In confirmation hearings for Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo, Senator Corey Booker chided the Presbyterian Sunday School teacher for holding to the same view of same-sex marriage that most Americans held just a few years ago. Pompeo, you will be shocked to learn, is against it.
The senator went on to justify his marriage questions by alluding to the persecution of homosexuals in other countries. Here is a part of their exchange, according to The Federalist:
Pompeo: “My respect for every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation, is the same.”
Booker: “You’re going to be secretary of state of the United States at a time that we have an increase of hate speech and hate actions against Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans, Indian Americans. Hate acts are on the increase against these Americans. You’re going to be representing this country and values abroad in places where gay individuals are under untold persecution, face untold violence. Your views do matter. You’re going to be dealing with Muslim states on Muslim issues. I do not necessarily concur that you are putting forth the values of our nation when you believe there are people in our country that are perverse, and where you think that you create different categories of Americans and their obligations when it comes to condemning of violence.”
Elsewhere in his questions, Booker grilled the nominee on his view of Muslims, and on freedom of the press. Apparently unaware that monotheistic religions, by definition, deny one another’s deities; he complained about Pompeo’s comments on those who worship “other gods.”
Absent from Booker’s questioning was any mention of Christians being persecuted, in the most extreme forms, in any of the nations (many of them majority-Muslim nations) about which Booker is so concerned.
It might be understandable that Booker’s not worried about a Christian Secretary of State paying due heed to the persecution of Christians in other nations. It is, however, unfortunate that Booker sees no irony in his expressing concern about the persecution of homosexuals, and Muslims, and even journalists, while suggesting that Christians need not apply to cabinet positions.
This doesn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention. Trump appointees Amy Barrett and Russell Vought were similarly questioned about their dangerously unfashionable adherence to traditional Christian beliefs. Beliefs that were par for the course just a few years ago, and are still the norm for millions of Americans.
Let’s be clear that being asked some absurd questions at a confirmation hearing is not the same as being imprisoned or martyred for one’s faith. And, yes, the two previous nominees were confirmed. But what direction are we heading in, when Democratic Senators feel at liberty to so publicly declare widely-held religious views unacceptable? Is this the “Christian privilege” that we’ve been hearing about recently?