Arthur Goldberg has spent a lifetime fighting for the rights of others and promoting biblical morality.
Now, at the age of 81, Goldberg, a devout Orthodox Jew and president of his local synagogue, is engaged in the moral and legal fight of his life.
His offense: insisting that Jewish men and others have the right to obtain counseling and therapy to overcome unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA) and founding a nonprofit organization to refer them to places of help.
“For promoting those rights, providing seekers with that information, and referring them for gender affirmation therapy, I have been canceled,” Goldberg told The Epoch Times.
“Where is the person’s right to determine his or her own therapeutic goals? Where is the freedom to choose? What happened to a person’s right to voluntarily choose to change his or her sexual orientation?
“Men and women desiring help with SSA are being denied the right to information about the availability and effectiveness of gender-affirming methods and therapies.”
According to Goldberg, gender affirmation therapy is the empowerment of willing individuals combating unwanted same-sex attraction to affirm the gender of their birth.
When Goldberg, a retired investment banker, saw the painful struggles of some acquaintances dealing with SSA, he was moved to co-found a nonprofit organization called Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) to offer them hope and assistance.
JONAH’s mission was to refer primarily Jewish men struggling with SSA to professional and religious counseling.
The goal was to help them fulfill their desire to live a life consistent with the tenets of their Jewish religion as declared in the Torah (the five books of Moses), which holds to heterosexuality, the marriage of a man to a woman, and the bringing forth of children within its confines.
“I saw many Jewish men, as well as people of other faiths, who wanted to be free from same-sex attraction and who desperately wanted to start a traditional family,” he said.
“They needed to know that there is available to them a guided process involving professional counseling, self-discovery, and a combination of spiritual and behavioral self-adjustments characteristic of the Jewish concept of teshuvah, meaning ‘returning to the path,’ or repentance.
“We are not about curtailing the hard-won civil rights of gay people. In fact, we acknowledge what the gay rights movement has done to improve the social status and the economic and political integration for both male and female homosexuals.
“The counseling and therapy we recommend are based on love. We only deal with people who come to us wanting to change.”
Deep Religious Convictions and Compassion
While Goldberg is a published author of a book and many articles on homosexuality and has much to say about the debate over its clinical and political aspects, he’s especially passionate about the spiritual side of the subject.
He views with joy and optimism the Creator’s stark declaration in the Bible’s Book of Leviticus, chapter 18, verse 22, which reads, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (King James Bible)
Goldberg points out that to’eivah, the Hebrew word for “abomination,” is referring to the action and not the person—the sin and not the sinner.
Citing the teaching of several prominent rabbis and linguists, Goldberg believes that to’eivah has in it more than the idea of abhorrence, which is the common English definition.
“The Hebrew word has in its meaning the idea of ‘a straying or to be led astray.’
“To’eivah contains in it the possibility of teshuvah.
“If you can stray off the path, it is implied you can return to the path,” he said. “This offers so much hope, humaneness, compassion, and relief for those crushed between unwanted powerful personal inclinations and their strong dedication to their religion.
“The Torah teaches us that the Creator is not cruel. He is just and loving, much more willing to demonstrate mercy than to punish or destroy.
“Primarily in the West, nations have lost their traditional bearings. This has resulted in an unprecedented confusion of values.
“Once we threw away the compass of right and wrong passed down to us from ancient wisdom, self-indulgence has become the rule, supported by a good deal of creative rationalization.
“We live in a time of moral relativism, which has led to an intolerance of objective morality and those standing for it.”
Goldberg says his activism on behalf of those voluntarily seeking help with SSA, or other forms of what he calls “sexual brokenness,” is for him a religious and moral imperative.
“If a Jewish homosexual turns to another Jew for help in finding a way out of his homosexuality, the Torah indisputably forbids turning him or her away,” Goldberg said.
“A person struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction is told by the gay activist, ‘You can’t change.’ He is told by the ultra-conservative, ‘You are loathsome.’ He is told by psychiatrists and psychologists, ‘Accept your gay feelings and act upon them—even though they might conflict with your internal values.’
“In my opinion, such attitudes are immoral and irresponsible when there is help available for those desiring it. But the cancel culture is keeping people from knowing about that help and is suppressing their right to treatment.”
The High Price of Principle
Goldberg is paying a stiff price for standing for the teachings of the Torah and the rights of others. A series of lost court battles designed to silence him over the past decade has plunged him $3 million in debt for attorney fees, costs, and fines.
Goldberg said he has never taken a salary from the two philanthropic institutions he’s been a part of.
Mounting legal bills forced Goldberg and his ailing wife, Jane, to mortgage the Jersey City, New Jersey, home where they’ve lived for nearly 50 years.
Even the crowdfunding platform he created to help pay his legal bills was shut down by the court.
“With little prospect of a conservative like me being able to use existing crowdfunding platforms, I founded a platform called Funding Morality. They soon went after it and shut it down.
“The Cancel Culture employed a strategy of bringing legal action against me and then cutting off the purse strings in order to break me financially,” he said.
His foes were not only successful in getting the court to bar Goldberg from referring anybody to counseling and gender affirmation therapy, he has also been banned for life from participating in or serving on the board of any nonprofit organization in the state of New Jersey.
Goldberg’s latest legal setback came in February, when the Supreme Court of New Jersey refused to hear his appeal to preserve his constitutional rights of freedom of speech, association, and to freely exercise his religion.
He said for him, an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court at this time appears unaffordable.
The Role of the SPLC
Goldberg says his main adversaries over the years have been the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and what he calls the “gay lobby.”
The irony of a noted civil rights advocacy organization working to cancel a civil rights advocate isn’t lost on Goldberg, who during the 1960s traveled to the South as a Freedom Rider to fight for the civil rights of black Americans.
During the 1990s, when the Soviet Union broke up, Goldberg worked in the humanitarian effort to resettle Jews fleeing Russia in the United States.
The SPLC sued Goldberg several times in a local New Jersey court, forcing him to shut down the two nonprofit organizations he helped found to further his causes.
A 2012 case against Goldberg forced the closing of the nonprofit JONAH.
A second lawsuit, filed in 2015 by the SPLC, forced the closure of the Jewish Institute for Global Awareness (JIFGA), a nonprofit ministry that Goldberg says had a different and much broader mission than that of JONAH.
“JIFGA was founded to promote and strengthen the universal underlying morals of the Judeo–Christian worldview in the United States and around the globe.
“SPLC attorneys persuaded the judge that JIFGA was a ‘mere extension’ of JONAH, which he had previously ordered to disband,” Goldberg said.
On its website, the Atlanta-based SPLC describes itself as a “catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people.”
“The human rights of all people except those who want to be free from unwanted same-sex attraction and those trying to help them change,” said Goldberg, when asked about the posting.
The SPLC’s website is still touting its legal victory over Goldberg.
What he calls gender affirmation therapy, the SPLC and gay activists pejoratively call “conversion” or “reparative” therapy. The SPLC on its website rejects gender affirmation therapy as “harmful, abusive, junk science worse than snake oil.”
On its website, the SPLC also praised the court for what it calls the “landmark” pre-trial ruling in which the judge “excluded several conversion therapy proponents from testifying as defense witnesses because their opinions were based on the false premise that homosexuality is a disorder.”
The website quotes the judge as saying that the theory that homosexuality is a disorder is “like the notion that the earth is flat and the sun revolves around it … outdated and refuted.”
“The exclusion of defense witnesses was unfair,” Goldberg said. “We had expert witnesses prepared to explain what gender affirmation therapy actually is and to present real case histories of its effectiveness. The judge barred them from testifying.
“The SPLC lawyers were very good at falsely describing to the court how ‘disturbing, dangerous, and harmful’ gender affirmation therapy supposedly is.
“It seems clear the judge bought into the gay lobby’s widely publicized and popularly embraced propaganda that homosexuality is an immutable characteristic a person is born with.
“The fact is, science has yet to discover a so-called ‘gay gene.’”
Goldberg said of the judge’s comments about homosexuality no longer being considered a disorder, “The declassification of homosexuality as a disorder by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 and the American Psychological Association in 1974 was more a social and political decision than a reevaluation based on any new science.”
Political pressure from gay activists to normalize homosexuality has chilled public discourse and has had a detrimental effect not only on patient rights, but also on patient care, Goldberg said.
Concern for Future Generations
“To disagree with the ideology of the gay lobby is to be branded a ‘hater’ and a ‘homophobe.’ People are afraid to speak. Even many religious leaders won’t address the subject.
“Even worse, qualified professional psychologists are deciding not to offer what they know are effective gender-affirming therapies for fear of being sued by gay activist groups,” he said.
Despite the hardships of the past decade, Goldberg says he’s been blessed with a full and happy life.
Born in Jersey City, he attended local schools. He went on to earn a degree from the American University in Washington and graduated from Cornell University Law School.
“Early on, I became active in the civil rights movement because of my love for the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the founding principles of our republic—principles that are increasingly coming under attack from many quarters,” he said.
Goldberg has also served as a congressional aide and as a deputy attorney general in New Jersey.
“After practicing law for a few years, I went to work on Wall Street as an investment banker specializing in the financing of public purpose projects,” he said.
As an author, Goldberg is best known for his nearly 600-page book “Light in the Closet,” a scholarly yet readable study of the Torah, homosexuality, and the power to change.
“I’ve lived in Jersey City all of my life,” he said. “When the city began to decay, I resolved to stay here and do what I could to prevent its further decline.”
Goldberg and Jane, his wife of 53 years, have four children and six grandchildren.
He says it’s for his grandchildren and coming generations that he continues to labor to preserve the values of the United States he grew up in.
Of particular concern to him is the successful efforts of gay activists to infiltrate U.S. schools with what Goldberg calls their “anti-religion, anti-family doctrine.”
“Across America, children from preschool on up are being indoctrinated with the pro-gay, pro-trans agenda under the guise of student health, school safety, anti-bullying, diversity, and tolerance lessons.
“The programs I have studied and carefully documented in my book range from sensitization to outright recruitment. It’s all part of the effort to prematurely sexualize our children.
“Sexually explicit literature, pamphlets, and audio-visual materials are routinely presented to students without the knowledge or consent of parents.
“In some schools, special speakers are brought in to graphically describe their homosexual experiences and lifestyle. This happens not just in high school but in elementary school, too.
“There are next to no lessons about the physical and psychological risks of homosexual behavior. Even sex-change counseling is being presented to students in elementary, middle, and high schools, unbeknownst to parents.
“Parents need to be interested, informed, and proactive in monitoring what their children are being exposed to in public and private schools across our nation, or soon we will not have a country that bears any resemblance to the land of liberty that was founded on and made great by Judeo–Christian principles passed down to us by our forefathers.”