They’ve been around for a long time, but with Trump in the White House and the GOP in control of Congress, the leaders of the religious right have more influence over policy than any time in recent memory.
Their proximity to power, and desire to drag the LGBT community and the rest of the country back several decades makes them more dangerous than ever, and more of a threat to gains we’ve only just made.
Here are the most dangerous religious right leaders in Trump’s America and why they are such a threat to LGBTQ people.
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Family Research Council president Tony Perkins has been promoting the religious right’s agenda in Washington and state legislatures across the country since he took over the organization in 2003. Under Perkin’s watch, the Southern Poverty Law Center classified the Family Research Council as a hate group.
When he’s not chastising Google’s lack of an Easter “doodle, covering up sexual assault, or excusing Donald Trump’s tawdry affairs, Perkins targets LGBT rights he and his followers want the Trump administration to obliterate.
Clergyman and retired professional basketball player Ralph Drollinger is president of Capitol Ministries. He leads a weekly Bible study for members of Congress and Donald Trump’s cabinet — including embattled Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt.
Drollinger — who has called homosexuality an “abomination, classified Catholicism as a “false religion,” and claimed that God doesn’t hear prayers from Jews — recently distributed to public officials a study titled “Coming to Grips with the Religion of Environmentalism.” The study draws heavily from the book of Genesis, in which God grants man dominion over the Earth and its creatures.
Pentecostal Bishop Harry Jackson is best known for leading the failed effort to oppose marriage equality in Washington, DC. He’s also known for claiming that gay parents are harmful to children and that gays “want to recruit” children. Jackson is frequently the religious right’s “go to” man for appealing to African-Americans.
American Family Radio host and Fox News contributor, Sandy Rios was previously president of Concerned Women for America and is known for taking to the airwaves to claim that LGBTQ people are “disordered” and incapable of military service, and trans people will “mainstream pedophilia.” Rios also characterized the hate crime murder of Matthew Shepard as a “complete fraud.”
More recently, Rios led a boycott against Target for allowing customers to use the restrooms that match their gender identity. The Southern Poverty Law Center designates Rios’ organization, the American Family Association, as a hate group.
Janet Porter began her career as a religious right activist in the 1990s and currently leads Faith2Action. Most recently in the news for her support of failed Alamaba Senate candidate Roy Moore, Porter is also known for advocating a “Heatbeat Bill” that would outlaw abortion if a fetal heartbeat could be detected.
Porter has also tried her hand at propaganda, producing a trailer for a movie claiming that the gay rights movement sought the “criminalization of Christianity.” Porter also attacked Disney World for allowing “public displays of perversion” during the park’s famed “Gay Day at Disney.”