By Tony Perkins
While American Christians suffer in prisons overseas, the White House is taking a leadership role all right — in the “persecution” of transgenders. With 13.6 million people displaced in the Middle East, and men and women of faith on the run in Africa, the State Department decided to weigh in with its third “Conference to Advance the Human Rights of and Promote Inclusive Development for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons.”
Instead of tackling one of the most fundamental human rights crises of our time — international religious hostility — administration officials zeroed in on “the specific needs of transgender persons; how to best engage faith communities to support the human rights of LGBT persons; and the best ways to integrate these priorities into development programs.” This week, the State Department will be spending time on homosexuality while people are literally dying for the right to practice religious liberty. The State Department has been aggressively leaning on foreign governments to abide by their values — which, as the last election proved — are inconsistent with the vast majority of Americans.
As I’ve said before, persecution abroad is directly related to our religious intolerance here at home. And until Congress and the White House make this an issue, the spike in persecution will only climb higher. What America does publicly communicates our priorities to the world. And what we’re communicating now is that the United States is too consumed with the radical sexual agenda of 2.7% of the population to help millions of hurting Christian men, women and children.
This, by the way, is in total contradiction to duly-enacted federal policy. The Obama administration is ignoring the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 which states: “it shall be the policy of the United States…to condemn violations of religious freedom, and to promote, and to assist other governments in the promotion of, the fundamental right to freedom of religion.”
In the congressional hearing over Mariam Ibraheem, Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) was one of many leaders frustrated by the status quo. “We need to ratchet up, I think. And Mr. Perkins, your point about other issues becoming prioritized, frankly, I have been shocked and dismayed by how many Ambassadors and foreign leaders have told me to my face that the LGBT agenda is what trumps everything in the U.S. foreign policy. So religious freedom, in a way, is seen as an impediment to the advancement of that.” The new Congress must hold this Obama administration accountable to the law, which includes religious freedom.
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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