February 14, 2017
Under the Obama administration, things weren't exactly sunny for a string of island nations in the Caribbean. Like dozens of other countries on the receiving end of the president's extreme social agenda, they were under enormous pressure from the bullies at the State Department to abandon ship on their traditional Christian beliefs. Sometimes that harassment came in the form of financial blackmail -- threatening foreign aid if the leaders didn't comply. Other times, it came in the form of public shaming. But no matter how it arrived, the result was always the same: outrage that the United States -- of all countries -- should be browbeating the world into submission on issues that are still fiercely controversial in most of the world.
For Obama's State Department, which seemed oblivious to any problem not preceded by the letters L-G-B-T, this only added to the president's embarrassing diplomatic legacy. But now that the nightmare of the last eight years is behind us, Americans aren't the only ones looking for change. In the Caribbean, hundreds of pastors and church leaders are urging Donald Trump to chart a new course for U.S. relations -- one that doesn't include an obvious disrespect for other nations' values. It's time, the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean writes, for the White House to stop using the State Department to impose their LGBT agenda on other countries.
"We write to you as concerned Christian ministers and churches from the Caribbean region (including the Bahamas) who hope and pray that the United States, under your leadership, will once again cast light from 'The City upon a Hill'... Sadly, during recent years, that City has too often cast shadows instead of light. We refer specifically to the policies of the U.S. State Department and other government agencies involved in foreign policy that have undertaken to coerce our countries into accepting a mistaken version of marriage.
[But] the promotion of 'gay' rights must come at the expense of human rights because the two are immiscible. One is founded on the 'Laws of Nature and Nature's God' and the other on moral relativism, which eviscerates the very idea of natural rights. If you have one, you cannot have the other. As it turns out, the Obama administration, among others, has shown this to be so, as so-called 'gay rights' are pre-empting human rights, such as freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and freedom of conscience.
We implore you urgently to review this matter, to revoke relevant executive orders and policies, and to thus to restore to 'The City upon a Hill' the bright beam that once shone from it."
For people like Pastor Paul Mursalin, who joined me on "Washington Watch" yesterday, this is the time to turn the page on Obama's global "tolerance" offensive. "We were coerced into accepting [the administration's LGBT] agenda, threatening fund withdrawal and a number of other things. And our governments are under severe pressure to relent. We now see a ray of hope under President Trump and Vice President Pence, where some of this can be reversed and give us a chance to maintain our traditional conservative Christian values on the issue."
Of course, one of the best examples of the Obama administration's disdain for other countries' beliefs was the addition of a full-time, taxpayer-funded, diplomat who openly identified as gay to the payroll whose sole purpose was forcing the president's radical social agenda on reluctant countries. And as usual, the 44th president bypassed Congress to appoint one. Like most conservatives, we encouraged the new administration to do away with the position and focus on the real human rights crises -- like Christian persecution and genocide.
An official at the State Department cast doubt on that possibility yesterday, telling one media outlet that the Trump team had decided to keep LGBT Envoy Randy Berry in his post. The rumor even caught LGBT activists off guard. "This is really surprising to me," said an official at GLAAD. "But Berry has really been effective in that job." If the report is true, it will be a disappointing development for people at home and abroad -- not to mention a major setback in getting the State Department back on track with its statutorily defined mission of promoting human rights and religious freedom. The Department's pre-occupation with Obama's libertinism left a tremendous void internationally that resulted in thousands of religious Christians and other minorities losing their homes, the livelihood and even their very lives. Keeping Berry only signals to the world that the extreme agenda of the Obama years is still deeply entrenched in the State Department.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.