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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Quakers and Jews

So often we only notice what the Catholics/Anglicans have to say on the subject of same-sex marriage, so I thought I'd paste here from British MP Yvette Cooper's page some opinions given by the Quakers and Liberal and Reform Judaism in the UK. Below is just a bit of what's on the MP's page, so please follow the link to read the whole thing ......


* Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain Paul Parker said:

“Quakers see God in everyone and so we would say that all committed relationships are of equal worth. The new proposals allow civil partnerships in Quaker Meeting houses, but that is not a marriage; it is a legal contract, not a spiritual one. That is why we are seeking a change in the law so that same-sex marriages can be celebrated within a couple’s worshipping community. Quakerism is a contemporary and radical faith, which is open to new light, and we strive to discern what the world needs of us. For us, this means seeking legal recognition for the practice we already recognise. We don’t seek to impose this on anyone else. For Quakers this is an issue of religious freedom.”


* Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu, representing Liberal Judaism:

The idea of opening up marriage to same sex couples evokes, for some, a great deal of anxiety. Yet these individuals and their institutions know that the way we think of marriage has changed and continues to change. A woman is no longer the possession of her husband. A couple may enter into marriage long after bringing their children into the world. Marriage is less, today, about the formal transaction of property and inheritance, and more about the voluntary commitment of those who choose each other through love.

I believe that the access to marriage for lesbians and gay men may further change the way we think.

Churches, Meeting houses, synagogues, upholding human dignity, offering integration, an entry to marriage that acknowledges the soul, that frames every marriage in the greater demand for purpose and meaning. A greater sense of relevance then, for our religious institutions.

Jewish marriage, too, continues to change. And indeed it must. We too are in a transition from marriage as acquisition. Some of our authorities claim that Jewish marriage has never changed. This is a selective reading of Jewish law and history. Religious conservatives, who deny and resist this reality, should not be allowed to determine the outcome of our national debate. Neither should they fear that they will be forced to perform a marriage that goes against their understanding of the traditions we inherit.

I do not believe, as the Church of England fears, that marriage as in institution will be forced to change. Marriage will endure. Yet the way we think of it will indeed continue to change. Less of an irrelevance? Perhaps. In making marriage open to all, we democratise this route to human dignity.


* Rabbi Roderick Young, who will attend the Roundtable on behalf of the Movement for Reform Judaism said:

“The proposal to extend civil marriage to gays and lesbians is greatly to be applauded. However it is not enough. It is a bizarre situation when lesbian and gay rabbis may perform a legal religious marriage for heterosexual couples, but are denied the right to experience that joy, for themselves, with their partners.

“No member of clergy or religious movement should be forced to conduct same sex marriages. But it should be a fundamental right that any clergy person who wishes to unite a same sex couple in a legal religious marriage should be able to do so. If civil, but not religious marriage, is granted to same sex couples then those who wish to celebrate their marriage in the heart of their faith will be forced first to undergo a civil ceremony and only later be able to experience a religious ceremony of no legal standing. A heterosexual couple will not have to undertake two ceremonies.

“We appeal for fairness and complete equality. We strongly uphold the rights of those, both straight and gay, who want purely a civil marriage ceremony but we ask that any couple, whether straight or gay, should have the right to a legally binding religious marriage.”



Anonymous Victor said...

(((The new proposals allow civil partnerships in Quaker Meeting houses, but that is not a marriage; it is a legal contract, not a spiritual one.)))

I wonder what GOD (Good Old Dad) would make of this legal contract law of human marriages of this kind but then again no body really knows what GOD really thinks about spiritual matters of any nature?


8:10 PM  
Blogger Dina said...

Your title reminds me of the old "joke" of how the rabbi is complaining about how many of his congregants were becoming Quakers. He laments, "Some of my best Jews are Friends."

11:52 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Dina,

Ha :)

I was reading a post at the Guardian a while ago about Judaism in England, about the Chief Rabbi - I hadn't realized that there were differing views on this subject among the different denominations (is that the right word?) in Judaism.

12:22 AM  
Blogger Dina said...

Denominations, streams, whatever--we never found a good word for the divisions in Judaism. Yes, the Orthodox rarely agree with the Reform on any subject.

About your comment on my Holy Sepulchre post--here stones are meant for touching and icons and reliquaries are to be kissed. Touching holy things is part of popular piety.
The young man in my picture, his mistake was taking off his shirt.

10:28 PM  

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