For Immediate Release
Contact: Paul Fidalgo
Phone: (207) 358-9785
May 17, 2018
The Center for Inquiry (CFI) categorically denounced the appointment of Tony Perkins, president of the Christian supremacist Family Research Council, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, citing Perkins’ theocratic agenda, his unrepentant villainization of Muslims, atheists, and the LGBTQ, and his association with and support for hate groups. CFI is an organization that advances reason, science, and secularism, and holds special consultative status with the United Nations with representation at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“Perkins has shown nothing but contempt for people with views that differ from his own,” said Jason Lemieux, CFI’s Director of Government Affairs. “At every step, Perkins endeavors to impose his religious beliefs on every person in the public sphere, and through the force of government when possible.”
Perkins has cast those with no religious beliefs as amoral, un-American, and perpetrating a “war on Christianity.” In the recent debate over whether the U.S. Navy should appoint a humanist chaplain, Perkins characterized the idea as “crazy,” “ridiculous,” and a “dilution” of the chaplaincy, callously disrespecting the U.S. military’s millions of nonreligious servicemembers. Over 30 percent of military servicemembers have no religious affiliation.
Perkins frequently expresses and encourages hostility toward the LGBTQ community, voicing support for the criminalization of homosexuality, blaming homosexuals for natural disasters and pedophelia, opposing anti-bullying measures for schools trying to protect LGBTQ students, and asserting that gays and lesbians seek to “destroy our nation.”
Perkins has also financially supported and spoken before groups with clear white supremacist connections.
Perkins’ antagonism toward religious freedom is also made clear in his demonization of Muslims, baselessly stoking fears about the imposition of “Sharia law” on Americans and asserting that Islam is “incompatible with American liberty,” which would be news to the millions of law-abiding, patriotic Muslim citizens of the United States.
“The only religious freedom that interests Tony Perkins is his own,” said Lemieux. “He seeks the freedom and the power to impose his restrictive, far-right, dogmatic beliefs on everyone, regardless of their faith or lack thereof. The U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom is far too important for it to be sullied by a man who can only serve to undermine it.”
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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at www.centerforinquiry.net.