Paula White: Liberal Attacks on Karen Pence Reveal Disdain for Religious Freedom

By Pastor Paula White

The liberal media are inexplicably outraged by Second Lady Karen Pence’s decision to return to her old job teaching art to elementary school students.

Pence recently began a twice-a-week gig at Immanuel Christian School, where she had previously taught for 12 years while her husband, Vice President Mike Pence, was serving in Congress.

Rather than applauding the Second Lady for rejoining a profession widely lionized by liberals, mainstream media outlets sought to turn the issue into a controversy by focusing almost entirely on the fact that Immanuel Christian School requires students, parents, and employees to abide by a traditional Christian understanding of moral behavior. This includes prohibitions against adultery, viewing pornography, and — cue the liberal pearl-clutching — engaging in homosexual activities.

It certainly isn’t surprising that the liberal-leaning HuffPost, which first broke the story, would emphasize that Mrs. Pence is “working at a school that bans LGBTQ employees and kids.” Still, CNN, NBC News, Politico, Newsweek, and many other media outlets that purport to be unbiased all used variations on the same theme for their own headlines in a transparent attempt to make the school’s adherence to Christian teaching seem like something sinister.

The stories each describe outrage of some kind within the LGBTQ community, and invariably include a quote from Mrs. Pence’s spokesperson, Kara Brooks, who said, “It’s absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school’s religious beliefs, are under attack.”

The attacks, however, appear to be coming as much from mainstream media reporters as from LGBTQ activists.

The Hill, for instance, doesn’t mention any actual criticisms of the policy that “prohibits LGBT students, faculty,” but it does cite a professor of law and religion who noted that the language used in the policy is fairly common for conservative Christian schools, and that Mrs. Pence is perfectly within her rights to choose to work at Immanuel.

The Politico and CNN articles are likewise devoid of evidence indicating widespread anger over the Second Lady’s new teaching gig, though NBC was able to find an activist willing to call Pence’s decision “deeply disturbing.”

The best that The Washington Post could muster, meanwhile, was a quote originally given to HuffPost by a representative of the Human Rights Campaign, who remarked that “The Pences never seem to miss an opportunity to show their public service only extends to some.”

The most forceful criticism came from the executive director of LGBT-service provider Indiana Youth Group, who told IndyStar that the school’s policy “harms kids (by not teaching inclusiveness)” and promotes a message of “hate.”

The statement put out by the Second Lady’s office was right on the money — criticism of Mrs. Pence’s teaching assignment is truly absurd.

It’s one thing to believe that teaching “inclusiveness” to children is desirable, but only a dyed-in-the-wool social justice warrior would believe that failing to indoctrinate kids in contemporary liberal orthodoxy actually “harms” them.

The notion that traditional Christian teachings about sexuality are a form of “hate” is even more outrageous. The fundamental message of Christianity is love and forgiveness, not hate, and its proscriptions against immoral behavior are intended to foster harmony in society, not demonize those who fail to live their lives perfectly. Immanuel Christian School’s policy isn’t about excluding people so much as it is about cultivating a community of shared values.

Hostility toward Christianity isn’t uncommon in the liberal media, but the attacks on Mrs. Pence are particularly tone-deaf because they coincide with National Religious Freedom Day, which commemorates the 1786 passage of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom that provided the basis for the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom.

Karen Pence is simply exercising her own religious freedom by choosing to work at a school that shares her personal religious and moral values. Apparently liberals aren’t big fans of constitutional rights when they don’t conform to their radical, politically correct views.

 

Paula White is the senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center.

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