My Letter to the AJN Editor

Feb 25, 2011

In response to the AJN’s unbalanced coverage of the JCCV’s latest “open mouth, change feet” statement of GLBT “inclusion” (I think they actually meant “exclusion” – they seem to get the two concepts mixed up so often these days), I have submitted this Letter to the Editor:

Dear Editor,

I welcome the historic resolution on Gender and Sexual Equality that the assembly of World Union for Progressive Judaism recently passed at their convention in San Francisco.  This resolution condemns bigotry and discrimination and calls for equality of gay and lesbian people in all facets of the community.

This approach by the WUPJ is in direct contrast to that being suggested by the JCCV-endorsed Rabbi Chaim Rapoport who “contends that the GLBT community must accept that they cannot become official members of the JCCV as this would fracture the Jewish community”.

The position that the JCCV and Rabbi Rapoport are taking on this matter of inclusion and acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members of the Jewish community is in direct contradiction with the best practices of Australian health professionals expert in the area of human sexuality.

I strongly urge the JCCV to adopt a more inclusive, transparent and secular approach to this serious matter.  It seems that the JCCV have forgotten that they are not a religious organisation and that they represent a diverse range of religious and non-religious interests.

Michael Barnett.

I managed to keep the letter to under 250 words and have submitted it well in advance of the deadline for the AJN Letters column, so I’m sure they’ll publish it in the next edition.

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WUPJ – The Jewish Superhero

Feb 25, 2011

[SOURCE]

It’s heartening to see the Progressive Jewish world working to reduce the isolation and marginalisation of same-sex attracted people.  Unconditional acceptance and inclusion is the only way this can be done effectively and it seems they are on track here.

Yes, there is the big elephant in the room about same-sex marriage, and there doesn’t appear to be a light at the end of that tunnel yet.  I am optimistic that when the federal government here in Australia removes the obstacles to marriage equality, the Progressive community will be open to discussing this issue in a sensible and respectful manner.  I would be happiest to hear them say they will fully support the evolution of the Marriage Act.

I have included below a communication from Philip Bliss, President of Progressive Judaism Victoria and the Chair of the World Union For Progressive Judaism Resolutions Committee.  It contains the relevant resolution passed at the recent WUPJ assembly in San Francisco.  Clearly this is a step in the right direction.  I have asked Philip Bliss to have his committee consider including mention of bisexuality and gender identity, and reminded them that same-sex attracted people generally find the term “sexual orientation” favourable over “sexual preference”.

A hearty Mazal Tov to the Progressive community.  They are great advocates of human rights and equality and set a high benchmark for others to follow.

Dear Michael
In response to your email
As chair of the WUPJ resolutions committee I was delighted that the resolution below was passed by a huge majority (only one vote against) at our recent WUPJ convention in San Francisco. I also gave on interview on the GLT radio station Swirl a few days after.
I would say that this resolution covers the attitude of the UPJ and PJV here in Victoria
Sincerely
Philip Bliss President PJV


2) WUPJ Resolution on Gender and Sexual Equality
Whereas this International body of the World Union for Progressive Judaism condemns all forms of bigotry and discrimination in our society as being  incompatible with the preservation of human dignity which is destructive of tzelem elohim.
And whereas the WUPJ upholds the principle of treating all people equally whether by gender, age, colour or sexual preference.
And whereas the WUPJ has long championed full equality of women in our movement and in society generally.
IT IS RESOLVED that this International Assembly of the World Union for Progressive Judaism  calls on all institutions, colleges, congregations and youth groups to give equal opportunity to gay and lesbian members,  especially in terms of leadership and learning and to be aware of gender issues when developing study curriculum
IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that this International Assembly of the World Union for Progressive Judaism calls on all institutions associated with the WUPJ to treat gay and lesbian couples in the same manner as married heterosexual couples and families.  This call includes commitment ceremonies, and family membership fees.


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