Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and President Trump appointed Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and past president Gary Bauer to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). There has been little coverage of these outrageous appointments.
Mr. Perkins has a long history of anti-LGBT sentiments. He has likened homosexuality to pedophilia, called LGBT identities “perversions” and referred to a Ugandan bill punishing homosexuality with death as an effort to “uphold moral conduct.” In his new role, Mr. Perkins will continue to lead the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center calls a hate group. Mr. Perkins has expressed disdain for Islam and for women’s rights, and he spoke at a gathering of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white- supremacist group.
Mr. Bauer has claimed that LGBT people lead a “destructive lifestyle,” called being gay a “tragedy” and asserted that marriage equality signifies “the end of the American experiment in liberty under God.” These men now represent our government.
USCIRF’s mission statement declares it is a bipartisan commission “dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.” Now, two men with a history of bigotry, with little respect for religions other than their own specific brand of Christianity, and who advocate imposing the beliefs of their religion on others, will have the commission’s resources and authority at their disposal.
We cannot normalize hate masquerading as religious freedom or be complicit in validating a message of hate worldwide.
D'Arcy Kemnitz, Washington
The writer is executive director of the
National LGBT Bar Association.