Booker and the New Yorker vs. Pompeo & Chick-Fil-A
So, the New Yorker thinks Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in New York and a U.S. Senator thinks Mike Pompeo doesn’t belong as the Secretary of State. Anyone nominated to be the Secretary of State for the United States of America should expect tough, serious questions in the confirmation hearings. After all, this person is in charge of implementing the nation’s foreign policy. They’ll represent our nation to the rest of the world, lead sensitive and tense negotiations, and manage a $40 billion budget. The peace of the world is at stake. But the question New Jersey Senator Cory Booker asked Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo last week was, “Do you believe that gay sex is a perversion?” Thankfully, Mr. Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, kept his cool and stood his ground. Here’s how it went: Senator Booker: “Is being gay a perversion?” Pompeo: “When I was a politician I had a very clear view on whether it was appropriate for two same-sex persons to marry. I stand by that. Booker: So you do not believe it’s appropriate for two gay people to marry? Pompeo: I continue to hold that view. Booker then expressed concern for married gay State Department employees, to which Pompeo replied, “I believe we have married gay couples at the CIA. I treated them with the exact same set of rights.” Then Booker asked: “Do you believe that gay sex is a perversion?” Well, there you have it. Politics as farce. I think Mr. Pompeo did well in his response. He was respectful and tried to keep the hearing focused on, you know, how he’d manage the nation’s foreign policy. Some friends and I talked about how we might have answered differently. I might have asked the Senator from New Jersey whether he thought Barack Obama was qualified to be the first African American President in 2008, since he then stated publicly that marriage should be between one man and one woman. Or I might have simply replied, “Are there any other sex acts you’d like to discuss in relation to foreign policy, because if so, I don’t seem to be as educated on them as you are.” Ironically enough, Senator Booker also grilled Pompeo about his attitude toward Muslims, because after all, as Secretary of State he would be “dealing with Muslim states on Muslim issues.” As one of my friends pointed out, has Senator Booker read up on Muslim teaching about homosexuality and how Muslim nations treat homosexuals? Does the good Senator see any tension there? We’ve talked for years on BreakPoint about how the freedom of religion, the right to order our public lives according to our deeply held beliefs, is being reduced to freedom of worship, the idea that you can only hold such beliefs in the confines of your home, house of worship, or your own head. Apparently for Senator Booker, even that isn’t good enough. In an inquisition reminiscent of the grilling Bernie Sanders and Diane Feinstein gave to a Catholic judge last year, Senator Booker this year essentially said that believing historic Christian teaching on sexuality makes one unfit for public office in the United States. Of course, that would make about half the country unqualified. Senator Booker’s Facebook announcement that he would vote against Pompeo for these beliefs came the same day that a New Yorker article claimed Chick-fil-A was “creepy” and unfit for New York City because of the Christian origins of that company. Senators like Corey Booker demand respect in these sorts of hearings, a respect that on this occasion he did not deserve. His laser-like focus on gay sex was beneath the dignity of the Senate and beneath the dignity of the occasion. It was indeed a farce.