Karen Pence: The Teacher and the Religious Test
It was supposed to be a day celebrating religious freedom in America. Instead, liberals decided to show everyone just how much our First Freedom is at risk. For Christians, who’ve tried to warn people that these last several years were about a lot more than marriage, the attacks on Second Lady Karen Pence certainly seem to prove their point. Three years after Obergefell, all of the lies about “love” and “tolerance” have been eclipsed by the court cases, articles, and editorial demonizing people of faith. What Americans see now is the truth: the Left is coming for our freedom. And they have no intention of letting up.
Like Joe Biden’s wife, Karen Pence spent years in the classroom. When Mike was in Congress, she taught art at Immanuel Christian School in Virginia — and no one batted an eye. Of course, that was back in the early 2000s, when the Left’s charm offensive on same-sex marriage was still in full swing. We’ll be accommodating, they said. We just want to co-exist, they said. Our relationships won’t affect you, they said. A handful of years later, “affected” doesn’t begin to describe to what happens to conservatives who think differently than the totalitarian Left.
Of course, the Pences are not strangers to the other side’s viciousness. Every time the media is reminded about the family’s faith, they become hysterical all over again — a scene that played out this week when Karen announced she’d be volunteering at Immanuel Christian this spring. “I am excited to be back in the classroom and doing what I love to do,” she said in a statement. “I have missed teaching art, and it’s great to return to the school where I taught art for 12 years.”
She can’t go back there, LGBT activists raged! They reject homosexuality! Yes, well, that’s what orthodox Christian schools do. (Not to mention Jewish and Muslim ones too.) Would it have been headline news if Jill Biden taught at a Roman Catholic school? Probably not. Yet, the Left and their media chums are hurling profanity at the Pences for something that, even five years ago, wouldn’t have been controversial. Frankly, the only thing that would have been shocking is if Karen worked at a Christian school that didn’t act like a Christian school.
CNN’s Kate Bennett was just one of the talking heads who doesn’t get it. “So, lemme get this straight,” she tweeted, “the second lady of the United States has chosen to work at a school that openly discriminates against LGBT adults and children?” “So, lemme get this straight,” Ben Shapiro fired back. “You’re a reporter but you’ve never heard of religious people before? ‘BREAKING: Pence’s wife is working for a Christian school that requires that Christian students pledge to abide by Christian standards of sin that have not changed in 2,000 years.’”
To be honest, the Left’s real problem isn’t that Mike Pence’s wife is working at an evangelical school — but that evangelical schools exist at all. Since they do, the last thing liberals want is for anyone in public office to be associated with them. And despite what you’ve heard from the forces of intolerance, Immanuel Christian doesn’t “ban” anyone from their school. What they do, Chad Greene, points out, “is require a specific set of behavioral and religious belief standards equally applied to everyone. Many in the Christian world make a distinction regarding LGBT people that the left typically refuses to consider, between a person and his actions.” As Christians, our behavior doesn’t define us — we define our behavior.
Immanuel is in the business of teaching Christianity. What would be the point of a religious school if it didn’t? This “immediate, visceral reaction” shows just how far the Left will go to shame people of faith into silence. Worse, it proves the day they told us was coming is finally here. Back in 2015, during the Obergefell arguments, President Obama’s top lawyer, Donald Verrilli pulled back the curtain on the Left’s real goal in one surprisingly candid moment. When Justice Samuel Alito pressed the solicitor general on whether same-sex marriage would give the government a weapon to threaten Christian schools, Verrilli seemed uncomfortable but admitted, “It’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is — it is going to be an issue.”
We haven’t seen the Left fully implement their plans, because they haven’t had the benefit of another radical president in the White House to build on the liberal legacy of Barack Obama. But we don’t have to guess what they’ll do if they get one. It’s all spelled out in the most recent Democratic National Platform. Religious freedom, as Americans have known it for 233 years, will not be safe in the hands of a movement that is surgically targeting people of faith.
When I talked to the vice president on “Washington Watch” yesterday, he didn’t mince words. “Karen and I have been in and around public life for almost two decades, and so — to be honest — we’re used to the criticism. But the attacks on Christian education by the mainstream media have got to stop. We cherish the freedom of religion in this country. This administration stands four-square for the freedom of religion of people of all faiths. And to see the mainstream media to criticize my wife because she’s choosing to return to the classroom of an elementary Christian school is wrong.”
There used to be a consensus in this country that religious liberty was for everyone. When the Religious Freedom Restoration Act came before Congress, only three members voted against it. Over time, some liberals tried to isolate faith — to churches, Christian schools, or family rooms. You’ve heard me say before that the Left’s hope is to quarantine religion within the four walls of the church. Now, it’s becoming clear — even that won’t satisfy them.
“I have always had a problem with the idea that religion is something we must keep to ourselves,” Matt Walsh writes in the Daily Wire. “Indeed, the Christian faith requires exactly the opposite. But in the case of Karen Pence and her new employer, they are doing exactly what the Left demanded. This school is merely trying to operate by biblical principles within its own walls and on its own property. It is a Christian school simply being a Christian school. It isn’t bothering anyone. It isn’t invading anyone’s home and lecturing them about their sexual behavior. It isn’t preventing anyone from working or living or enjoying their lives. It is just saying, very reasonably, very unobtrusively, ‘We are going to conduct ourselves according to Christian moral tradition. If you don’t want to accept that moral tradition, then by all means go somewhere else.’”
“This is exactly, precisely, the approach that the Left for years endorsed and insisted upon. But suddenly it’s a problem. Suddenly, even Christianity behind closed doors, on private property, in a private school, is a target of outrage and scorn. It was a lie all along. They were never planning to stop outside the walls of our homes and our churches and our schools. That’s just what they said to lull us to sleep.”
“Now the next phase begins.”
Originally published here.
Pelosi’s #SOTU Shutdown Showdown
If there’s one thing the far-Left always runs from it’s an honest debate. Right now, the worst thing for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would be for the country to hear the president’s side of the story on the border crisis. So, Democrats are doing what they do best: trying to silence the truth.
Speaker Pelosi does get points for creativity. In her letter to the White House, she argues that the president’s security might be at risk for the State of the Union address if the government is still shut down on January 29. “Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government reopens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has reopened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on Jan. 29,” Pelosi wrote.
The White House didn’t dignify the letter with a response. But top conservatives had plenty to say. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) tweeted that Democrats are “only interested in obstructing @realDonaldTrump, not governing.” “#ShutdownNancy shut down the government, and now #SOTU,” Scalise went on. “What are Democrats afraid of Americans hearing? That 17,000+ criminals were caught last year at the border? 90% of heroin in the US comes across the southern border? Illegal border crossings dropped 90%+ in areas w/ a wall?”
Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen rejected Pelosi’s insinuations, saying that Homeland Security and the Secret Service “are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union.” Others were more indignant, like former Congressman Jason Chaffetz. “It was just two weeks ago Nancy Pelosi went to the floor and said, ‘We’re going to be transparent, we’re gonna be a town hall, we’re gonna allow debate.’ She wants to shut down the debate because she knows the president will win this argument.”
The House Freedom Caucus’s Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) agreed, arguing that Pelosi didn’t really think her stunt through. In the end, her letter doesn’t reflect badly on Donald Trump — but Democrats. “[They’re] more focused on stopping the president than they are on serving the country.” As for the idea that the Secret Service wouldn’t be prepared, a chorus of former agents took offense at the speaker’s comments. Dan Bongino, who worked in the Secret Service, said Pelosi owes them an apology. “These are patriots, not politicians,” he told the Daily Caller. “The timing of their paychecks will have absolutely ZERO impact on their security plan. If Pelosi thinks the agents are going to put POTUS in danger because they’ve missed a paycheck, then she should find a new line of work.”
Originally published here.
‘The Light Doesn’t Stop Shining When It Gets Darker’
U.C. Berkeley supposedly started the Free Speech Movement in 1964, but that would probably be shocking news to Christians today. There aren’t many campuses more hostile to diverse viewpoints than the California school who allowed students to spend weeks harassing and persecuting one of its student senators, Isabella Chow.
Two months ago, it was a pretty dark time for Isabella. She’d just decided to abstain from a pro-transgender vote because of her Christian faith, becoming an object of liberal scorn almost overnight. Her peers plastered signs across campus calling on her to resign, her political party abandoned her, and she was forced to sit through a three-hour protest of her personal values at the next student government meeting. “Her parents, also present at the meeting, struggled to watch their daughter being publicly attacked. Chow didn’t want her parents to see her distress, so she waited until they left before sitting with a friend to cry.”
As she told me on “Washington Watch,” if she hadn’t had the support and prayers of so many Christians across the country, she might have caved on day one. But she didn’t, and this past week, at a special luncheon of the Values Advocacy Council in San Jose, President Neil Mammen presented Isabella with a special certificate representing the 17,000 signatures FRC gathered in her support. She was surprised and grateful for the gesture and said she has no intention of backing down.
“If no one represents the truth, then who will?” she said. “If I was elected to be a voice for such a time as this, the light doesn’t stop shining when the darkness gets darker, the voice doesn’t stop speaking when it’s being shut down. This is not a time to back down. It’s a time to continue shining the light of Christ in all love, all grace, all humility.”
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.