Karen Pence’s return to teaching at a Virginia school that lists “homosexual or lesbian sexual activity” as among the disqualifying criteria for employees is drawing criticism from the nation’s largest gay rights advocacy group.
The office of the vice president’s wife said it was “absurd” to attack both her decision to resume teaching art to elementary students as well as the school’s religious doctrine.
Mrs. Pence began in the classroom at Immanuel Christian School in Northern Virginia on Tuesday and will teach twice a week until May. She has taught for 25 years, including previously at Immanuel Christian, before Vice President Mike Pence, who was a GOP congressman from Indiana, was elected governor.
The school’s employment application lists “homosexual or lesbian sexual activity” as among the criteria that violates the job qualifications spelled out for employees.
The Human Rights Campaign tweeted that the “Pences never seem to miss an opportunity to show their public service only extends to some.”
A spokeswoman for Mrs. Pence defended her return to the school where she had taught for a dozen years.
“It’s absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school’s religious beliefs, are under attack,” Kara Brooks said.
The school’s policy says it can refuse permission to an applicant or discontinue enrollment of a student if the conduct within the student’s home is counter to the “biblical lifestyle” the school teaches. Activities listed as counter to that lifestyle includes “homosexual activity or bisexual activity.”
The Huffington Post first reported the school’s policies and published the school’s employment application and admissions policy.
Vice President Mike Pence says the criticism of Christian education in America should stop.
Pence is responding to media reports of his wife returning to teach at a school that says it can refuse to employ gay and lesbian teachers or enroll children with gay or lesbian parents.
Karen Pence is teaching at Immanuel Christian School in northern Virginia.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights advocacy group, criticized the move as an example of the Pences showing their public service “only extends to some.”
But Pence says on the Catholic news network EWTN in an interview that aired Thursday that America has a rich tradition of religious education and that “to see major news organizations attacking Christian education is deeply offensive to us.”