When to Keep Shtum: A letter to Councillor David Silvester

Dear Mr Silvester

I am glad some action has been taken over your pronouncements about your religious ideas connecting the recent weather to Equal Marriage legislation. When I teach theodicy to my students – adults and children – I sadly have to explain to them that the world contains such people as believe the Holocaust was due to progressive Judaism, tsunamis because of immorality, disaster or ill health because of unkosher mezuzot, and so on. I will now be able to add your claims to this collection of others.

Sadly these people grab all the attention, whilst those of us who recognise the unfathomable pain of suffering and refuse to be simpletons in giving explanations for tragedy, are left picking up the pieces – offering comfort and repairing the harm to the reputation of thoughtful religion.

Aside from which, I am proud that our democracy has enabled same-sex partners to get married, supported by religious groups like my own Liberal Judaism and ignoring the pleas of the religious right who wished to veto progress of the law. I suggest you take the view henceforth, given that your grasp on science seems to me to be poor and your divining has been rather mediocre thus far, that believing you know the mind of God is tantamount to heresy and, in that lovely Yiddish expression, keep shtum.

Yours sincerely

Rabbi Neil Janes

For another post about theodicy see here.

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Equal Marriage: Liberal Judaism views – before the parliamentary vote

If you’re looking for some opinion pieces about Equal Marriage from Liberal rabbis in advance of the vote tomorrow in parliament:

A few pieces from my blog

Some other pieces by Rabbi Aaron Goldstein

From the website of Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah

From the Liberal Judaism website

Rabbi Mark Solomon