FFRF slams Pompeo’s relentless misuse of his position

Mike Pence

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is denouncing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s use of his office — yet again — to advance his personal religious beliefs.

FFRF has received numerous complaints from its members regarding a speech Pompeo made on Sunday, Sept. 20, at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, urging Christians to display and practice their faith in the public square. Pompeo reportedly took this opportunity to promote his personal religious beliefs while acting in his official capacity, as well as to spread misinformation about the founding principles of our nation. His unseemly appearance goes hand in hand with his views on “the rapture,” and his fixed idea that all human rights “come from our Lord,” as he has said numerous times.

The Supreme Court has long held that government officials may not promote or endorse religion in their official capacities, noting that the “First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion,” FFRF reminds Pompeo.

“The Supreme Court has further ruled that ‘the Establishment Clause, at the very least, prohibits government from appearing to take a position on questions of religious belief,’” FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor write to Pompeo. “One could hardly violate these mandates in a more obvious manner than you did, expressing a clear preference for a specific set of religious beliefs, publicly admonishing Americans to exercise those same religious beliefs, and claiming that it is ‘what we are meant to be as Americans.’”

There is an enormous gap between Pompeo’s actions and the founding spirit of our republic, FFRF emphasizes. Surely, when someone with the power of “America’s most senior diplomat” states that he “fundamentally believes that connecting one’s faith with America’s foreign policy is essential,” as well as indicating a clear intention to spread his faith through his work, he wields the power of the government to spread — and therefore, to establish — religion.

Pompeo’s speech reveals a painfully misguided understanding of the history of our nation’s founding. The central myth of Christian Nationalism is the one he repeated in his speech: that the United States is founded on Judeo-Christian principles. It is fundamentally wrong. More often than not, Judeo-Christian principles conflict with America’s founding principles in irreconcilable ways. And one would be hard pressed to name a single principle unique and original to Judeo-Christianity that has positively influenced American law and government.

FFRF is urging the secretary of state to cease advancing his personal religious goals by abusing the power that the American people have granted him.

“Small wonder European allies are expressing grave concern about Pompeo’s Commission on Unalienable Rights, alarmed it will erode protection for women, LGBTQ and others,” notes Gaylor. FFRF and a multitude of human rights groups, as well as the Congressional Freethought Caucus, have condemned the commission’s recent report.

FFRF is a national nonprofit with more than 32,000 members across the United States. Its purposes are to protect the constitutional separation of state and church and to educate the public about matters relating to nontheism.

Photo via Shutterstock by Lev Radi

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

FFRF is a member of the Secular Coalition for America

FFRF privacy statement