Since 2006, the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by the controversial Family Research Council, has been an important meet-and-greet for conservative politicians angling for endorsements from the religious right.
This year, however, a group of human rights organizations headed by the Southern Poverty Law Center is publicly urging the summit's high-profile speakers to boycott the event, due to the opinions of the FRC and its leaders, namely Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, the The Daily Caller reports.
Boykin, a former Delta Force officer, was recently named executive vice president of the FRC. Not afraid to speak his mind, the outspoken veteran's controversial comments are making headlines in the run-up to his organization's gathering, reported to include such high profile politicians as House leader Eric Cantor and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
Statements Boykin made referencing Judaism may be of particular interest to Congressman Cantor, who is Jewish.
In a 2009 speech on “Why We Must Stand with Israel,” Boykin spoke out against those pastors who believe Jews don't have to convert, a message that was “destroying the efforts” of those trying to lead Jews to Christ.
Despite the FRC's pro-Israel stance, Boykin has gotten into trouble with the Anti-Defamation League on several previous occasions, including for comments the officer made in 2003 suggesting that the U.S. was engaged in a Christian holy war against Muslims, Salon reports. Our “spiritual enemy will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus,” Boykin said in the speech.
"We are not fighting a religious war, and to say that we are fighting in the name of Jesus is to make it exactly that," retorted the ADL's director Abe Foxman. "Such a characterization is also profoundly offensive to the many courageous Americans in uniform who are not Christian.”
As Right Wing Watch points out, Boykin's sentiments are consistent with the general tone of the FRC, however. Leaders of the group have drawn the ire of many groups, including the SPLC for saying, among other things, that homosexuality is a "perversion," a "lifestyle" and "immoral," as well as defending embattled Congressman Todd Akin.
The SPLC considers the self-professed defender of family values a hate group, reiterating its opposition in a statement posted to the website on Thursday.
According to the Advocate, the SPLC sent out letters pushing for the boycott in hopes politicians would decide not to supportBoykin and the Council's stridently anti-gay, anti-Muslim ideology.
“We urge you not to lend the prestige of your office to the summit,” the letter states, and hope you decided to not "share the stage with and lend your credibility to an organization that spreads demonizing falsehoods about other people.”