OXON HILL, Md. — At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday, Vice President Mike Pence defended his wife, Karen, who recently came under attack for teaching at a Christian school that affirms traditional Bible sexual morality rather than LGBT pride. Pence declared that the administration of President Donald Trump will defend religious liberty for all Americans of all faiths, in firm opposition to anti-religious animus.
“The freedom of religion is not just enshrined in our Constitution. It’s enshrined in the hearts of the American people. But make no mistake about it, freedom of religion is under attack in our country,” Pence declared.
“Lately, it’s actually become fashionable for media elites and Hollywood liberals to mock religious beliefs,” the vice president noted. Indeed, a movement has emerged to “Expose Christian Schools,” after news broke that Pence’s wife planned to teach at a Christian school that defines marriage as between one man and one woman and elevates biological sex over gender identity.
LGBT activists were outraged. They tweeted messages such as “F*ck these homophobes!” They slammed the Christian school for “banning LGBT employees.”
Pence recalled this moment in his CPAC speech.
“My own family recently came under attack just because my wife Karen went back to teach art to children at a Christian school,” the vice president said. “Let me say before all of you, I couldn’t be more proud of my wife.”
.@VP Mike Pence: "The freedom of religion is not just enshrined in our constitution, it's enshrined in the hearts of our people. … Lately, it's become fasionable for media elites and liberals to mock religious beliefs. … I couldn't be more proud of my wife." @CPAC
— Tyler O'Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) March 1, 2019
The CPAC audience broke into loud cheers and applause, and Karen Pence started tearing up.
“She’s a Marine Corps mom, she’s a great schoolteacher, and Karen Pence is a great second lady for the United States of America!” the vice president declared, to another round of applause.
The issue of anti-religious bigotry and religious freedom extends far beyond Karen Pence’s decision to teach at a Christian school, however. Mike Pence connected this to the larger issue.
“But let me be clear on this point. This is not about us. It’s about all of you,” the vice president told CPAC. “It’s about the sincerely held belief of millions of Americans who cherish their Christian faith and Christian education.”
“And so I will make you a promise,” Pence said. “Under this president and this administration, we will always stand with people of faith. We will always defend the freedom of religion of every American of every faith!”
In classic Mike Pence fashion, he added, “So help us, God.”
The vice president also responded to the attacks on his wife back in January. “The attacks on Christian education by the mainstream media must stop,” Pence declared on “Washington Watch,” a Family Research Council (FRC) radio show. President Donald Trump also defended Karen Pence at the National Prayer Breakfast in February.
No fewer than 12 Democrat and Democrat-aligned senators have effectively pushed a religious test for public office, launching inquisitions into Trump’s nominees by stigmatizing their religious beliefs. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) even said that Russell Vought (now director of the Office of Management and Budget) is not someone “this country is about,” because he believes only Christians go to heaven.
LGBT activists fear that religious believers will treat them unfairly, and Christians in particular need to treat them well (1 Peter 3:15-17). But LGBT activists also need to understand that Jews, Christians, Muslims, and even non-believers who support traditional sexual morality are operating out of their sincerely-held beliefs, not hatred or animus against LGBT people.
Disagreeing with LGBT pride does not entail hatred toward LGBT people. That’s the lie Mike Pence and Karen Pence are fighting,, one that’s very powerful on the Left.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.