(JTA) — Madrid’s chief rabbi, Moshe Bendahan, called gays “deviants” who should be re-educated and said same-sex marriages are “monstrous.”
“Homosexuality is a deviation from nature,” Bendahan is quoted as telling the online news site Religion Digital in an interview published Wednesday. “It’s an anti-natural tendency and a sin. Contemplating allowing, consenting to what is known as ‘gay marriages’ would be a monstrosity.”
Over the last few years, several senior rabbis in Western Europe have gotten into trouble for their remarks on gays.
In January 2012, Amsterdam’s chief rabbi, Aryeh Ralbag, was briefly suspended by the board of the Jewish community for having co-signed a statement that described homosexuality as an inclination from which one can be “healed.”
Gilles Bernheim, France’s former chief rabbi, criticized the social effects of same-sex unions in a controversial document from 2012 and wrote that the “biblical view on romantic partnerships” is “exclusively between men and women.” But he also condemned “physical and verbal attacks on gays with the same intensity as I condemn anti-Semitic attacks.”
In the interview with Religion Digitial, Bendahan is also quoted as saying, “The plan of God knows no other pairing besides that of a woman and man. The pastoral duties with regards to homosexuals are focused on re-educating them about their tendencies to return them to normal.”
If techniques to “cure” gays of their sexual tendencies fail, he said “We don’t excommunicate the homosexuals from our communities but we continue to believe in their conversion. The Bible is and always had been for us our protocol, our point of reference.”