By Wendy Wright
(GENEVA – C-FAM) All federal agencies dealing with U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance must now promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. This new priority puts U.S. foreign policy on a collision course with religious freedom.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced President Obama’s sweeping directive to UN diplomats in Geneva last week. Along with the full-force of the U.S. government, a Global Equality Fund will equip foreign LGBT groups to agitate within countries.
Every federal agency engaged overseas, and “other agencies as the President may designate,” is directed to “combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad,” assist LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, leverage aid to advance LGBT nondiscrimination, respond swiftly to abuses of LGBT persons abroad, enlist international organizations “in the fight,” and report on progress.
A State Department official said, “We are not just having people . . . whose full-time job it is to occupy ourselves with concerns of human rights, but also people whose daily grind is, most of the time, spent on different things.”
This elevates LGBT above every other people group, including those persecuted for religious beliefs, promoting democracy and human rights, ethnic minorities, and women.
Asked by the Friday Fax if any other minority has this status, the State Department did not respond.
By one account, only nine countries do not discriminate in some way against LGBT individuals, such as donating blood or “higher age of consent laws.”
Obama’s directive comes as Nigeria debates a bill to protect marriage. The Catholic Medical Association of Nigeria denounced “the coordinated ferocity” by foreign governments and international groups “browbeating” legislators to adopt laws that are premised on “dubious science and ethical mischief.”
Reacting to Obama’s order, Oliver Kisaka with the National Council of Churches of Kenya told the CS Monitor, “God did not make a mistake; being gay is that person’s own perspective. Those who live as gays need help to live right and we should not be supporting them to live in a wrong reality.
“Society should reach out to gays and transgender people to help them out of their situation. They have not ceased to be God’s children and no one is a gone case.”
Clinton equated religious and cultural views on sexuality and gender identity with “violent practices toward women like honor killings, widow burning or female genital mutilation.”
Tina Ramirez of the Washington DC–based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty told the Friday Fax, “The Administration is sticking its head in the sand when it comes to the conflict between gay rights and religious freedom. The failure of either the President or the Secretary of State to articulate how the international LGBT rights initiative will interact with religious conscientious objection is a recipe for conflict between the two. No one disagrees with Secretary Clinton’s truism that religious freedom doesn’t protect religiously-motivated violence against anyone. But the real issue, that neither the President nor Secretary Clinton talked about, is what happens when the LGBT initiative conflicts with sincere conscientious objection. Religious liberty is a fundamental human right protected in the United States Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and countless other human rights instruments; the Administration seems to be treating it as an afterthought.”
Wendy Wright is Managing Editor of FridayFax, internet report published weekly by C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute (http://www.c-fam.org/). This article appears with permission.”