January 21, 2019
It's not a crime to be a Christian, Lauren Appell half-jokes at the Daily Caller -- at least not yet. Still, the furor over Karen Pence's new teaching job shows us one thing: how uninterested the Left is in hiding its fanaticism.
From the Huffington Post to the Washington Post, liberals are beside themselves Christian schools exist -- let alone that someone as prominent as the second lady would work in one. "How can this happen in America?" Politico writer Lois Romano wailed on social media. How can Christianity happen in America? It's what gave us America!
On CNN, the idea that Karen Pence would volunteer at Immanuel Christian was grounds for ending her Secret Service protection. "Does it matter that all taxpayers pay for housing?" John King asked. "All taxpayers pay for her Secret Service protection? It's not her fault that she needs protection, this is the world we live in. But all taxpayers pay for, subsidize her life," King said. "Does it matter?" When SiriusXM's Olivier Knox pushed back, arguing that not a lot of people would "sign up for that," King insisted it was a fair question.
Singer Lady Gaga was next in line, trashing the Pences as "the worst representation of what it means to be a Christian."
Apparently, Lady Gaga doesn't realize being a Christian means you follow Jesus Christ. What is outrageous is the outrage over the fact that Karen Pence is going to teach at a school that believes the Bible it teaches. And the only reason it's news is because she's daring to do so as a public figure -- and an important one at that.
"What's next?" David French asks. "The belief that public figures should not teach Sunday School? Serve in domestic or foreign missions?" Once you start down this path, where do you draw the line? Make no mistake: this is the canary in the coal mine when it comes to religious freedom. The far Left wants to push Christian education and Christian institutions into some sort of spiritual ghetto, and then bar those people from the public square. That's profoundly un-American and an unconstitutional reverse religious test. Yet here is the other side, pushing hashtags like #ExposeChristianSchools. Guess what? There's nothing to expose that isn't in the plain text of Scripture.
Private schools are exactly that: private. No one is forcing children to go there. In fact, most families make great sacrifices to afford the kind of education that instills the values America's public schools will not. There isn't another version of the First Amendment for people in public office. Karen Pence has just as much right to live and work by her faith as any American. "If Lois Romano [or any other critic] wants to argue against Christian theology, then have at it," French writes. "Most Christians I know welcome the dialogue. But if they want to condemn a woman for the free exercise of her Christian faith? If they want to argue that there's something inherently wrong with orthodox Christians' associating, worshipping together, and teaching their children? Well, then they're exhibiting a deep intolerance that's at odds with pluralism itself."
And maybe in that intolerance they've done us a favor. Their true agenda, which they've worked for years to disguise, is hidden no more. The façade of subtlety is gone, and Americans are seeing this movement for what it truly is. "Many fellow Christians think they can escape the cultural conflict over LGBT-related issues," FRC's Travis Weber writes in a new op-ed about the controversy. "They really don't think it will come to the door of their home or their church -- or their school. Yet it's coming to our doorsteps, whether we like it or not. If you are a parent who wants to teach and pass your faith on to your children, your ability to do just that will be taken away, unless you stand up for it now."
Liberals can try to force religion to the fringes of society -- or any institution that stands on moral truth -- but they won't succeed. After all, it's not exactly a new strategy. For 2,000 years, movements have desperately tried to exterminate faith and failed -- even with the full power of the state at their disposal. While the effects upon the society that attempts to stamp out Christianity are painful and tragic, the truth is the more faith is persecuted, the more it flourishes. The best way to win this fight is to become the committed Christians the Left is worried we are. There would be no greater irony than for the legacy of these attacks to start the revival our country so desperately needs!
Would you join the 30,000 Americans who have pledged to pray for the Second Lady and other leaders who openly live by their faith in the face of those who seek to marginalize it?
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.