Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
In a stunning formal statement that directly confronts Barack Obama’s presidency-long campaign to promote and normalize homosexuality, a coalition of Orthodox rabbis and respected mental-health professionals says being “gay” is a behavior that can be changed and healed with therapy, if the person has the desire.
“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 statement says.
In fact, Obama, shortly after he took office in 2009, signed into law a “hate crimes” proposal that enhances penalties for crimes attributed to “hate” of homosexuality, providing special protections for “gays” that other victims of crime are not given.
“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,” the statement says.
The document has been signed by a coalition of more than 100 rabbis, community organizers, leaders and mental-health professionals. Among the signers who have chosen to go public with their endorsement of the position are psychologist and author Dr. Miriam Adaham of Jerusalem; Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, president of the International Network of Orthodox Mental Health Professions; Los Angeles psychiatrist and author Dr. Miriam Grossman; Dr. Joseph Gelbfish of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Rabbi Yaakov Salomon, psychotherapist and author; Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, a vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America and dozens more.
It contradicts a statement from 2010 signed by Orthodox rabbis who believed, “Jews with homosexual orientations or same sex-attractions should be welcomed as full members of the synagogue and school community. As appropriate with regard to gender and lineage, they should participate and count ritually, be eligible for ritual synagogue honors, and generally be treated in the same fashion and under the same halakhic and hashkafic framework as any other member of the synagogue they join.”
The 2010 statement also rejected the idea of therapy to heal homosexuality, but the new declaration takes the opposite position.
“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,’” it states.
The coalition of rabbis and others says that “political correctness nothwithstanding, the only Torah-approved course of action with regard to homosexuality is psychological therapy coupled with teshuva, or repentance.”
The signers agree that same-sex attractions can be modified and healed.
The declaration was written by a 25-member committee made up of rabbis, parents, people undergoing therapy and “success stories” of those who have undergone therapy and today are living heterosexual lives with spouses and children, the group says..
It rejects efforts by “secularists and some in the religious community” to minimize or deny the possibility of change.
The treatment recommended in the statement is reparative or gender-affirming therapy, which the declaration defines as “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.”
The purpose of the declaration is to help Jews who “have become confused on this issue and have become accepting of some false notions,” such as the idea “that a person cannot control his ‘nature’ and, therefore, should accept his prohibited inclination as something natural and normal that does not need to be worked on and healed.”
The members of the authoring committee are being kept anonymous, even though the signers of the declaration have gone public. But members of the committee said in a prepared statement that they have overcome same-sex attractions and, “We initiated this Torah Declaration because of the messages from the media and homosexual activists that are at best misleading and at worst outright untruths.”
“Homosexual activists are misusing compassion to win over the public. Their primary message is that if we care about people we should just accept them as homosexual and not ask them to change. They have been reinforcing this message by asking self-identified homosexuals to constantly repeat the untruth that ‘change is not possible’ and that people are ‘born this way’; that homosexuals have tried but ‘couldn’t change’ and that if it was a choice ‘they never would haven chosen this’. All they want is ‘acceptance, happiness and love, just like everyone else,’” the group explains.
However, the members of the Jewish community write that the Torah “makes an unambiguous statement that homosexuality is not an acceptable lifestyle” and there is no genuine scientific evidence that homosexuality is genetic or biological.
For example, in New York, where “same-sex marriage” recently has been legalized, synagogues are protected if they choose not to allow a homosexual wedding.
However, “If a religious person’s profession is affiliated with a wedding hall, photography, musicians, caterers, etc. there is no legal protection for them to refuse to service a same-sex wedding. Additionally, if their business involves any city or state contracts or licenses, they will be revoked for refusing to service a same-sex wedding,” the group warnes.
“We are just beginning to see the repercussions for people of faith on this issue. As this becomes the law of the land we will see an increase in the following types of headlines,” the organization says.
It cites several instances from recent months, including when Peter Vidmar was forced out at the U.S. Olympics after reports said he supported initiatives against same-sex marriage, a Toronto broadcaster was fired for supporting traditional marriage, and a wedding photography company in New Mexico was fined for refusing to photograph a same-sex “marriage.”
The APA stated, as recently as this month, “there are no scientific findings that a person is born homosexual.”
Spokeswoman Susan Rosenbluth, representing the signers of the new statement, told WND that it’s reprehensible to tell a 16-year-old boy conflicted with same-sex attractions, “Sorry kid.”
She told WND that there are a wide range of “natural tendencies” in the scope of human behavior that must be controlled – and changed if possible. She cited alcoholism or being overweight as similar behaviorial issues that require the help of others to change.
Other behaviors are similar, she noted.
‘It takes a lot of work’
“It’s not natural to play the violin. It doesn’t come naturally. The same with overcoming a same-sex attraction. It takes a lot of work if you want to do it.”
She said the Jewish law nowhere has to say that it’s not kosher to eat mud, because no one is going to do that. But she said the Jewish statement addresses the same-sex issue, treating it like stealing, something to which people sometimes are inclined but still are not allowed.
Nor should people of faith ignore homosexuality issues, it says.
“Abandoning people to lifelong loneliness and despair by denying all hope of overcoming and healing their same-sex attraction is heartlessly cruel,” the statement says.
It recommends “reparative or gender-affirming therapy.” That is defined as “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.”
And the necessary “teshuva” is the Torah requirement that people turn away “from any transgression or sin and return to G-d and one’s spiritual essence.”
That’s from Janet Boynes of Janet Boynes Ministries, which states up-front that its goal is to “minister to individuals who question their sexuality or who wish to leave homosexuality. JBM will seek to inform and challenge churches and society about the issues surrounding sexuality and teach how to minister to the homosexual community.”
She told WND that many “young and naïve secularists” are busy following Obama’s leading on his sexually permissive agenda, and the result of that will lead “to the demise of traditional values and families,” she said.
The Obama agenda also “propagates the attack of Judeo-Christian beliefs on a global level.”
But while other ministries are critical of Obama’s pro-homosexual drive – he’s put more homosexuals in positions of power than any other president, opened the U.S. military to open homosexuality and signed into law a “hate crimes” plan that provides special protections for homosexuals – Boynes goes one step further.
“The Bible says that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10),” she said. “It is his main objective to bring confusion and cause division within the church and he does this by altering God’s truth in such a way that many Christians are deceived if they are not rooted and grounded in God’s word.”
WND recently reported on the policy of the Obama administration to be the new global sex cop and a recently signed executive order that some say is sure to promote “quotas” of LGBT hires for federal government jobs.
WND also reported on the push by various administration officials to normalize LGBT behavior, including the designation of “gender identity” as a protected status for federal jobs.
WND columnist Matt Barber wrote that liberals are “desperate” in their efforts “to dredge up some natural, biological rationalization – of which science has found none – to validate demonstrably unnatural behavior.”
“That’s why we see such visceral hatred on the left for the ex-gay community. From a political and legal standpoint, it’s strategically critical that these same liberals undermine and marginalize the very real-life experiences of untold thousands of former homosexuals,” he wrote. “This mean-spiritedness represents a profound lack of respect for other people’s ‘right to choose.’ Their favorite dig is: ‘You can’t pray away the gay.’ Once you’ve self-identified as – or been labeled – ‘gay,’ you’re stuck with it, you see.
“Ironically, these same liberals will suggest with a straight face (no pun intended) that something that is innate – a person’s biological sex – can change. If you’re a man who, today, feels like a woman, why then, snippity-snip and voila! You’re a woman,” he said.
The American College of Pediatricians, a nonprofit organization funded by members and donors, wrote to school superintendents saying, “It is not the school’s role to diagnose and attempt to treat any student’s medical condition, and certainly not a school’s role to ‘affirm’ a student’s perceived personal sexual orientation.”
Further, schools can create a “life of unnecessary pain and suffering” for a child when they reinforce a behavior chosen out of a child’s “confusion.”
“Even when motivated by noble intentions, schools can ironically play a detrimental role if they reinforce this disorder,” said the letter, signed by Dr. Tom Benton, the organization’s president.
The group also has created a website called Facts About Youth as a resource for school officials to obtain the facts from a “non-political, non-religious channel.”
“The only viable course of action that is consistent with the Torah is therapy and teshuvah,” the new statement says. “There is no other practical, Torah-sanctioned solution for this issue.”.