House Speaker told lawmaker anti-Catholic, anti-Muslim Facebook posts were unacceptable

Chris Sikich
Indianapolis Star

Corrections & Clarifications: An earlier version of this story noted an earlier vote total percentage for John Jacob. Jacob won Indiana House District 93 with 61% of the vote.

House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers, said Tuesday he has told a newly elected state lawmaker that anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim posts to his personal Facebook page were unacceptable. 

John Jacob, a 54-year-old Republican from Indianapolis, won a heavily Republican district Nov. 3. In the last two to four years, he posted Facebook comments saying that the Islamic faith cannot coexist in the United States, that Muslims are traitors who should be deported, that the Roman Catholic Church is a cult and of Satan, that its parishioners should repent and leave the church, and that the Pope is an anti-Christ.

"I have met with Rep. Jacob and told him I found all of that to be unacceptable." Huston said. 

IndyStar reported Jacob's Facebook posts in a story Oct. 29, for which Jacob could not be reached on his cell phone, email or Facebook page. He talked briefly with an IndyStar reporter Tuesday at the ceremonial first day of the legislature at the Statehouse before going into a meeting during his orientation. 

He said his posts had a fuller context, but did not offer more details. 

Indiana House District 93 candidate John Jacob, who is not a physician, protests abortion at the Statehouse in 2019.

"There is a full context to a story," Jacob said. "I would say those things honestly don't impact my role as a representative. As a Christian, God calls me to love him and to love other people. I can disagree with people. I can disagree with people and still love them at the end of the day."

Jacob and Rep. Curt Nisly, R-Milford, did not go with House Republicans to caucus Tuesday. They also were the only two Republicans who did not wear face masks during Tuesday's House session. Lawmakers were asked, but not required, to wear masks. 

Asked whether Jacob or others would be removed from the Republican caucus this session, Huston demurred.

"Caucus issues are private but we are working through those discussions," Huston said. 

Jacob isn't the only Republican in hot water over Facebook. In May, Huston removed Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, from two committees and demoted him in another in response to a Facebook post of Black kids dancing with the words "We gon' get free money!"

The post was in response to federal coronavirus relief. Lucas has a long history of inappropriate Facebook posts, in which he's been accused of both racism and sexism, accusations he has denied. 

While Jacob wore a suit and tie Tuesday, he's been a common figure at the Indiana Statehouse the past five years in a different outfit. He's an anti-abortion activist who often dressed in what looked like blood-stained blue medical scrubs. He often wore a partially dismembered child's doll made to look like a bloody aborted fetus attached to a cord around his neck. And he often carried a large and graphic picture of a bloody aborted fetus. 

He surprised the Republican establishment by defeating incumbent Dollyne Sherman in the primary, whom the party had backed. He then easily defeated Democrat Angela Elliott with 61 percent of the vote in District 93, which stretches from southern Marion County into Johnson County. 

While Jacob caucused with Republicans last week, it's unclear whether he will do so in the future. 

Call IndyStar reporter Chris Sikich at 317-444-6036. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisSikich.