What words of advice did Vice President Mike Pence have this afternoon for the graduates of Liberty University? None. So instead, he gave them fair warning that they would always be persecuted for their Christian beliefs.
Speaking at Liberty’s Williams Stadium in Lynchburg, Virginia, Pence said he believed “it’s become acceptable and even fashionable to ridicule and [even] discriminate against people of faith” in the United States.
“It wasn’t all that long ago that the last administration brought the full weight of the federal government against the Little Sisters of the Poor merely because that group of nuns refused to provide a health plan that violated their deeply held religious beliefs,” said Pence, speaking about the nuns’ refusal to pay for (directly or indirectly) abortions or birth control methods that could induce abortions.
“When my wife, Karen, returned to teach art at an elementary Christian school earlier this year, we faced harsh attacks by the media and the secular left.”
Pence then described how one reporter started a Twitter hashtag #exposeChristianschools to encourage people to share negative experiences attending Christian private schools.
To be sure, no one discriminated against Pence or his wife or Liberty students because they’re Christian. It’s because those people use their beliefs to justify discriminating against other people, and progressives are calling them out on it. Instead of pretending religion is a virtue, we’re looking at faith-based actions and judging them on their own merits.
The problem with Karen Pence wasn’t that she works at a Christian school. It’s that she works at a school that literally bans students if they or their families so much as attend a same-sex wedding (thereby showing support of it). The school also refuses to recognize the existence of transgender people. By working there, Pence is showing her support for the school’s values. At the very least, she’s not bothered by those values enough to find a better place to teach art.
That’s what people criticized. But Pence, as usual, pretends that Christianity (not bigotry) is under attack.
The Twitter hashtag isn’t persecution, either. It’s people sharing stories that people like Pence would rather suppress because it reveals the problems with private Christian education.
As for the Little Sisters anecdote, the last administration gave them an out if they didn’t want to provide comprehensive health care (including their reproductive choices) for employees. But signing a paper that put that responsibility on their insurance provider, instead of them, was still so offensive to their religious sensibilities that they sued. They just didn’t want to provide health care to employees. That’s what Mike Pence is defending here.
I know this administration loves to pretend to be persecuted, but Pence himself is part of the reason people are becoming so disenchanted with conservative Christianity. We see the harm that Christians like him and Jerry Falwell, Jr. are causing in the country. We see the hate they’re spreading. We’re sick of it. We’re vocal about it.
And conservative Christians dare to act like they’re the victim in all this instead of the abusers.
(Thanks to Scott for the link)