As the writers at Box Turtle Bulletin have been discovering and reporting, California’s proposed anti-gay marriage amendment – Proposition 8 – is being pushed and backed immensely by the LDS Church. But to give the appearance of ecumenical effort, the claim is made that Mormon, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim voices are being heard. As “proof,” the organizations that are sponsoring the proposition are listed here.
But as BTB’s Timothy Kincaid has noted, the “Jewish” part of that collective voice is very quiet, because the only Jewish organization listed out of more than a hundred is the Orthodox Union. This is an organization run by Orthodox Jews, who tend to be more socially conservative than the other “flavors” of Judaism. “Jewish New Testament Publications” is also listed, but they are Messianic Jews, a religious denomination that dresses up Christian doctrine and theology in Jewish clothes – most commonly Ashkenazic in fashion. (Ashkenazic Judaism is the most visually stereotypical-looking form of Judaism.) Every other Jewish denomination considers Messianic Judaism to be a form of Christianity, not Judaism.
On the flip side, a quite substantial collective Jewish voice has sounded their support for equality. The L.A. Times is reporting that the Board of Rabbis has come out in opposition to Prop. 8:
The board — a collection of leaders from the Reconstructionist, Reform, Conservative and Orthodox movements — this week declared its opposition to the measure, which would amend the California Constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. Leaders of the board said they wanted protect the civil rights of gay and lesbian couples.
These Jewish religious leaders understand that their religion should not be imposed upon the American public. 93% of those who voted – 120 out of 290 members – rejected support of Prop. 8.
On a personal level, seeing such an eclectic group of Jews – Jews that cross all denominations, from the most socially liberal to the most socially conservative – vote in overwhelming harmony does my heart good. I see so much dissonance between my fellow Jews politically and religiously that this event is a beam of hope.
BTB reported further on pro-equality Jews in the news, although they might not have been aware of it. Robert Haas, the Jewish great-great nephew of Levi’s Jeans founder Levi Strauss (who was himself a Jewish immigrant from Bavaria), has contributed to the pro-equality effort.
Robert Haas, the great-great-grand-nephew of the founder has given $100,000 to defeat Proposition 8 and announced that he is putting the reputation and the strength of his company (and $25,000 of its cash) to the effort as well. (Forbes)
Levi’s Jeans helped shape the San Francisco area Jewish community for 150 years, and now they are helping to shape the San Francisco gay community. Their effort is a joint one with energy company Pacific Gas & Electric.
Hat Tip: BTB