Karen Pence: Religious freedom or bigotry?
Despite the progress in recent years, bigotry against gay, lesbian, and transgender Americans is alive and well, said Rachel Leah in Salon.com. Consider the part-time teaching job Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, just took at the Immanuel Christian School in Virginia. Teachers and students at the school are required to sign a pledge stating that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, and that they are not gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. The Pences are evangelicals, so Karen’s choice to work in an atmosphere of “blatant homophobia” is “hardly surprising.” But think what a statement they are making to LGBT Americans. That statement is also an act of “astonishing moral hypocrisy,” said Clay Cane in CNN.com. For all their professions of “moral purity,” the Pences have shown unwavering support for President Trump—a man who has cheated on all three of his wives and paid hush money to a porn star and a Playboy model. And yet the Pences would shun a gay teenager?
If you’re searching for scandal, said David French in NationalReview.com, look elsewhere. Karen Pence made a faith-based decision to work at a Christian school espousing “orthodox Christian teachings” about human sexuality that are 2,000 years old. If even holding these beliefs is now scandalous, “then it’s rather clear that institutional support for gay marriage under civil law is now veering into institutional hostility against Christian orthodoxy.” That in fact is what is now occurring, said Michael Gerson in The Washington Post. During last month’s confirmation hearings for a federal judge, Democratic senators expressed concern that the Catholic nominee belonged to the Knights of Columbus, which they described as “an all-male society” that “opposed a woman’s right to choose.” Catholics and other Christians, in other words, cannot “be trusted with government jobs upholding the secular, liberal political order.”
The Pences are entitled to hold any religious beliefs they like, said Eliza Byard in TheDailyBeast.com. But Karen Pence is not a private citizen—she’s the vice president’s wife, and that role makes her a “symbolically powerful public figure.” Her choice to work at a school that views gay kids and teachers as morally unfit sends a message to these kids from the White House that “they are wrong, or lesser in some way.” That’s both backward and “deeply hurtful.” ■