Editor’s Note: Clay Cane is a Sirius XM radio host and the author of “Live Through This: Surviving the Intersections of Sexuality, God, and Race.” Follow him on Twitter @claycane. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his. View more opinion articles on CNN.
Karen Pence, the wife of America’s vice president, Mike Pence will be teaching art at a Christian school in Virginia that bans LGBTQ children and requires employees to declare their religious beliefs. Like a real-life setting for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Immanuel Christian School insists applicants initial a pledge to “live a personal life of moral purity.”
Listen to what else the pledge says: “I understand that the term ‘marriage’ has only one meaning; the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive covenant union as delineated in Scripture.” It asserts that God intended sexual acts only between “a man and a woman who are married to each other.” It identifies “moral misconduct” that would disqualify employees as premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex, homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female.”
This language is disgusting and insults millions of taxpaying American citizens, many who have served their country. That it is acceptable to the wife of the man who is a heartbeat away from the presidency should horrify and alarm all Americans.
Karen and Mike Pence are conservative, evangelical Christians who share beliefs about religion and politics. They have every right to do this. (“It’s absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school’s religious beliefs, are under attack,” said Kara Brooks, a spokeswoman for Pence.) But consider Mike Pence’s position of power in this country: He regularly stands shoulder to shoulder with his boss, Donald Trump. He has access to and can influence a President who is very interested in maintaining support among evangelicals.
For all their professed beliefs, Pence, and his wife, show unwavering support for a man who has been married three times, divorced twice, has had five children with three women and who has been accused of (though denies) paying a porn star and a Playboy model hundreds of thousands of dollars to conceal affairs he’d had with them.
The hypocrisy here, and indeed from white evangelical Trump supporters, is astonishing. As of April, white evangelical support for Trump was at an all-time high: 75%. Disturbingly, as he left the White House, President Barack Obama enjoyed the favorable view of only 24% of white evangelicals.
Obama, a man who had no sex scandals, was never accused of sexual harassment, had two children with the same woman, couldn’t crack 25% white evangelicals. Of course, race is a huge reason, but Hillary Clinton only received 16% of the white evangelical vote.
For white evangelicals, it appears to be Trump over country – and Karen Pence is a glowing example.
The school where Karen Pence will work — and indeed she has taught there in the past, for 12 years – does have a legal right to its brand of hate. But it is deplorable for the wife of the vice president to work in this space. (One wonders, for example, how the sexuality of the kids there will be investigated?)
It comes down to this: If the Pences love their God so much, then they would not sit in a White House with a man who shows no moral compass and said he never asks for forgiveness. They would be on the White House lawn, with the King James Bible in hand, disavowing a President who is a horrible representation for our children.
If Karen Pence loves “moral purity,” she would have denounced Melania Trump for — for example – posing naked and in handcuffs for a men’s magazine when she worked as a model. If she and her husband want to sign a pledge of moral purity, they should first hand it to the President of the United States for his own signature.
Instead, Karen Pence works for a school that bans some children, which is un-American and soulless. And the Pences send a happy signal to their base (in the same way that Trump declared himself a “nationalist” to send a signal) that Republicans are the party of white, Christian, heterosexual values.
Do Karen and Mike Pence (who, incidentally, supports conversion therapy) not see LGBTQ people as humans deserving the same respect and rights as anyone? It’s easy to imagine, based on his pronouncements in the past, that if he could, Vice President Pence would create a sweeping policy to annihilate the progress of all LGBTQ communities — progress that, to be clear, resonates in every community.
The LGBTQ community is Republican, Democrat, black, white, undocumented, documented and has members in red and blue states.
Mike and Karen Pence, where is your Jesus?