Mike Pompeo shares wisdom at fireside chat event

President Dondi Costin sat down with Mike Pompeo in a fireside chat organized by the Helms School of Government April 22 to discuss how an individual protects their Christian faith in the midst of their career.

Costin and Pompeo were introduced by Joel Cox, the interim dean of the Helms School of Government. Pompeo is the distinguished chair of the Helms School of Government whose career path is marked by having been director of the C.I.A. from January 2017 to April 2018 as well as the 70th United States secretary of state from April 2018 to January 2021. Pompeo’s education is marked by a graduation with a degree in mechanical engineering from United States Military Academy at West Point and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.

Photo by Carlisle Jarnigan (@carlislejphotography)

Pompeo said he first came into a relationship with Christ after showing up at a Bible study advertised as an event for free lemonade and cookies by two Class of 1985 cadets from West Point. The cadets taught Pompeo how to read and study the Bible, which he said transformed his life.

“With a little bit of lemonade and cookies, you can do an awful lot of transformation in someone’s life,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo’s governmental career began with his election as a congressman to Kansas’ 4th District. Pompeo said he originally had no intention to hold a government position such as a congressman, but his colleagues and two women from Eastminister Presbyterian Church suggested he should run. He said after weeks of daily prayer, he decided to run for the position in January 2010.

“I could not have done it without people who came around me: faithful believers who came around me to help me get elected,” Pompeo said.

Eventually, Pompeo became the director of the C.I.A. While he was the director, Pompeo built the C.I.A.’s Chaplain Board from scratch. No one believed it would be possible, but Pompeo put his faith in Christ and relied on his Christian colleagues in order to successfully establish the Chaplain Board.

Photo by Carlisle Jarnigan (@carlislejphotography)

Pompeo said he actively read his Bible every day, and his family helped to keep his faith grounded while he worked in the C.I.A. and as secretary of state.

Pompeo said he faced a lot of hostility and opposition because of how his faith-based worldview characterized his political decisions. While the fight is difficult, Pompeo said the issues would only get worse if Christians choose to just walk away.

Later in the fireside chat, the conversation was opened up to audience members. One audience member asked Pompeo what he would say to Christians who push back when he fights for religious freedom instead of only Christian freedom.

“Never sacrifice your normative ethical Christian understanding, but deliver a better outcome for the people you are charged with delivering that better outcome for,” Pompeo said.   

Sturek is the on-campus news editor for the Liberty Champion

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