the mess caused by dysfunctional situations such as this. Have some sympathy for the parents too.
Neither the wedding nor the relationship are dysfunctional. The couple are normal, happy people in love with each other. That they lack the support of family members is unfortunate and not their fault.
Ordinarily I’d be less alarmed by this type of transphobic and homophobic attack, putting it down to ignorance of the harm caused by such attitudes. However what disturbs me most is that the author of these comments is the President of the Caulfield Hebrew Congregation, and as such holds a position of influence in the Jewish community in Melbourne:
The prejudice on display here demonstrates a considerable disregard for a vulnerable and marginalised segment of society. Physical attacks on homosexual and transgender people are not uncommon, are frequently brutal and may even result in permanent disfigurement, disability or death. More common though are the self-loathing, helplessness and isolation that same-sex attracted and gender diverse people feel due to intolerance and bigotry, leading to poorer mental health outcomes, self harm and possible suicidal behaviour.
It would be helpful for Robert Weil and those who align with his intolerant perspective on sexual orientation and gender diversity to become more informed about the harms their attitudes can cause to the members of their community.
It is my hope that the board of the CHC, together with their spiritual leadership, are able to formulate a way forward that includes education on sexual orientation and gender identity, whereby they can proudly put their name to saying No To Homophobia, and stamp out the small-minded and harmful attitudes demonstrated here by their President. Doing so will strengthen their community, build social cohesiveness and hopefully save lives. Failing to grow in this way can only do irreparable harm.
Paul Winter posted a deeply offensive and vilifying comment on the J-Wire news site that resonated with strong Nazi overtones. The comment was removed by the editor of J-Wire further to my complaint.
On December 21, 2011 a message was posted by Paul Winter of Chatswood, NSW on the J-Wire news site in response to an article I wrote about marriage equality:
The entirety of this comment is offensive in the extreme. The author states that GLBT people are “abnormal”, “disabled”, “developmentally immature”, “confused”, “not fully developed”, “in need of counselling” and implies that we are not capable of having “fully functioning and fulfilling” relationships.
Winter’s anti-intellectual ramblings are reminiscent of that employed by the infamous dictators who relegated undesirables to sub-human status.
Further to a complaint by me regarding the deeply offensive and vilifying nature of the comment, the J-Wire editor Henry Benjamin swiftly removed the comment. Fortunately the damage done by publication of the comment had been mitigated.
I hope never to see this sort of language published ever again on any web site, especially a Jewish one.
Finally Searle said that ”the GLBT Reference group formed by JCCV, is continuing to work towards combatting discrimination, vilification and managing mental health issues for this community. The plan is to look at speaking with school representatives in regards to bullying issues.
Searle has pledged to host more politicians’ lunches, conduct more interfaith activities starting with the Croatian community and expects to welcome more new affiliates next year in keeping with the JCCV’s policy of inclusion.”
Combatting bullying in schools necessary, as we know from the It Gets Better Project, but we need to hear the JCCV say that any intolerance of homosexuality is unacceptable to know they are taking the issue seriously. To date that is the one thing they refuse to say.
For a secular organisation, with no official religious position, it is evident they are biased toward the interests of their Orthodox membership, and this is not the role of the organisation that is supposed to represent the entire Jewish community.
As for the “JCCV’s policy of inclusion”. That is deceitful. The JCCV has a strong history of excluding various organisations in the Jewish community, including the gay group Aleph Melbourne, and it certainly has excluded me from any discussions.
The JCCV needs a major overhaul, which I would suggest should start with the removal of the president. Only then might the organisation start to become representative.