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Take a Stand: Don’t Let Religion Become a Weapon

In Pirkei Avot 2:10 we are taught that Rabbi Eliezer said, יהי כבוד חברך חביב עליך כשלך “Let your neighbor’s dignity be precious to you as your own.”

This variation on Rabbi Hillel’s famous teaching from the Talmud (Shabbat 31a) is as clear as can be: You should care as much about your neighbor as you do yourself. Unfortunately that teaching isn’t so popular among local lawmakers across the country as of late.

Since the beginning of 2016, over 150(!) different bills intended to allow discrimination against LGBT people – more than half of those aimed directly at transgender people –  in the guise of “religious liberty” have been submitted to legislatures around the United States. In reality, these are religious exemption bills – bills that, if they become law, will allow people to turn their religious beliefs into weapons against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer people, and same-sex families. Even though we are winning some battles, these proposals are already having a detrimental effect on our friends and families.

As representatives of religious organizations ourselves, we are incredibly sensitive to the idea of religious freedom and are strong supporters of it. These bills, however, go directly against the teachings of Judaism and the Torah.

Read more at My Jewish Learning.