Vice President Mike Pence has lashed out at the media for criticizing the anti-gay policies of the K-8 school where his wife will be returning to work as an art teacher. Karen Pence worked at Virginia’s Immanuel Christian, which maintains exclusionary policies, from 2001 to 2013 during Vice President Pence’s tenure as a U.S. Representative for Indiana.
That may be, but the criticism is valid from not just a social perspective or an art perspective — what does the Second Lady have to tell her kids on the subject of Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Francis Bacon, Jasper Johns, David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Ellsworth Kelly, Keith Haring, or Marsden Hartley (to name just a few) — but on a Christian level. Immanuel Christian’s policies don’t only exclude gay children and children of gay parents, but a significant amount of the New Testament.
For instance, in my Bible, Jesus says in Matthew 22:36-40 that the second greatest commandment is “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I can only assume that the Jesus in the Pence Bible follows up with, “Unless your neighbor is gay, in which case they don’t deserve any love because dad and I are not down with the gay stuff.”
This must be the case. What other explanation could there be for Mrs. Pence teaching at a school where a parent agreement specifically states they can refuse admission to a kid or kick them out if there is “sexual immorality” and “homosexual activity or bi-sexual activity” in their home?
Clearly, in Pence’s Bible in the Gospel of John 7:53–8:11, when the Pharisees want to stone the adulterous woman who was caught in the act, Jesus is all, “Go for it! Actually here, use this big, sharp, heavy one. That’ll get ‘er done.” In my Bible, however, he suggests they consider their own sin.
Beyond that, the Jesus in the Pence’s Bible must have a radically different view of children than the one in mine. In my Bible, in Matthew 18:10, Christ says, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” It leaves out the part, which is apparently in the Pence version, where Christ then says, “I mean, it’s okay to despise them if they are gay. Obvi.”
And then there’s Matthew 19:13-14 where the disciples are telling people not to bring their kids to Christ. In my version of the Bible he tells them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” I guess in the Pence version of the bible he goes on to say, “Or just shove your highly specific scriptural interpretations down their throat at a young age and teach them to be suspicious of each other. Like, it’s your call or whatever.”
Because only a school, and a faculty, that believed in this bizarro-world Christ would have the kind of teachings that would keep the different and despised kids away. But, in the end, I’m sure plenty can be found to counter my claim. “Even the Devil can quote scripture!” the Pence faithful will retort. And on that we can certainly agree.
Here’s something else we can probably agree on: Parents should be allowed to educate their kids as they see fit. That said, if Mike Pence and Karen “Mother” Pence don’t want their personal choices questioned by the media or the American people, they should find another line of work. Or, you know, a different school.