Trump Will Have His Hands Full Fixing Social Extremism in the State Department

Trump Will Have His Hands Full Fixing Social Extremism in the State Department

By Tony Perkins President

Tony Perkins is President of Family Research Council. This article appeared in The Stream on January 4, 2017.

It may be a new year, but there’s nothing new about the concerns surrounding the State Department’s liberal activism. While Americans were busy unwrapping presents, conservatives were tearing into something else: Obama’s record on social issues. After eight years of watching the State Department operate as a global base for abortion and sexual activism, most Republicans are ready to get back to the real business of diplomacy. That’s a tough job under normal circumstances, but after two terms of President Obama, the Trump team will have its hands full.

Lately, there have been some who have suggested that (after almost a decade of proving otherwise) the State Department has nothing to do with abortion and sexual politics. Tell that to our friends around the globe, who’ve spent the last eight years trying to dodge this administration’s biggest export: rainbow flags and abortion dollars. Under President Obama, this radical agenda has completely infiltrated the State Department — usually eclipsing the agency’s other vital functions, like defending religious liberty. Obviously, America has a sincere interest in stopping the unjust persecution or targeting of any human being. But what’s happened for the last eight years is not the simple defense of those who are mistreated — it’s the elevation of people around the world based on sexual behavior.

State’s Culture of Extremism: LGBT Issues

While some people are falling for the line that social issues are “irrelevant” to the work of the State Department, the Trump team isn’t buying it. They’re keenly aware of the culture of extremism at the agency — so much so that they’ve requested a detailed list of the ways the office has tried to promote “gender equality.” Late last month, the New York Times reported on the Trump memo, which asked the department to provide, among other things, details on the positions “‘whose primary functions are to promote such issues’ — as well as how much funding was directed to gender-related programs in 2016.”

The State Department’s report should be an easy one. After all, the White House has graciously done the work for them, boasting in great detail about the “gains” it’s made for the global LGBT community on its website (many courtesy of the agency that supposedly has no dealings in social issues). Here are a few of the highlights (and some the administration conveniently forgot):

State’s Culture of Extremism: Abortion

And it’s not just sexual liberalism that’s poisoning the international well. The State Department has loudly promoted overseas abortion policy and been quick to put taxpayer funds and resources behind it — regardless of other countries’ deeply-held beliefs.

In my own personal interactions with ambassadors, especially when FRC was helping to negotiate for Mariam Ibrahim’s release from a Sudanese prison, they all shared the same concern: that the State Department’s obsession with social issues had come at the expense of religious liberty. If Donald Trump is going to make our First Freedom a priority, as he’s pledged to do, he’ll have to start by rolling back the extremist culture at State. Is that impossible? Not at all. But having the right people around him will make all the difference.