Major religious organizations such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Fellowship Foundation have together spent close to a quarter of a billion dollars in the last 13 years against LGBTQ and abortion rights according to a report by Open Democracy. Matt Tracy, Gay City News’ digital editor, wrote that this new report exposes “the depth of cash flowing from American Christian anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion groups into dangerous campaigns against reproductive rights and queer rights across the globe.” The LGBTQ community has struggled to achieve the rights they have today, and these religious organizations are willing to spend millions to continue persecuting this group of people. In addition to this, American Center for Law and Justice added $17.7 million to the campaign against LGBTQ and has employed Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, as its chief counsel. The campaign against LGBTQ rights goes beyond America and extends to foreign nations as well.
Tracy noted that, according to the Open Democracy report, anti-LGBTQ groups were “simultaneously juggling those foreign influence projects with efforts to lock up close ties to Trump.” The report also reveals “just how connected the president is to the far-right’s agenda.” With half of these groups having close ties to President Trump, it is undeniable that he has connections and close ties to the anti-LGBTQ movement. There has also been, Tracy wrote, “an unmistakable focus on Africa, which many Christian groups have eyed in recent decades.” For example, the Fellowship Foundation is reported to have spent more than three-quarters of its cash in Africa, including support for Ugandan lawmaker David Bahati, the author of a notorious “Kill the Gays” bill from 2014. Peter Tatchell, a well-known British gay activist, wrote to Gay City News describing this movement as “Christian imperialism” and “menacing the well-being and human rights of millions of LGBTQ people.”
Corporate media coverage of anti-LGBTQ religious organizations funding efforts to promote homophobic and transphobic policies has been sparse. A March 2020 NBC News article reported on a study, conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which found that anti-LGBTQ hate groups were on the rise in US, but NBC’s report did not address the amount of money being invested by those anti-LGBTQ hate groups. The report made no mention of anti-LGBTQ juggernauts like the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and its programs in foreign nations. In October 2020, Time magazine published a report based on the same Open Democracy study covered by Matt Tracy for Gay City News. However Time’s reporting of religious anti-LGBTQ organizations focused more on the connections these groups have with the Trump administration, while making only passing reference to the groups’ spending on anti-LGBTQ campaigns in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Source: Matt Tracy, “Report Exposes Trump’s Ties to Religious Right Global Anti-LGBTQ Campaigns” Gay City News, October 29, 2020, https://www.gaycitynews.com/report-exposes-trumps-ties-to-religious-right-global-anti-lgbtq-campaigns/
Student Researcher: Tritan Hai To (Diablo Valley College)
Faculty Evaluator: Mickey Huff (Diablo Valley College)