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U.S. Secretary of State Mike PompeoU.S. Department of State / Flickr

WASHINGTON, DC, September 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In a stirring speech delivered in the nation’s capital today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began by saying, “At the very heart of our mission is the preservation of human dignity.”

“And this administration understands an eternal truth – that each person has an essential worth simply because he or she is human and having been created by God,” said Pompeo.

The Secretary spoke to a packed, standing room only hall at the Values Voter Summit, an annual conference now in progress in Washington, DC, which Vice President Pence has called, “the greatest gathering of conservative pro-family Americans in the nation.”

“And our Declaration of Independence enshrines that self-evident truth,” continued Secretary Pompeo.  “We all know this, that each of us is endowed by our creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

“Our calling as Americans,” he added, is “to keep that ancient spark of wisdom in the laws of our own republic, and to do so as best we can all around the world.”

The Secretary of State spoke of the “remarkable speech” President Trump gave in Warsaw, Poland, in which he said that, “above all, we value the dignity of every human life, we protect the rights of every person, and we share the hope of every soul to live in freedom.”

While for Americans, this is our birthright, for many around the world this remains an unfulfilled aspiration.  

Pompeo said that because Americans believe the principles the nation is founded upon are worth living by, “we proudly raise our banner of self-government, freedom, and human dignity all across the world.  We will never accept a diminished role for America on the global stage.”

In direct contrast to former President Barack Obama’s foreign policy of ‘leading from behind’ on the world stage, “We’re going to lead from the front,” said Pompeo to thunderous applause.

“We are assuring human dignity by advancing one of our most cherished and indispensable liberties.  It’s enshrined in the First Amendment.  It is our religious freedom,” declared Pompeo. 

“Since the earliest days of this presidency, President Trump has directed all of us in his administration to advance and defend religious freedom at home and abroad because religious freedom is a universal, a God-given right to which all people – all people are entitled,” he said. “Religious freedom is also an essential building block for all free societies, and our founders knew this.”  

“Sadly, today more than 80 percent of the global population lives in countries that place significant limitations on religious freedom, and I know it brings many of us heavy hearts to watch the ongoing persecution of Christians and other minorities in countries like the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said.  

Secretary Pompeo told the story of twenty Iranian Christians who made a dangerous journey outside of Iran to an undisclosed location.  “After years of gathering in secret, all they wanted was to spend a few days in a place – in a place where they could conduct a baptism ceremony without fear of reprisal.  And so 20 of them secretly flew to a foreign country and rented a hotel swimming pool for some baptisms.  One man said he had waited 10 years since his conversion for this very moment.  This is the level of secrecy needed to be a Christian inside of Iran.”

“And we’re concerned, too, about the intense new government crackdown on Christians in China, which includes heinous actions like closing churches, burning Bibles, and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith,” said Pompeo.  

Under Secretary Pompeo’s leadership, the State Department held the first-ever Religious Freedom meeting where representatives of over 80 countries stood with the United States’ cause of defending the rights of all individuals to believe and worship as they choose.

“The pent-up demand for this opportunity was so overwhelming that we’re going to do it again next year,” said the Secretary.  “We envision this becoming a landmark gathering for the world.  And we didn’t just talk.  We came up with plans.”

A Beacon

This is “what the State Department can do best in representing each of you around the world, making this nation the continued beacon – the beacon that says one’s right to worship their god is a fundamental freedom that every human being has, and that America values this and will demand it.”

Secretary Pompeo spoke about what he considers to be the greatest highlight so far of his job: Bringing home three Americans from captivity in North Korea.

It’s emotional still to speak about it.  When Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim got off our plane at about 2:30 a.m. at Andrews Air Force Base, their faces were bursting with tears of joy.  They hugged and they wept with their families.  And President Trump was on the tarmac to meet them.

I remember my hope and my prayer was that we would be able to deliver these people home. … I wasn’t emotionally prepared for the moment.  And even now, as I speak about it, it reminds me of the greatness of our nation.

On that flight, they scribbled out a note.  One of the men handed me the little note card, and I put it in my vest pocket as they were climbing down the stairway.  As I got home that night, I pulled it out.  And on it, on that index card, was Psalm 126.  And it read as follows:

When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dream.  Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.  Then it was said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them.  The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

Secretary Pompeo also spoke of the Trump Administration’s continued commitment to procure the freedom of Pastor Brunson, now being held captive in Turkey.

“On the day Pastor Brunson returns,” asserted Pompeo, “just like the men I spoke of a bit ago, he also will be able to say that the Lord has done great things for us, and again, our hearts will be filled with joy.”

“Know this.  Know this.  President Trump will never forget about our own.  And that is one of the greatest American values of all.”