Fundamentalists won't let men/women pray together
"The moment we allow these groups a foothold, then tomorrow they will start to restrain us in our own synagogues, in the name of democracy, in the name of liberalism and in the name of pluralism," says one Shmuel Poppenheim, an Israeli ultra-Orthodox activist.
What he was talking about was a proposal to allow women and men to pray together at the Western or Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.
According to Poppenheim, the god he believes in cares deeply about this issue, for some reason. If this activist, and others, don't want to pray with women, it is very simple. Don't pray with women. Not very hard. Women, including the sister and niece of famed comedian Sarah Silverman, have been arrested at the Western Wall for bring the Torah or prayer shawls.
You think the religious right-wing of America dominate this nation? Heck, even Christian right-wingers have nothing on the ultra-Orthodox of Israel. Though a distinct minority in Israeli, with only 5-10% of the population being ultra-Orthodox; they control marriages, support for the West Bank settlements, the definition of what it is to be Jewish and who can pray when and how at the Western Wall.
Though most Israelis are more Jerry Seinfeld then Shmuel Poppenheim, it is the Poppenheims of Israeli who seem to dominate that nation into a form of theocracy.
Yes, Israel is a quasi-theocracy, though maybe not as much Saudi Arabia is a form of Islamic theocracy or Alabama is a form of Christian theocracy. Now, go back to that statement by Poppenheim. He believes if women can pray with men at this wall, their synagogues will be taken over.
That sounds exactly like Christian conservatives in the U.S. opposing the right and ability of gay men and gay women to marry, when they argue if those marriages are allowed they will be forced to marry gay couples.
No, they won't be of course, just as Catholic Churches aren't forced to marry non-Catholics or a racist preacher isn't forced to marry an interracial couple. Mr. Poppenheim, Pat Robertson and Islamic clerics in Iran are all religious reactionaries who fear change, women's rights, gay rights, rights for atheists and other progress.
Anyway, if we are going to talk about the right of preachers to marry who they want, what about those pastors who support gay rights? Reverend Dawn Cooley of First Unitarian Church in Louisville, Kentucky wrote that a law passed in that state which allows religious discrimination against gays in pretty much anything, also protects her right to perform same sex marriages and have them recognized by the Kentucky state government and local clerks. She writes:
“As soon as this bill passes into law, I will officially begin conducting weddings and signing marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples, as is standard practice in my religion. It will be my right to act in this manner, in accordance to my faith. If a county clerk refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, I will have him/her cited for burdening my freedom of religion, but I am sure I will be able to find at least one who will understand and sympathize and act in accordance with the law."
The religious rightwing is going to be mad that their anti-gay laws are used in support of gay rights.