Vice President Mike Pence is hitting back at criticism of his wife’s job, BBC News is reporting. It was revealed that second lady Karen Pence would be returning to her job as a teacher at Immanuel Christian School, a private school in Springfield, Virginia. The backlash came when it was revealed that all teachers must sign a pledge that condemns the LGBT community.
The pledge they are required to sign states that marriage is only between one man and one woman — no exceptions.
In addition, an agreement for parents featured on the school’s official website says that the administration can “refuse admission” or “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.”
If that weren’t enough, teachers must sign an agreement that they will “live a personal life of moral purity.” Specifically, this means they will abstain from “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, sexual harassment, use or viewing of pornographic material or websites, and sexual abuse or improprieties toward minors as defined by Scripture and federal or state law.”
Mike Pence recently went on Eternal Word Television Network, a network known for airing only Catholic-themed content, on Thursday, January 17, to defend his wife, who worked at the school as an art teacher for 12 years while he was in Congress.
“My wife and I have been in the public eye for quite a while,” Pence said. “We’re used to the criticism. But I have to tell you, to see major news organizations attacking Christian education is deeply offensive to us.”
“We’ll let the other critics roll off our back, but this criticism of religious education in America should stop,” he added.
Kara Brooks, a spokesperson for the second lady, regarded the criticism as “absurd.”
As Rolling Stone points out, Pence has often used the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom to defend his beliefs. Also constitutional, however, is a woman’s right to have an abortion, which has been the case since 1973. Even so, Pence made a surprise appearance on Friday’s “March For Life” rally in Washington, D.C., which protests this right. An opinion piece by Clay Cane on CNN also discusses the concept of “purity,” and whether working for and defending a man like President Trump (who has broken many of the rules the school listed for a “life of moral purity”) and whether that makes them hypocritical.
Still, Pence says he and his wife “celebrate” the “rich tradition” of a Christian education.