On Friday afternoon, religious and community leaders from all sections of the Twin Cities community held a press conference at Shir Tikvah Congegration in Minneapolis, condemning the anti-gay marriage group Minnesota For Marriage for once again comparing the campaign for marriage equality to Nazism.
The comparison was posted in the context of a sermon starter on a website titled “Pastors for Marriage.” Technically the Minnesota for Marriage group does not control the content on this website, but both have worked to defeat marriage equality legislation, and from our understanding Pastors for Marriage has been used to champion the agenda of Minnesota for Marriage before.
This story is by now old news. So instead of rehashing what other blogs have gone over, we’ll run down what the Jewish organizations have been saying about about this and try to offer a summation of the Jewish perspective on this issue. Here it is: It’s wrong.
The offending text reads in full:
“Homosexuals claim: “We were born this way; it is in our genes; God made us gay.” They cite old “gay gene” studies predominantly conducted by researchers who are homosexuals; studies that have been repudiated by credible research.
Yet these same biased and discredited studies have been widely publicized by the liberal media as true and factual. They essentially practice Joseph Goebel’s (sic)Nazi philosophy of propaganda, which is basically this: Tell a lie long enough and loud enough and eventually most mindless Americans will believe it.”
This comes less than six months after a pastor working for Minnesota for Marriage insinuated that activists for marriage equality will be silenced like Hitler silenced his detractors.
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) reacted by saying,
“As we have in the past, the JCRC strongly urges advocates on all sides of deeply controversial issues to refrain from making Nazi comparisons. Such analogies are almost always inappropriate and are offensive to not only the Jewish community, but also the many gay people who were targeted and murdered by the Nazi regime.”
Jewish Community Action said,
“…to continually make analogous the tactics used to spread a message of hate and drive the near destruction of a people to a campaign which at its core is about love, commitment, and family, is ridiculous. To do it during Passover, a holiday that commemorates freedom from oppression, is shameful.”
Rabbi Latz of Shir Tikvah said, pointing to the ark behind him,
“This is our sacred Torah. This is the story of our people from Mount Sinai to today. It’s a treasure of moral courage, of inspiration, of how to love our neighbor as ourselves. And so to Minnesota for Marriage I would simply ask,”When did you decide to use the sacred text as a weapon of mass destruction?”
Karen Yashar spoke for the Minneapolis Jewish Federation:
“This vile and repugnant comparison has no room in even the most heated and contentious political debates. The introduction of Nazi labels and comparisons into the American political debate sends a collective chill up the spine of the Jewish community… We call on Minnesota for Marriage to withdraw their statements, and once and for all refrain from using the Nazis or the Holocaust to make their case.”
In summary, Jewish organizations across the Twin Cities condemned Minnesota for Marriage, not necessarily because of their opposition to marriage equality, but for their comparisons to Nazism and the Holocaust. In making these statements, Minnesota for Marriage is not just directly attacking the members of the gay community, but also everyone in the Jewish community. This news comes just days after the vandalism at Temple Israel, and Jews in the Twin Cities have been given two anti-Semitism scares over this Passover holiday.
Minnesota for Marriage has since issued a mea culpa of sorts, denying responsibility for the content of the attack, but saying they nonetheless “regret” the statements being made on the Minnesota Pastors for Marriage website.