“For me, I am an evangelical Christian and I believe Jesus Christ is my Savior.”
“I swore an oath to the U.S. Constitution … but the person I am is important for people to understand.”
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended being outspoken about his evangelical faith as he spoke before an annual gathering of conservative Christian voters Tuesday night, saying that religion “drives” how people think about the world and their families.
Pompeo, a former congressman and CIA director, sat down with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins for a video interview that aired during the first night of FRC’s annual Values Voter Summit, an event that traditionally takes place in-person in the nation’s capital but this year is being held online because of the pandemic.
The 56 year old, who has often been vocal about his faith and spoken about his Christian identity in speeches overseas and at some prominent American evangelical churches, was offered the chance to defend his action of putting his faith out in the forefront despite criticism from some atheists and secularists.
“People appreciate knowing who you are, that you are authentic and that you don’t hide the things that drive you, the central underpinnings of who you are,” Pompeo said.
“For me, I am an evangelical Christian and I believe Jesus Christ is my Savior. I think when I meet with counterparts, whether they are from an Arab state that is a majority-Muslim country or in Israel, a predominantly Jewish country, I think they appreciate people who are consistent and know where you are coming from. We all have different ideas. Those three religions have some centrality. They come from Abrahamic faiths. But they appreciate that.”
Earlier this month, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice criticized Pompeo for being an “overtly religious secretary of state” after he gave a video speech played during the Republican National Convention that he recorded while he was in Jerusalem. Rice claimed that it was “problematic” because he’s “supposed to represent all of America” and its religions, Christian Post reported.
While speaking with Perkins, Pompeo referenced a speech he gave when he went to Cairo, Egypt, last year. He talked about being an evangelical Christian and how “we’re all children of Abraham.”
“I still get notes to this day from people all around the world [who say that] ‘for you to stand in Cairo and talk about your being an evangelical Christian but recognizing that the people in Egypt were predominantly from a different religion, but you could find places where you could work together and make life better for people of both countries,’” Pompeo said.
“I think that is the way diplomacy is best conducted when people are honest about who they are, what drives them. … I swore an oath to the U.S. Constitution … but the person I am is important for people to understand.”