To prime the Trump administration’s Religious Right base for the State Department’s first-ever “ministerial conference to advance religious freedom,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down for an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network’s administration-friendly David Brody. The conference is scheduled to take place July 24-26.
When the conference was first announced in May, Politico reported that Pompeo described it as a convening of “mostly ‘like-minded’ foreign counterparts.”
Writing on the CBN website, Brody said, “Pompeo told us that his views on religious freedom come from his deep faith.”
Pompeo described it this way:
“It’s very consistent with what the Trump administration is trying to achieve with respect to religious freedom but it also fits with my worldview,” Pompeo says. “I’m an evangelical Christian. I know that not everyone shares that faith but it’s important. It’s important not only to Christians but to people of all faiths have the capacity to worship in the way that they desire, that they do so without fear of retribution from their government, or the risks that they’ll be punished, or not have the ability to raise themselves and their families in the faith way they want to.”
Evangelical Christians make up around 25 percent of the U.S. population—less than 3 points greater than the percentage of those who count themselves as unaffiliated with any religion.
Muslims may question Pompeo’s devotion to freedom for the practice of all religions, given how he accepted an award in 2016 from ACT for America, the largest anti-Muslim organization in the U.S., which is designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Writing at The Atlantic, Peter Beinart noted that Pompeo has appeared more than 20 times on the radio show of Frank Gaffney, president of the anti-Muslim Center for Security Policy. (In April, Right Wing Watch reported on Pompeo’s close relationships with some of the country’s most ardent anti-Islam activists.)