Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered his address, titled "Being a Christian Leader," to a gathering of the American Association of Christian Counselors last Friday in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo: Screengrab/State Department Website)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered his address, titled "Being a Christian Leader," to a gathering of the American Association of Christian Counselors last Friday in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo: Screengrab/State Department Website)

US State Dept. Under Fire for Using Official Website to Promote Pompeo's "Christian Nationalist Talking Points"

"The Department of State looks more like it should be representing the Republic of Gilead from The Handmaid's Tale than an America that respects religious equality under the law."

Jake Johnson

The State Department on Monday was accused of blatantly violating the constitutional principle of separation of religion and government by plastering the homepage of its website with an October 11 speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo touting his Christian faith.

"He cannot use his government position to impose his faith on the rest of us—that is a fundamental violation of the separation of religion and government."
—Rachel Laser, Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Pompeo delivered his "Being a Christian Leader" address to a gathering of the American Association of Christian Counselors last Friday in Nashville, Tennessee. The Secretary of State's trip to Nashville was funded by U.S. taxpayers.

Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said Pompeo's speech and the State Department's promotion of it were both clear violations of the Constitution.

"It's perfectly fine for Secretary Pompeo to be a leader who is Christian," Laser said in a statement. "But he cannot use his government position to impose his faith on the rest of us—that is a fundamental violation of the separation of religion and government."

"Secretary Pompeo’s speech on how being a Christian leader informs his decision-making and the posting of the speech on the State Department website send the clear message that U.S. public policy will be guided by his personal religious beliefs," said Laser. "This is yet another example of Trump administration officials catering to the president's base of Christian nationalist supporters."

After hours of criticism, the State Department on Monday afternoon changed the frontpage headline of Pompeo's speech to "Secretary Pompeo at the America Association of Christian Counselors." The speech was moved off the homepage entirely Monday night.

During his address, Pompeo appeared to preemptively brush aside concerns that he is blurring the lines separating religion and government.

"I know some people in the media will break out the pitchforks when they hear that I ask God for direction in my work," said Pompeo, an evangelical Christian with a long record of religious bigotry against Muslims.

Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told Newsweek that it is perfectly acceptable for Pompeo to "speak at religious events, put on by religious organizations—we would expect public officials to speak at Muslim-sponsored events."

"But I think it's really inappropriate for him to title his speech 'Being a Christian Leader,'" said Hooper, "because he shouldn't be a Christian leader, he should be an American leader. He should be somebody who is leading a nation of people who have different faiths and no faiths."

American Atheists president Nick Fish echoed Hooper in a statement.

"Given Secretary Pompeo's record, it comes as no surprise that the State Department is using taxpayer money to promote Christian nationalist talking points," Fish said. "The Department of State looks more like it should be representing the Republic of Gilead from The Handmaid's Tale than an America that respects religious equality under the law."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo