Rep. Doug Lamborn claimed yesterday that the Obama administration is overlooking religious persecution abroad because it is too busy defending LGBT rights.
In an interview on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” program, the Colorado Republican told FRC President Tony Perkins that the Obama administration is “really more motivated and active promoting things like lesbian and gay rights, transgendered [sic] rights and those kind of issues” than in preventing religious persecution.
“We have the sad situation of persecuted religious minorities in the Middle East and other parts of the country, including Christians and other various sects out there, that are being really persecuted, sometimes they’re being beheaded or crucified or tortured because of their religious views,” he said. “So the State Department,y ou would think, would want to be all over that, would want to be pressing for countries to be respecting the rights of religious minorities.
“But it seems like they are really more motivated and active promoting things like lesbian and gay rights, transgendered [sic] rights and those kind of issues to the neglect of religious prosecution [sic]. And I just want them to pay attention to the severe and deadly prosecution [sic] of Christians and other religious people wherever that occurs in the world.”
Perkins agreed, saying that “Christians are dying around the world and they’re doing nothing.”
The claim that the Obama administration is “doing nothing” to combat the persecution of religious minorities around the world is a frequent refrain among Religious Right commentators — and it’s completely deceptive.
In fact, when President Obama announced airstrikes in Iraq this summer, he cited ISIS’s violence against Yazidis, Christians and other Muslims as a reason for the intervention. Obama and National Security Advisor Susan Rice recently met with Mideast Christian leaders, one of whom said he “felt how deeply moved he was by what was happening to the Christians there.” Administration officials have repeatedly denounced anti-Semitic and anti-Christian attitudes in the Mideast, and the State Department operates its own Office of International Religious Freedom.
Even when the Obama administration has helped to free Christians imprisoned because of their faith, Perkins and his fellow Religious Right activists have ignored the administration’s efforts. Perkins actually criticized the Obama administration after it helped free Kenneth Bae, a U.S. missionary jailed in North Korea, and he tried to use the imprisonment of Meriam Ibrahim — a Sudanese Christian who was freed with the help of U.S. diplomats —to attack Obama’s support for gay rights and attempt to overturn Citizens United.
Meanwhile, while Perkins has been falsely claiming that the Obama administration is ignoring the persecution of Christians, he has been actively opposing State Department efforts to protect LGBT people from oppressive laws and state-sanctioned violence abroad. Perkins has praised Uganda’s draconian anti-LGBT law and warned that Obama’s “radical sexualism” is promoting “global homosexuality.”