Nevertheless, this did not put an end to the spreading of priestcraft through the land; for there were many who loved the vain things of the world, and they went forth preaching false doctrines; and this they did for the sake of riches and honor.—Alma 1:16 (Book of Mormon)
Given the holiday season rush and my recent engagement to a wonderful woman (the wedding is next month), I’ve had less time than usual to follow the daily news cycle. When I finally sat down today to get caught up, I learned that perennial loon Ron Paul has a good chance of winning the Iowa caucuses next week and that an even loonier Orthodox rabbi has condemned LDS candidate Mitt Romney for being a “dangerous homosexualist.” It’s enough to make a guy want to go back to checking guest lists and ordering flowers.
I’m not going to waste blog space on a racist conspiracy nut like Paul, but I do have a thing or two to say about the Rabbinical Alliance of America’s statement on Romney. Actually, it was RAA spokesman Rabbi Yehuda Levin’s statement, since the letter was posted on his personal website, not that of the organization.
For some reason Rabbi Levin and the RAA were obsessed with gays during this Hanukkah season. Earlier this week, they issued a “Torah Declaration” declaring that homosexuality “is not an acceptable lifestyle or a genuine identity.” Their remedy for “same-sex strugglers?” Therapy and teshuva (repentance). These rabbis believe that homosexuality can be modified and “healed.” Is this really the most important Hanukkah message that Orthodox rabbis can share at this time of year? I doubt it. While some Mormons might agree with the Torah Declaration’s ideas and proposals, their church does not have an official position on the origin of homosexuality.
That didn’t stop Rabbi Levin from calling on the LDS Church to “sanction” Romney for his “support and promotion of the immoral homosexual lifestyle and agenda.” Instead of making Torah-based arguments, the good rabbi’s letter cites claims made in the book “Mitt Romney’s Deception,” written by Amy Contrada. Ms. Contrada, an activist and blogger for the “pro-family” organization MassResistance, alleges that Romney implemented “sexual-radical” programs in Massachusetts while serving as governor.
I’m not interested in analyzing Mitt’s record on gay issues; his paid people can do that for him. What I prefer to do is expose priestcraft, which is condemned in Mormon scripture. This involves using religious positions and language to promote oneself and/or a private agenda that is contrary to God’s. Rabbi Levin, a member of the organization Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation (!), has a history of using the Torah to push his agenda of hatred of gays. This bigot blamed the deadly earthquake in Haiti last year on the presence of gays in the military, and promised “bloodshed” if a gay-rights parade were to take place in Jerusalem. It’s no wonder that Rabbi Levin (and I use his title loosely) has lost every election he has entered, and currently heads a small Flatbush echo chamber called “Mevakshei Hashem” (Seekers of the Lord).
It is wrong for liberal rabbis to pretend that Jewish law and tradition sanction gay marriage and relationships. However, it’s much more unacceptable for Orthodox rabbis to pretend that God kills Haitians because the United States has gay soldiers. Rabbi Levin is a fraud and a practitioner of priestcraft. You don’t have to be a supporter of gay marriage to realize that his obsession with gays is unhealthy. Judaism deserves better representation in the public sphere, and I hope that members of the Orthodox community will disavow the rabbi’s comments.He claims that more than 850 rabbis agree with him, but I know that can’t be true. As we enter a new year with a presidential election, we need to hear from candidates and leaders who have intelligent arguments to make. Unfortunately, that leaves shrill bigots like Paul and Rabbi Levin out in the cold.