Tony Perkins, who leads the anti-LGBTQ group Family Research Council, is now the leader of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a government organization dedicated to religious freedom. Perkins, who has said that religious liberties don’t apply to Muslims, was initially appointed to the committee by Sen. Mitch McConnell.
It is uncertain whether Perkins will be able to set aside his decidedly conservative Christian beliefs in order to advocate for religious freedom worldwide, since he does not seem to do so in the United States. Southern Poverty Law Center says,
“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.”
While Perkins’s position on the USCIRF may not allow him to necessarily harm non-Christian groups, the amplification of his voice may have implications for matters of international religious freedom.