Gay Pride in Jerusalem

The gay pride people backed down and held their event inside because of threats of violence. Doesn’t this seem like its ruining the whole point?

Unlike most of you I wasn’t that enthusiastic about the sequence of events. First of all can you really consider it to be good that people are worried that a religious Jew is going to kill them? Furthermore, any argument presented against it boiled down to we don’t like gays. That’s a valid opinion, but it isn’t a stance Israel can take. Israel is a democracy and is not a theocracy. Israel has standards of human rights and one thing is that you can’t discriminate against gays.
Of course you might say, “Why should I care about the gays, I’m not one of them.” However to quote the famous Niemoller poem,
“When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out”

This is not a hypothetical possibility, the same arguments were made in another controversial issue, arguments such as, “We can’t afford the soldiers to protect these people,” and “Why can’t they just go somewhere else?” and “They’re inciting violence.” I don’t think I have to continue for you to recognize the arguments as those used by the pro-disengagement crowd. This doesn’t automatically mean that the arguments have no validity, but it should give you pause before you confidently say them to the world as your basis for discrimination.
The principal argument I heard made was that Israel was a Jewish state and therefore should keep the gays from marching especially in Jerusalem. However, if you are going to make this argument you faced with serious dilemmas. What do you do to adulterers and gays, kill them? Israel is a Jewish state, but until Mashiach comes it is also a secular one. No matter how much you dislike the march and no matter how offensive it is to you, banning the free speech rights of a group because of it is an extremely dangerous path. Because to be logically consistent you should say that any group which offends a large enough segment of the population should be denied the right to march or to say what they want in public and that is the last thing the religious community should want because they’re outnumbered. So hold your nose and even go and protest the next march, but don’t try and remove their right to peacefully march because your side doesn’t like it. Just remember that the table can be turned and have been in the past.

7 Responses to Gay Pride in Jerusalem

  1. Talia says:

    Hi Mike- good post. At the same time don’t you think there is a line between religious sensitivities and freedom of speech? Like if the gay pride parade took place by the kotel or the dome of the rock?
    By the way-do you know why they moved the parade into the stadium instead?
    Also Mike, I was thinking you should apply for this summer science program at weizmann. Its for foreign high school students so its in english and you could do it in math or something like that. Here’s the link.

  2. Tobie says:

    I was actually opposed to the gay pride parade happening in Jerusalem in the first place. From what I have heard, pride parades are not simply people marching waving banners, but garishly sexual spectacles that would hardly be less offensive if heterosexual. If this is false, I still think that a gay pride parade is, by definition, a sexual display that even tolerant people can legitimately dislike.

    That said, I am furious that it is being canceled in response to the anticipated violence of a bunch of religious extremists. If that isn’t giving way to terrorism, what is?

  3. mike529 says:

    Tobie it is immensely offensive, but that should be covered.
    Talia I agree when its at a religious site, then you can enforce some standards of assembly, but to shut down a city from a group because it offends somebody is not good.

  4. Rachel says:

    Mike don’t try the slippery slope argument. For 200 years the US (and pretty much everywhere else) made homosexuality illegal. We harshly punished other types of sexual nonconformity too. Nevertheless, we didn’t slip into tyranny (except for Bush’s election). We got more tolerant.

    I don’t approve of violently suppressing gay pride parades. But I’m just fine with giving them a march route that doesn’t go into sacred areas, and winking at harassment if they deviate .

  5. Mike says:

    Rachel it isn’t a slippery slope argument. The argument is two-pronged.
    1. Israel should have a free speech which includes the gay pride march. If you believe this then you agree with my position.
    2. If you don’t agree with my opinion on free-speech then there is a pragmatic reason to allow this parade which I outline.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is a matter of morality, not a matter of religion. You should make a differentiation.

  7. mike529 says:

    Although I think homosexuality is immoral I fail to see how that judgment can be made without invoking religious principles.

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