Trump admin equates anti-homophobia fight as anti-Christian
During the term of then-President Barack Obama, the US tried to fight LGBT discrimination abroad. Under the Trump administration, this anti-homophobia fight is now seen as anti-Christian.
This is because Trump administration officials are viewing any sign of homophobic discrimination in other countries like those in Africa as religious freedom.
Anti-homophobia fight curtailed
This direction came to light in a report by ThinkProgress of a recent three-day event by the State Department on international religious freedom.
During the event, Nick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, related that foreign policy that seeks to discourage homophobia equates to religious persecution.
“Our US taxpayer dollars are used to discourage Christian values in other democratic countries,” Mulvaney said at the Ministerial on International Religious Freedom, that was held in Washington, DC.
“It was stunning to me that my government under a previous administration would go to folks in sub-Saharan Africa and say, ‘We know that you have a law against abortion, but if you enforce that law, you’re not going to get any of our money. We know you have a law against gay marriage, but if you enforce that law, we’re not going to give you any money.’ That is a different type of religious persecution that I never expected to see,” he added.
Blocking the anti-homophobia fight
However, ThinkProgress pointed out that Mulvaney was either “intentionally deceptive or unintentionally ignorant” as the Obama administration only threatened countries with homophobic laws that imprisoned or executed the LGBT.
“The [Obama administration’s] approach was always about protecting LGBTQ people from persecution under the law, not ‘religious persecution,’ as Mulvaney framed it,” noted ThinkProgress.
This is not just a one off: the US representative to the UN Human Rights Council voted against a resolution condemning the use of the death penalty for homosexuality.
The rep’s reason? That the resolution went too far in calling for the abolition of the death penalty for “any crime.”
Since then, the US has withdrawn from the UN Human Rights Council.
A roster of anti-LGBT groups
A more important question though is this: why was the US government hosting an event that had several anti-LGBT advocates, like the Family Research Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom?
Harry Samuels, policy adviser for the American Jewish World Service, told the Washington Blade that the “presence of well-known anti-LGBTI and anti-choice groups at the ministerial illustrates the cynical nature of the Trump administration’s promotion of ‘religious liberty’.”
“The administration intentionally conflates honorable efforts to protect religious minorities from violence with using ‘religious conscience’ to legitimize discrimination against LGBTI people and deny sexual and reproductive health services to women and girls around the world,” Samuels said, who attended the event.
Also present at the conference was Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Sam Brownback, the US ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. All three have anti-LGBTrights records.
“In America, we prove every day that religious freedom buttresses all other rights. It provides a foundation on which a society can thrive,” said Pence during the event.
The Southern Poverty Law Center classified those anti-LGBT groups that participated in the event as hate groups due to their anti-LGBT positions and rhetoric.