When tolerance is tyranny

By ELLEN W. HOROWITZ
The courts, police, Knesset and press have handled the gay pride parade issue with the finesse and wisdom of a bull rampaging through a synagogue on the High Holidays. "Provocative negligence" may be the best way to describe the dangerous games being played here.As far back as June, parade proponent Yossi Sarid penned that "the parade this year can also expect serious calamity." Among reports that "Gays plan for disaster scenarios at J'lem parade" the front pages also informed us that "The Foreign Ministry is promoting Gay Israel."This isn't about minority rights or freedoms of expression and assembly. It is about the deliberate trampling of the religious and moral sensitivities of the people of Jerusalem, and of those who hold that physical intimacy and sexual expression should be sacred and private. In addition, some of us who are spiritually sensitive are concerned that a nation which fails to secure its internal and personal boundaries will have little chance of defending its external borders.The Jerusalem Open House Web site implies that open season has been declared on heterosexual Jerusalem."Our greatest challenge is a tradition of conformist heterosexism that continues to be enforced by almost all social institutions in Israel...This challenge is especially formidable in Jerusalem, a city of traditional values...."I LEFT San Francisco between the gay revolution's heyday and the outbreak of the AIDS plague. After committing to holy heterosexual matrimony, I freely chose to raise a family and seek fulfillment in a place steeped in traditional values and built on deeply rooted moral foundations. But now my lifestyle choices and the very nature of Jerusalem are perceived as a menacing obstacle by the homosexual, lesbian, bisexual and transgender movement.With Jerusalem's Gay Pride insurrection in full swing, I feel compelled to crow about my conventional choices.Those of us who oppose a gay parade in Jerusalem have been described as as intolerant, homophobic gay-bashers. The directors of Jerusalem's Open House have recently added the terms racist and bigot to the verbal onslaught - are lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders now a race?But I don't think we're deserving of such sophisticated and ambiguous labels when our position on the parade is so very simple.IT WAS always cute when one of my young children would jump out of the bathtub and run around the house naked with underwear on his head. But it's a pathetic, tragic and obscene display when a fully-grown adult demands the right to do the same in public.Regardless of its internal agenda, the pride movement's peculiar parades have successfully reduced self-expression and freedom to nothing more than a promotion of voyeurism, hedonism, narcissism and exhibitionism.Homophobia is a misnomer, because we're not afraid of the gay community - we're afraid for them.Homosexuals, lesbians, and gender-confused individuals face an unusual and complex battery of challenges. They're deserving of our understanding, involvement and support. But the gay pride movement's agenda, with its brazen militant approach to sexuality and political/social issues, arouses more outrage than sympathy from a lot of us.Enforcing the principles of I'm OK, you're OK and letting it all hang out may be acceptable for San Francisco; but being self-aware, a little self-conscious and in awe of where one is standing is the appropriate way to approach Jerusalem.The gay world may not like the religious intensity or the style of Jerusalem, but not every issue requires dialogue and compromise. "I will not tolerate this in my house," is something I yell at my kids. Other times, it's "You can behave like this at home, but don't do it in public."These are hardly mixed messages. Rather it's a way of teaching my children propriety, discretion, discernment, sensitivity and respect. Flexibility rooted in stability will allow them, I hope, to hold their ground while navigating through modern society's ever-shifting mores and values.I ENCOURAGE my children to draw their own lines and they have the freedom to toe, walk or hold those lines. When necessary, they step out of line. But rarely will they blur the lines or cross inappropriate ones.But, as evidenced by World Pride's politically loaded theme "Love Without Borders," lines are an anathema to the gay movement.When tolerance becomes invasive, you'll find that normal, healthy people will gag because their system won't tolerate the intrusion. Paradoxically, a force-fed liberal agenda may be the ultimate form of tyranny.It seems that gay guys, gals - and everything in between - are just itching for a showdown. The gay world calls this type of militancy "stonewalling."But don't do it in Jerusalem, where the very stones and walls are infused with the spirit of a Jewish people whose members have, for generations, freely and consciously chosen to diminish their egos and pride in favor of serving something greater than themselves.Cancel the parade.The writer is the author of The Oslo Years: A Mother's Journal (Gefen Publishing).

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