'Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a pointedly religious speech Monday that sounded like he was rallying fellow Pro-Israel Christians around the inevitably of a U.S. confrontation with Iran.
Pompeo delivered his 2,000-plus word speech, titled “The U.S. and Israel: a Friendship for Freedom,” before a 5,000-plus gathering of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) in Washington, D.C. Led by founder and chairman John Hagee, the annual event also boasted speeches from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Vice President Pence, and National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton.
In other words, every member of Trump’s inner circle who has spent the last several weeks of escalating tensions banging the drums of war against Iran.
Members of CUFI, which calls itself the largest pro-Israel organization in the U.S.,have been spending the early part of the week lobbying lawmakers on Capitol Hill. “Fourteen years ago, I invited 400 of America’s leading evangelicals to come to Cornerstone Church in San Antonio to give birth to CUFI. Today, by the grace of God, we are seven million-plus standing united in defense of Israel and the Jewish people,” Hagee told the crowd assembled in the cavernous Washington Convention Center.
Pompeo was clearly taking his case against Iran to Hagee’s faithful in his own remarks Monday, beginning with a brief history lesson on the modern state of Israel, and then asking the audience to “compare Israel’s reverence for liberty with the restrictions on religious freedom facing Christians and people of all faiths throughout the rest of the Middle East,” where “if a Muslim leaves Islam it is considered an apostasy, and it is punishable indeed by death.”
From lines like “can I get an amen?” to “this is what it must have looked like to be part of the crowd for the fishes and loaves,” Pompeo’s address was filled with religious metaphors that were right on cue for the massive Evangelical convocation.
“Christian support in America for Zion—for a Jewish homeland—runs back to the early Puritan settlers, and it has endured for centuries,” said Pompeo. “Indeed, our second president, a couple years back, said… ‘I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.'”'
Read more: Holy War? Pompeo Preaches to Pro-Israel Christian Confab