“Not Gay – But Supportive!”


A “Straight” perspective on the parallel non-heterosexual world

My parade shirt – designed and hand-painted by my daughter

I am writing this, fresh from participating in the largest parade of Gay Pride ever to take place in Israel. Yesterday, tens of thousands of people – some say 100,000 – paraded through the streets of Tel-Aviv in a noisy procession, celebrating and, at the same time, promoting, their right to be different.

But I am not Gay, so why was I there?

Well, let me say that one’s attitude to, and awareness of,  the existence and activities of the Gay community is strongly influenced by having a family member who is not a part of the “straight” community. Those of us that find ourselves in this situation are still a relatively small proportion of the total population. This means that the majority continues to view the Gay section of society with a mixture of ignorance, fear, distrust, suspicion and loathing.

Other than what they see or read in the media, they have little or no understanding of Homosexuals, Lesbians, Bi- sexuals or Transgender individuals.

So it is unfortunate that their awareness level of the existence of such people is only raised by the advent of parades such as this. For the image of the Gay community, as projected by these  processions and events, is a distortion. The decorated floats blaring out loud music, and the gyrating semi-naked dancers, are certainly eye-catching, and make for great visual images on the evening news.

But this is only a small part of the community, albeit the most publicised.

Frankly, I was astonished at the huge numbers of photographers and cameramen, both professional and amateur, that this event attracted. There is something visually stimulating about the rainbow flags, and all the other rainbow coloured paraphernalia. But there were also a number of other flags being waved, in rainbow variations

Each group has its own colour theme, including a flag in various stripes of grey, representing the “asexuals”. And I was personally amused to see a contingent from Great Britain waving a Union Jack in various shades of pink!

I was also struck by the presence of the  small group of ” Parents of Gay children” with their own flag. I know that, for many of them, it was very hard to face up to, and deal with,  the new reality in  their lives.  Traditional concepts and values are difficult to overcome, so I salute them for the support they give, to their families and to others.

Unfortunately, I have personal knowledge of some cases where this was not so. Parents who could not overcome their prejudices, and placed religious belief, or simple ignorance,  before the well being of their son or daughter.

It is an attitude which I find impossible to comprehend.

Not like this in Safed itself!

The reality of a Gay relationship is an incident I witnessed on the fringes of the parade. I found myself next to a male couple, one of whom had a little boy perched on his shoulders, to better see the floats. Suddenly the child reached across to his other “father” and gave him a big hug and a kiss – a regular family!

This little scene encapsulates another, and I think much more important element;  the fact that a same sex couple, in Israel can adopt, or even via surrogate births, enjoy the ability to have a complete family.

I know that I am not alone in feeling that, to some extent, the flamboyant and open sexuality, exhibited in parades like this, are counter productive to the cause of equality.

If the argument is that Gays are no different from heterosexuals, save for their sexual orientation, then parades do nothing to persuade the rest of the population to understand Gay people better. To be accepted as an equal part of society requires compliance with the social norms of that society in matters of public conduct.

Being equal means exactly that. Equal rights are not superior rights.

I would hate us to arrive at a situation where there could be suggestions of “affirmative action” for Gays, This is not as far-fetched as it may seem. History has shown that other groups who screamed “discrimination”, did go down that road. That was bad for society then, and would be a bad thing were it to happen again.

Not yet!

The contentious subject of Gay marriage is an example of this phenomenon. In all the agitation for the rights of Gays to marry, it seems to have been overlooked that even heterosexuals cannot get married in Israel if they don’t satisfy the criteria imposed by the Orthodox Rabbinate.

Thousands of people still have to get married in Cyprus, or elsewhere, because, either they are not “Jewish enough”, to be permitted to marry in Israel, or they have some other impediment dreamed up by the religious authority.

Civil marriage for all citizens should be the sole aim, and Gays will then share the equal opportunity available. But I’m not going to hold my breath whilst waiting!

Of course, there are a variety of other aspects to the situation of Gays in Israel, many of which have been well publicised. The status of Tel-Aviv as one of the leading destinations for Gay tourism in the world being just one example. The expansion of Gay pride events to other cities, including Haifa, Petach Tikva, Hadera, Be’er Sheva, Eilat and, yes, even Jerusalem, is proof that the movement for equality is gaining momentum.

Oh, and I omitted to mention that, included in the parade, were a small contingent of religious Gays!

Maybe the day will come when we’ll see a parade in Bnei Brak or Ramat Beit Shemesh!

OK – just joking!

Andyboy – Telling it as it is

Photo credit: gay marriage:http://patnurseblog.blogspot.co.il/2012/05/gay-marriage.html

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Rabbi Tells Doctors “Don’t Treat Non-Jews on the Sabbath!”


Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef  – if you’re sick on Shabbat – you need to be Jewish!  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has excelled himself this time

Just when you thought that it would be impossible for him to come up with sayings more idiotic than those he previously uttered, he surprises you with something new.

According to a report in YNET  the “learned”rabbi came up with this gem:

“the spiritual leader of Shas said that while doctors are expected to do everything in their power – even if it requires violating the Sabbath – in order to save Jews whose lives are in danger, the same does not apply for gentiles.”

Of course, this places religious doctors in a real dilemma. A conflict between their Hippocratic oath and Halacha (Jewish religious law). And then, there is their contract with the state:

” The doctors’ license says they must treat all patients without distinction of faith or race, and if they don’t, the State could revoke their license and also punish them” 

Apart from any other considerations, the mere fact that anyone, especially a rabbi, can think and utter such thoughts, is a Public Relations disaster of the highest magnitude for the State of Israel . That this is his opinion, and his alone, gets lost in the media coverage. Israel’s enemies, of which there are many, seize on anything that can cast the state in a bad light.

It’s difficult to imagine anything much worse than this.

The horror of the vast majority of Israeli society to such thoughts is no different from that in the rest of the civilised world. But it would be an uphill struggle to try to get this fact across.

Man’s inhumanity to man is well documented in history, on both small and large scales. It does not need the added stimulus of religious interpretation and edict to make a bad situation even worse. Religion has been responsible for enough tragedy; and now it seems that the spark of religious intolerance continues to glow brightly in the mind of this nonagenarian.

There is, however, a postscript to this story.

Yosef, in an effort to ameliorate the severity of such a ruling, did propose a solution: “ The rabbi offered a halachic solution that follows a rule by which if a single person is doing the act, he is violating the Sabbath, while if two people are doing it together, they are exempt.”

Image of a surgeon operating on a patient. فار...

Two hands are better than one – but at the SAME time?…. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The doctor who needs to operate will call on another doctor, or nurse, to hold the scalpel together and make the incision,” said Rabbi Yosef, saying that “it is necessary in order for religious physicians to refrain from being put on trial for distinguishing between a Jew and a gentile on Sabbath.”

Maybe he should just stick to religion.

His knowledge of medical procedures leaves a lot to be desired.

Andyboy – Telling it as it is!

Reference

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4229767,00.html

Related articles

http://andyboy1.com/2011/11/22/rabbi-ovadia-yosef-from-his-mouth-to-gods-ears/

http://andyboy1.com/2012/01/20/snatching-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory/

 


“God – It’s Andyboy. How Do You Deal With Claustrophobic Sinners?”


Confessional box, Holy Family Roman Catholic C...

Honestly, God, would you like to be stuck inside one of these? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think you need to open a Facebook page, or a Twitter account.

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder & CEO of Facebook, at...

Zuckerberg – maybe you could use his help,,,,,,,, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It may have escaped your attention, considering all the other things that are occupying your time, but we are living in the second decade of the 21st century. You need to catch up with the technology.

The reason that I am saying this is that, over the past couple of weeks, I have availed myself of the confessional service that you provide through some of your messengers.

In case they didn’t report back to you – I’m not sure that they ever do – I will tell you that I got into hot water over some remarks I made about the religious leaders of your Chosen People“, and, also, about the leaders of your not so chosen people ( the Muslims).  At least, I assume they are not so chosen, based upon their attitudes and actions. I must admit that, as a fully practicing Atheist, I have some difficulty in understanding if Jehovah and Allah are actually the same. Are they both you, or is it a family business, and you’re just related?

Anyway, that is not really the issue now.

The point is that, as I simply didn’t have the time to wait for the Day of Atonement to come round in 5 months or so, I thought I would try out the service offered by the competition. It seemed that “absolution on demand’ would be the easiest solution to my problem.

Being new to this game, I was not really prepared for the fact that it would involve me entering a dark, un-ventilated and somewhat smelly wooden box carrying the residual odours of the previous occupants. It seemed to me to be somewhat lacking in the sense of spiritual serenity I had anticipated. But then, I asked myself, “why should I expect 5 star luxury in a space reserved for sinners?”

Then it occurred to me, how do you deal with claustrophobic sinners?  

Is leaving the door open, or not drawing the curtain, sufficient? And what about privacy? Or is it that those suffering from this condition are just stuck with their sins forever, as if you didn’t give them enough of a problem anyway?

So I got to thinking, about applying some 21st century technology? Maybe you could create a Facebook page, or a Twitter account, or, even, an Internet Website.  And this would solve the problem, not only for those fearing confined spaces, but, also, for those who don’t want to leave the comfort of their home to deal with something about which they feel uncomfortable in any case.

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

How about an APP for sinners?…….Image via CrunchBase

You could even create an i-Phone or Android Application! Absolution with a swipe of the finger! You could call it “an App for sinners”, and it could get you a lot more clients.

I assume that you would not be deterred by the fact that you would have to use the services created by Jews like Zuckerberg and Brinn. They are working with a primarily non-Jewish market already, so it shouldn’t put you off. By the way, now could be a good time to get connected to Facebook. If you’re quick, you may even be able to get a piece of he action. I’m sure you could pull a few strings, and your messengers on Earth could always use a few extra bucks.

So, give it thought, and let me know your conclusion. You can always find me at the URL above.

I will assume that if I don’t hear from you, it will be confirmation that you don’t actually exist.

Either that, or you simply prefer to stick with the traditional system, and to hell with claustrophobes.

Literally!

Andyboy – Telling it as it is.

Connected articles

http://andyboy1.com/2012/04/21/forgive-me-father-for-i-have-sinned/

http://andyboy1.com/2012/05/05/sorry-father-but-i-have-sinned-again/

“Sorry, Father – But I have Sinned Again!”


I know it’s only two weeks since my last confession

But it seems that the effects of your instant absolution deal are not long lasting.

A Confessional box built in 1952 in Immaculate...

“Father – I’M IN HERE!” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may recall that my previous confession was also my first attempt at confessing, after I decided that I couldn’t wait until the next Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement). I really don’t understand how the inventors of Judaism ever imagined that people could hoard their sins for an entire year – and then release all of them inside a day.

A fundamental design fault!

So,I thought your ” forgiveness on demand” was a much better idea, and more in line with modern day needs.

But, here I am, back again. Well, to be fair to the system, I’m not confessing to the same sins. Last time it was the Jews, but now I am accused of being beastly to the Muslims.

You must understand that for an Atheist, like me, the world is like a battlefield:

Religions to the left of me,

Religions to the right of me,

Religions in front of me,

And still I blunder on regardless

(with due apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson).

So, what are my sins?

Well, for a start, they got a bit upset that I took issue with their desire to execute those who they considered had said naughty things about Allah, or his lackey, Mohammed. I had pointed out in a previous article that blasphemy was still  a capital offence in some Muslim states.

Kuwait Elections_DSC3387

“So, you think Allah will be happy with us?”
“What, you mean because we are now the laughing stock of the civilised world?” (Photo credit: Kuwaitelections2012)

A few days after publication, the National Assembly of Kuwait, as if in a gesture of defiance, passed a law which not only demands execution for insulting Allah and Mohammed, but also extends to saying unkind things about the various Mrs Mohammeds:

“The law also prescribes the death penalty for those who curse the Prophet’s wives or claim prophetic abilities.

Today, we lead the world through this law,” MP Faysal Al-Muslim told Kuwaiti establishment daily Al-Watan. “It is a triumph for the Prophet to execute those who harm him and his wives, and especially Aisha the pure. Cursing them shames us all.”

Endowments Minister Jamal Shihab told Al-Watan that the government does not intend to block the law, and will act to implement it.” (1)

I think that they also got a bit upset that this article followed so closely on the heels of another article, in which I intimated that proposed legislation in the Egyptian parliament – to legalise intercourse after death – seemed a little out of synch with the general thrust of world opinion (pun intended).

But, to be fair to the Egyptians, they did understand that there would have to be practical limits applied to this law, so intercourse with the “Dear Departed” would be limited to a period of not longer than 6 hours after death.

Apart from my reaction, the internet comedians could not let such a gem of a story pass without comment. Consequently, the blogosphere became saturated with hundreds of tasteless jokes, from which I selected and reprinted my favourite “Top Twenty”.

These included:

“gives new meaning to the word frigid”.

“my wife has been “dead” in bed for years. but at least she still cooks”.

“If they’re anything like my ex-wife, you wouldn’t notice the difference”

For the full list, just click on the link below(2)

For reasons that totally escape me, some Muslims thought I was treating the subject without due reverence. For a society that follows the practice of female genital mutilation  – meaning surgical removal of the clitoris – to ensure that a woman couldn’t enjoy sex to the full when she was alive, I thought that their concern for her body after death was somewhat bizarre.

I realise that, as a Catholic priest, you haven’t the faintest idea why a woman needs a clitoris at all: I suggest a quiet word with a few nuns could enlighten you in that department. Given their situation, I don’t know what they would do without one, but that’s a whole different subject.

So, there you have it.

Jews one week, Muslims the next, and I haven’t really got around to Christianity yet. But, I guess you’re not the best person to deal with that.

A hindu holy man in Kathmandu, Nepal. He seems...

Maybe him? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know of a good Hindu confessor?

Andyboy – Telling it as it is!

References

(1)http://www.timesofisrael.com/kuwaiti-parliament-legislates-death-sentence-for-cursing-the-prophet-muhammad/

(2)http://andyboy1.com/2012/04/27/islam-sex-before-marriage-no-way-sex-after-death-maybe/

 

Oh My God – Blasphemy is Still a Capital Offence in the 21st Century!


Unbelievably, in this second decade of the 21st century, there are still countries that have a death penalty for blasphemy.

afghanistan

Dying to defend the faith in Afghanistan (Photo credit: The U.S. Army)

And in one of those countries, at least, American and British soldiers are fighting, and dying, to defend the option of a government to enforce that law.

I am referring to Afghanistan – specifically the clause in its Penal code, which states as follows:

Sharia permits the authorities to treat blasphemy as a capital crime. The authorities can punish blasphemy with death if the blasphemy is committed by a male of sound mind over age 18 or by a female of sound mind over age 16. Anyone accused of blasphemy has three days to recant. If an accused does not recant, death by hanging may follow.“(1)

Afghanistan is not unique: Saudi Arabia has a similar law.

But, most countries satisfy themselves with less drastic forms of punishment such as imprisonment and/or fines. Surprisingly, even some European countries still have anti-blasphemy laws, but these are rarely enforced.

Only as recently as March 2008, was the blasphemy law repealed in the UK; the last successful prosecution for blasphemy was in 1977 – only 35 years ago! Interestingly, the law only applied to Christianity.(2) The last execution for blasphemy actually took place in Scotland in 1697 with the hanging of the unfortunately named Mr Thomas Aikenhead. He must have had a real aching head after that experience. (sorry!)

In America, it’s a whole different ball game, (to use the local vernacular). Under the First and Fourteenth amendments to the constitution – pertaining to free expression – it is impossible to bring a Federal prosecution on the charge of blasphemy, as part of the legally defined separation of  “church” and state.  However, the situation regarding individual states is not so clear. (3)

And, I discovered much to my surprise and consternation, that there are laws protecting religion here in Israel:

In Israel, blasphemy is covered by Articles 170 and 173 of the penal code:

Insult to religion
170. If a person destroys, damages or desecrates a place of worship or any object which is held sacred by a group of persons, with the intention of reviling their religion, or in the knowledge that they are liable to deem that act an insult to their religion, then the one is liable to three years imprisonment.
Injury to religious sentiment
173. If a person does any of the following, then the one is liable to one year imprisonment:
(1) One publishes a publication that is liable to crudely offend the religious faith or sentiment of others;
(2) One voices in a public place and in the hearing of another person any word or sound that is liable to crudely offend the religious faith or sentiment of others.

The law is traced back to the British High Commission “The Abuse and Vilification (religious invective) Order No. 43 of 1929”, enacted in efforts to suppress the 1929 Palestine riots. The order contained the language: “Any person who utters a word or sound in public or within earshot of any other person that may be or is intended to offend his religious sensitivities or faith can expect to be found guilty and eligible for a one-year jail sentence.” (4)

CDC raspberry

Blowing one of these can get you into big trouble in Israel! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Article 170 says that the reviling or insulting of the religion is a separate crime from the specific act of destruction or vandalism, since it refers to intent.

Article 173 presumably includes, for example, “blowing a Raspberry” as a sign of comment or disagreement.

So – does any of this really matter?

Since few countries actually punish people for this “crime”, and even fewer execute convicted blasphemers, why should anyone be concerned?

To me, the concern should be obvious. All of the examples listed above, and, indeed, all laws relating to blasphemy, place religion in a different category from any, and every, other element of the fabric of society.

Discussion, debate and disagreement can be heated and/or offensive about any subject, other than religion and religious belief.

Why?

Expressing oneself passionately about anything else does not lead to imprisonment, or the threat of it. Demonstrations, and other political acts, are covered by different laws related to public order. So, again, why religion?

There can be only one logical reason.

Since religion, and the various form of God, were invented by man, those charged with the responsibility to nurture, protect and maintain it, understood from the beginning that fear was the greatest form of power enforcement.

History has proved them right.

Nothing will concentrate a man’s (or woman’s) mind more than the threat of being burned alive at the stake, or stoned to death.

Persecution of witches

Burning of witches - not good on YouTube!(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But, one must acknowledge that religion has moved with the times and adjusted to the 21st century. Realising that burning and stoning doesn’t play well on YouTube, and even hanging is seen by some as a bit gruesome, more and more regimes and governments have settled for imprisonment.

At least there, the transgressors can rot away out of the public eye!

As for me – I’m going to have a quick flip through some of my previous articles to check that I am not in contravention of the local laws. I hope that implied “Raspberries” don’t count.

And at least I can be thankful that I’m in Israel – not Afghanistan!

Andyboy – Telling it as it is!

Blasphemy set to music!

References

(1)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_Afghanistan

(2)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_the_United_Kingdom

(3)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_the_United_States_of_America

(4)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law