Speaking at the Prestonwood Baptist Church in Texas on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed America’s responsibility to model Christian behavior and to be a light unto the world amid pressure from critics who say faith must be kept out of the public square.
Jack Graham, the pastor of the Plano megachurch, introduced Secretary Pompeo, saying his resume is incredible but “first and foremost, he’s a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and a believer in our Savior.”
Pompeo said the world is watching how America leads and they should know “America’s foundation as a Judeo-Christian nation.”
“Faith in the public square is not only lawful but righteous. This faith is not only powerful, but required by the American tradition,” he said and quoted one of the Founding Fathers, George Washington: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable support.”
Pompeo said the Founding Fathers “put protection of human dignity and human freedom at the heart of our founding documents … To this day, America reflects this.”
The work of the State Department, the secretary noted, must also reflect that.
Giving an example of what a godless nation would look like, he referred to the communist nation of China, where Uighur Muslims are being subjected to internment in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Estimates suggest that over 1 million to as many as 3 million Uighur Muslims and other minority groups in Western China have been placed in internment camps.
Pompeo said the United States is taking that seriously for the first time under the Trump administration.
In May, Congress passed the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 nearly unanimously to safeguard the rights of the religious minority group.
Pompeo shared with the congregation that the wife of a Chinese Christian believer once wrote to him, urging prayers for her husband who had been kept incommunicado in a prison in China.
The responsibility to pray is fundamentally American too, the secretary said. “We should pray; that’s the first of all things.”
He continued, “If you hide your light in an open society like ours, that sends a terrible message to places that are more difficult.”
There will always be critics who would say speaking up about your faith is not the right thing to do, he acknowledged. “But don’t be discouraged; it means you’ve got conviction and that you showed it.”
Pompeo said a previous national security adviser criticized him, arguing that “it was problematic that Mike Pompeo is overtly religious.” He was referring to former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice who made the comments last month.
He also cited The New York Times that said, “No Secretary of State in recent decades has been as open and fervent as Mike Pompeo about discussing Christianity and foreign policy in the same breath.”
Pompeo underlined, “Connecting faith to America’s foreign policy is imperative. It’s a good thing.” He said about a week ago, he saw that at the White House, where the leaders of two Muslim nations made peace with the Jewish state of Israel.
In a joint statement last month, President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed said the parties had “agreed to the full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.”
Earlier this month, a member of the Norwegian Parliament, Christian Tybring-Gjedde, nominated Trump for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, citing his work in helping to broker a historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
“Faith strengthens American diplomacy, it doesn’t diminish it," Pompeo said.
“It is in the places where faith is suppressed or targeted for total erasure, we see brutality and evil, and where humanity is most oppressed.”
Pompeo said it was “a privilege to serve as America’s 70th Secretary of State. It’s only because of God’s grace in my life that I’ve had this chance.”
He shared that he keeps a Bible on his office table and digs into God’s Word each and every day.
He cited Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
“Don’t ever give up shining the light," he emphasized. "Don’t ever walk away from an opportunity to put faith in the public square. Do walk with the Lord and keep at it. Stay true. Keep believing. All of us together, we’ll make this nation a light unto the world.”