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Jewish Reform Movement Tells Conservatives To Stop Blaming Gays For Foley Affair


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Jewish Reform Movement Tells Conservatives To Stop Blaming Gays For Foley Affair

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

October 4, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) The Reform Movement - the largest branch of Judaism in the United States - on Wednesday told a conservative Christian group to stop gay-bashing over the Foley Affair.

Following the disclosure that former Republican Congressman Mark Foley had engaged in a series of sexual emails with teenage pages, Tony Perkins, the President of the conservative Christian group the Family Research Council penned an article for the council and widely distributed by conservative groups titled “Pro-Homosexual Political Correctness Sowed Seeds for Foley Scandal.”

In a letter to Perkins Wednesday, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, disputed Perkins' claims.

"I urge you to apologize publicly for the disturbing article you wrote," Pelavin said in an open letter to Perkins.

"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," Pelavin's letter said.

He went on to note that "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."

LGBT leaders have been warning since the scandal broke that the issue was not gay related but this is the first time a major mainstream denomination has drawn the distinction.

Foley remained in seclusion on Wednesday at a substance abuse clinic where his attorney says he is being treated for alcoholism.

Tuesday night attorney David Roth told reporters that the disgraced politician had been molested as a child by a member of the clergy, and acknowledged officially for the first time that Foley is gay. (story)

The scandal widened on Wednesday with the Justice Department ordering House officials to "preserve all records" related to Foley's electronic correspondence with teenagers.

As well, the GOP leadership appeared to be preparing to cut loose Speaker Dennis Hastert who allegedly knew about at least some of the email months ago and did nothing.

A senior congressional aide said Wednesday that he alerted the House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office two years ago about Foley's conduct with teenage pages. (story)

Kirk Fordham told The Associated Press that when he was told about Foley's inappropriate behavior toward pages, he had "more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives asking them to intervene."

In addition, House Majority Whip Rep Roy Blunt of Missouri said he would have handled the entire matter differently than Hastert did, had he known about it.

"I think I could have given some good advice here, which is you have to be curious, you have to ask all the questions you can think of," Blunt said. "You absolutely can't decide not to look into activities because one individual's parents don't want you to."

©365Gay.com 2006


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