This is a guest post by Megan Hamilton. She is a life-long atheist who’s been writing about politics since 2011. She lives in Central America.
The U.S. State Department has apparently gone full Christian.
At least that’s how it appears if you click on the website’s homepage, where you’ll find a photo of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo above the headline “Being A Christian Leader.”
If that isn’t creepy, I don’t know what is. Replace “Christian” with any other religious label and you can imagine FOX News covering nothing else for days on end.
If you click on the link you’ll find a video of a cheery, smiling Pompeo, addressing an audience of the gullible at the American Association of Christian Counselors in Nashville, Tennessee on October 11.
Pompeo wants everyone to know he’s a card-carrying Christian who keeps a Bible open on his desk every day and uses it all the time. Not only that, but it “informs everything I do,” he told the audience:
I know that even having just said that, I know some people in the media will break out the pitchforks when they hear that I ask God for direction in my work… But you should know, as much as I’d like to claim originality, it is not a new idea… I love this quote from President Lincoln. He said that he – he said, quote, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”
Apparently Pompeo thinks God is telling him to hamper the ongoing impeachment inquiry since that’s precisely what he did, telling House Democrats early on that no State Department officials would give depositions to committees conducting the inquiry. Pompeo stood quietly by, listening in on Donald Trump’s infamous phone call to the president of Ukraine, and helped launch a particularly nasty attack on Marie Yovanovitch, our now former ambassador to Ukraine.
D.C. lawmakers have issued subpoenas for him and other State Department officials to hand over crucial documents and he has been fighting that fiercely as well. Surely there’s a Bible verse that justifies that.
In fact, he’s pulling out all of his weapons to obliterate democracy, all to support a man whose presidency is built upon a mountain of lies. At least in that sense, the religious link is solid.
But during his speech, his words were balm to the foolish as he told the audience that his job was somehow similar to theirs. Because in his twisted mind, beating the drums of war against Iran and helping his boss dig up dirt on his political opponents was just how he practiced being a good Christian.
We’re both in very people-intensive lines of work, and we’re both appealing to the hearts and minds to change behaviors. As believers, we draw on the wisdom of God to help us get it right, to be a force for good in the life of human beings.
A force for good. Like when he withdrew U.S. troops from Syria, thus spurring Turkey to bomb innocent Kurdish people to smithereens. (Just like Jesus wanted.) And just like when his boss somehow crushed ISIS when all that really happened was that ISIS found new life. Pompeo is completely “pro-life”… unless the deaths include innocent people in another country.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State has already issued a condemnation of the speech and the website. President and CEO Rachel Laser said, “It’s perfectly fine for Secretary Pompeo to be a leader who is Christian. But he cannot use his government position to impose his faith on the rest of us — that is a fundamental violation of the separation of religion and government.”
The American Humanist Association also chimed in:
“While today may be a great day to be a Christian nationalist, it’s a terrible day to be a person who cares deeply about the United States of America, religious plurality and diversity, or true religious freedom,” noted Sarah Henry, a spokesperson for the nontheistic advocacy organization.
Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, said that, “the Trump administration’s flagrant promotion of Christian ideology is a gift to Christian nationalists. This religious favoritism is the kind of abuse of their duty to represent all Americans equally that demonstrates how fundamentalism is the driving force of this administration’s agenda.”
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s founder and president Mikey Weinstein was blunt as usual, calling the State Department website a “disgusting and repulsive prima facie example of fundamentalist Christian extremism, bullying, supremacy, domination, harassment and exceptionalism.”
Pompeo was once asked if he believed that God made Trump president “to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace.” His answer was “It’s possible.” Pompeo has also said the wars plaguing the Middle East are a “never-ending struggle” until “the rapture.”
Really, this is so typical of evangelical Christians. They’re all fine with climate chaos, fanatical religious factions murdering innocent people all over the world, and the villainous and vile people like Trump running the world. Pompeo is no different.
If this is the Christian way of “being a force for good,” the world can do without it.