Did you ever wonder what Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, does for a living? Well … ‘for a living’ is likely a misnomer, for I’m fairly certain that Mikey brings home enough to pay the bills … but Karen is, indeed, gainfully employed. She is a teacher. An art teacher. At a school. A school that bars LGBT students … and teachers.
The school is Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia, where Ms. Pence previously taught from 2001 to 2013. The school does not allow gay students and requires employees to affirm that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, despite the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v Hodges. The school’s employment application equires candidates to describe their faith in Jesus Christ, affirm that they are a born-again Christian and vow to adhere to specific standards in their personal and professional lives. Welcome to 1692, the year the Salem witch trials began. Welcome to the Dark Ages! Is it not the ultimate hypocrisy that the wife of a man who has sworn to uphold the Constitution is so blatantly in defiance of the values espoused in that document?
Item #8 on the employment application requires that an applicant initial the following statement:
“I understand that the term ‘marriage’ has only one meaning; the uniting of one man and one woman,” it reads, adding that certain “moral misconduct” would be disqualifying, such as “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.”
Karen Pence signed her initials, agreeing to the above statement. Karen Pence, the wife of the man who is likely to, through order of succession, become the next President of the United States. Think about that one for a minute.
Unlike public schools, private schools can require students and employees to follow specific religious beliefs and adhere to certain behavior in their private lives. They are not restricted from teaching from religious texts in class and are not subject to employment discrimination laws.
As I have stated on numerous occasions, I am not against any religion per se, although I do not ascribe to any religion myself. I believe in the doctrine of “live and let live”, and as long as people do not attempt to enforce their own beliefs on others, I do not care what religion people choose to follow. But this … is an abomination. If parents wish to send their children to a parochial school, as long as they are willing to fully fund their child’s education with no assistance from taxpayer money, I have no problem with that. However … when said religious schools are exempt from federal employment discrimination laws, then yes, I have a problem … a BIG problem. When they exclude children who do not fit into the narrow confines of their own moral views, then yes … I have a problem.
For those who might not understand my objection, let’s turn the tables just a bit. Let’s say I want to start up a school for African-American LGBT students and I refuse to hire any white Christians, simply on the basis that a) they are Caucasian, and b) they are Christian. How long do you think before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) shuts my school down? Yep … less than a day after the first complaint. Discrimination, whether it is in employment, education or housing is wrong. Discrimination against a specific race, age, disability, national origin, religion, gender, or gender identity is wrong. Such discrimination is against the law. Period. And here’s a really terrifying thought …
“It is a place that partners with families, always looking far into the future, preparing a generation of young people who will someday take our place as parents, teachers and leaders.”
Mike Pence, Karen Pence and the Immanuel Christian School need to get over their feelings of superiority and come into the real world where people are different, yet can live together in a world of peace, mutual respect, compassion, and love. Isn’t that, after all, part of the Christian dogma? Or has it changed?
A side note: Mike Pence’s daughter, Charlotte, wrote a book about a bunny … or more specifically, a day in the life of the Vice President as seen through the eyes of her bunny, Marlon Bundo. Last spring, late-night comedian John Oliver re-wrote the book just a bit, making old Bundo gay, hooking him up with another boy bunny, and sending the two on a quest to get hitched.
Oliver’s book was an instant success, and even Charlotte Pence bought a copy, saying …
“I have bought his book. It doesn’t have to be divisive. I think that everybody can come together over Marlon.”
And the real kicker … the Trevor Project—a nonprofit dedicated to suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth, which split the proceeds from Oliver’s book with an AIDS nonprofit—announced that it had shipped 100 copies of the thing to Immanuel Christian School! Along with the books, they included a note …
“Policies and rhetoric that exclude or reject LGBTQ youth can lead to increased risk for suicide and depression, and it’s our organization’s mission to end suicide among LGBTQ young people. With your help, we hope you will change your school’s student and employee policies to accept LGBTQ students and employees.”