Sen. Joe Lieberman Says the Torah “Doesn’t Represent the Best Values of Our Country.”
Both houses of the U.S. Congress passed measures yesterday making it un-American to object to the social acceptance of homosexual behavior.A spending bill in the House and an amendment to a spending bill in the Senate Armed Services Committee passed, calling for the repeal of the military policy called, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Previously, it was believed that it would be damaging to morale and group dynamics to have mixed into the closely-knit ranks, where soldiers share sleeping, showering and dining facilities in close quarters, people who openly declare their desire to mate with their fellows. Now, with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the U.S. armed services will be prohibited from discharging any soldier who declares his or her desire to have relations with members of his or her own gender.
Leading the charge in the Senate Armed Services Committee was the amendment’s sponsor, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, who publicly identifies himself as an Orthodox Jew.
“It’s time for this policy to go,” Senator Lieberman was quoted as saying after the vote.“It doesn’t reflect America’s best values of equal opportunity, and it’s not good for the military.”(Associated Press, “House Votes to Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” by Jim Abrams, May 27, 2010).“The vote today I think was a vote for a principle and a policy that the DADT policy doesn’t serve the best interest of our military and doesn’t represent the best values of our country.”(Fox News, ”Key Senate Committee Approves ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal,” appearing in “The Speaker’s Lobby,” May 27, 2010.)
Senator Lieberman did not express any conflict between his identity as an Orthodox Jew and the amendment he sponsored which would effectively outlaw moral judgments based on sexual behavior.
“Bottom line, thousands of service members have been pushed out of the U.S. military…because of their sexual orientation,” Senator Lieberman said.“And that’s not what America is all about.We judge people not on who you are or where you came from or what’s your religion, nationality, race or gender or sexual orientation, I would hope, but on how you do your job.”(“House Votes to Repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ as Vote Nears in the Senate,” ABC News, May 27, 2010, by Huma Kahn and Z. Byron Wolf)
The reason why Senator Lieberman is so committed to accepting people for who they are, observed a leading community authority, stems from Senator Lieberman’s accepting donors and voters for who they are.
Congressman Barney Frank, addressing the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, held up as an example the military of the state of Israel, which does not discharge soldiers who openly declare their desire for relations with members of the same sex. (“House Votes to Allow Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Law,” N.Y. Times, May 27, 2010, by David M. Herszenhorn and Carl Hulse).
People who define themselves by their instincts demand that society gives them respect and credibility for their deviant desires.But the Torah tells us we must fight our instincts, and our instincts are not “who we are.”The desires are meant to be ruled over by man.But these people have succumbed to their weaknesses and surrendered their fight against their yetzer hura.
It is not unjust for people who hold themselves to be enamored by a certain averra to face depression, frustration and social rejection.The feeling of guilt is the result of the pain they cause themselves by rejecting the desire of their holy souls which longs to faithfully uphold their spiritual obligations. The great offense they commit is not in their impulses, but rather at their refusal to renounce their evil desires and their insistence that everyone else have mercy on them.
All human beings are deserving that we approach them in a spirit of advancing compassion, good relationships and peace.Empathy and mercy are some of the hallmark traits of the Jewish people.But the Torah demands justice as well as kindness. We should not extend our rachmonos to people who declare themselves dedicated to a life that rejects the Torah, and we should give these confused people the benefit of the powerful, transformative mitzvah of rebuke for their sins.
Critics claim that the Democratically-controlled Congress has cut the military out of the process of deciding policy for itself.Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had asked Congress not to enact any new laws on the subject until the Department of Defense had an opportunity to conclude its review of the policy and report its findings its in December.According to ABC News, the Pentagon said that Gates withdrew this request “after he was informed it would not be possible, a sign that Democrats are expecting a substantial loss in their numbers in Congress in November’s mid-term elections.”(ABC News, Khan and Wolf, Id.)
A PDF copy of a letter sent to Senator Lieberman prior to the Senate Armed Services Committee vote is enclosed.