Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and host of "The 700 Club," said Wednesday that God will not stand for an initiative announced by President Barack Obama that will use U.S. tax dollars to help change policies deemed discriminatory against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in countries where their sexual orientation puts them at risk. Not only will God not stand for it, Robertson said, but “when the blow comes, it’s going to be horrible.”
“Isn’t it appalling that the United States of America would try to force the acceptance of homosexuality on other nations but at the same time we would not force them to take care of their religious minorities and they would permit discrimination and persecution of Christians?” Robertson said.
The outspoken conservative continued: “What kind of a country have we got? You know, there is a God in heaven and He is just. Thomas Jefferson, ‘I tremble when I remember that God is just.’ He is just, he is not going to allow this kind of thing to go on forever. This country cannot continue to violate God’s principles and to make a mockery of His laws and think we’re going to get away with it. And when the blow comes, it’s going to be horrible.”
Robertson was not alone among conservative Christian commentators who strongly disagreed with President Obama's foreign aid plan. Radio talk show host Janet Mefferd dismissed Obama's statement that promoting LGBT rights in foreign countries should be a priority for Americans.
“Let’s get our priorities straight here, in other words, why are we even focusing on this?” she said. “I can understand countries where people are being flagrantly persecuted for their faith but this one. I don’t see that this is something that the United States has to jump in on because it’s such a huge global tragedy. It’s crazy."
Mefferd also argued that a bill banning same-sex marriage recently passed in Nigeria's senate is not enough reason for the U.S. to get involved in promoting gay rights abroad.
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“They’re saying it’s all homophobia in Nigeria, according to the law I guess in Nigeria not only is gay marriage a crime punishable by a fourteen year jail term but any person who registers, operates or participates in gay organizations faces a decade in jail, a clause that specifically targets the many active sexuality-rights advocacy groups in the country,” Mefferd said.
She added: “Alright, but they’re not killing them are they?”
Obama issued a memorandum on Dec. 6 that announced his plan to promote gay rights abroad. “I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world,” Obama wrote. “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.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also addressed the issue of promoting LGBT rights on Tuesday in Geneva, pointing to religious and cultural beliefs as hinderances to such an agenda.
“Now, raising this issue, I know, is sensitive for many people and that the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights of LGBT people rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural, and religious beliefs,” said Clinton.
Critics have expressed concern that the United States is giving preference to promoting gay rights on the international stage while neglecting to ensure religious freedoms abroad.