Trump’s religious freedom advisor says US mustn’t criticize Zambia jailing gay men

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins (Photo: Gage Skidmore, licensed via CreativeCommons_by_2.0)

Tony Perkins, the President of the homophobic Family Research Council and one of Donald Trump’s Religious Freedom commissioners, is at it again.

This time he has weighed in on the recent removal of the US ambassador to Zambia.

As previously reported by Queerty, in early December, the ambassador, Daniel Foote, criticized Zambia for sentencing two men to jail for 15 years for having gay sex.

Related: Zambia angered by US ambassador’s ‘horror’ at its treatment of gay men 

Foote suggested that the Zambian government would do better to tackle corruption in the country.

Zambia’s President reacted angrily, saying that he didn’t appreciate other countries interfering in Zambian affairs, and they could keep their aid money to themselves if they didn’t like the way Zambia was run.

Zambia receives hundreds of millions of dollars in financial aid from the US: No less than $4billion over the last 15 years, much of which goes to helping fight HIV/AIDS.

Zambia President Edgar Lungu went on to say he was no longer prepared to work with Foote, which meant there was little point him remaining in his role.

Foote was subsequently recalled by Washington just before Christmas, with the Trump administration publicly stating it was “dismayed” by Zambia’s decision not to work with him any longer.

Perkins, who was appointed to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in May 2018, has now commented on the fallout in a blog post.

He suggests the Obama administration was more concerned with “cultural imperialism” than “diplomacy”, but that President Trump is slowly working “his way through the bureaucrats dedicated to keeping the last administration’s legacy alive.

“Turns out, it’s not easy to dismantle an army of international lobbyists for radical sexuality, abortion, and other extreme social policies. But thankfully, this White House is determined to keep trying. And before Christmas, they made it pretty clear that they aren’t done yet.”

He went on to say, “Calling the jailing of two men ‘horrifying,’ Daniel Foote upset Zambian leaders who think America’s representative crossed a line when he called their beliefs ‘oppressive.’ Exactly what mandate Foote was operating under remains unclear.”

Perkins supports the call from evangelical churches in other countries for the Trump administration not to show “obvious disrespect for other nations’ values … [and] for the White House to stop using the State Department to impose their LGBT agenda on other countries.”

Related: Tony Perkins thinks that forcing bakers to make gay wedding cakes means Christians will be sent to death camps

He concludes by stating, “Recalling Foote is the right move when he has broken trust with his hosts and can no longer effectively serve as our representative overseas.

“It should also serve as an indicator of how we will act elsewhere. America respects everyone, but it won’t promote values that are inconsistent with what this president stands for.”

In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center added the Family Research Council to its list of hate groups, calling it “a font of anti-gay propaganda.” Perkins has repeatedly spoken out against any advancement of LGBTQ rights, including the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and same-sex marriage legislation.