What Judaism taught me about gay marriage and persecution complexes

safe_image.php If I ever have children someday, there’s a chance they might ask me if I remember what I was doing on the day that gay marriage became legal everywhere in the United States.

I can tell them that I was in the middle of my usual morning routine, drinking coffee while reading a book to wake up. My phone buzzed with a text from my husband about remembering to drive him to Honda to pick up the car after having fog lights installed. And since I lack self-control, after answering that text, I meandered on to my Facebook app.

My newsfeed was an explosion of pictures: rainbow flags, couples crying, banners of joy…along with public lament for America once again testing God’s patience. The positive posts were more or less the same: “About time, America!” “Freedom for all!” “#LoveWins!” But among them were links to articles by popular (and in my opinion, misguided) conservative bloggers who truly believe this is the beginning of the end of modern society; that the fires of persecution will heat back up again, just as they did in ancient Rome.

I will tell my children that I remember thinking, Excuse me? Ancient Rome?!

Most poignantly, I will tell my hypothetical children how, in that moment, the only fire I felt was something like Jewish vindication. Holocaust education is now an essential aspect of Jewish learning. The point is to never forget, and frankly, some US citizens could use a reminder. Any rational person should agree that systematic murder and ethnic cleansing is the prime definition of real persecution. The American Supreme Court is no Nazi regime. The Constitution was written to prevent the people being ruled under an iron thumb.

I will tell my children that I feared what my attitude about this ruling would be if I were raised evangelical instead. It was Judaism that saved me – saved me from buying into the harmful persecution myth that is so prevalent among the privileged, for reasons I will never understand.

I will tell my kids that a legacy of discrimination, expulsion, and attempts at extinction are not to be envied, mocked, or discussed lightly. When it is your God’s name printed on currency, your holy book’s verses posted outside of courthouses, and your holidays assumed to be practiced by the majority of your country, you are not at risk of persecution – not now, anyway. And God forbid there is ever a holocaust to wipe out Christians in the United States, many will regret ever discussing it using extreme hyperbole. Many will regret ever using that threat as a means to advance their political agendas.

I will tell my children that I was once again grateful for my upbringing, and my ancestors who passed Judaism along to me, on the day that gay marriage was nationally legalized.

It was Judaism that kept my head on straight and forbid me to look for conspiracies that are as real as the boogeyman under a child’s bed.

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9 thoughts on “What Judaism taught me about gay marriage and persecution complexes

  1. Larry Weiner says:

    Beth – great blog. As the brother of a Hassid and the father of a trans teen, there were some heated arguments with my brother that simply came down to me telling my brother that if he had any love in his heart for me and mine, he’d better learn to accept a worldview beyond his orthodoxy. He succumbed:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sam the dude says:

    Hey Beth,

    Its just Sam here. Well said.

    How are you? I think I read on your Twitter that you came to Britain? You picked the wrong month as we’re experiencing a mini heatwave (or Australia in winter).

    but onto the post : Baruch Hashem!

    I simply don’t understand most Christians. I get on okay with them on a personal level and be respectful , even the very evangelical types (I have given up debating the different interpretations of our Hebrew bible and the Christian view, after I recently had a “discussion “over the Akedah). I can understand that Christian halakhah(the Cannon law I think it’s called) says no to gay marriage as ours does. But there’s a difference between religious marriages and saying no to a secular civil marriage which is blessed by the state and indeed of treating gays wuth contempt and disgust (we have this problem with the fundamentalist in our religion, but they’re more obsessive over women’s modesty) .We had some buffoons on our blog and there seems to be an obsession with gays amongst some in the Christian community ,they even go so far as to attack my rather patient gay sister when they go on about lesbian love making and her partner .

    But what really whacks me in the privates is that Christians are being slaughtered in the middle east and I remember last year when IS came to media attention. I said to Christians on both side of the pond :why aren’t you lobbying as heavily as you do against gay rights, by doing something to get your fellow Christians out of harm? I mentioned that tiny Israel managed to get the bulk of the Iraqi Jewish community out in operation Ezra and Nehemiah, but I was met with a wall of excuses, such as I’m Jewish, so I see Christians in the same way (?) Or the idea that they didn’t want any more immigration in the west (even Christian ones as Poland and Mexico – which aren’t even in the middle east- which aren’t , apparently, Christian either) or they were better off where they were(e.g. crucifixion, rape, slavery, persecution) and should “accept” being martyred. Yet these are the same who argue constantly bang about the threat of Islam, the de Christianization of Europe and America and especially an obsession with gay people and are convinced that the world is out to get them . Yet they won’t have the courage to look after their fellow Christian when they need it ? Oy , I just don’t understand.

    Can you or anyone else help me here?

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    • Beth Caplin says:

      Hi Sam,
      I was recently in Britain! Only ten days, but it’s one of my favorite places in the world. Wish I had more time to meet up with some wonderful bloggers I’ve “met” there.

      Those Christians you speak of are ones I don’t understand either, so can’t comment much on that. But to paraphrase a quote I’ve seen making the rounds on social media, I think it’s accurate that people who have had privilege for so long start to think equal rights look like oppression.

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  3. Am I Thirty? says:

    Normally I hate FB and it tends to bring out the stupid in everyone I know, but this weekend I loved my newsfeed. It made me feel a lot better about the people I’m friends with. I had only one person liking a bunch of posts about this being the beginning of the end for America. And of course, that was from my extremely religious Aunt.

    Like

    • Beth Caplin says:

      The most ridiculous posts I saw were made by acquaintances from my ultra-conservative seminary. And it’s not that they disagreed, which is fine, but they were saying things like “Soon it will be a hate crime to refuse to attend gay weddings!” I don’t want to be that person who deletes anyone who disagrees with her, but in that case, the logic was so irrational and, well, dumb, I realized I had very little in common with those people anyway.

      Like

      • Am I Thirty? says:

        Yea, it’s not that I see people simply disagreeing with the decision and with gay marriage. They are just using crazy logic. I have seen so many things where people are claiming that pedophilia will be legalized next. It doesn’t even make sense to me how some minds work.

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  4. jlmandrill says:

    “links to articles by popular (and in my opinion, misguided) conservative bloggers who truly believe this is the beginning of the end of modern society” Less misguided, Beth, if you want my frank opinion, than retarded. America has made a small step towards the vision we should all embrace: that how people choose to live their lives, so long as it does not harm others, is their own business and no-one else’s.

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