‘Pride’ Month is not license to resort to name-calling the faithful

As I read the paper the other morning, I found an article titled, “Pride parade held amid tensions.” It was an Associated Press article and related to a Pride parade in Jerusalem. In the very first paragraph, it engaged in open insults against religious conservatives in the Israeli government.

Israel is always interesting to me due to reading the Torah (or, as Christians say, the Old Testament) beginning when I was a child. Therefore, I pay a certain amount of attention to news related to that nation. I also have had the privilege of visiting the Holy Land and places important to both Jews and Christians.

The article’s first paragraph read:

JERUSALEM (AP) — Thousands of people on Thursday marched in Jerusalem’s Pride parade — an annual event that took place for the first time under Israel’s new far-right government, which is stacked with openly homophobic members.

I was shocked to read those words: “. . . which is stacked with openly homophobic members.” How do they know they’re “homophobic” and not simply religious Jews and people?

Shame on the Associated Press for resorting to name-calling, e.g., “homophobic members.” Would they call people who are religious and disapprove of adultery, “adulteryphobic?” Or would they call those who oppose pedophilia “pedophobic?” There are other sexual acts or relations that could also be named that are mutually considered sinful and forbidden by Islam, Orthodox Judaism, and Christianity.

Image: Gay Pride parade outside the Knesset (2010) by Guy Yitzhaki.  CC BY 2.0.

These are people who do not necessarily hate or fear (according to one’s interpretation of the suffix “phobia”) homosexuals. They are people of faith who represent the original Jewish faith in the company of both Christians and Muslims who also believe same-sex sexual acts to be immoral and sinful against their God. They are most probably Orthodox Jews or perhaps some Conservative Jews who accept the Torah as God-inspired.

Besides Israeli Jews of diverse sects, there are also religious Israeli Arab Christians and Muslims. They, too, could be called “homophobic” by the press, as they would be of the same understanding as Orthodox Israeli Jews. Worshippers in all three faiths have strong convictions about the morals advanced in their various holy books. They all believe these books communicate Yahweh’s and Allah’s will. (In Arabic, Allah is the only word for God and, as such, is worshipped by both Christians and Muslims with different perspectives of His character.)

Ironically, the prohibitions related to same-sex sexual relations were first introduced in the Israeli/Jewish Torah’s third book, Vaikra, known as Leviticus in English and to Christians. The same prohibition is addressed and expanded upon in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians in the New Testament. Sexual morality is clearly spelled out in the Torah to Jews, in the Holy Bible to Christians, and in the Koran to Muslims.

Had the AP’s authors, Isaac Scharf and Tia Goldenberg, wished to write a more neutral, less insulting and incendiary post, the first paragraph could have begun by stating, that ‘Thousands of people marched Thursday in Jerusalem's Pride parade — an annual event that took place for the first time under Israel's new government, which has several new members who hold religiously-based views about homosexuality’s morality.’

It’s telling that the Associated Press chose not to show respect for religious values when it comes to sexual morality. For AP, June Pride Month licenses its writers to insult religious people for their ancient and current beliefs. This is a form of intolerance veering into hatred, especially anti-Jewish hatred, that deserves to be called out and shamed every time it occurs.

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