WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he had selected ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson to serve as secretary of state, a move that some Christians have found to be concerning as Tillerson was considered a “key leader” in ending the ban on open homosexuals in the Boy Scouts and runs a company whose employee gift matching program includes donations to Planned Parenthood.
“I have chosen one of the truly great business leaders of the world, Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, to be Secretary of State,” Trump Tweeted early Tuesday morning.
“His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for secretary of state,” he also said in an official statement. “Rex knows how to manage a global enterprise, which is crucial to running a successful State Department, and his relationships with leaders all over the world are second to none.”
Tillerson has served as the president of ExxonMobil since 2004, and was president of the Boy Scouts of America from 201-2012. According to reports, Tillerson, who continued to serve on the board after his tenure, was instrumental in the organization’s decision to allow openly homosexual scouts and leaders.
“I can’t get into the intimacy of these conversations, but he agonized over this. He prayed on it, and ultimately he came to the conclusion the only thing that can guide him here is what’s best for the young boys,” John Hammer of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told the Dallas News in 2014. “I think he became a key leader in helping the group come to a consensus.”
The Baptist Press also reported in 2013 that Tillerson, a Congregationalist, met with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Frank Page, and explained why he believed the Boy Scout’s policy on open homosexuals should be overturned.
“There are changing cultural winds on the issue of homosexuality, Tillerson said,” the outlet reported. “Local scouting organizations would retain control over their local leadership, he said, and national gatherings of scouts would accommodate troops who don’t have gay leaders.”
Groups such as 2ndVote have also listed Tillerson’s ExxonMobil as being a donor to Planned Parenthood, although the company states that it only donates via its employee matching program.
“ExxonMobil funding for Planned Parenthood organizations have been made through our employee/retiree matching gift and volunteer programs, which exist to support our employees and retirees in their personal philanthropic giving and community involvement,” the company stated last year. “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.”
On Monday, Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, who had supported Trump’s candidacy, said that Trump’s consideration of Tillerson “should be particularly alarming to conservatives who’ve spent the last eight years watching the State Department lead the global parade for the slaughter of innocent unborn children and the intimidation of nations with natural views on marriage and sexuality.”
“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?” he asked.