- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Evangelical leader Tony Perkins is raising concerns about Rex Tillerson, calling the nominated secretary of state the “greatest ally” liberals would have in the forthcoming Trump administration due to the oil and gas executive’s stances on social issues.

President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday morning named Mr. Tillerson to be his secretary of state. The Senate then decides whether or not to confirm.

Mr. Perkins, who heads the Family Research Council, pointed specifically to Mr. Tillerson’s advocacy to allow openly gay youths to join the Boy Scouts of America and donations made by ExxonMobil, where Mr. Tillerson is CEO and chairman, to Planned Parenthood.

“Still, Trump calls Rex a ‘world class player and dealmaker,’ but if these are the kinds of deals Tillerson makes — sending dollars to an abortion business that’s just been referred for criminal prosecution and risking the well-being of young boys under his charge in an attempt to placate radical homosexual activists — then who knows what sort of ‘diplomacy’ he would champion at DOS?” Mr. Perkins wrote in an FRC blog post on Monday.

Mr. Tillerson served as president of the Boy Scouts from 2010 to 2012. In 2013, the scouting organization voted to extend membership to openly gay youths. Mr. Tillerson was “instrumental” in lobbying the board to make that change, the Dallas Morning News reported in 2014.

Two years after allowing openly gay members, the Boy Scouts lifted the ban on openly gay leaders and employees. Individual units can still consider religious criteria, including sexuality, in choosing troop leaders. Mr. Tillerson still sits on the Boy Scouts’ national executive board.

SEE ALSO: Donald Trump picks Rex Tillerson to lead State Department

As a part of corporate policy, Exxon matches the charitable contributions of its current and former employees, including donations made to Planned Parenthood.

“ExxonMobil’s giving through these programs is based entirely on employees and retirees’ support for these organizations and does not reflect ExxonMobil’s philanthropic priorities or support for community causes,” the corporation told the Daily Signal in 2015.

Mr. Tillerson’s close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin have also come under scrutiny during the selection process for the next secretary of state. The executive received Russia’s prestigious Order of Friendship in 2011 after striking a deal giving Exxon access to Arctic resources and allowing the Kremlin-backed oil company OAO Rosneft to invest in the company’s concessions around the world.

Mr. Perkins said that is just “one hurdle” Mr. Tillerson will have to clear in confirmation hearings with Senate Republicans.

He said beliefs on social issues are relevant to the job of the nation’s top diplomat, pointing to the Obama administration’s policy of imposing permissive values on countries with more traditional cultures.

“No sooner had Hillary Clinton taken over the State Department in 2009 than the White House ordered her to use the agency as a club to beat other nations into submission on sensitive culture issues — a tradition that successor John Kerry has been all too eager to continue,” Mr. Perkins wrote.

He said Mr. Tillerson threatens to “continue to advocate (however subtly) the leftist social policy of the Obama years.”

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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