Vice President Mike Pence lashed out at critics for questioning his wife’s new job teaching at a school that bans LGBT students and faculty by saying attacks on Christian education are “deeply offensive.”
After the vice president defended his wife Karen Pence’s decision to teach an art class at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia, Democratic California Rep. Ted Lieu said Pence was cloaking his hate in his “purported religious beliefs.”
“I’m a follower of Christ. You know what Jesus said about homosexuality? NOTHING. But he did say a lot about love,” Lieu said. “Stop cloaking your hate in your purported religious beliefs. It’s just hate.”
Dear @VP: I'm a follower of Christ. You know what Jesus said about homosexuality? NOTHING. But he did say a lot about love.
Stop cloaking your hate in your purported religious beliefs. It's just hate. https://t.co/ydLovTttsx
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 18, 2019
Rep. Brian Sims, Pennsylvania’s first openly gay state legislature, responded to the controversy by tweeting at Mike Pence: “DEEPLY OFFENSIVE: Hey @VP Pence, deeply offensive is banning LGBTQ kids from school. Deeply offensive is supporting electroshock therapy to change their sexuality. Deeply offensive is barring Americans from enjoying the same rights and privileges as everyone else.”
He added: “Deeply offensive is being such a daft bigot that you think your discrimination should be subject to protection and the Americans you attack should be “converted” to straight Christians. “Deeply offensive” is anyone thinking you are a person of morals, values, or legitimacy.”
DEEPLY OFFENSIVE: Hey @VP Pence, deeply offensive is banning LGBTQ kids from school. Deeply offensive is supporting electroshock therapy to change their sexuality. Deeply offensive is barring Americans from enjoying the same rights and privileges as everyone else. (More) https://t.co/mQA2y9gtpQ
— Brian Sims (@BrianSimsPA) January 18, 2019
“My wife and I have been in the public eye for quite a while but I have to tell you, to see major news organizations attacking Christian education is deeply offensive,” Pence told EWTN host Lauren Ashburn on Thursday.
“We have a rich tradition in America of Christian education and, frankly, religious education broadly defined. We celebrate it,” Pence said. “The freedom of religion is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution prohibits a religious test for holding public office, so we’ll let the critics roll off our back.”
“But this criticism of Christian education in America should stop,” he concluded.
PREVIEW — @VP @mike_pence responds to critics of @SecondLady's new job. "The criticism of Christian education in America should stop." Tune in tonight for part one of my full interview with the Vice President on @EWTNNewsNightly at 7 PM EST on @EWTN. pic.twitter.com/YKEHyroswC
— Lauren Ashburn (@LaurenAshburn) January 17, 2019
The interview comes after news reports that Karen Pence would be teaching art at a private school that has a “parent agreement” posted online that requires potential employees to pledge that they believe marriage is between a man and a woman and that they do not engage in “homosexual or lesbian sexual activity” or “transgender identity,” according to the employment application.
Parents are also required to sign a clause indicating that the school “reserves the right” to refuse admission to or discontinue enrollment of a student if their activities are “in opposition to the biblical lifestyle the school teaches.”
“I understand that the school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to 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 the student are counter to, or are in opposition to, the biblical lifestyle the school teaches,” the agreement states.
“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. (Lev. 20:13 and Romans 1:27.) I acknowledge the importance of a family culture based on biblical principles and embrace biblical family values such as a healthy marriage between one man and one woman. My role as spiritual mentor to my children will be taken seriously.”
CNN notes: “In 1991, however, Pence, then an elementary school teacher, wrote a letter to an Indiana newspaper in which she objected to an article that embraced gays and lesbians, The Washington Post noted in 2017. It’s unclear whether her attitudes have shifted as public opinion has changed dramatically on the issue.”
The Human Rights Campaign slammed the news of Pence’s employment at Immanuel Christian.
“Why not teach at a school that welcomes everyone, instead of choosing one that won’t serve LGBTQ kids, kids of LGBTQ parents?” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, in a statement to HuffPost. “The Pences never seem to miss an opportunity to show their public service only extends to some.”
Karen Pence previously taught at the school while her husband was a member of Congress.
Mike Pence previously signed a religious freedom law that was criticized as a pathway to legal anti-LGBTQ discrimination while serving as Indiana governor. As a congressman, Pence supported a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.
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