Christianity infests the State Department, violating the First Amendment

October 15, 2019 • 8:15 am

Newsweek and HuffPo report that this was the the U.S. Department of State’s homepage yesterday:

I checked a few minutes ago, and the homepage entry has been changed to this:

HuffPo reports this:

The U.S. State Department’s main homepage was updated on Monday to show a photo of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with the headline: “Being A Christian Leader.”

The phrase refers to a speech he gave in Nashville last week:

“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,” Pompeo said in the speech, according to the rest of the remarks on the State Department website. “I know some people in the media will break out the pitchforks when they hear that I ask God for direction in my work.”

The headline on the State Department homepage was changed later in the day to read: “Secretary Pompeo at the America Association of Christian Counselors.” By nighttime, the page was changed completely to a report about sanctions against Turkey.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State slammed the speech and the government website makeover.

“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,” CEO Rachel Laser said in a news release. “That is a fundamental violation of the separation of religion and government.”

Newsweek adds this:

Titled “Being a Christian Leader” and promoted in his official government capacity on the homepage for the State Department, religious and civil liberties organizations have decried it as a potential violation of the U.S. Constitution’s intended separation of church and state.

“I keep a Bible open on my desk, and I try every morning to try and get in a little bit of time with the Book,” Pompeo said, describing how the texts sacred to Christians influences his disposition, engagement with others and decisions. “We should all remember that we are imperfect servants serving a perfect God who constantly forgives us each and every day.”

This was clearly a violation of the First Amendment: you don’t get to tout the Secretary of State as espousing Christian values on a State Department homepage. A Muslim politician from Virginia got it right:

39 thoughts on “Christianity infests the State Department, violating the First Amendment

  1. A Christian he may be but a leader, please don’t make the low moral state department any sicker than they already are. Of course he is a violation of the constitution and in many ways. This idiot is from Kansas.

    1. The former USA doesn’t have a true Secretary of State. Mike Pompeo, like his Trump Creature predecessors, is just a Secretary of State impersonator.

    2. Yeah, he’s from Kansas and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Pompeo get out of Dodge (or I guess, in this instance, get back to Dodge) and away from the rapidly deteriorating Trump administration by deciding to run for the safely Republican US senate seat that’s coming open next year in Kansas with the retirement of the petrified-wood-like Pat Roberts.

      All Pompeo needs to do is to find an escape hatch that doesn’t make him look like too big a piece of shit and, thereby, risk alienating the Trump dead-enders (who are legion in Kansas). Pompeo, who is a world-class suck-up, will probably try to do it by heaping fulsome flattery and praise on Trump, about what an honor it has been to serve the Great Man, on his way out the door.

      1. Yes, old Pompeo is a product of the Koch brothers so he was probably at home with the oil and gas boys over in the Ukraine and Russia. He has really stepped in it this time and Trump will be the end of him as with many others. Just started reading Blowout by Rachel Maddow. A good place to learn about the standard corruption and greed in the world yesterday and today.

  2. Low moralE I think you mean, but under Trump what’s left of the State Department may well be low-moral as well.

  3. “… I ask God for direction in my work.”

    Jeez, Mike, did the Good Lord tell you to abandon your obligations as US Secretary of State and let Rudy Giuliani run a shadow for-profit foreign policy in Ukraine and to turn your back on honest, patriotic State Department employees like Marie Yovanovitch?

    Exactly how did He communicate that to you, Mike? If there are emails or text messages in which you got your directions from God, hope you saved ’em, ’cause there are impeachment-inquiry subpoenas comin’ your way.

    Might wanna put that in your pipe and pray on it, big guy.

    1. If by g*d you mean Trump then emails will not get it. Trump doesn’t do email, too busy with twitter.

  4. Good grief. Pompeo is quite a politician. He panders when there’s no election. He tosses Christianity around freely as if, like tRump, he’s saying, “ya, it’s illegal. So what?”

  5. I suspect that this appearance by SecState Pompeo before the America Association of Christian Counselors, in tandem with Attorney General William Barr’s speech at Notre Dame last week bellyaching about the persecution of US Christians, is part of Trump’s strategy to “cry havoc and let slip the dogs of religion” in order to shore up support among the Religious Right (which is POed about Trump green-lighting the slaughter of Kurds and, even more so, of Syrian Christians, by the Arab militia shock troops sent in by Turkey’s Erdoğan).

  6. “How did it come to this?”

    Our institutions have been thoroughly infiltrated by religious nut-jobs of low moral character and bronze age world views. If we don’t manage to clean house of these people the US will continue to devolve towards Banana Republic. Right now the US is run by what amounts to a not particularly competent mafia-like crime organization. And the religious nut-jobs are the cadre for this criminal organization headed by Don Trump.

    Though something like 30% or so of the US voting population is so delusional they can’t see it, the rest of the world sees it much more clearly. We are fucked. Even if Trump is swept out of office the damage done, decades in the making, will take many years to correct and the odds aren’t looking good to me. If you are still supporting or providing cover for the Republican Party or Trump there is no rational justification. You are simply in the wrong. Your assessment of the situation is wrong. You are believing the wrong sources. Either that or you are ethically challenged. This isn’t a matter of point of view. Look at what you are supporting and ask yourself if the you of 20 or 30 years ago would be supporting this.

  7. Trump’s political strategy seems to be to energize his base. I don’t think this is a winning strategy, but, in any case, his base largely consists of the religious, who feel, in their paranoia and insecurity, that their ability to practice their faith is being threatened. Hence, Attorney General Bill Barr, at a recent speech at Notre Dame, denounced secularists for having “marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion & traditional values.” It is hard to keep track of all the ways Trump and his allies have waged war on the environment, immigrants, integrity in government, democracy, a rational foreign policy, the social safety net, a fair taxation system, and a secular society. Have I left something out?

    If Trump survives to run in the 2020 election and wins, such a victory will say more about the American people than Trump himself. Election night will send my anxiety level sky high.

  8. That offensive swill is vomit-inducing. Pompeo has no ethics or morals, religiously derived or otherwise.

    A couple of weeks ago, he was taken to task for failing to live up to the West Point honor code (he graduated from West Point Best in Show). In the past, Pompeo had this to say about the code, “It has an enormous emphasis, not only on military aspects, but character development. Whether it’s the honor code, or the interactions you have … every place you are is a character test.”

    Now the State Department portrays him as a Christian leader (just what the Middle East needs right now?). I think the putative Jesus called people like this whitened

    Just a few days ago, the Right Reverend Butt-licker Attorney General William Barr spoke at Notre Dame and publicly bemoaned the loss of Christian values and blamed “militant secularism” as being responsible for societal ills from mental illness. By this account, it is an astounding piece of hypocrisy,

    Given these two recent incidents, the growing calls for impeachment, the increasing skepticism of Trump’s evangelical base, and now the mess that is Turkey and the Kurds, I wonder if things such as these indicate a growing desperation and are consciously created in order to try to appease the Christian religionists, be they evangelical or fundamentalist Catholic.

    1. The Good Ship Trump has a big honkin’ hole below the waterline. It’s taking on water much faster than it can pump it out, and there are more torpedoes being launched every day.

  9. Paul Krugman has a good take on Barr’s despicable speech: “Nonetheless, William Barr — again, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, responsible for defending the Constitution — is sounding remarkably like America’s most unhinged religious zealots, the kind of people who insist that we keep experiencing mass murder because schools teach the theory of evolution. Guns don’t kill people — Darwin kills people!”

    1. Krugman also uses a phrase that I’ve used in the past when he calls Trump “the least godly man” to ever be President. And yet I don’t think Evangelicals would stop supporting him if he grew horns and a tail.

  10. Sdrumpf is losing consensus with his more reasonable (?) voters so his cronies are desperate to secure the Christian extreme. It’s 2020. I just finished watching a great documentary on the Vietnam war and whatever was happening Nixon taped calls with Kissinger had one single obsession: the elections. But we see Gilead and the Handmaids marching on

    1. Trump’s approval rating is still in the low 40’s where it has been virtually since day 2 of his presidency. In spite of everything that has happened in the last month, his approval rating has barely changed.

      I admire your optimism.

  11. Heard on the internet this response to Bill Barr’s Notre Dame speech:

    “You’re the Attorney General, not the Ayatollah.”

    Applies to Pompeo as well.

  12. One of the interesting things about USA politics is the unholy conservative trinity: guns, god, and laissez faire capitalism.

    Guns and god are the political means towards the goal of laissez faire capitalism. “Communism” is the enemy of both god and capitalism, so makes a convenient opposition label. (And of course socialism is the road to communism.) Guns aren’t really intrinsic to promotion of capitalism, but align culturally and gun control makes and excellent auxiliary devil with which to fear monger.

    Guns and god are the levers of fear mongering, but the goal of those operating those levers is more laissez faire-esque capitalism.

    1. The US has always taken individualism way too seriously. The culture seems always ready to break down in a free for all. An important thing that keeps the country together is the pep talks given by presidents. At least until now.

  13. “We should all remember that we are imperfect servants serving a perfect God who constantly forgives us each and every day.”

    It’s this type of attitude that so clearly illustrates how religious zealots are at heart delusional authoritarians. It is no wonder a democracy run by people who hold these views is a doomed democracy.

    1. What Pompeo describes is essentially slave morality.

      All you need to do is depersonalize your higher power and equate it with the demos or “humanity” and you pretty much have standard issue Kantian liberal democracy (all slaves are equal, after all, even without Brooksian souls). . . which may be delusional and authoritarian but is the basis for the USA running around invading sovereign countries.

      It should be further pointed out that the essence is slavery, it doesn’t matter if you are a slave of God or a slave of “Humanity”. The relationship of slavery defines you, not the identity of your owner (hence, the true foundation of religious ecumenicism).

  14. The pitch fork comment was clever; it suggests Christians persecuted by devils and we all know who the devils are.

  15. Pompeo, another arrogant, hypocritical, lying, Christian asshole. They’re everywhere! I hope they can clean out the State Department when this is over.

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