The Democrats’ Equality Act “explicitly targets” the Bible with provisions that erase any allowance for differences between men and women, warns Yaakov Menken, the managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values.
He explained in an article for The Federalist that just before COVID-19 limits were imposed, some 100,000 observant American Jews filled MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and other locations across the country.
The gatherings honored religious education, called “The Siyum,” meaning “the completion.” They recognized the thousands of men – and women – who finished a seven-and-a-half year program of Torah study. The program has been held regularly since 1931.
So what’s the issue?
The Equality Act would ban Jews from gathering to celebrate such religious education “or any other occasion, in accordance with their beliefs.”
“The reason is simple: not only prayer services, but family lifecycle events of all kinds – from circumcisions to bar mitzvahs to weddings to funerals – are commonly divided by biological sex in traditional Orthodox Judaism. This is true whether or not ceremonies are held in synagogues,” Menken explained.
But the bill classifies virtually all venues, from restaurants to catering halls and funeral homes as “public accommodations,” subjecting them to a mandatory ban on division by sex.
“This directly forbids traditional Jewish practice in any such location,” he said.
“Lest you imagine that such a Jewish event would be protected by its religious nature, the act goes out of its way — for the first time in history — to prohibit recourse to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). That law was specifically to shield religious practice from ‘laws ‘neutral’ toward religion [which] may burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise,'” Menken said.
“Stripping this protection from religious practice cannot be described as incidental. The Equality Act claims the notion that marriage is between a man and a woman is merely a ‘sex stereotype,’ and that opposition to same-sex marriage is inherently discriminatory. Any ‘discrimination’ on the basis of ‘gender identity’ is likewise prohibited, even in the private sector,” said Menken.
“Thus, the Equality Act explicitly targets the Bible, calling it a bigoted document filled with discriminatory stereotypes. These include the idea that male and female sexes are biological, not psychological (Genesis 1:27), created with procreation in mind (1:28), and that marriage is the unique, holy contract between man and woman forming the environment in which that procreation is intended to take place (2:24). And one cannot forget that which the Bible proscribes as an ‘abomination’ in Leviticus 18:22.
“If bigots were bent on eliminating Orthodox Judaism from American soil, it is difficult to imagine a more ruthlessly efficient tool than the Equality Act,” he wrote.
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