If you visit the website for the U.S. State Department, you’ll find reports that call out other nations for “Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.” They may oppose discrimination under the law, but bigotry is prevalent.
But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is a Christian Nationalist who has made it his mission to use the government to promote conservative Christian beliefs.
Earlier this month, the Miami Herald notes, Pompeo even appeared at a conference for the Florida Family Policy Council, a Christian hate group that promotes conversion therapy.
Not a surprise coming from a guy who thinks being gay is a “perversion,” but it’s still shocking that a government official would make an appearance, in his official capacity, to celebrate their work.
Pompeo ultimately addressed the Florida group’s Oct. 3 event virtually. The gathering — which filled a ballroom in Orlando with roughly 700 guests — coincided with an outbreak of COVID-19 at the White House that infected President Donald Trump and some of his closest aides.
The group’s website also includes links to multiple religious-based organizations that offer help “Leaving Gay Lifestyle” and a YouTube video titled “If Conversion Therapy Is Bad, Why Is Sex Reassignment Good?”
A spokesperson for the State Department downplayed internal dissension over Pompeo’s appearance at the event, but did not address the group’s views or answer questions on whether the secretary supports conversion therapy.
The Florida Family Policy Council is a state-based affiliate of the national group, Focus on the Family, which has long opposed same-sex marriage. Pompeo has repeatedly engaged with the national group over the years to promote religious freedom.
The article says some members of Pompeo’s staff expressed concerns about the event before it happens, but their quiet (mostly anonymous) opposition is even more cowardly than Mitt Romney‘s attempts to pretend both sides of the political aisle are equally bad. Anyone who chooses to work for an elected Republican right now should have it held against them long after the stench of this administration fades away — depending on what they do to fix the damage they helped cause.
Whatever the opposition was, Pompeo didn’t care. Even if discussing conversion therapy wasn’t on the agenda, his presence gave legitimacy to a hate group that has driven LGBTQ people to suicide and ruined their lives in more ways than we can count. It’s bad enough when elected officials are bigots; Pompeo is supposed to represent our country at large. Just because it’s a Christian group doesn’t mean they’re worth celebrating.
“The Florida Family Policy Council is an anti-LGBTQ extremist group that has sought to undermine and attack our community’s most vulnerable at every opportunity,” Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said. “The highest levels of the State Department clearly knew about FFPC’s extremism and yet, even over the objections of staff, chose to embrace it anyway.”
Remember that Pompeo is someone who wants to Christianize the government because linking “faith to America’s foreign policy is imperative.” In a role in which Pompeo could pressure other nations to become more tolerant and democratic, Pompeo has done the opposite, pushing for a kind of faith-based bigotry that would never be acceptable if he weren’t a conservative Christian.
He, too, is on the ballot. A victory for Joe Biden means Pompeo won’t be in this position for much longer.