◊ Note: This article appears here because it reflects unfortunate attitudes that were prevalent among basic religious fundamentalists of thirty years ago. No doubt Rabbi Schneerson, like so many others, would have amended his opinions if he had lived to the modern era. The article has been edited for clarity and brevity.
From The Canadian Jewish News, Thursday, January 22, 1987
Homosexuality is a malady calling for therapy, not political recognition, according to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Schneerson.
“Any bill that proclaims that the ‘rights’ of these people must be protected and supported, should be seen for what it really is: it is taking away their right to be really protected (also – from themselves) — it is depriving these people of the vitally needed help!” he said. “In simple physical terms it will bring even more suffering and pain to them, to their loved ones and to all society. Certainly, all must be done to assure that this will not occur.”
He continued: “We are not dealing with the inalienable right of freedom of choice; we are not dealing with the innate and sacred democratic right of free will; we are dealing with an issue of abnormality.
“In simple language, (homosexuality) is a sickness. And just because the patient proclaims, he is normal does not make the malady any less dangerous.”
The Rebbe stresses that “there is no insult intended and no derogatory attitude suggested . . . . When a person is ill and someone volunteers to help him get well, there is no disrespect involved at all.
“A special responsibility lies on the parents, educators and counsellors to educate those afflicted with a loving and caring attitude.”
When one acknowledges that homosexuality is destructive, he will realize “that it is no different from a child who is born with the tendency to tear out his hair or bang his head against the wall. But there is a very tragic difference in that this trait when practiced is much more devasting because it destroys both body and soul.”
The Rebbe’s recent statement was reprinted in Toronto’s chassidic newsletter, The World of Lubavitch.
Homosexuality is totally negative, he said, because it brings no positive results or offspring, causes self-debilitation through the dissipation of the individual’s strength, and fills its practitioners “with the self-abnegating feeling of being strange and queer . . . . They look at the world around them and they know that their practice is abnormal.”
The spiritual leader of the modern Chassidic movement also said that homosexuality “leads to excessive abnormal weakness and to the most horrible diseases and maladies, as we are presently beginning to discover.”
To those who suggest that “strange and queer” people can still enjoy the pleasure and gratifications of their sexual preference, Schneerson used the analogy of a pill of deathly poison coated with sugar. A person who only licks the sugar may “swear the pill is sweet.” But another may come along and say, “I don’t care if there is poison under the sugar, so long as I can enjoy the momentary pleasure of the sweetness. I don’t care what the consequences will be.”
“Is it truly satisfying after the act?” Schneerson asked. “Or does it only provide momentary gratification?” ♦