March 17, 2017
There are times when conservatives would actually like to be proven wrong. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was certainly hoping for that in his 2015 dissent in the Obergefell same-sex marriage case. But unfortunately for him -- and millions of other Americans -- his predictions are coming true in the most painful way possible. Like us, he feared that redefining marriage would ignite a firestorm of persecution against anyone who believed otherwise. Any opposition to the Court's ruling, he prophesied, would be used as a license to "vilify those who disagree, and treat them as bigots." "We are seeing this come to pass," he said soberly during a speech to the Catholic group Advocati Christi. "It is up to all of us to evangelize our fellow Americans about the issue of religious freedom... A wind is picking up that is hostile to those with traditional moral beliefs."
That wind is blowing all right -- right down C Street to the State Department, where LGBT activists are desperately trying to shut down debate. When the Trump administration put together its delegation for the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, they invited the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam) to join them as public-sector representatives. Nothing about that should come as a surprise. Both organizations are respected voices in the conservative movement who reflect the Trump administration's values. During the Obama years, these types of positons were filled by left-wing groups in support of radical liberal policy. But the administration has changed -- and naturally, so have the people chosen to represent it.
That fact seems lost on the extremists at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), who are hysterical that groups with natural views on marriage and gender have been given a seat at the U.N. table. In a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, they demand the removal of both groups. "If the United States is truly committed to improving the lives of women, including LBTQ women, in the U.S. and beyond, then Lisa Correnti and Grace Melton and the organizations they represent should not be the public face of our delegation. We urge you to immediately rescind the appointment of these delegates who do not represent our shared American values," HRC writes. Now, on top of having to fight against the Obama holdovers who aren't representing the Trump administration, these conservatives also coming under sustained assault by the LGBT establishment for even being on the delegation.
Using the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) reckless "hate" label as cover, they claim C-Fam will take the State Department in an ugly direction. Despite all of the SPLC's credibility problems (even the FBI has distanced itself from the group!), liberals still insist on invoking the group to help distort the record of C-Fam and the Heritage Foundation (neither of which has ever advocated for violence against people who identify as gay). Sadly, as Justice Alito pointed out, these are the times we live in -- when holding mainstream views on sexuality as well as a biblical view of marriage is an excuse to demonize and marginalize. And even more frustrating, this is an organization with no real method to its labeling. At one point, SPLC even added Dr. Ben Carson to its "extremist" list because of his biblical views (and only took him off the list after a lot of criticism).
While their methods are arbitrary, their goal is not. Since SPLC and HRC can't win on the facts, they use these labels to silence and denigrate their competition. But if they're hoping to intimidate the Trump administration, they've got another thing coming. In case liberals haven't noticed, the new president actually believes in what the Left says they do: diversity of opinion. As FRC's Travis Weber explains, "These activists' real problem is that they don't like the current state of international law, so they have to twist, manipulate, and obscure it to fit their agenda. International law, properly understood, only consists of two areas: treaties and customary international law." Organizations like OutRight and HRC know that current treaties don't protect their agenda items, so their main aim is to cram agenda items like abortion and contraception into certain terms in treaties protecting women and children -- despite the fact that these treaty provisions mention nothing of the sort. The only way the activists get where they want is remaking the law as they go along, similar to judicial activists in the United States.
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.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.