“… the pious are no more; the faithful have vanished …” (12:2)
Taking a stand on an issue is not always a pleasant experience, especially when social networks make everything that we say or do liable to become the subject of public scrutiny. Anonymous critics harshly pick at those whose positions are based on moral principles. When we take a stand which upholds traditional religious values, we may find ourselves at odds with contemporary society’s values. It is an uncomfortable place to stand, and we might feel alone and isolated.
But there are those, such as members of Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church, who claim to base themselves on religious principles yet behave atrociously, demonstrating against churches and military funerals and others with signs proclaiming “God hates fags.” While I believe with all my heart that one can be in a same sex relationship consistent with Torah principles, I understand and respect those whose religious teachings and understanding of Leviticus hold differently. I have no tolerance, however, for those who claim piety but treat gay and lesbian couples (and those who support such unions) with open hatred.
Authentic piety demands more than adherence to a code of belief. It asks us to adhere to a code of behavior based on the principle of “love your neighbor” that recognizes the essential humanity of every person. It asks us to be humble and faithful enough to realize that as human beings, we too have flaws and inconsistencies; that we too fail at times, and that we are not infallible. When we take a position on an issue, we ought to also have the humility to realize that those who disagree with us may also be taking a principled position.