Under Trump’s Conservative Christian CIA Director the Matthew Shepard Foundation Is Out, Tony Perkins Is In

 
 
 

'Pompeo Has Consulted With Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council'

President Donald Trump is turning federal government agencies into replicas from the 1950's, complete with upside down agendas on diversity, and a disturbing injection of far right wing Christian conservatives and their values. For example, there's Ben Carson. Rick Perry. Betsy DeVos. Jeff Sessions. And Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo is Trump's Director of the CIA, and according to various reports, he has actively been working to squelch diversity programs while remaking the CIA into a reflection of his personal brand of Christian evangelicalism. 

A former Tea Party Republican U.S. Congressman from Kansas, Pompeo resigned after being re-elected a third time to head the CIA, a position for which he is remarkably unqualified. Under President Barack Obama, Pompeo's predecessor, John Brennan, had worked at CIA for 25 years, and in the intelligence community for far longer. 

Pompeo has none of that background, (although he did sit on the House Intelligence Committee.)

But he does have strong anti-LGBT and anti-diversity beliefs.

This past summer Judy and Dennis Shepard, who founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation, "had been invited to the CIA to talk about diversity and LGBTQ rights, joining a long line of guest speakers at the covert overseas spy agency including lawmakers, former officials, authors, and celebrities," as Foreign Policy's Jenna Mclaughlin reports.

The Matthew Shepard Foundation is named for the late 21-year old whose tragic and horrific 1998 anti-gay murder ultimately led to, under President Obama, a federal hate crimes law bearing his name.

"The schedule was set," Foreign Policy notes of the speech by the Shepards, "and the details arranged, but in the 11th hour, the senior leadership shut down the event. The seventh floor, where the director's office sits, had the Shepards' speech canceled, questioning what value it would bring to the CIA mission."

The cancelation is now under investigation by the CIA's Office of General Counsel, and had "left employees disheartened — particularly those invested in the diversity reforms that were emphasized during the tenure of John Brennan, the former CIA director."

The CIA described the reasons for the cancellation as "materially false," though confirmed the event had been scheduled. "As we explained to the Shepards, CIA decided on a Pride month event with a national security focus and the event with Senator [Tammy] Baldwin achieved that goal," an agency spokesperson told FP.

Notably, Director Pompeo did not attend the Pride event.

"Questions about his commitment to diversity continued to dog Pompeo," Foreign Policy notes.

During his very first all-hands speech to the CIA workforce, Pompeo cheered the officers and analysts, pledging to support them. But on the issue of diversity, Pompeo's response raised concerns. According to two sources familiar with the speech, he was repeatedly asked about his commitment to diversity. After the third question, he visibly lost his temper. He snapped back, saying he didn't know what people wanted him to do besides seek out the best person for the job, one source who was present at the speech recalled.

"He didn't seem to understand the need for a workforce that reflects America," another source familiar with speech noted.

Director Pompeo is a Christian extremist who as a Congressman said, "Jesus Christ our Savior is truly the only solution for our world."

He takes part in the White House's weekly bible study group, led by a right wing extremist pastor whose own ministry declared him "not biblically qualified for spiritual leadership." The group is sponsored by Vice President Mike Pence. It reportedly meets during business hours.

And he opposes same-sex marriage.

Enter Family Research Council president Tony Perkins.

"As part of an effort to expand chaplain services to CIA employees," The Washington Post reported last month, "Pompeo has consulted with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled an anti-gay hate group."

Pompeo in fact has a long history with Tony Perkins. As a Congressman he appeared with Perkins on his daily radio show and on a Family Research Council podcast. He's spoken at FRC's annual Values Voter Summit. 

Perkins and Pompeo were among the national co-chairs of candidate Donald Trump's Pro-Life Coalition.

Pompeo makes no effort to hide his strong Christian identity.

"We will defend our Christian values and American exceptionalism with all our heart," Pompeo said at a 2015 'God and Country' rally, The New York Times reports.

The battle for those values, he said, is "a never-ending struggle" — never ending, that is, "until the rapture." 

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