In Jewish tradition, we are in the saddest time of the year. We commemorate a series of misfortunes that befell the Jewish people in the biblical land of Israel and in exile including destruction of the first and second temples. But this list includes the Inquisition, the Holocaust and many more tragedies. The Jewish people have always been targeted for hatred and destruction. In Hebrew we call this sin’at hinam – senseless hatred.
In the trans community, we know this feeling and experience as well. And it comes from the same place. In the Christian era, Judaism’s biggest enemy historically has been the Catholic Church. Why? Because John chapter 9, as translated, says that the Jews killed Jesus.
The rub is that it says no such thing. It says that the Ioudaoi, or Judean residents, including Romans such as Pontius Pilate, killed him. But Christian oppressors do not care about such “petty little details.” Nor do they care about the fact that historically, there were no such thing as “Jews” at the time of Jesus. There were only Israelites who lived in the Southern Kingdom of Judea (the Northern Kingdom of Israel had been destroyed some 700 years prior).
In the trans community, we face the same problem. The Christian community in the US reads their bibles in English. And they don’t care about the inaccuracies (many of them deliberate) that exist in those translations. They fiercely believe that those translations come from God, so they must be right – no matter that there are many translations, and they often contradict each other.
The biggest oppressors of the trans community use their bibles and their religion as justification to oppress us. However, they are not following their religious precepts or what their Lord and Savior taught in any way. I have detailed many times in this column the ways they violate these precepts.
The biggest threat from these people comes from the fact that, despite the First Amendment separation clause, they have gained a huge stronghold in Federal, state and local government, through the Republican party and through many right leaning Democrats in Red and Purple states.
The ethics violations we keep hearing about on the Supreme Court are one example of this. The people who are essentially bribing the conservative justices are operators from political action committees (PAC). These PACs are funded by Evangelical Christian groups. They have a veneer of separation from church power but when you pull the string it becomes obvious what is actually happening.
Unfortunately, Chief Justice Roberts is refusing to tackle the problem. With the huge conservative influence in Congress, it is unlikely that successful resolution will come through legislation, either. And these corrupt justices are in the court for life, unless they do something so egregious that they can be impeached or prosecuted, which is highly unlikely. So, we have to suffer with Trump’s stacked court and the GOP’s hypocrisy in how they got there.
But, as Hillel the Great said, im ain ani li, mi li – “if I am not for myself, who will be,” v’im ain achshav, aimatai – and if not now, when? We must start acting now, and decisively.
I have said this before, and I will say it again. We need the DNC to put up an extremely strong Presidential ticket next year, with President Biden and VP Harris retiring. I’m afraid this is the only way we will be able to rebuff the GOP’s presidential ticket. A Biden/Harris re-election ticket will fail, as will a Harris/anyone ticket.
And we need a very strong push to regain control of both houses of Congress. Not this narrowest of margins in one house but actual control of both. That is the only way to make the country safer for trans people. I say safer, not safe, because the threat will not go away, but we can reduce it if we act.
In Judaism we do not rely on miracles – we have to act to make things happen. Work with every other marginalized person and group you know, and get out the vote! We cannot afford another Trump term (if he’s not in prison) or another right winger like DeSantis to get into the White House. Our lives literally depend on it.
Remember, if we save a life, it is as if we have saved the whole world!
Category: Transgender Opinion