This is from Mike Pence, regarding the press’s questioning his wife’s enrollment at Virginia’s Immanuel Christian School: “To see major news organizations attacking Christian education is deeply offensive to us.”
Crafty. “Major news” is bad. “Christian education” is good. Shore up all the messaging when your boss’s approval numbers are slipping. “Deeply offensive to us” is a line that Pence ostensibly means in terms of Karen and himself, but it also shouts out to his voters. In fact, I’m wondering if I’d go too if I said that it identifies that base as a group that should be protected as a culture we diversity-minded people should avoid offending: “Hey,” says Pence. “If you really stand for civil rights, protect those groups that seek to strip civil rights from others.” That is, after all, the Trumpites’ definition of religious freedom.
I’m not going to get into the weeds about that. Virginia doesn’t prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation or gender identity—so despite Pence’s bleats about endangerment, the law is very much on the “Christian” patriarchy’s side.
I am tempted to talk about what Christianity is (and isn’t)—especially in light of the fact that the Dept. of Health and Human Services just revealed that thousands more immigration children saw separation from their families than the Trump administration reported. I’m also tempted to talk about what Christian education should be, considering that a real study of the Bible reveals that the so-called anti-gay scriptures pertain to idolatry and breaches of hospitality. I ‘d further like to discuss the fact that, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, over half of all American Christians support gay marriage, while over half of all religious Americans support LGBT protections. And maybe I’d choose to finish by quoting Immanuel Christian School’s actual code of conduct, which reserves the right to terminate employment or enrollment, based on “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.” In other words, I wonder how Mr. Pence feels about the fact that his own boss couldn’t work there.
But the truth is that if I expounded on all that, I’d let Mr. Pence take up too much of my morning. So, instead, I’ll say this. Mr. Pence: On account of your bigotry, misogyny, and hypocrisy, I find it deeply offensive that you call yourself a Christian. On account of your hack scholarship, your hostility to diversity, and your attacks on the press, I find it deeply offensive that you try to speak for education of any kind. And on account of the fact that your wife just happens to take a job at this school while your Russia-linked administration desperately needs the support of its base, I find it deeply offensive that you call yourself a public servant. According to the Hill, the Atlantic, and the Los Angeles Times, you have said that you think God has chosen you to become the president. I hope he has. I hope that, upon Trump’s impeachment, you have that job for a day, or a week, or even a month. And during that time, you will suffer such meticulous scrutiny that you’ll reveal to everyone exactly what your piety is—how many back doors it has, how many dungeons and double sides. And then, God willing, you will embody the very sank in your movement’s sanctimony.