Washington, DC — The Secular Coalition for America released a statement today in response to news that Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council (FRC), has been appointed to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission authorized to travel on fact-finding missions to other countries, hold public hearings, and issue an annual report on the state of international religious freedom.
“Tony Perkins is a Christian supremacist whose sole mission is to ensure that his religious beliefs are enshrined into law,” said Larry T. Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. “Perkins is not a champion of religious liberty, he is a crusader for religious privilege who peddles in bigotry and hate. The United States has long been an advocate for persecuted religious minorities and nontheists across the globe. By appointing Tony Perkins to the USCIRF, Senator Mitch McConnell has traded our country’s credibility for political points with the religious right.”
While serving as the President of FRC, Perkins has frequently disparaged religious minorities, nontheists, and LGBT persons. In 2010, Perkins defended legislation passed in Uganda that made homosexuality a capital offense punishable by death. On his radio show, Perkins declared the United States is a “Christian nation” which is being “held captive by a small and politically correct minority.” On that same show, Perkins referred to advocates for the separation of church and state as “cultural terrorists.” In 2015, Perkins said that Islam is “a comprehensive system which is incompatible with the Constitution.” And just this year, Perkins opposed allowing humanists to serve in the Chaplaincy Corps because “there aren’t any atheists in Foxholes.”
During his two-year term on the commission, Perkins has announced that he intends to continue serving as the President of Family Research Council.