President Donald Trump has earned praise from conservatives and Christians, alike, for nominating Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and for pledging to repeal the Johnson Amendment that bans churches and nonprofits from endorsing political candidates.
But it seems some conservatives are less-than-enthusiastic with Trump’s recent decision to keep Randy Berry, the special envoy for the human rights of LGBTI persons, in his role at the State Department — a carry-over position from the Obama administration, according to Foreign Policy.
Some have seen the move as a surprise, considering recent opposition from evangelicals, who came out in support for Trump last November, but who remain wary of some of his perceived stances on gay rights, among other issues.
Berry’s position was created by the Obama administration in an effort to combat anti-gay discrimination across the globe.
Back in December, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins spoke out against liberal activism at the State Department, urging the Trump administration to replace progressive activists with conservative ones.
“The incoming administration needs to make clear that these liberal policies will be reversed and the ‘activists’ within the State Department promoting them will be ferreted out and will be replaced by conservatives who will ensure the State Department focuses on true international human rights like religious liberty which is under unprecedented assault,” Perkins said in a statement.
Perkins has since called the decision to keep Berry “disappointing” and said in a statement this week that he believes Christian persecution should be the focus of the Trump administration rather than gay rights, according to Religion News Service.
And Rod Dreher of The American Conservative warned that the move might mean that certain pro-gay policies from the Obama administration will be carried over into the Trump era.
“At some point, I’m betting that conservative Christians are going to wake up and realize that they’ve been played for chumps,” he said. “I wonder what Mike Pence is going to do on the day he wakes up and realizes this?”
Either way, the Trump administration’s move shouldn’t be entirely surprising, considering that Trump spokesperson Jason Miller responded last month to Perkins’ initial push-back by saying the administration wouldn’t stand for discrimination.
“To think that discrimination of any kind will be condoned or tolerated in a Trump administration is simply absurd,” Miller said, according to Politico.
For his part, Berry has attempted to stress that his role hasn’t been to push gay marriage across the globe but to, instead, urge governments not to harass, kill or harm the LGBTQ community, Politico reported.
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