Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has garnered controversy over her criticizing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for having “overtly religious” beliefs.
In an interview last week on MSNBC, Rice talked with concern about Pompeo’s decision to give a speech for the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem while on a diplomatic trip.
“Secretaries of State are supposed to honor the principle that politics end at the waters’ edge and when you go overseas, as secretary or as a junior foreign service officer, you’re representing the country, not a political party,” said Rice.
“What Mike Pompeo is doing from Jerusalem is absolutely outrageous, it’s an abuse of his office, it undermines the integrity of the State Department, it violates his own rules that he promulgated and is holding every other official in the State Department to.”
The former Obama administration official also expressed concern about how open Pompeo is about his evangelical Christian beliefs.
“Mike Pompeo has been an overtly religious secretary of state, which in itself is problematic because, again, he’s supposed to represent all of America, all of our religions, all of our threads,” she added.
Ashley McGuire of The Catholic Association told the Washington Free Beacon that she believed Rice’s comment “perpetuates the Democratic Party’s pattern of anti-religious bigotry.”
“Democrats have made it clear that they think faith has no place out in the open in America,” said McGuire. “In fact it is America’s long-standing tradition of protecting the right of people of all faiths, including those who hold public office, to speak openly about their beliefs, that has made this a pluralistic country.”
Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principles Project, also denounced Rice’s comments, arguing that they hold significance for the 2020 presidential election.
“We know Democrats will be even more hostile to religious Americans should they gain the White House and Congress next year, so Rice's comments should be another giant warning sign for voters of faith,” Schilling told the Beacon.
“Democrats like Susan Rice can't help but show their disgust when conservative Christians dare to even mention their faith.”
Emerald Robinson, a correspondent with NewsMax and formerly with OANN, took to Twitter to denounce the comment Rice made about Pompeo.
“Susan Rice doesn’t like Christians. Susan Rice doesn’t like Republicans. And no one ever accused Susan Rice of being religious,” she tweeted earlier this week, getting more than 1,400 likes as of Wednesday.
This is not the first time that progressives have taken issue with Pompeo openly expressing his religious beliefs while serving as secretary of state.
Last October, Pompeo garnered controversy over a speech at the American Association of Christian Counselors’ World Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, titled “Being a Christian Leader.”
During the speech, Pompeo told the counselors that, just like them, he draws on the “wisdom of God” to help him “be a force for good in the life of human beings.”
In response, Americans United for Separation of Church & State called for Pompeo to be investigated for propagating an “unconstitutional endorsement of religion.”
“While Mr. Pompeo is entirely free to engage in religious activities in his personal capacity, he must not use his official role as Secretary of State to promote his religion,” stated the group in a letter to the Office of the Inspector General.
“In his role as secretary, delivering a speech that enthusiastically endorses Christianity is a violation of the Establishment Clause.”