Several evangelical leaders have come to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s defense after a nationalist tabloid controlled by the Chinese Communist Party accused him of “betraying Christianity with lies” that COVID-19 broke out of China’s Wuhan lab.
According to ABC News, in early May, while speaking on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Pompeo said, “While the intelligence community continues to do its work, they should continue to do that and verify so that we are certain. I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”
Then, on Monday, an editorial by China’s state-owned Global Times newspaper objected to Pompeo’s comments.
The paper accused Pompeo of betraying Christianity by “spreading lies or misleading the public” by asserting that China hid the outbreak.
“[H]is lying for political purposes is contrary to his label as a so-called ‘devout Christian,’” reads the editorial, adding that the “Christian doctrine opposes lying – it's a sin.”
The editorial goes on to cite scriptures on lying such as, Proverbs 19:9 which says, “a false witness shall not go unpunished. And he that utters lies shall perish,” and from the Ten Commandments, ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.’”
The editorial concludes by saying that Pompeo “has brought shame to the evangelical Christians in the US, misusing their trust in the Republican party.”
“He is no doubt a degenerate politician,” it concluded, “and despicable from the perspective of religion."
Pompeo attempted to put the accusations to rest, asserting that the Intelligence community has not yet confirmed the origin of the virus.
He said in a press briefing Wednesday, “The intelligence community’s still figuring out precisely where this virus began.”
“We’re all trying to figure out the right answer,” he said, according to a Bloomberg article. “There are different levels of certainty expressed at different sources.”
Also coming to his defense were several evangelical leaders.
President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Rev. Samuel Rogriduez cited China’s hypocrisy in using Scripture to “cover for their own lies” while “viciously” persecuting Christians.
“What audacity for a regime that persecuted Christians so viciously to try and use the Bible to cover for their own lies. There is no bigotry like communist bigotry,” he told The Christian Post.
“China thinks that they can shutter churches, disappear pastors, and create an ever-present state of war with religion and then dole out advice to Christians,” he continued.
“Well, here's some advice to the Communists: get your own house in order,” he asserted.
“This propaganda only demonstrates one thing: whatever Pompeo is doing is working, exactly as intended."
President of The Congress of Christian Leaders, Rev. Johnnie Moore told The Christian Post that the CCP-affiliated attack “is the clearest sign yet that China knows their game is up and they are getting desperate.”
Moore suggests that the CCP should be “thanking God that Secretary Pompeo is as good a Christian as he is because there’s a lot more the United States could do to hold them accountable tomorrow.”
Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, who personally met Pompeo, also came to his defense asserting that his faith is “genuine and real.”
“Perhaps the Chinese government became angry with secretary Pompeo long ago because of his devoted efforts around the world to promote religious freedom, and to speak up for those being persecuted, especially within China,” Laurie asserted in a statement.
Pompeo was also commended by Pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church, for the “natural and transparent way he lives and communicates his faith [which] strengthens his ability as a national and world leader.”
In a report last week, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom advised that China should be identified by the U.S. government as a country of particular concern under the International Religious Freedom Act.
USCIRF pointed out China’s “deteriorating” state of religious freedom over the last year, as religious minority groups are being surveilled constantly by authorities using facial recognition and artificial intelligence
Christians aside, an estimated 900,000 to 1.8 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyzstanis, and other Muslims are imprisoned in more than 1,300 concentration camps in Xinjiang.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Mark Wilson/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.