By Alan Steinberg
I am a pro-life person and opposed to abortion, except in order to save the life of the mother. Many times, my beliefs on social and moral issues are based on Orthodox Judaism, my religion, Orthodox Judaism is somewhat complex on the abortion issue, although far more pro-life than pro-choice. My pro-life views, however, are based upon my own study of the science of the issue. I believe that a fetus is life, and since I venerate life, I oppose abortion, except to save the life of the mother.
By the way, there have been over the years a multitude of statements, including from that great Torah sage, Gloria Allred, claiming that on the abortion issue, Judaism is pro-choice. While my political and moral beliefs on abortion are not based upon the Torah and the tenets of Orthodox Judaism, they are not inconsistent with them either. If somebody wants to read a short, concise summary of Orthodox Judaism and the abortion issue, I recommend the following page from the Aish HaTorah website:
My views on the same sex marriage issue are another matter.
Orthodox Judaism is vehemently anti-homosexuality. Yet I read something recently on the Chabad Lubavitch website which really hit home with me: “Torah law expressly forbids the specific act of male homosexuality. And we do know this: Torah law forbids bigotry; homophobia is prohibited.”
I can truly say that this is one aspect of Torah law with which I have complied. While I am a definite heterosexual (enough said), I cannot have hatred in my heart for gay men or lesbians. I have many gay and lesbian friends, including those who are in same sex marriages, and their sexual practices are harming nobody. Nor do I know of any person whose quality of life has been harmed by the legal enactment of same sex marriage in New York State.
Now let me discuss the significance of this in the political realm in which I live and breathe.
A few weeks ago, I read the column on PolitickerNJ.com written by New Jersey Passaic County Republican Chair John Traier: ”As a gay man, I felt I did not belong in the party…” (http://www.politickernj.com/62632/gop-chairman-…)
I have known John Traier for 20 years. There is no question as to his loyalty to the economic, small government, and individual liberty principles of the Republican Party. Why should we drive the John Traiers out of our party?
Now I have continuously disputed those who claim that abortion is a private personal matter where government should play no role. If a life is being taken, this is not a matter of personal liberty and free choice. Government exists to protect life, liberty, and property. In my view, the fetus is life, with a right to governmental protection.
The GOP anti-abortion national platform position in no way hurts our party – there is a growing consensus in the American electorate that there should at least be some restrictions on abortion. And let us not mince words – it is a bald face lie to say that a person who opposes abortion is by definition also anti-women.
Same sex marriage is another matter, however. I can no longer in my mind justify denying those in committed same sex relationships the same legal marriage status that heterosexual couples can enjoy. Also, politically, the Republican opposition to same sex marriage is driving millions of voters away from our party.
So I say to my fellow Republicans: While I don’t want to make opposition to abortion a litmus test issue, I do want our national platform to continue to be pro-life and anti-abortion. But let’s drop our opposition to same sex marriage and take a national platform position that the legal status of same sex marriage is a matter of state law.
Hell, even Dick Cheney favors that!
I know that on Facebook and below this column, I will get a multitude of comments calling me “RINO” and “faux conservative”. But I don’t give a damn.
Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush. Region 2 EPA consists of the states of New York and New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and eight federally recognized Indian nations. Under former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman, he served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. He currently serves on the political science faculty of Monmouth University.