The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver are among the anti-equality Religious Right leaders coming to the defense of the Trump administration, which has been under fire for naming officials from two anti-LGBTQ groups to an official US delegation at the United Nations.
As we reported last week, the Trump administration appointed representatives from C-Fam, formerly the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, and the Heritage Foundation to the official US delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Advocates for the human rights of LGBTQ people have criticized the appointments, noting among other things that C-Fam’s record of anti-gay extremism had led to its classification as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Heritage Foundation plays a major role in promoting Religious Right resistance to legal recognition for LGBTQ people, including laws that protect them from discrimination on the job.
Staver’s statement, published on Friday, laughably claims that C-Fam and the Heritage Foundation are “thoughtful” groups that “do not demean people with whom they disagree.” In reality, C-Fam’s Austin Ruse continuously smears and demeans the people he disagrees with, portraying advocates for LGBTQ equality as “homofascists,” threats to children and families, enemies of freedom, and even Satan’s minions. Jim DeMint, the head of the Heritage Foundation, once said wants gay people barred from teaching in public schools.
Perkins says C-Fam and Heritage are “respected voices in the conservative movement who reflect the Trump administration’s values.” While that statement may be more accurate than Staver’s, it may also be even more disturbing for what it says about the hard-right values that are now being reflected in the Trump administration’s decisions.
An even deeper problem is that these activists use the term “human rights” but have no clue what it means. The fact that the Left claims that “sexual orientation” and other terms are “human rights” isn’t rooted in anything higher than their own assertion. What gives them the right to define what it means? And why should their policy preference take preference? It doesn’t. Just because they cloak it as a “human right” won’t make it so. The only solution is to search for a standard common to all human beings as derived from a higher authority. Christians and conservatives are uniquely able to offer this. Thank goodness the Trump administration recognizes that and made sure they were represented at the U.N. in the first place.
C-Fam is so committed to resisting any recognition of the human rights of LGBTQ people in international agreements that it has teamed up with some of the world’s most repressive regimes in order to safeguard “traditional” notions of gender, family and marriage. C-Fam’s elevation by the Trump administration is the clearest signal yet that Trump will abandon the Obama administration’s crucial support for the human rights of LGBTQ people around the world.
Staver said C-Fam and Heritage “will come to the table genuinely seeking the best for women across the world.” That’s doubtful, given their support for the Trump administration’s drastic expansion of the “global gag rule,” which could have a devastating effect on public health measures and leave the world’s poorest women even more vulnerable.