Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney accused previous White House administrations of withholding foreign aid from countries in sub-Saharan Africa to secure compliance with left-wing policy initiatives on “abortion [and] gay marriage.”
He offered his remarks on Tuesday at the State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, DC.
Mulvaney noted that American taxpayers’ dollars were offered and denied depending on whether the countries in question rejected what he referred to as “Christian values” but specified as opposition to abortion and gay marriage.
Our U.S. taxpayer dollars are used to discourage Christian values in other democratic countries. It was stunning to me that my government under a previous administration would go to folks in sub-Saharan Africa and say, “We know that you have a law against abortion, but if you enforce that law, you’re not going to get any of our money. We know you have a law against gay marriage, but if you enforce that law, we’re not going to give you any money.”
That’s a different type of religious persecution. … That is a different type of religious persecution that I never expected to see. I never expected to see that as an American Christian.
While Mulvaney did not specify which previous administration he referred to, the most recent to do so prior to the Trump administration was that of former President Barack Obama. The Obama administration highlighted its support for expanding abortion rights – including the spending of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars towards that end under the guise of “reproductive health” – under a policy “fact sheet.”
During Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, the Obama administration reportedly “spent tens of millions of dollars trying to block anti-gay laws, punish countries that enacted them, and tie financial assistance to respect for LGBT rights.”
The Obama administration also revoked Gambia’s preferential trade status following what the Associated Press described as an “LGBT crackdown.”
A 2015 New York Times report noted that over half a billion dollars were earmarked by the Obama administration for global spending on “marginalized groups,” tens of millions of which went to “support gay communities and causes.”
Mulvaney also spoke of persecution of Christians beyond the West. “[A Catholic patriarch in Rome] explained to me … he said, ‘Mick, what you don’t understand is, living in the West, living in the U.S. as a Christian, you live in a post-Constantinian world. You don’t know what it’s like to have been martyred for the cause. It’s too remote for you. In the East, we can still be killed for our faith.'”
In the fourth century, Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and legalized its practice. Decades after Constantine’s death, Christianity became the Roman Empire’s state religion.
The State Department described its ministerial event as a bringing together of Christian and other religious leaders from around the world to advocate for global religious freedom, including within Muslim-majority nations like Pakistan, predominantly Hindu India, and communist China, where both Christians and Muslims are persecuted and the basis of religion.
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