• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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EDL Rabbi on God’s Command to Kill Homosexuals

“You have to have two witnesses… to come up to him and say, ‘do you realise that you’re a fag?'”

Earlier this week I blogged on Sunday’s English Defence League rally outside the Israeli Embassy in London, where California’s “Surfing Rabbi” (and Tea Party activist) Nachum Shifren railed against Islam and expressed his satisfaction that “Arabs and Muslims” were killing each other “like the dogs they are”. Given the presence of LGBT rainbow flags and posters decrying Islamic homophobia, I also noted Shifren’s views on the subject of homosexuality; he has written that it should remain a private matter, and he has attacked “Gay radicals” who want a “quasi Gay/Lesbian hegemony, where a huge ‘bookburning,’ reminiscent of the Nazis, will purge any remnants of the ‘Christian, White, mainstream America'”.

Following the rally, the EDL headed towards Hyde Park and Speakers’ Corner; here, Shifren got into a conversation with a Muslim, who asked him about punishments for apostasy and homosexuality in the Torah. After some bluster and yelling, Shifren explains how his  approach differs from Islam (H/T to Exploring Life, The Universe and Everything for the video):

You have to have two witnesses, 13 years or older that believe in the Torah, to come up to him and say, “do you realise that you’re a fag?”… And the guy says “yes, yes”… then you bring him to the court in Jerusalem. Problem is, that Jerusalem was destroyed, there is no law court, so therefore all the laws you’re stating cannot be adjudicated. It’s a moot issue.

…What do you say about the very law that says kill the homosexuals?… Do you think God was right in giving this command?

…Whatever it says in the Torah is straight from God’s will.

So, God was right to command to kill the homosexuals?

That’s right.

At this point, Shifren’s EDL handlers become agitated about the need for the Rabbi to be somewhere else.

It’s not clear with which strand of Jewish fundamentalism Shifren identifies – he may think that nothing can be done to restore the law court until God intervenes to do so, or he may take the view that humans should work actively to create the kind of society he outlines above.

Shifren, incidentally, has the strong political endorsement of Pamela Geller… whose tendency to overlook the anti-gay views of her allies has caused her some trouble previously.