Vice President 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.”
In a new interview with EWTN host Lauren Ashburn, Pence spoke out about the backlash following Karen Pence announcing she’s taking a job at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Va.
“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 said.
“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.