Donald Trump Makes Flood Relief Donation to Tony Perkins's Church

Tony Perkins and Donald Trump
From left: Tony Perkins and Donald Trump

Donald Trump has reportedly donated $100,000 to help Louisiana residents affected by disastrous floods — but he’s put it in the hands of an anti-LGBT church whose interim pastor is Tony Perkins, head of the infamously homophobic Family Research Council.

CNN’s Ashley Killough, who is covering Trump’s presidential campaign, reported the donation via Twitter:

Trump visited the church, located in the Baton Rouge suburb of Greenwell Springs, and made other stops in the area at the invitation of Perkins. The church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, which believes that being LGBT is a sin. The Greenwell Springs church’s website includes a “Statement on Marriage and Sexuality,” which reads in part:

We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God.

It asks church employees and volunteers to “abide by and agree to” the statement and “conduct themselves accordingly.”

Eighty percent of the church’s members were affected in some way by the flooding, The New Civil Rights Movement reports. Based on the church’s Facebook page,  its disaster relief efforts appear to be aimed at the entire community, not just church members — and one hopes it will deliver this aid without discrimination.

Perkins was directly affected by the floods as well, as his home in the area was severely damaged. Some news outlets have seen a bit of irony in this, reporting that Perkins has previously blamed LGBT advances for bringing on God’s wrath in the form of natural disasters. Actually, unlike Pat Robertson and other members of the Christian right, he has apparently never directly said this — but he hasn’t disagreed with statements to that effect either.

In October of last year, a minister named Jonathan Cahn appeared on Perkins’s radio show and said Hurricane Joaquin, which hit the Bahamas and threatened the East Coast of the U.S., was a sign of God’s dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. Perkins, according to fact-checking website Snopes.com, commented on Cahn’s claim by saying that perhaps God was “trying to send us a message.”

Perkins’s group did blame a human act, the Boston marathon bombing in 2013, partly on “sexual liberalism.” In an email to supporters in April of that year, the Family Research Council denounced congressional calls for stricter gun control in the wake of that attack and the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., at the end of 2012.

“America doesn't need gun control, it needs self-control,” the email read in part. “And a Congress that actively discourages it — through abortion, family breakdown, sexual liberalism, or religious hostility — is only compounding the problem.”

Perkins, as a Louisiana delegate to this year’s Republican National Convention, took credit for helping to create what even the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay conservative group, termed the most anti-LGBT platform in party history. It continues to oppose marriage equality, denounces the Obama administration’s call for transgender students’ access to gendered facilities of their choice, and contends that parents have a right to enroll their children in any kind of therapy. The last is a thinly veiled endorsement of “ex-gay” therapy, even though major medical groups condemn it as ineffective and harmful, and several states and cities have barred licensed professionals from subjecting minors to it.

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