Archive for the ‘Jewish’ Category

Religious Voices Celebrate Prop 8 Ruling

August 5, 2010

Yesterday’s ruling that overturned California’s ban on same-sex marriage has left many religious conservatives shocked and angry. If you want to hear what they say, you won’t have to look far.

Meanwhile, gay-affirming religious leaders have been celebrating. Here are a few examples:

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Conservative Religious Groups Soften Stances

July 29, 2010

Rabbi Asher Lopatin

Two recent news stories suggest that even conservative religious groups are re-examining their views on homosexuality.

First, a group of Orthodox rabbis, including Chicago’s Rabbi Asher Lopatin, signed a statement promoting compassion and inclusion for lesbian and gay people. The document does not reinterpret Jewish law. It maintains that same-sex conduct remains against the law, but says that there is a place for gay and lesbian people in the Orthodox community. Rabbi Lopatin is also a signatory on the civil unions petition.

Also, the NPR radio program Fresh Air recently featured an interview with Richard Cizik about his ouster as the chief lobbyist of the National Association of Evangelicals. Cizik lost his job in December 2008 in part because of his public statements in favor of civil unions for same-sex couples. Since then, he has founded The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, an evangelical group promoting social justice concerns.

Tikkun Magazine Features Queer Issue

July 13, 2010

The July/August edition of Tikkun magazine has a series of articles on “Queer Spirituality and Politics” from many faith perspectives. Some of the articles directly address same-sex marriage. Tikkun is always worth a read, but this issue is especially helpful for those of us working on marriage equality.

Excerpts are available on the web site for free. The entire issue can be read online for $5. Or you can buy it on select newsstands. Better yet, subscribe.

Tikkun bills itself as “A Jewish Magazine, An Interfaith Movement.” I’m not Jewish myself and I can attest that it is written from an interfaith perspective that always feels relevant to me. Incidentally, the Hebrew word tikkun is translated as “to mend, repair, and transform the world.”

Rabbi Changes from “Homophobe” to Advocate

July 6, 2010

Rabbi Peter Knoebel

On the occasion of his retirement, The Chicago Tribune features a profile of Rabbi Peter Knobel, who served Congregation Beth Emet of Evanston for 30 years.

In the story, Knobel says he was once a “homophobe,” but changed his views after serving on a rabbinic committee studying the issue of same-sex relationships. After changing his mind, he began to officiate at same-sex weddings and has become an advocate on the issue. Knobel says that one should always be prepared to change one’s mind on issues.

Gay Rights Leaders to Speak to Jewish Group

June 23, 2010

The Upper Midwest regional office of the Anti-Defamation League will be hosting an event tonight in Chicago featuring speeches about “The State of Civil Unions and LGBT Equality in Illinois” by State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, and Bernard Cherkasov, executive director of Equality Illinois. The event will be at 6 p.m. at The Gage resataurant, 24 S. Michigan Ave. More information is available here. It is the league’s first event in cooperation with Equality Illinois.

Where Does Your Denomination Stand?

June 9, 2010

Yesterday, I shared a link to Pride month resources from The Religious Institute. Today, I want to share another fantastic resource from the same organization.

The Religious Institute recently launched a searchable database of statements from many major denominations regarding issues related to sexuality, including marriage equality.

The database includes the statements from the following traditions that have expressed support for marriage equality:
Unitarian Universalist Association, 1996
Union for Reform Judaism, 1997
Society for Humanistic Judaism, 2004
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, 2004
United Church of Christ, 2005
Metropolitan Community Churches, undated

Other traditions have issued more nuanced statements that indicate steps toward recognizing same-sex couples, while stopping short of full equality:
United Methodist Church, 2004
Presbyterian Church (USA), 2004
Episcopal Church, 2006
Episcopal Church, 2009
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2009

Of course, official denominational statements offer only a partial picture. In every denomination that has embraced marriage equality, there are undoubtedly many clergy and lay members who still oppose it. And likewise, in even the most conversative traditions, there are those who support the equality for same-sex couples. Nonetheless, taken collectively, these official statements are important signs of movement toward greater openness and respect.