Mike Pompeo is misrepresenting the Bible to gin up war with Iran

The secretary of state knows nothing about scripture

Mike Pompeo.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Alex Wong/Getty Images, Miodrag Kitanovic/iStock, javarman3/iStock)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo preached this week at the annual conference of Christians United for Israel (CUFI). The bulk of his speech was standard Christian Zionist fare — admiration for the modern state of Israel, praise for the United States for its support of Jewish nationalism, and brash claims of divine approval — all couched in the familiar language of evangelicalism.

But Pompeo also had another subject in mind: Iran. Slipping smoothly from a broader discussion of religious liberty, Pompeo described Iran as a "noxious" theocracy, an abuser of human rights, and a terrorist enemy of Israel, the United States, and indeed Christianity itself. Though stopping short of his past advocacy of forcible regime change in Tehran, Pompeo presented his audience with Iran as an adversary that must be stopped. Bellicosity is only biblical, he seemed to suggest, stringing together half-truths about religious persecution and a wildly unjustified interpretation of scripture to push the faithful toward war.

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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of TheWeek.com. She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.