Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Family Research Council tries to paint Pompeo's apocalyptic view as mainstream Christianity

Trump's Secretary of State pick Mike Pompeo has an apocalyptic religious view of Christianity.

There have been genuine concerns asked about Mike Pompeo, the man Trump picked to be his newest Secretary of State. A lot of these concerns have focused on his long history of opposing LGBTQ equality.  But now an online article at Vox has raised questions about how his evangelical faith could complicate the duties of Secretary of State, should Pompeo be confirmed.

Apparently, the article has caused such a stir that the  Family Research Council has attacked Vox. The group seeks make Pompeo sound more palpable, even at the expense of distorting the article.


President Trump's cabinet (like America's population) has a high percentage of Christians, so it shouldn't come as a surprise when he nominates another. Tell that to the liberals at Vox, who are quite beside themselves to learn that Mike Pompeo, Trump's pick for Secretary of State, is not only a Christian -- but actually thinks like one!

"That Pompeo is an evangelical Christian is, on its face, not particularly notable; 25 percent of Americans are," Tara Isabella Burton writes. "But Pompeo's specific brand of evangelical Christianity, with its insistence on seeing Muslim-Christian relations as an apocalyptic holy war, makes him an unnerving choice for such a senior foreign policy position." Then, as if it were breaking news, she informs readers that Pompeo has told people, "Jesus Christ ... is the only solution for our world."

Conservatives poked their share of fun at the website for its shock. "Vox scoop: Mike Pompeo is a Christian," one man joked on Twitter. "Local Christian is a Christian," said another. "Follower of Christ says something followers of Christ typically say," posted one. The jabs went on and on. One reader told the outlet that it might want to consider hiring an observant Christian so that they can spare themselves this kind of embarrassment. "Um, this is just kind of mainstream Christian theology."

 . . . Extremists will say Christians have three options: leave their faith at home, hide it, or have no faith. But that's a religious test -- the very kind our Founders specifically discouraged in Article VI of the Constitution. "No Religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Officer or public Trust under the United States," it states -- as clearly today as it did in 1787. Fortunately for Mike Pompeo, the American people are onto this strategy. After the unfair treatment of Russell Vought and Judge Amy Barrett, Vox's warnings won't be taken nearly as seriously as their underlying message that these anti-religion extremists are sending: Christians aren't welcome in public service.

Exact passages from the Vox article;

During his tenure as CIA director, and before that as a member of the House of Representatives, Pompeo has consistently used language that casts the war on terrorism as a cosmic divine battle of good and evil. He’s referred to Islamic terrorists as destined to “continue to press against us until we make sure that we pray and stand and fight and make sure that we know that Jesus Christ is our savior is truly the only solution for our world.”

Pompeo clarified that only a small percentage of Muslims were, in fact, terrorists (although in a 2013 speech, he called them potentially complicit in terrorism). Still, his language echoes a wider point: that the war against terrorism can be fought, in part, with Christian faith.

. . . Pompeo’s specific brand of dualistic, evangelical faith — dividing the geopolitical into good and evil — and the office of secretary of state may be at odds.”

For Pompeo, American patriotism and a narrowly defined brand of Christian pugilism are inextricable from one another. He’s not subtle about it, either. “To worship our Lord and celebrate our nation at the same place is not only our right,” he told attendees at a Kansas rally in 2015, “it is our duty.” He added that politics is “a never-ending struggle ... until the rapture.””

Pompeo’s reference to the rapture here is particularly noteworthy. The rapture is a distinctively American fringe theology that says Christians will be taken up, or “raptured,” into heaven at the onset of the end times.”

. . . For many evangelicals, apocalyptic “good versus evil” battles, particularly centered over the “Holy Land” of the Middle East, are signs that the longed-for end may be at hand.”

Pompeo’s faith, in other words, has a direct impact on how he views foreign policy — something his rhetoric has consistently demonstrated throughout his career. He’s frequently (and rightly) been criticized for being Islamophobic, but it’s worth noting that his antipathy to Islam isn’t just problematic for its own sake. It also embraces the idea of a catastrophic “final battle” that every government on the planet should want to avoid.”

The Vox article isn't attacking Pompeo for being a Christian. What it does is create a justifiable argument that Pompeo has an extremely apocalyptic religious view of the world which may not be conducive to someone serving as Secretary of State. It is a good question to ponder in view of the paper trail of his words.

And no, in spite of what FRC tries to press upon us, Pompeo's view is not mainstream Christianity. Yet again it is a shining example of right-wing conservative white evangelicals bogarting the argument about religion while attempting to play the victim.

No comments: