|Posted on January 4, 2015 at 3:40 PM|
By Gary Konecky
Recently Leelah Alcorn (who was born male and named Joshua Alcorn by his Christian parents) committed suicide in an effort to bring attention to transgender people.
She, Leelah, died at age 17, an unloved child of G-d who was tortured by her Christian parents because she could not be the good Christian boy that they wanted her to be.
They kept her locked in their house, isolated from friends and a support system. They had her medicated on Prozac at three times the recommended highest dose, despite the fact that Prozac has been linked to teen suicide.
They took Leelah to Christian therapists who tried the discredited (and illegal practice in three US jurisdictions) of conversion therapy.
The result of all this alleged G-d fearing torture and abuse is that a child of G-d is dead, and died unloved, despite the parents claims to the contrary.
G-d does not make mistakes. G-d loves all His children.
So how could this tale of torture, cruelty, and ultimately hopelessness so profound as to lead to suicide happen. Was this G-d's will? The answer lies in a great difference between the bible thumping, ignorant, hateful, fundamentalist Christians, and those of the Jewish faith, who labor generation after generation to understand G-d's will. With their keen insights, let us see if G-d meant for this tragic death to happen, or if He had a different intent.
R. Samuel b. Nahman said in R. Jonathan's name: When Moses was engaged in writing the Torah, he had to write the work of each day. When he came to the verse, AND GOD SAID: LET US MAKE MAN, etc., he said: ‘Sovereign of the Universe! Why dost Thou furnish an excuse to heretics?1 Write,’ replied He; ' Whoever wishes to err may err.’ '
Note 1: For maintaining a plurality of gods.
- Midrash Rabbah - Genesis VIII:8
We know that when G-d dictated the Hebrew Bible, He created it with the potential so that those who wish to err may err. The perfect example of this are those who wish to err doing what they want and not what G-d wants would be those who preach hate and cite G-d's word as justification for their hatred.
Judaism and Christianity are oft times too very different faiths. Jewish tradition is to ponder, to question, to explore, to study, and to learn what G-d wants from us. Judaism is the tradition of Midrash, of Talmud, of rabbinic commentary. Christianity, especially fundamentalist Christianity, is the faith of unthinking blind obedience to a text that was never meant to be taken literally.
It is with these thoughts that I now turn to Deuteronomy 21:18-23, which discuss executing the wayward and rebellious son. Why am I discussing this passage? I am discussing this because the parents of transgender Leelah Alcorn, who was born Joshua Alcorn, executed her for being a wayward and rebellious son. Now some of you will tell me she was not stoned to death, but died as a result of being hit by a truck in an attempted suicide. Literally, you would be correct. Yet who was it that drove that child of G-d to such an end? Her bible thumping Christian parents, parents who so wanted a good Christian boy, that they engaged in systematic torture of their child, Christian parents who hired doctors to engage in malpractice (prescribing three times the recommended limit of the drug Prozac, a drug known to cause suicide would be malpractice; as would the Christian conversion therapy that is now banned in two states plus the District of Columbia). Now, they killed their child as surely as if they had her stoned to death for being a wayward and rebellious son.
And so we return to those who wish to err may err. G-d does not make mistakes. G-d created Leelah Alcorn and gave her a soul. G-d made her the way G-d wanted for G-d had a plan for that child, and now that child is dead, along with all the hopes and dreams she had.
The Talmud teaches us that no one was ever executed for being a wayward and rebellious son. Too bad Leelah's parents and their clergy could not be bothered to learn the meaning of G-d's holy word.
The mishnah (Bikkurim Chapter 4) has an entire chapter devoted to people who are shockingly similar to Leelah. Why is it that none of the Christians involved in stoning this child of G-d did not know of this chapter?
R. Jeremiah b. Leazar said: When the Holy One, blessed be He, created Adam, He created him an hermaphrodite [bi-sexual],2 for it is said, Male and female created He them and called their name Adam (Gen.V, 2).3 R. Samuel b. Nahman said: When the Lord created Adam He created him double-faced, then He split him and made him of two backs, one back on this side and one back on the other side.
Note 2: Normally androgynos means one whose genitals are male and female; but here it means two bodies, male and female, joined together.
Note 3: Thus Adam himself was originally male and female.
- Midrash Rabbah - Genesis VIII:1
Now that we understand that the original Adam, the Adam before Eve, now that we understand that the very first man created was male and female, we can understand that Leelah is not an exception, but is very much the way G-d created her, nor was she unique as people similar to her go all the way back to Adam and the creation story in Genesis.
We also know Leelah was not unique because she was not the first child to be stoned to death for being transgender. We also know of gay and lesbian children that have been stoned to death as well.
As a society, we pride ourselves on our sophistication and our technological achievement. We look with amazement, and a sense of disbelief at the biblical stories of idol worship and human sacrifice. Some of us wonder how any civilized society could engage in child sacrifice. Yet those stories describe the very society we are. And so I conclude by asking how many dead children will it take before we stop stoning our children to death? How many dead children will it take before we stop sacrificing our children to the idol of biblical liberalism,? How many dead children will it take before we stop sacrificing our children on the alter of hate, especially hate preached by those clerics, parents, and others who choose to err?