Mike Pompeo’s Religion: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

state.gov Mike Pompeo

Back in 2015, Mike Pompeo, then a congressman in Kansas, spoke at a rally in Wichita’s Summit Church. Pompeo, a member of a conservative Presbyterian church, referred to the evils of “multiculturalism” and spoke about the need for prayer in school. He described politics and social issues in highly-charged, biblical language, urging Christians to fight for their beliefs.

The closing words of Pompeo’s speech are still circulating on social media today. Pompeo talked about the recent Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage on the federal level and then urged his audience to continue to “fight these battles” until “the rapture”:

“We will continue to fight these battles,” Pompeo vowed, adding, “it is a never-ending struggle until that moment pastor Fox spoke about, until the Rapture. Be part of it. Be in the fight.”

The clip of Pompeo talking about the Rapture recently resurfaced on Twitter and has some people curious about the Secretary of State’s religious beliefs. Here’s what you need to know:


1. Pompeo Said He Was First ‘Brought to Christ’ When He Was a Cadet at West Point

Pompeo grew up in Kansas and attended West Point after graduating from high school. He described his grandparents as “great, God-fearing people” and said that his parents took him to church regularly and gave him a basic understanding of religion. But Pompeo said that he still wasn’t as devout as he became later.

But while he was at West Point, two of his fellow cadets invited him to a bible study. Pompeo said that he initially went just for the free cookies and to get a break from the military discipline at West Point. But he said that he was inspired by the bible study and eventually decided to become a more devout Christian, because of the influence of his fellow cadets. Pompeo is a member of Eastminster Presbyterian Church, which is affiliated with the conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church.


2. Pompeo Has Been Criticized for Blurring the Lines Between the Secular & the Religious

Foreign Policy reported that during his tenure as the head of the CIA, Pompeo attended weekly Bible studies held in government buildings. Foreign Policy said he talked about God and Christianity repeatedly in his first speech to the CIA’s staff. During the same period, the Washington Post reported that Pompeo was working on starting a chaplaincy for the CIA campus like the military has.

A CIA spokesperson said, “Director Pompeo is a man of faith. The idea that he should not practice his faith because he is Director of CIA is absurd.”

While he was a Kansas congressman, Pompeo regularly sought out the advice of pastors from across the state. He described those meetings and stressed that he especially valued being able to hold prayer meetings in his congressional office, saying, “I meet with pastors from all across Kansas, and we do it in my office. The fact that in America we can pray and be with our fellow believers in Christ in a place that is owned by the government is something special and we should never forget that.”


3. Pompeo Was a Deacon & Sunday School Teacher at a Kansas Church

The Washington Post reported that before he was elected to Congress in 2010, Pompeo served as a deacon at Eastminster Presbyterian Church and taught Sunday school for elementary-age children. Pompeo is still a member of the church, which is affiliated with the conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Eastminster broke ties with the Presbyterian Church of the USA in 2011, after that denomination decided to allow openly gay people to become ordained.

The church’s senior pastor asked congregants to say a special prayer for Pompeo as he prepared to testify before the Senate confirmation hearing; Pompeo’s wife, Susan, also had some specific requests for prayer. The pastor said,

“Mike has enemies because of his faith who may try to paint him in a poor light and make it difficult for him to reach the Secretary of State position. Let’s cover Mike and Susan in prayer for protection from the enemy, from personal attacks, and that the Lord’s favor be upon Mike. Susan also asked for prayers for Mike to have patience, peace, intellectual agility and a pleasant countenance throughout tomorrow’s hearing.”


4. Pompeo Criticized Same-Sex Marriage & Said Christians Should Have the Right to Say No to Laws that Run Counter to their Religion

Speaking to a congregation at Summit Church back in 2015, Pompeo discussed the new Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage at the federal level. Pompeo denounced the decision and implied that Christians should have the right to resist any encroaching laws that contradict their beliefs. He also vowed that when Christians resist, he will always “have their backs.” Pompeo said,

“The Supreme Court created out of whole cloth a brand new right…Well, they can change the law, but they can’t change the truth. For the first time the federal government will now take away from every state, including Kansas, the right to determine what 70 percent of all Kansans want. Marriage between one man and one woman. And this won’t be the end of their demands. They will come to places like Summit Church and attempt to impose burdens that are against your Christian belief and I can stare out into this audience today and know that you will never let that happen. You should know that I’ll always have your back when you do that.”

Pompeo’s home church in Wichita, Kansas broke with the Presbyterian Church in 2011 because the Presbyterian Church had decided to allow openly gap people be ordained as pastors.


5. Pompeo Has Come Under Fire for His Comments About Muslims

After the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, Pompeo — who was a congressman at the time — gave a speech on the House floor in which he said that American Muslims hadn’t done enough to condemn the bombing. “It casts doubt on the commitment to peace by adherents of the Muslim faith,” Pompeo said, adding that the “silence” of Muslim leaders was “deafening.” During the same speech, Pompeo said that American Muslims were “potentially complicit” in the attacks because they hadn’t gone far enough in their criticism of it.

Pompeo’s critics responded that in fact, Muslim-American groups had condemned the bombings; they said Pompeo’s criticism was unfair and smacked of bigotry.

The Atlantic reported that Pompeo had close ties to figures like Frank Gaffney,President of the Center for Security Policy, who is a strong and vocal opponent of Islamic law. For his part, Pompeo has said that America is “engaged in a struggle against radical Islam” but says he is not against Muslims as a group, but rather against terrorism in all its forms.

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