Coalition of Orthodox rabbis, mental health professionals, community leaders release bold statement on homosexuality
Refutes liberal Jewish groups
POSTED: Dec 28, 2011
The religious Jewish community is striking back!
A coalition of over 150 Orthodox rabbis, respected mental health professionals, community leaders, and others from across America and several foreign countries have released a statement that strongly refutes and repudiates the liberal Jewish political correctness and misinformation regarding homosexuality.
The document, entitled "Declaration on the Torah Approach to Homosexuality," (see below) clarifies the timeless theological understanding of the Biblically mandated prohibition. That position is that no one is "born gay" — and that same-sex attractions can be modified and healed.
The document's list of signers includes well-known figures in the mental health field as well as a pantheon of major figures in Orthodox religious circles. It also includes Brian Camenker of MassResistance and others, as community leaders.
The Biblical understanding that no one is "born gay" coincides with mental health experts who are not intimidated by political correctness.
The statement declares that the only Torah-approved course of action with regard to homosexuality is psychological therapy coupled with teshuva, or repentance. Moreover, it presents what the authors and signers see as a practical and achievable solution for those faced with same-sex attractions — a position often viciously suppressed by the homosexual movement and its allies.
The declaration was released on Monday, December 26 -- the 6th day of Chanukah. That timing was not coincidental. Chanukah celebrates the Jews' resistance to forced Hellenization. (See description of Chanakuh as resistance movement.) Homosexuality was one of the hallmarks of ancient Greek culture.
See the Declaration's website HERE along with lots of other information, including a clarification of the American Psychological Association's (APA) findings, which have often been mis-stated and mis-interpreted by many on the Left.
This is probably the clearest (and truest) statement that we've seen on this subject from both a religious and medical standpoint. The list of signers has continued to grow since it was released.
But more importantly, this kind of bold action needs to happen more and more. People need to stop being afraid and fearlessly tell the truth.
Declaration On The Torah Approach To Homosexuality
Societal Developments On Homosexuality
There has been a monumental shift in the secular world's attitude towards homosexuality over the past few decades. In particular over the past fifteen years there has been a major public campaign to gain acceptance for homosexuality. Legalizing same-sex marriage has become the end goal of the campaign to equate homosexuality with heterosexuality.
A propaganda blitz has been sweeping the world using political tactics to persuade the public about the legitimacy of homosexuality. The media is rife with negative labels implying that one is "hateful" or "homophobic" if they do not accept the homosexual lifestyle as legitimate. This political coercion has silenced many into acquiescence. Unfortunately this attitude has seeped into the Torah community and many have become confused or have accepted the media's portrayal of this issue.
The Torah's Unequivocal And Eternal Message
The Torah makes a clear statement that homosexuality is not an acceptable lifestyle or a genuine identity by severely prohibiting its conduct. Furthermore, the Torah, ever prescient about negative secular influences, warns us in Vayikra (Leviticus) 20:23 "Do not follow the traditions of the nations that I expel from before you…" Particularly the Torah writes this in regards to homosexuality and other forbidden sexual liaisons.
Same-Sex Attractions Can Be Modified And Healed
From a Torah perspective, the question whether homosexual inclinations and behaviors are changeable is extremely relevant. The concept that G-d created a human being who is unable to find happiness in a loving relationship unless he violates a biblical prohibition is neither plausible nor acceptable. G-d is loving and merciful. Struggles, and yes, difficult struggles, along with healing and personal growth are part and parcel of this world. Impossible, life long, Torah prohibited situations with no achievable solutions are not.
We emphatically reject the notion that a homosexually inclined person cannot overcome his or her inclination and desire. Behaviors are changeable. The Torah does not forbid something which is impossible to avoid. Abandoning people to lifelong loneliness and despair by denying all hope of overcoming and healing their same-sex attraction is heartlessly cruel. Such an attitude also violates the biblical prohibition in Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:14 "and you shall not place a stumbling block before the blind."
The Process Of Healing
The only viable course of action that is consistent with the Torah is therapy and teshuvah. The therapy consists of reinforcing the natural gender-identity of the individual by helping him or her understand and repair the emotional wounds that led to its disorientation and weakening, thus enabling the resumption and completion of the individual's emotional development. Teshuvah is a Torah-mandated, self-motivated process of turning away from any transgression or sin and returning to G-d and one's spiritual essence. This includes refining and reintegrating the personality and allowing it to grow in a healthy and wholesome manner.
These processes are typically facilitated and coordinated with the help of a specially trained counselor or therapist working in conjunction with a qualified spiritual teacher or guide. There is no other practical, Torah-sanctioned solution for this issue.
The Mitzvah* Of Love And Compassion
It requires tremendous bravery and fortitude for a person to confront and deal with same-sex attraction. For example a sixteen-year-old who is struggling with this issue may be confused and afraid and not know whom to speak to or what steps to take. We must create an atmosphere where this teenager (or anyone) can speak freely to a parent, rabbi, or mentor and be treated with love and compassion. Authority figures can then guide same-sex strugglers towards a path of healing and overcoming their inclinations.
The key point to remember is that these individuals are primarily innocent victims of childhood emotional wounds. They deserve our full love, support and encouragement in their striving towards healing. Struggling individuals who seek health and wellness should not be confused with the homosexual movement and their agenda. This distinction is crucial. It reflects the difference between what G-d asks from all of us and what He unambiguously prohibits.
We need to do everything in our power to lovingly uplift struggling individuals towards a full and healthy life that is filled with love, joy and the wisdom of the Torah.
[*Note: "Mitzvah" is the Hebrew word meaning Commandment from G-d.]
The Declaration was written durng a year-long process by a 25-member committee which included not only Orthodox rabbis but also parents and some former homosexuals and others currently struggling with homosexuality. The well-known Jewish group JONAH, which helps people deal with unwanted same-sex attractions and live a Torah-sanctioned lifestyle, was extensively consulted and is strongly supportive of the Declaration, which has received overwhelming acceptance in a relatively short time.
The document is a long overdue repudiation of left-wing Jewish groups (such as the ADL) and liberal Jewish congregations which attempt to reject, confuse, and re-interpret the Bible on this issue for (ultimately destructive) political purposes.
We hope that other religious denominations will be influenced to do similar declarations!