Washington D.C., Jun 20, 2019 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- The president of a Christian political advocacy and lobbying group has been elected to serve as chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council and has been a member of the commission since he was appointed by Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2018.
“I would like to thank my fellow commissioners for entrusting me with the responsibility of guiding this Commission. It is an honor to work with this diverse group of dedicated professionals on such an important issue,” Perkins said June 19.
“I look forward to continuing our efforts to promote the fundamental human right of religious freedom for all people.”
USCIRF is a bipartisan commission that advises the President, Congress, and the Secretary of State on international religious freedom issues. It issues annually a report detailing religious persecution around the globe, and commissioners advocate for religious liberty protections with global leaders and domestic lawmakers.
Perkins, 56, served two terms as a Louisiana state legislator, and ran unsuccessfully as a Republican in the state’s 2002 senatorial race. In 2003, He became president of the Family Research Council, a lobbying organization affiliated with Focus on the Family.
Although Perkins was elected as commission chairman, leaders at the “LGBT-rights” advocacy organization Human Rights Campaign told the Huffington Post that Perkins’ new role is “another weapon” in an “anti-LGBTQ crusade” perpetrated by the Trump administration, largely in response to Perkins’ opposition to same-sex marriage
Perkins has not responded to directly criticisms regarding his election.
In a June 19 column, however, he wrote that “as Christians, we must care about the plight of those suffering for their religious beliefs — even when those beliefs are very different from our own.”
“In China, the government has detained over 1 million Muslim Uighurs and subjects them to Communist Party indoctrination, forced labor and torture. Increasingly violent anti-Semitic attacks against Jews are on the rise in France. In Russia, Jehovah’s Witnesses regularly face criminal charges for practicing their faith. Iran’s Baha’i community is attacked for its religious identity. Yazidis in northern Iraq have been hunted mercilessly by ISIS, all for simply what they believe,” he wrote.
“These examples are all gross violations of the fundamental human right to religious freedom. In the face of such religious freedom violations and atrocities, it is my duty as a Christian to pray for these people and advocate for their religious freedom on their behalf.”