Thursday, March 16, 2006

Don't they sound like Bill Frist to you?

Secret deals to change the number of votes a "certain classification" of bill from simple majority to 80%? But a simple majority of a committee can decide whether or not the bill falls under that classification? And no approval of these changes from the full body?

Sadly, we're not talking about the United States Senate. We're talking about the Conservative movement.

Some friends suggested privately that perhaps I was a little too strong languaged against the Conservative movement in my response calling them craven cowards who should not have to wonder why younger progressive jews don't want to hang around their shuls...

it turns out it's even worse than I thought. On Jewschool, the Rooftopper Rav lowers the boom on the supreme shadiness:

he first hint that anyone– including most garden variety Conservative rabbis– got that something shadier had gone down came in a New York Times article published the day after the meeting. There, Rabbi Kass Abelson, head of the law committee, declared that the Tucker teshuvah (the most lenient option under consideration, though he didn’t mention it by name) was so “revolutionary” that a simple majority of the committee had voted– against the author’s wishes, as was later discovered– to turn the teshuva into a “takanah.” (The Conservative Movement seems to use the word takanah to mean “a really big decision” rather than its usual technical sense.) And, lo and behold, it just so happens to be that last year a small group of rabbis pushed through an (illegal) change to the Rabbinical Assembly’s constitution upping the number of votes needed by the law committee to approve a takanah from 13 (a simple majority) to 20 (80%). Thus, for all intents and purposes, the Tucker teshuva as written is dead in the water– there’s precisely no chance that it could garner 80% of the committee’s votes. Rabbi Abelson noted in the Times article that the law committee had not approved a single takanah in the 20 years he had served on the committee– and that was before the 80% rule was in effect.

And from the Forward article the RR sites:
Many movement rabbis say that they were unaware of the rule change until last week, when the law committee decided to apply the 20-vote threshold to a sweeping opinion that seeks to overturn the movement's ban on homosexual sex. Other rabbis have further objected to the law committee's decision to delay voting on the gay issue until December, after the terms of five out of the law committee's 25 voting members — including four expected to vote for reform — are set to expire.

Ah, I see. This is the worst kind of petty politics that has nothing to do with, wait, what was that Conservative movement language? Oh yeah, "We emphatically recognize the human dignity (k’vod habriot) of all such individuals, and invite them to participate within our religious communities." Such bullshit. Make it impossible to get a fair vote, but at least delay the vote until four votes you know are going to be against you are off the board.

This flouting of the rules would make Tom Delay proud. How could they possibly expect anyone who's LGBT or a straight ally to hang around after all this? The sad part, Conservative movement, is that people don't wish they could quit you. But you're pushing them to do it anyway.


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