Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Pride and Prejudice

Free speech, its the reason I can write this blog and voice my opinions on our podcast. Its a wonderful thing. On most days I take it for granted. I spew my opinions without giving it a second thought. Not today. In a neighboring town free speech may be in jeopardy and if it happens there it will eventually happen all over this tiny little country of mine.

The opponents of free speech are trying to block it in our nations capitol, Jerusalem. They are going to do it in the knesset by amending a Basic Law with regards to Jerusalem. The reason for incringing on our rights is a parade that happens once a year, the Gay Pride Parade. Before I go any further lets get some things straight and no I'm not talking about gay people! Jerusalem is the nations capitol and therefore is the place to demonstrate and have parades and gatherings. More important in my opinion is the great respect and restraint the homosexual community has shown. During the disengagement they cancelled the event because they did not want to celebrate when others were suffering. Needless to say the people evacuated would not treat the gay community with the same understanding. Last year because of the Haredi firestorm and the security situation they agreed to have an event at a stadium I believe in Hebrew University. Never has the parade route gone through an ultra orthodox neighborhood. Never by a religious or holy site. Contrary to what the Haredi/religious public would have you believe it does not have the mardi gras atmosphere and dress that a parade of its kind does in lets say San Francisco.

Now lets look at the opponents. Someone in this camp stabbed a man walking in the parade a few years ago. Luckily the man survived. Last year the Haredi hooligans had violent demonstrations and caused huge amounts of damage in shekels that of course the Haredi community doesn't have to pay . The men don't work and they don't pay taxes. I and others like me had to foot the bill for their sinning in Gods name. What angered me more was that soldiers were kidnapped and we were at war and THIS is what gets them out on the streets. I guess its because the soldiers risking their lives are not their sons since a very few serve in the army, my hats off to those that do. They seem to forget that it is because of our soldiers that they have the luxury of studying Torah.

I have no desire to change someones personal view on homosexuality. I do not intend to make anyone accept it or embrace it. Interpret the lines in the Torah as you wish or as you were taught. That is fine too. Just let them march. If you feel the need to publicly disagree then do it peacefully. It should be your right.

Two members of Knesset have proposed a bill enabling the Jerusalem municipality to stop the Gay Pride Parade on the grounds that it disturbs the sensibilities of the residents, security issues or if it offends the religious public! This law covers anything that they can fit into these categories not just Gay Pride. The members of Knesset who proposed the bill are from the National Religious Party and Shas. No shock there. Olmert however told the members of the coalition to vote their conscious. Now that part of their anatomy is in the part they sit on because the maintaining of their knesset seats for their big "consciouses" is top priority. What they actually believe in is not of any consequence. Keeping the coalition alive is the key. None of them will get my vote . Some say this was done to placate Shas. Kadima wants to get Shimon Peres elected president and they need Shas to do it. An eighty four year old who can't win an election on his own is more important than freedom of speech.

If we are a democracy we must watch over our right to freedom of speech as carefully as we watch over the Torah. Then we can be a light unto other nations and then maybe Gods divine presence will once again choose to reside here.

Submitted by Carol


BSquared said...

Well said Carol.

Someone wise and famous who's name I don't know once said that to have freedom to do and say the things you want for yourself you have to be prepared to let others have the freedom to do and say the things they want. Of course it's really easy to 'let' people have freedom to do and say things you agree with. The hard part, the part that separates the true leaders from the mob, is when you have to 'let' someone have the freedom to do and say things you disagree with or are offended by. Here's hoping that there are some true leaders in Jerusalem and that they prevail over the mob.

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