Santorum and Jindal to Travel to Israel with Controversial Right-Wing Group

Just weeks after the Republican National Committee controversially partnered with the American Family Association on a trip to Israel, JTA reported today that Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) will travel to the Jewish state this fall with the Family Research Council, an organization often criticized for their controversial language towards minority groups. Brian Tashman of Right Wing Watch and People for the American Way writes:

Jindal and Santorum’s decision to travel to Israel with FRC may raise eyebrows, given the group’s history of making dismissive comments about American Jews and expressing hope that Jews in Israel will convert to Christianity, a central theme of certain End Times narratives…

[FRC Executive Vice President Jerry] Boykin also slammed Jewish Americans for largely backing Democrats, claiming that they don’t realize that Adolf Hitler was actually a leftist: “If you look at Hitler, one of the most disgusting things I hear is for people to call Hitler the extreme Right. The absolute opposite was true. It was the National Socialist Party. He was an extraordinarily off the scale leftist. But many Jews in America, for example, can’t identify with the Republican Party because they’re called the party of the Right, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.”

Like Boykin, FRC President Tony Perkins, for his part, once attacked the “Jewish lobby” for its ties to Democratic elected officials, lamenting that Democrats “enjoy the money coming from the Jewish community.”

Additionally, the Family Research Council has in the past been described as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In 2012, SPLC President Richard Cohen wrote:

Contrary to what the FRC has repeatedly claimed, we do not list the FRC as a hate group because of its opposition to gay marriage or because of its religious beliefs. Instead, we list the FRC because it engages in baseless, incendiary name-calling and spreads demonizing lies about the LGBT community.

The FRC portrays gay people as sick, evil, perverted, incestuous and a danger to the nation. It insists that gay people are “fundamentally incapable” of providing good homes for children - a myth that has been rejected by all relevant scientific authorities. One of its key leaders has actually said that homosexual behavior should be criminalized.

Perhaps the FRC’s most dangerous lie is its claim that pedophilia is a “homosexual problem,” to use Perkins’ words. Here’s what the American Psychological Association says: “Despite a common myth, homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” The APA adds, “There is no scientific support for fears about children of lesbian or gay parents being sexually abused by their parents or their parents’ gay, lesbian or bisexual friends or acquaintances.”

Linking the LGBT community to pedophilia is not an expression of a religious belief, as Perkins would have it. It’s simply a lie - and a particularly ugly one at that. Constantly portraying gay people as sick, evil, perverted, incestuous and a danger to the nation simply adds fuel to the fire.

Perhaps the fact that Sen. Santorum and Gov. Jindal have chosen to associate with this organization should not come as a surprise. If they truly wish to be taken seriously as presidential contenders, however, they may wish to rethink who they choose to associate themselves with.