“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Does this snippet sound familiar? It should – it’s the First Amendment, which protects your right to freedom of religion. But lately, it seems like an awful lot of people are overlooking it, especially where the Christian faith is concerned.
That’s exactly what we saw happening in mid-January, when Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, became convenient targets for the Left.
- The story starts with good, honest work for a faith-based employer (a plot line feeling all too common lately). Mrs. Pence took on a teaching position at Immanuel Christian School (ICS) in Washington. There, she’ll be teaching art and other associated skills.
- ICS is a private, faith-driven and supported school. In addition to teaching standard academics, they also teach morality, purity and other lessons sourced from the Bible. Part of their adherence to faith includes having all staff and teachers sign an affidavit swearing to live a “personal life of moral purity.”
- ICS’s document also includes other faith-based standards. It “asks teachers to promise they will avoid any form of “Moral misconduct,” including “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.”
- … And this is just about where the Left became enraged. How dare a private business operating entirely on their own recognizance ask teachers to willingly agree to follow their faith?!
- But here’s the thing: Mrs. Pence wasn’t forced to sign the agreement; she did so of her own free will. Nor is ICS alone in their requirement for teachers to adhere to the faith; the same is true for most faith-based private schools.
- The way Twitter exploded after this news broke highlights just how fickle the Left can be with how and when they apply the First Amendment. People called out the Pences and ICS for “spreading hateful ideology” as if they were the Westboro Baptist Church or some kind of cult.
- Comedian Tony Posanski’s rant was especially amusing and filled with social justice outrage. “I pay for Karen Pence’s housing. I pay for Karen Pence’s security. I pay for Karen Pence’s health insurance,” he said. “So she needs to explain why it’s okay to teach in a place that discriminates against the LGBT community, who are Americans that pay taxes.”
- Others came to the Pence’s defense, saying that she had just as much right to practice her faith by agreeing to the document and working with ICS as anyone else had to disagree and refuse the job. Which is ultimately what it comes down to: the right to not be forced to break your own faith, and the right to choose how to follow your own faith.
- Neither ICS nor Mrs. Pence were harming anyone here. They weren’t out harassing or assaulting anyone, nor were they actively seeking out LGBT people to be cruel to them. Pence’s spokeswoman summed it up best, saying, “It’s absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school’s religious beliefs, are under attack.”