Vice President Mike Pence told a crowd of fired-up conservative activists on Friday that he’s proud of second lady Karen Pence for withstanding criticism after she began teaching at a Virginia school that enforces an anti-gay ideology for students, parents and employees.
In a red-meat speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington, the vice president said American Christians are coming under attack because of beliefs that run counter to those of ‘media elites and Hollywood liberals.’
‘My own family recently came under attack just because my wife Karen went back to teach art to children at a Christian school,’ he said. ‘Let me say before all of you: I couldn’t be more proud of my wife.’
The line drew a standing ovation. Mrs. Pence, who walked on stage with the vice president before sitting in the well of the first row, stood and waved.
She began a part-time job in January teaching art to children at Immanuel Christian School in Northern Virginia, which explicitly bans all connections with gay and transgender students and parents who don’t adhere to strict Christian teachings about homosexuality.
The vice president said Friday that the controversy underscores ‘the sincerely held belief of millions of Americans who cherish their Christian faith and Christian education.’
‘And so I’ll make you a promise,’ he 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, so help us God.’
Mrs. Pence was a teacher for 25 years before returning to Washington, including 12 teaching art at Immanuel Christian before her husband, then a congressman, was elected Indiana’s governor. The Pences’ daughter Charlotte attended the school.
During a National Prayer Breakfast speech last month, President Donald Trump praised her for ‘teaching art classes at a Christian school. Terrific woman.’
The move made the quiet, unassuming Mrs. Pence an even more potent cultural lightning rod.
Her twice-a-week employer’s positions on homosexuality are explicit.
In a ‘parent agreement’ posted on the Immanuel Christian School’s website, the school declares that it can ‘refuse admission to an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student if the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home, the activities of a parent or guardian, or the activities of students are counter to … the biblical lifestyle the school teaches.’
‘This includes, but is not limited to contumacious behavior, divisive conduct, and participating in, supporting, or condoning sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bi-sexual activity, promoting such practices, or being unable to support the moral principles of the school.’
Job applicants are also required to sign a pledge not to participate in homosexual activity or acts that are contrary to the ‘unique roles of male and female.’
‘Moral misconduct’ listed as a disqualifier includes ‘ 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.’
‘[M]arriage unites one man and one woman,’ Immanuel’s job application reads, adding that ‘a wife is commanded to submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ.’
A spokeswoman for Mrs. Pence told reporters in January that ‘[i]t’s absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school’s religious beliefs, are under attack.’
The vice president didn’t mention gays, lesbians or transgender Americans on Friday.
He did, however, forcefully defend American Jews against discrimination.
‘Anti-semitism isn’t just wrong. It’s evil,’ he told a cavernous ballroom packed with activists, declaring that ‘it must be universally condemned.’
Pence also framed political conservatism as a bid to promote ‘freedom’ with a minimum of government interference.
‘Freedom is about enabling people to live their lives as they see fit,’ he said, appearing to defend the Virginia school that employs the second lady.
‘Freedom is more generous, more helpful and more humane than any other social or economic model ever attempted, because it’s the only philosophy that respects the dignity and worth of every single life and sees every man, woman and child as made in the image of God,’ he said.
Before he became vice president, Pence was known as one of the country’s most conservative governors.
He argued as a congressman that sanctioning gay marriage would lead to a ‘societal collapse,’ and suggested during his first congressional campaign that AIDS research dollars would be better spent assisting ‘those seeking to change their sexual behavior.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, David Martosko