On Tuesday, Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, announced that she would return to teaching art at Immanuel Christian School. HuffPost researched the school and learned that it abides by traditional Christian sexual morality. Cue the outrage. On Wednesday, which coincidentally was Religious Freedom Day, liberal media outlets, LGBT groups, and even a congressman slammed Karen Pence for her decision to work at the school.
“F**k these homophobes!” feminist activist Amy Siskind tweeted.
Fuck these homophobes. https://t.co/Zx3hUWFNiS
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) January 16, 2019
“Totally insane: Karen Pence is working at a school that bans LGBTQ employees,” declared Matt McDermott, director at the marketing firm Whitman Insight Strategies.
Totally insane: Karen Pence is working at a school that bans LGBTQ employees. https://t.co/fQC4mGMS15
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) January 16, 2019
Liberal blogger Bill Palmer suggested that Pence’s decision to teach at Immanuel Christian School made her “unfit” even to “be around kids.”
“Mike Pence is an extremist bigot. Karen Pence is an extremist bigot,” Palmer tweeted. “She’s unfit to even be around kids, let alone teach them. Anyone willing to allow their kid to be taught by a dangerous monster like Karen Pence is unfit to be a parent. Ask me how I really feel.”
America’s second lady has a long track record in teaching. As her office noted, Karen Pence spent 25 years teaching elementary school before she became first lady of Indiana in January 2013. While Mike Pence served in Congress, she spent 12 years teaching art at Immanuel Christian School. She is also a watercolor artist.
On Tuesday night, HuffPost education reporter Rebecca Klein dug up a pledge Immanuel Christian School requires its prospective employees to sign. To anyone familiar with traditional Christian sexual morality, the pledge should seem rather unremarkable.
As The Washington Post reported, the pledge involves a commitment “to live a personal life of moral purity.”
“I understand that the term ‘marriage’ has only one meaning; the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive covenant union as delineated in Scripture,” the section says, saying that God intended sexual acts to occur only between “a man and a woman who are married to each other.”
“Moral misconduct which violates the bona fide occupational qualifications for employees includes, but is not limited to, such behaviors as the following: heterosexual activity outside of marriage (e.g., premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex), homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female, sexual harassment, use or viewing of pornographic material or websites, and sexual abuse or improprieties toward minors as defined by Scripture and federal or state law.”
Yet Klein sounded the alarm, and her tweet ignited a firestorm.
The school where Karen Pence will be working makes potential employees sign a pledge promising they won't participate in "homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity."
They also have to explain their "view of the creation/evolution debate." pic.twitter.com/7gnJEw26gb
— Rebecca Klein (@rklein90) January 15, 2019
Others discovered a parent agreement that gives the school the right to refuse admission to students or kick them out if the student or his or her parents or guardians violate the biblical lifestyle covenant.
This led to a flurry of reports suggesting the school engages in bigotry.
“Karen Pence Is Working At A School That Bans LGBTQ Employees And Kids,” screamed the HuffPost headline. Vice News reported, “Karen Pence is ‘excited’ to be teaching at a school that doesn’t allow LGBTQ students or teachers.” The Hill‘s version: “School where Karen Pence will teach prohibits LGBT students, faculty.” CNN reported, “Karen Pence teaching art at school that bans gay students, parents.”
That headline quoted Kara Brooks, a spokeswoman for Karen Pence, who emphasized the second lady’s long tenure at the school. “It’s absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school’s religious beliefs, are under attack,” Brooks said.
Yet the second lady and the school are both very much under attack.
“Karen Pence is a terrible human being,” tweeted Mark Harris, author and journalist at Vulture.
Karen Pence is a terrible human being. https://t.co/Nu5myssUst
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) January 16, 2019
“Karen Pence teaches bigotry and discrimination,” Adam Parkhomenko, former national field director for the Democratic National Committee in 2016.
Jill Biden teaches at a community college. Karen Pence teaches bigotry and discrimination.
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) January 16, 2019
At least two liberal activist groups slammed Karen Pence over her decision to teach.
“Why not teach at a school that welcomes everyone, instead of choosing one that won’t serve LGBTQ kids, kids of LGBTQ parents?” JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs at the LGBT group Human Rights Campaign (HRC), told HuffPost. “The Pences never seem to miss an opportunity to show their public service only extends to some.”
HRC President Chad Griffin argued that Karen Pence’s employment means she considers LGBT people second-class citizens.
Why not serve at a school that welcomes everyone? Not a week passes without some reminder that the Pences view LGBTQ people as second class citizens. https://t.co/j54PiHL6qn
— Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) January 16, 2019
The ACLU tweeted that Karen Pence’s teaching art “sends a terrible message to students. Do we want to live in a country with leaders who are willing to disavow LGBTQ youth?”
This sends a terrible message to students.
Do we want to live in a country with leaders who are willing to disavow LGBTQ youth? https://t.co/XZ8ar5uunm
— ACLU (@ACLU) January 16, 2019
Even a congressman, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), weighed in on Karen Pence’s employment. “This is just a reminder of the work we still need to do to protect the LGBTQ community (especially students) in this country, and that the leaders of our nation aren’t doing that work,” Moulton tweeted.
This is just a reminder of the work we still need to do to protect the LGBTQ community (especially students) in this country, and that the leaders of our nation aren’t doing that work. https://t.co/sNcGIpZeOj
— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) January 16, 2019
Not everyone attacked Karen Pence, however. Some noted that LGBT people face torture and death in other parts of the world, while Mike and Karen Pence stand up for equal rights for all people, even without the further “rights” activists demand — many of which amount to denying people’s religious freedom to live according to their consciences.
While y’all are lighting yourself on fire over Karen Pence’s art class… https://t.co/8CTjIN2vE7
— Chris Barron (@ChrisRBarron) January 16, 2019
Andrew T. Walker, senior fellow in Christian ethics at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), blasted the Washington Post report.
“This article is a great example for why media distrust is a real thing,” Walker tweeted. “Media elites thinking there’s a story here while not possessing a basic knowledge of constitutional liberties, or for that matter, remote familiarity with Christian teaching.”
Liz Wheeler, a host on One America News Network, tweeted, “Karen Pence teaches at school that defines marriage as one man & one woman! Nancy Pelosi belongs to church that defines marriage as one man & one woman! Guess which woman liberals attack.”
Karen Pence teaches at school that defines marriage as one man & one woman!
Nancy Pelosi belongs to church that defines marriage as one man & one woman!
Guess which woman liberals attack.
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) January 16, 2019
Traditional Christian teaching, rooted in the Bible, has affirmed that marriage is between one man and one woman for life, that sex should be reserved for marriage, and that God made human beings male and female — so that a person cannot change their biological sex and should accept the gender identity connected to their biological sex.
As the numerous news articles about Immanuel Christian School admit, private schools are allowed to set moral standards for teachers and students, even if those standards seem bigoted or irrational to others.
The problem is, leaders and groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) have redefined Christian morality as bigotry or “anti-LGBT hate.” In reality, Christians believe that homosexual activity and transgender identity are sins. They also believe that people with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria are no worse sinners than everyone else. Every Christian is a sinner and needs the grace of Jesus Christ to be reconciled to God.
People who struggle with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria are very welcome among the Christian community, but the sexual standards do not change for these people. Many Christians decide not to act on their same-sex attraction and have rejected transgender identity in the service of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, non-Christians — and even some Christians — seem utterly unable to understand that there is a difference between biblical sexual morality and bigotry. So when someone like Karen Pence teaches at a Christian school, they think she must be a hateful person.
This kind of anti-religious bigotry is growing, especially on the Left. Last month, Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) went after Trump judicial nominee Brian C. Buescher for his membership in the Knights of Columbus (KOC). They attacked KOC’s sexual morality on LGBT issues — the same positions KOC, the Catholic Church, and all traditional Christians hold. Traditional Christian sexual morality is being declared anathema by organizations, senators, and an angry pro-sexual revolution mob.
If you or anyone you know is utterly unable to understand Immanuel Christian School’s position on sexual morality, seek out a group of evangelical Christians to speak with. Evangelical Christians are not going to disappear, and the kind of vitriol spewed at Karen Pence only divides Americans, convincing Christians that they are becoming a persecuted minority. Mutual understanding is important for both sides.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.