02:10 GMT06 December 2020
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    Along with other White House staffers, the US secretary of state has been dragged into the ongoing Ukraine scandal. However, even though Mike Pompeo managed to escape Washington, DC and tried to avoid the topic in Nashville, where he travelled to, he found himself embroiled in another controversy.

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been denounced for crossing the line separating church and state over his speech at the American Association of Christian Counselors in Nashville, Tennessee. The American top diplomat spoke out about his belief in and relationship with Christianity in an address dedicated to the notion of what it means to be a Christian leader.

    “I want to use my time today to think about what it means to be a Christian leader, a Christian leader in three areas. First is disposition. How is it that one carries oneself in the world? The second is dialogue, talking. How is it that we engage with others around the world? And third is decisions, decisions that we make”, he said.

    The secretary of state also reminisced about his way to Christianity, noting that although he had gone to church since he was a child, it was “a relationship with God that wasn’t especially important” to him. This changed, however, when he attended the US Military Academy. Since then, the Bible has become an important part of his daily routine, as Pompeo acknowledged.

    “And so I keep a Bible open on my desk, and I try every morning to try and get in a little bit of time with the Book. I need my mind renewed with truth each day. And part of that truth is, as my son reminds me, is to be humble”, he said, noting that he values prayer as he leads American diplomacy.

    The address is raising doubts, as ex-leader of the National Jewish Democratic Council Aaron Keyak told The Times of Israel, asking whether the official could use his post to promote one particular religion. He lambasted Pompeo for presenting himself as a Christian leader, calling it “an affront to our separation of church and state”.

    “There’s obviously no issue with the secretary of state being a leader, nor his being a proud Christian. But it’s a problem that Secretary Pompeo thinks it’s appropriate to put those two words together and hold an official State Department event on being a Christian leader. He’s an American leader, who is also a practicing Christian”, Keyak said.

    Some commenters backed this view.

    ​Many social media users did not seem to believe Pompeo about being a Christian or his praise for Christian values at all.


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