Republicans have appointed Tony Perkins, the leader of the anti-LGBT hate group Family Research Council, to an important position on a legitimate government commission on religious freedom.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appointed Perkins, a minister who once said religious liberties don’t apply to Muslims, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on Monday. This is a group that has done important research on the vast reach of blasphemy laws, so it’s hard to imagine Perkins actually contributing. After all, Perkins is the sort of person who only ever sees Christian persecution.
Still, the government portrayed Perkins in an extremely positive light when announcing his appointment.
Tony Perkins has served as the president of the Family Research Council (FRC), a religious public policy organization that provides research and advocacy on issues related to religious freedom, since 2003. Before joining FRC, he was a representative in the Louisiana Legislature, to which he was elected in 1996. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Mr. Perkins began his early career in law enforcement before working as a contractor with the U.S. State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, where he oversaw the training of foreign police officers in anti-terrorism techniques.
Perkins is also an ordained minister and remains active in ministry, speaking in churches from various denominations and associations in the U.S and abroad. He has testified before the U.S. Congress on international religious freedom and raised religious freedom concerns with foreign leaders, including King Abdullah II of Jordan and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Perkins holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Liberty University, a Master of Public Administration degree from Louisiana State University, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of divinity from Liberty University.
Unsurprisingly, the commission’s announcement didn’t mention Perkins’ comments on religious freedoms not applying to Muslims, or how that might affect his work on a project meant to fight for everyone’s religious freedoms. It also neglected to note that Perkins has said other ridiculous things, like how liberals are using Donald Trump’s affair with Stormy Daniels to “shame” evangelical voters.
The commission also left out that Perkins has been designated as an extremist and a leader of a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Perkins has a sordid political history, having once purchased Klansman David Duke’s mailing list for use in a Louisiana political campaign he was managing. In 2001, Perkins gave a speech to a Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group…
Since joining the FRC, Perkins has taken the group in a harder anti-LGBT direction, using it to publish false propaganda about that community and contending that gay rights advocates intend to round up Christians in “boxcars.”
In other words, we will be watching the USCIRF even more closely now to see if it falls into total chaos.