The Cost of President Obama's Cultural Imperialism

December 21, 2015

The Obama administration has made a huge investment in advancing gay rights as part of its foreign policy. According to today's New York Times:

"In late 2011, the Obama administration made the promotion of gay rights an integral part of American foreign policy. Since then, it has pushed for the decriminalization of homosexuality overseas, working with the United Nations and private groups. Since 2012, U.S.A.I.D. has spent more than $700 million on the effort globally, starting new programs related to gay rights and incorporating the promotion of such rights into existing ones, according to American officials. Agency officials declined to release details of the programs in Africa, citing security concerns."

President Obama and his allies see this as an effort to defend homosexuals from persecution. This is, in itself, a noble goal; no one should be brutalized or dehumanized in law or practice.

However, countries have every right to affirm that certain types of sexual acts are or are not commensurate with the moral values they regard as absolute and that historically have been affirmed by the Western powers under whose auspices Christian faith (and its teachings concerning the immorality of all non-marital, heterosexual forms of sexual intimacy) came to them.

Instead, the administration is now in the business of lecturing other countries—almost invariably, nations in the developing world—about their laws concerning homosexual conduct. As the eminent constitutional scholar and Supreme Court attorney John Eastman said during a lecture here at FRC earlier this year, "This agenda is now substituting for any other goal at the U.S. Agency for International Development." Eastman and others have characterized the Obama approach to foreign policy as little more than "cultural imperialism."

Writing in National Review, Josh Craddock summarizes it this way: "The Obama administration has made abortion and LGBT 'rights' cornerstones of America's foreign policy, to the delight of the U.N.'s development agencies and the chagrin of the developing world. Despite a lack of domestic consensus on issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and 'gender identity,' the sexual revolution is now America's biggest export."

All this is being undertaken at a time when religious persecution is underway and increasing in so many regions, and when impoverished people in Sub-Saharan Africa could well use the $700 million devoted to the Administration's international homosexual agenda.

Mr. Obama's cultural arrogance is embarrassing to our country. He has been rebuked publically by the leaders of Nigeria, Kenya, and Senegal. And as the title of the New York Times story cited earlier says, "U.S. Support of Gay Rights in Africa May Have Done More Harm Than Good." Specifically, the article says that "Fierce opposition has come from African governments and private organizations, which accuse the United States of cultural imperialism. Pressing gay rights on an unwilling continent, they say, is the latest attempt by Western nations to impose their values on Africa."

"Let us be on guard against colonization by new ideologies," Pope Francis said earlier this year.  Those are wise words for Mr. Obama to consider as he thinks about U.S. diplomatic priorities. Let us pray that he will.