The president today outlined a strategy to address human rights violations against gays abroad, directing government agencies to use foreign aid to “build respect for the human rights of LGBT persons.” The Washington Times reports:
“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,” President Obama wrote in a memorandum with his name attached. “Under my Administration, agencies engaged abroad have already begun taking action to promote the fundamental human rights of LGBT persons everywhere.” …
The president’s memorandum spells out that U.S. agencies abroad must “strengthen existing efforts to effectively combat the criminalization by foreign governments of LGBT status or conduct and to expand efforts to combat discrimination, homophobia, and intolerance on the basis of LGBT status or conduct.”
It also directs those agencies to engage international organizations in the effort to combat discrimination.
Presidential candidate Rick Perry quickly responded to the president’s PR ploy. Not surprisingly, Perry disapproved, as these excerpts from his statement illustrate:
Just when you thought Barack Obama couldn’t get any more out of touch with America’s values. … This administration’s war on traditional American values must stop. …
I have proposed a foreign aid budget that starts at zero. From that zero baseline, we will consider aid requests based solely on America’s national security interests. Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America’s interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers’ money. But there is a troubling trend here beyond the national security nonsense inherent in this silly idea. This is just the most recent example of an administration at war with people of faith in this country. Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americas of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong.
President Obama has again mistaken America’s tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles. I will not make that mistake.
Frankly, I’m not too riled about this, but it does come across to me as almost painfully insincere on the president’s part. As with so much that Obama does these days, he clearly did this with his own reelection in mind. He’s unwilling to go on the record in support of gay “marriage” because he doesn’t want to alienate socially conservative Democrats, but he wants to shore up support with the LGBT community, as well. This new strategy is primarily symbolic. As Ben Shapiro point out in a tweet today, until we stop giving aid of any kind to Muslim countries, the president hasn’t really and truly made support for the human rights of LGBT members of society a fundamental foreign aid consideration.
In the meantime, I’d much rather see foreign aid go to the cause of religious liberty abroad. Ironically enough, that would help to ensure that the human rights of gays are respected, as well — but don’t expect to see The One become an evangelist for religious liberty. What key voters would that win over?