Thursday, August 05, 2021

Coalition of Orthodox Jewish rabbis publicly flaunt their hypocrisy in opposing Biden's pick for religious freedom coalition

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum

And the award for blatant religious hypocrisy goes to:

A coalition that represents some 1,500 Orthodox Jewish rabbis condemned President Biden's move to nominate Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, a leader of the LGBTQ-focused Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, to the U.S. Coalition on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), saying it sends a "counter-productive" message amid threats to religious freedom.

 Kleinbaum is the spouse of American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten. 
"A person's sexual preferences should be a private matter, and certainly irrelevant to prayer. Kleinbaum, by contrast, leads a congregation that insists ‘LGBTQ’ is a matter of identity," Rabbi Yaakov Menken, the managing director at the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), told Fox News on Thursday, ahead of Biden's Friday announcement. "At a time when religious people are persecuted worldwide for their personal, sincere beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman, and gender is permanent, biological, and determined at conception, placing Kleinbaum on a commission devoted to ensuring religious freedom sends precisely the wrong message and could hardly be more counter-productive."

Rabbi Menken and the Coalition for Jewish Values underscore the hypocrisy of how religious freedom is popularly defined by those on the right. Some people of faith have a belief that the LGBTQ identity and religious beliefs are in two opposite camps, never to intersect. They see the LGBTQ identity as a sin. They have every right to believe this, however many others, including many LGBTQ people, don't follow that narrative. They have no problem with the intersection of the LGBTQ identity and religious beliefs. 

Don't they also have the right to religious freedom? 

And just what exactly gives Rabbi Menken and his coalition the right to define religious freedom for the rest of us?  What gives Rabbi Menken the right to define what is or isn't irrelevant to prayer? When did God give him the right to decide just what is or isn't a feasible subject for prayer?

It is Rabbi Menken and his group who are sending the wrong message about religious freedom. They throw around the phrase, but what they seem to want  is "religious supremacy" for themselves.  They seem to think that true religious freedom is all about their beliefs being placed upon a pedestal above other religious beliefs. This not only an ugly contradiction, but it's simply embarrassing for Rabbi Menken and his coalition to not recognize the stain of hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance it places on them. It's also embarrassing how they publicly flaunt their false sense of religious entitlement.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum has every right to be a member of the U.S. Coalition on International Religious Freedom as anyone else because her religious faith is just as valid. That's all there is to it.

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