The majority in a survey think Conservative and Reform conversions are OK. If the majority of respondents thought it was OK to eat pork, would that make it so, as far as traditional Judaism is concerned?
First – 507 respondents is not statistically relevant. Though I’d imagine the required 1500+ figure would show up a similar result.
Second – The Lockes and the Humes of political science developed the question: should a government act according to what the people WANT (Democrats – Clinton), or according to what they NEED (Republican – Bush), even if unpopular?
This is a tricky question. If law is determined by what people want, then if they are more comfortable with the idea that the Earth is flat then it will be flat – truth be darned. But if law goes by what they need, who exactly does the determining? How do they know what the people need?
Authentic Judaism (rare these days) has a hybrid mentality, unquestioningly determining what the people NEED, while understanding that what the people want affects what they need, and should be taken into account.
I’m with Simon, if I understand him correctly. Democracy is the best of awful forms of government. R’ Adin Steinsaltz’s Sanhedrin needs to become POPULAR to be an alternative to this nightmare in Israel. If it were populated by the kinds of persons more interested in welcoming wannabe Jews and pro-women, understanding of homosexuality and so on, plus some good marketing, we’d be on the right track.
Unfortunately, when our religious leaders are not busy running around in circles inspecting your plate to see if you’re eating mehadrin min hamehadrin min hamehadrin, they’re occupied with how high their own stockings are. We need to assur: “chadash min hatorah – assur”