Rabbi police chaplain cleared of ‘hateful’ language toward homosexuals
TORONTO, Ontario, February 15, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The York Regional Police have rejected an “unsubstantiated” complaint against their Jewish chaplain after a homosexualist Jewish group alleged he had used “hateful” language toward homosexuals.
Kulanu Toronto, an advocacy group for homosexual Jews, had called on the police to sack Rabbi Mendel Kaplan, who heads the Chabad @ Flamingo synagogue in Thornhill, Ontario. In a sermon, the rabbi had slammed Jewish groups such as the Canadian Jewish Congress, the UJA Federation, and the Canada-Israel Committee for calling on Jews to join Kulanu at the Toronto Pride Parade in summer 2010.
He said that while these groups claim to represent the entire Jewish community, their support for the Pride event directly contravenes the Jewish Torah.
“God loves all of His children, and I strongly believe in tolerance and respect for everybody in our society,” he told LifeSiteNews Tuesday. But the Jewish groups “cannot endorse things like this, things that are antithetical to the Torah, and expect to still represent the Jewish community in a united way.”
Rabbi Kaplan was responding after the major Jewish groups had worked with Kulanu to put out a full-page ad in the Toronto Star calling on Jews to join them in the Pride march. The ad described Tel Aviv as the “gay capital of the Middle East.”
The Canadian Jewish Congress claimed in an e-mail after the Pride event that they weren’t supporting Pride itself, but an effort to counter the involvement of the controversial group “Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.”
But Rabbi Kaplan responded in an e-mail, now published by the homosexualist news site Xtra!, saying they had “shamefully” called on the Jewish community “to participate in the celebration of what our Holy Torah makes of a point of calling To’eva,” which translates as “an abomination.”
Police Inspector Ricky Veerappan told the Jewish Tribune that Rabbi Kaplan had merely expounded the Torah’s teaching on the immorality of homosexuality, and so his comments were not “homophobic.” He noted further that the complaint was based on the testimony of only one anonymous congregant.
“We conducted an almost-six-month review and concluded that the specific allegations of a vile sermon were all unsubstantiated,” said Veerappan, who was unavailable for comment to LifeSiteNews. Rabbi Kaplan has been a “great chaplain” and his position “will not at all be affected,” he added.
“We tried to make contact [with the anonymous complainant], but that person did not want to be a part of the review,” he said
Rabbi Kaplan has since defended his views and refused to apologize. “This was simply, I felt, an attack on those who believe in the Torah - committed and devout Jews - by those unfortunately who have chosen the path of liberalism and secularism, instead of tradition, Scripture, and sanctity,” he told LifeSiteNews.
The Torah is “abundantly straightforward” on the issue of homosexuality, he said. “The question then becomes, can Jewish tradition and the Torah be cast aside for the modern values of secularism and liberalism? And can it be done without injuring, or even destroying, the sanctity of the Jewish values that have been in place for 3,300 years? I believe the answer to that question is no.”
“We’re in a terrible situation today where anybody who wishes to believe or to follow Scripture is automatically given all kinds of hateful labels,” he said. “It’s like there’s freedom and tolerance for everybody except those who want to believe in the eternity of God’s word. We live in a very, very troubling time.”