Orthodox Jews and many Christians have a problem today in which they hold a stance which has become morally obscene, namely that homosexuality is immoral. Western civilization is headed inexorably towards legalizing gay marriage and finally rectifying the long practice of discrimination against homosexuals. When that happens, in a generation or less, Orthodox Jews and many Christians will be in quite an embarrassing situation.
Already, some within the ranks are working on ways to bring their religions in line with Western morality. The leaders of Conservative Judaism recently approved of allowing the ordination of gay Rabbis as well as the blessing of gay unions. Many Christian denominations have taken similar steps. Still, even Conservative Judaism retained the ban on anal sex and it's hard to imagine Orthodox Judaism going so far as to allow the blessing of gay unions.
Orthodox Judaism, of course, has a history of
What can be done?
Well, it turns out the Mormons had a similarly embarrassing problem. Until 1978, blacks of African descent were banned from the priesthood. According to Brigham Young, this was because they were descended from Cain. Others gave different reasons, but all agreed that the ban came from God.
Needless to say, as the United States became less and less racist, the Mormon stance seemed more and more immoral. Yet what could they do?
Luckily, in 1978, God bailed them out:
In early June of this year, the First Presidency announced that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church. President Kimball has asked that I advise the conference that after he had received this revelation, which came to him after extended meditation and prayer in the sacred rooms of the holy temple, he presented it to his counselors, who accepted it and approved it. It was then presented to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who unanimously approved it, and was subsequently presented to all other General Authorities, who likewise approved it unanimously.
(Hat tip: Brad DeLong.)
Here's to hoping.
(Yes, I know Orthodox Judaism no longer recognizes prophecy and indeed that there is a story in Talmud which explicitly rejects revelation as a source of Jewish Law. This post is mostly tongue-in-cheek.)