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Jewish World Review Jan. 31, 2000 /19 Shevat, 5760

Don Feder

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Liberal clerics praise the culture, pass the condoms

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- LAST WEEK, in the name of "justice, sexual morality and healing," a group of trendy clerics issued a statement endorsing fornication, licentiousness and sodomy.

Given the moral drift of the mainline Protestant churches, these impostors would probably bless the union of a man and a bowl of Brussels sprouts, if the culture condoned it.

The manifesto, signed by 900-plus members of the Church of What's Happening Now, calls for public approval of same-sex marriage, sex education for all grades, unrestricted access to abortion and population control.

Half of the signers are from four of the nation's most liberal denominations. Except for one nun and a few lay leaders, backing from the Roman Catholic Church was nil. No Evangelicals, Orthodox rabbis, or black pastors signed on.

"Religious people need to think about issues of sexuality from the point of view of justice and equality for all, " says Rev. John A. Buehrens, a signer who is president of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Funny, the Bible speaks of holiness, not equality. Justice is the recognition of rights conferred by the Creator, not demands for the sanction of that which He specifically forbade.

The declaration (which ran as a full-page ad in the New York Times yesterday) affirms that "Sexuality is God's life-giving and life-fulfilling gift." True, but how exactly is ending the life of an unborn child an acknowledgment of the connection between sexuality and procreation?

The statement cautions, "God hears the cries of those who suffer from the failure of religious communities to address sexuality." G-d hears everything. Hearing stuff like this must be a terrible burden for Him.

Signers were brought together by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), an outfit that thinks our society -- with Internet porn, condom distribution in the schools, and a president who left his bodily fluid on a young woman's dress -- is too uptight when it comes to sex.

The clerical avant-garde would sanctify what not long ago was denounced as sin from the pulpits of their own churches.

They will tolerate anything, except the faith of their fathers. Many are from denominations, which 20 years ago were busy being tolerant of communist regimes -- even as the criminals in charge were crucifying communities of faith within their borders.

Since the literal words of the Bible won't support the worldview of the clerical left, they adhere to something called the "spirit of the Scriptures."

In this, they are like judicial activists who base their decisions not on the Constitution's clear meaning or the drafters' intent but on a conveniently nebulous spirit of the First Amendment.

Of course sexuality is G-d's gift. We should show our gratitude for the divine favor by not abusing it.

The ability to earn the means to support ourselves and our families is also a blessing when we behave decently. When we steal, cheat or get greedy, it becomes a curse.

Bible-believers understand that G-d gave us rules, not to take the joy out of existence, but because, having bestowed our nature, He knows what's best for us.

Relationship-wise, the kingdom of heaven isn't a very inclusive place. Many relationships (incestuous, adulterous, homosexual) are strongly condemned. The traditional view of sexuality is the very antithesis of the blessed-is-whatever-you-feel-like-doing ethic.

It's remarkable that liberal clergy can look at the sexual morass in which our culture is mired and attribute the mess to not enough approval, instead of too little restraint.

There is a fundamental dichotomy between the mentality of the signers and traditional Christianity and Judaism, which hold that the role of spiritual leader is to teach, to communicate uncomfortable truths and to challenge the times instead of making peace with them.

Several years ago, Richard Holloway, the Anglican bishop of Edinburgh, Scotland, said adultery was no big deal because people are promiscuous by nature. Britain's Princess Anne rejoined that she thought the whole idea of religion was to help people overcome their frequently unruly natures.

With this comment, the princess distinguished herself as a better theologian than any of the signers of the SIECUS statement.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest book is Who's Afraid of the Religious Right. Comment on his column by clicking here.


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