January 17, 2017
As the clock is ticking on the Obama administration, the president and team are furiously putting new rules and regulations in place that will serve as obstacles to the pro-growth, limited government initiatives of the Trump administration. But the danger posed by last minute rules and regulations pale in comparison to the impact that Mr. Obama will have with the people he leaves behind. The combination of last-minute appointments to commissions and other federal posts will make changing the direction of some agencies challenging. The State Department is Exhibit A in how the Left has succeeded over the years to make the department resistant to change -- even under a conservative president -- by infiltrating the ranks of career service members with liberal appointees whose time has ended.
The new administration is sending Obama's diplomats packing -- but some are not going too far. In the case of LGBT Envoy Randy Berry, the move may be a short one. Inside the State Department, rumors are swirling that Secretary John Kerry's pro-gay protégé just took a different job in the department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor division -- giving the radical agenda a permanent home in an agency that some claim has nothing to do with social issues.
"I plan to come to work the day after the inauguration," Berry told the Blade a year ago. "I serve the U.S. government. I serve the American people." Unfortunately for voters anxious to return to real diplomacy, he may be close to making good on that promise. Berry, who spent more than a year and a half on a worldwide "tolerance" tour, has been very clear about his intentions from Day One. Special rights for people who identify as gay or transgender "creates a more durable, healthier nation," he's insisted. He took that message on the road through most of 2015 and 2016, leaning on other countries in an effort to force them to open their doors to extreme policies at the expense -- not just of the host nation's values, but of international religious liberty.
If the reports are accurate, returning the State Department to true, statutorily-defined foreign policy will be that much harder for the Trump team, which already has its work cut out for it in reversing the damage done by eight years of the department's misguided priorities. And just because Berry switches posts doesn't mean he'll switch tactics. After all, this is a man who argued that the best way to effect change is to target other countries' constitutions -- meddling in a process where America has no business. "From [the beginning], one of my primary goals was... to engage with our detractors and to shine a spotlight on this key set of issues." Obviously, President Obama is doing his best to protect that spotlight by shuffling Berry away from a job that could be eliminated under a conservative administration. This way, Berry could still influence policy, but from a position that doesn't require executive approval.
Unfortunately, this is just another example of how the LGBT agenda has distracted and undermined the agency's statutorily-defined goal of promoting religious liberty. While the Obama administration has never minded interfering in other country's moral traditions, it refuses to intervene when lives of Christians are at stake -- or the basic human rights to life and religious freedom. Until the department is headed up by a strong leader who is determined to face the hostile forces within, Obama's liberal ideology that has created global instability will remain. Let's hope and pray that the Trump team recognizes the threat and moves forward with a solid assistant secretary over the Bureau who won't tolerate Berry bullying other countries on the Left's sexual extremism.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.