Reform Jewish Leader Blasts Family Research Council’s Statement on Homosexuality and Child Molestation
Pelavin: “As Jews, we know well the dangers inherent in broad, fear-mongering accusations that blame societal ills on a particular social group.”
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Washington, DC, October 4, 2006 – In response to Tony Perkins’ article for the Family Research Council titled “Pro-Homosexual Political Correctness Sowed Seeds for Foley Scandal,” Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, wrote to Mr. Perkins taking issue with his claims. The text of the letter follows:
Dear Mr. Perkins:
I urge you to apologize publicly for the disturbing article you wrote for the Family Research Council titled “Pro-Homosexual Political Correctness Sowed Seeds for Foley Scandal,” claiming that the “real issue” in the scandal surrounding Rep. Foley’s resignation is the “link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse.”
We certainly agree that the actions of former Representative Foley are abhorrent and deplorable. Nonetheless, I was disturbed, but sadly, not surprised, that you used Mr. Foley’s actions to perpetuate an old and despicable stereotype that gay men are prone to be child molesters. Your willingness to manipulate this tragic situation to engage in an anti-gay screed through such spurious and twisted correlations reveals far more about you than about this crisis.
As Jews, we know well the dangers inherent in broad, fear-inspiring accusations that blame societal ills on a particular social group. Mr. Foley, and not homosexuals as a group, performed these misdeeds. No group, homosexual or otherwise, bears responsibility. It is shameful for the Family Research Council to use one individual’s wrongdoings to cast a negative light on an entire group of people.
Even worse, you argue that concerns about appearing homophobic led earlier reports of Rep. Foley’s behavior to be “discounted or downplayed” by House leaders, thereby showing “what happens when political correctness is put ahead of protecting children.” This is not only senseless, but it shifts the responsibilities from where it does belong.
Mark J. Pelavin
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the
Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.