Deafness and Egalitarianism

The relavent part is emboldened:

…One argument holds that we can reject what we consider outdated because we already reject a host of other Torah laws, such as capital punishment for violating the Sabbath or for cursing one’s parents.

But this argument is not compelling. It is one thing not to put a Torah punishment into practice and quite another to declare that a Torah sin is no longer a sin. I am unaware of any Jewish precedent for declaring that an act that the Torah condemns in its strongest terms is now completely acceptable.

Another argument holds that if the Torah knew what we “know” today, e.g., that homosexuality is genetic, the Torah would never have condemned it.

This argument is emotionally compelling – how can we oppose a condition that isn’t chosen? But it is not logically compelling.

First, no one – certainly not the Torah – opposes a condition; it is only behavior that is opposed. To cite a heterosexual example, virtually all people, especially men, are genetically programmed to be adulterers. Monogamy is not nature’s plan. Thus, the Torah only bans adultery, not an adulterous nature.

Second, we have only scant evidence that homosexuality is genetically inherited, and even that scant evidence is related only to male homosexuals, not to lesbians. Most lesbians acknowledge that their homosexuality is not genetic, and most evidence suggests that most lesbians became homosexual because of psychological conditioning, e.g., poor relations with her parent(s) or abuse by a man.

Third, even if homosexuality were genetic, this would have little impact on how we should view it. We have come to believe that there are genetic markers for alcoholism, yet we continue to regard it as a disease. Likewise, as painful as it is to say, the inability of a man to enjoy sex with a woman must be regarded as a flaw in what may otherwise be a superb human being. To understand this, a better analogy may be to deafness. It is better to be born with hearing than to be born deaf, yet no one considers deafness a moral flaw. So, too, heterosexuality is better than homosexuality, but homosexuality is not a moral flaw – a homosexual is as likely to be a kind and decent person as anyone else. The analogy is even more precise because there are many leaders of the deaf community who are offended by any suggestion that hearing is better than deafness – so much so that they oppose the cochlear implant, a surgical procedure that can give hearing to deaf children, on the grounds that it implies that hearing is superior to deafness.

We live in a time of radical egalitarianism – everything is equal, nothing may be regarded as superior to anything else. But Judaism is radically non-egalitarian – it constantly declares that some things are better than other things. One such declaration is that it is far better for men and women to sexually bond than for men and men or women and women to do so. Yet, to teach this basic tenet of Judaism – that society should hold opposite-sex love as its ideal – is to be labeled intolerant, bigoted, closed-minded, and homophobic….

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