CLEVELAND, Ohio, July 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continued to send mixed signals on social issues in the days leading to his formally accepting the party’s nomination on Thursday night.
After the GOP adopted what has been called the most pro-life and family platform in its history — including rejecting last year’s Supreme Court decision redefining marriage along with Barack Obama’s transgender bathroom edict — an openly gay tech investor will take the stage to speak just before Trump’s appearance closes the convention.
Billionaire Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Thiel, a delegate from California, is one of Thursday’s three headliners scheduled before Trump’s speech.
Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal and the first outside investor in Facebook, is known as a libertarian politically, and according to Inside Philanthropy, he was a donor to the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), a nonprofit organization established in 2009 to support the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit challenging California's Proposition 8 law protecting marriage.
The Trump campaign played down the significance of its choice of Thiel, just the third open homosexual to speak at a Republican National Convention, attributing it to Thiel’s friendship with Trump and his business background, and indicating Thiel’s sexuality or support for LGBT causes did not factor in.
“He’ll be talking about Donald Trump the man he knows and as a successful entrepreneur,” Trump’s convention manager Paul Manafort said in a report from TIME.
“People are going to be speaking at this convention based on what they want to say, not on any particular sexual preference or things like that, so I don’t think that’s the basis for why he’s on the program.”
Trump’s candidacy has remained unsolidified on marriage and abortion throughout the campaign, including his statement last year that conservatives should accept the Obergefell decision redefining marriage, causing concern among pro-life and family advocates.
However, more recently Trump pledged support for issues concerning faith-based voters in a recent meeting with evangelical leaders and he has made several statements indicating he would fight for religious freedom and appoint constitutionalist judges to the Supreme Court.
Trump has also stated more than once recently that he would repeal the Johnson Amendment, the 1954 measure forbidding churches from endorsing political candidates, considered by pastors as a danger to free speech via the threat of losing tax-exempt status.
Trump’s mixed message on social issues was further augmented by the choice to feature Thiel because of PayPal’s record of support for Planned Parenthood and homosexual activism.
PayPal has spent years on Life Decisions International’s Planned Parenthood Boycott list, landing there as recently as 2015.
The global payment processing company bowed several years ago to homosexual activist pressure to deny service to a Christian ministry and a Christian blogger because of their so-called “hate” and “extremism.”
PayPal’s more recent fiscal move against the state of North Carolina for enacting legislation supporting its residents’ privacy and security was a blow to both religious freedom and jobs in the area.
PayPal pulled out of plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte in response to Gov. Pat McCrory having signed H.B. 2 into law, overturning the Charlotte City ordinance forcing businesses to give biological males access to female restrooms and showers. PayPal’s move cost the area 400 jobs.
Trump had first criticized HB 2, saying in April that North Carolina should not have passed the law, but then earlier this month he changed his position, saying he was on the state’s side and stating, “I’ve spoken with your governor, I’ve spoken with a lot of people and I’m going with the state.”
In the midst of the H.B. 2 controversy in May, Trump said he would repeal Obama's federal guidelines released that month requiring public schools to open their showers, restrooms, and locker rooms to members of the opposite biological sex.
Local pro-life and family advocates praised the GOP for its platform plank standing by the 24 states that have resisted the Obama transgender bathroom directive by bringing legal action, and also called on Trump to uphold the platform and to stand by his support of H.B.2.
“Mr. Thiel, like all attendees at the RNC, come together to support the party’s platform and Donald Trump’s commitment for pro-life and pro-family policies,” North Carolina Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald told LifeSiteNews. “We expect Mr. Trump to continue to support HB2 and North Carolina’s common sense policy that men should never be granted access to women’s bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms.”
Fitzgerald went on to say the PayPal decision to go back on its plan for opening its global operations there because of H.B. 2 associates the company with a dangerous ideology, and encouraged its supporters to use the same approach as PayPal by taking their business elsewhere.
“PayPal’s decision to renege on their commitment to North Carolina aligns the company with sexual predators seeking easy access into women’s bathrooms and fitting rooms,” she said. “NC Values continue to encourage all our coalition members to stop using PayPal in favor of providers, such as Cornerstone Payment Systems, for their payment services.”