|Someone needs to tell the Family Research Council that fighting religious persecution and fighting anti-LGBTQ persecution is not an either/or situation|
On Tuesday, the Family Research Council praised Trump for supposedly calling out Nigeria for its persecution of Christians:
As toxic as our culture can be, Americans still take going to church safely for granted. In places like Nigeria, the simple act of showing up to worship can be deadly. Late last month, the world was horrified to read that another remote village in the African country lost another 19 people to a mass shooting at church. Radical Islamists walked into the service and opened fire, killing two priests and 17 others. The ones who survived watched helplessly as the Muslim herdsmen set fire to more than 50 of their homes. And the violence shows no sign of stopping.
Yesterday, in a joint press conference with the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, President Trump called out Buhari for not making more of an effort to protect the country's men and women of faith. "We are deeply concerned by religious violence in Nigeria including the burning of churches and the killing and persecution of Christians. It's a horrible story," Trump said bluntly. "We encourage Nigeria and the federal state and local leaders to do everything in their power to immediately secure the affected communities and to protect innocent civilians of all faiths including Muslims and including Christians."
It was a bold move to challenge Buhari publicly -- one that proves the president's deep sincerity on the issue of religious liberty. Although Nigerian officials have taken the threats of ISIS and Boko Haram more seriously, the Fulani herdsman are proving to be more deadly than either. The situation becomes even more delicate when you consider that Buhari is Fulani and also Muslim, which has led several people to wonder if he's trying hard enough to end the bloodshed.
Don't get me wrong. If this happened the way the Family Research Council claimed it did, then good for Trump. People shouldn't be imprisoned, murdered, or persecuted in any way for their religious beliefs.
And the same goes for sexual orientation. Too bad the Family Research Council doesn't feel that way.
On Wednesday, the group again praised Trump. And again, it was for his supposed commitment to the idea of "religious liberty." In this particular statement, FRC claimed that Trump's religious liberty executive order, signed last year, is helping millions of people.
One part of the statement, which condemned the Obama Administration, via FRC president Tony Perkins, caught my eye:
"The Obama administration replaced the promotion and protection of religious freedom with the strong-arming of countries to adopt their liberal social agendas. This rejection of religious freedom as a priority resulted in rampant persecution and genocide. Look for the Trump administration's policies protecting religious freedom both domestically and abroad to lead to increased international respect and protection of this fundamental human right,” concluded Perkins.
Don't be fooled by Perkins' care to not criticize specific items.
It is well-known how the Obama Administration took several actions to fight the imprisonment, torture, rapes, murders, and wholesale persecution of the LGBTQ community in countries (such as Nigeria and Uganda) where homosexuality is a crime or seen as a sin. Most specifically and famously was in 2011 when then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a historic speech at the United Nations saying that gay rights are universal human rights. She also said the Obama Administration would be looking at how a country treats its LGBTQ citizens when it came to giving foreign aid.
And it is well-known that the Family Research Council was not happy with the Obama Administration for doing this. The organization was very vocal about it:
The Obama administration has engaged in an aggressive effort to force recipients of American foreign aid to accept the President’s pro-homosexuality agenda. This has gone even to the point of demanding that African nations change their laws against same-sex intimacy and those barring same-sex marriage or risk losing U.S. assistance and even American military support in fighting terrorist organizations. As with so many other areas of Mr. Obama’s priorities, this initiative pushes the statutory authority of the President past the breaking point.
This is not an inadvertent slip by the Family Research Council. It's a deliberate, cynical calculation. The organization relies on the false notion that LGBTQs and the faith community are separate, unyielding groups who are always fighting each other. This is an ugly lie created by ugly people to exploit prejudice, hatred, and fear for the sake of power and money.
There should be no pecking order or caste system when it comes to being protected from persecution. Being able to live your life without fear of being beaten, raped or murdered due to someone else's prejudice has nothing to do with belonging to the "right" religion or being seen as "normal." Fighting religious persecution and fighting anti-gay persecution is not an either/or situation. Any actual religious or moral group would know this.
Apparently someone should let the Family Research Council know.