Yesterday, President Obama issued this memorandum regarding LGBT rights across the planet and of course religious conservatives gagged on it.
Here's how the memo opens:
The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States commitment to promoting human rights. I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation. That is why I declared before heads of state gathered at the United Nations, "no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere." Under my Administration, agencies engaged abroad have already begun taking action to promote the fundamental human rights of LGBT persons everywhere. Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal.What follows is a seven point plan.
By this memorandum I am directing all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.
The AP (by way of the Washington Post) notes:
In his presidential memo, Obama directed the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development and other agencies to make sure U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance helps gays and lesbians who are facing human rights violations. He also ordered U.S. agencies to protect vulnerable gay and lesbian refugees and asylum seekers.Of course the nation's conservative "faith community" is outraged.
But the directive does not make foreign aid contingent on a nation’s gay rights record or include specific sanctions for poor performers, making the policy more of a moral challenge to other governments than a threat.
First our friends at the Family Research Council:
Family Research Council criticized President Obama's memorandum today instructing federal agencies to promote the acceptance of homosexuality and gender identity disorder through its foreign policy.Except we already know that there is no "treat to withhold foreign aid" in the memo. In fact, the section of the memo dealing with "Foreign Assistance" reads:
FRC Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg made the following comments:
It is startling that President Obama is prepared to throw the full weight and reputation of the United States behind the promotion overseas of the radical ideology of the sexual revolution. If he did the same on other issues, his own liberal allies would undoubtedly accuse him of cultural imperialism. Threats to withhold foreign aid from poor countries unless they conform their laws to the views of Western radicals are unconscionable.
Agencies involved with foreign aid, assistance, and development shall enhance their ongoing efforts to ensure regular Federal Government engagement with governments, citizens, civil society, and the private sector in order to build respect for the human rights of LGBT persons.What's unconscionable is Sprigg's statement, a year or so ago on Hardball, that gay behavior should be criminalized.
Then there's Governor Rick Perry:
Just when you thought Barack Obama couldn’t get any more out of touch with America’s values, AP reports his administration wants to make foreign aid decisions based on gay rights.And then:
This administration’s war on traditional American values must stop.
Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americas of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong.The president is talking about building respect for LGBT human beings, and the conservatively faithful find that deeply offensive. It's a war on traditional values, they say.
It's a faith based bigotry, to be sure. Killing/maiming/jailing people across the planet merely for being gay should be allowed to continue because their "behavior" offends people claiming to speak for an omnipotent Supreme Being..
Hitchens was right, you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you just say it's your faith speaking.