Vice President Mike Pence is once again defending his wife for her much-criticized gig teaching at a Christian school that discriminates against LGBTQ people.
Pence made the comment while speaking Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., the Washington Blade reports. Contending that religious freedom is being threatened, he said, “My own family recently came under attack just because my wife, Karen, went back to teach art to children at a Christian school. Let me say before all of you, I couldn’t be more proud of my wife.”
Karen Pence recently returned to teaching part-time at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Va., near Washington, D.C. She had previously taught there when her husband was in Congress. The school requires staff members to be born-again Christians who adhere to certain standards of behavior, including the avoidance of “homosexual or lesbian sexual activity” and “transgender identity.”
“The freedom of religion is not just enshrined in the Constitution, it’s enshrined in the hearts of the American people,” Mike Pence said at CPAC, according to the Blade. “But make no mistake about it. The freedom of religion is under attack in this country. Lately, it’s actually become fashionable for media elites and Hollywood liberals to mock religious belief.”
Pence, who has previously defended his wife for taking the job at the Christian school, promised the CPAC audience that he and Donald Trump would always defend religious freedom, which to many right-wing Christians means the freedom to discriminate against LGBTQ people and others who offend their religious beliefs. He also railed against abortion —inaccurately claiming that Democrats believe in infanticide — and universal health care.
“With Democrats standing for late-term abortion and infanticide and a culture of death, I promise you this president, this party, and this movement will always stand for the unborn,” he said. “We will always defend the unalienable right to life.”
The idea of “Medicare for all,” which some Democrats have proposed, means “quality care for none,” he said. He further claimed that the Democratic plan to combat climate change would cost $90 trillion.
Pence has been in the news a couple of times already this week, in ways he probably would not prefer. It was revealed that his new chief of staff, Marc Short, wrote a deeply homophobic article as a college student in 1992. Short has said the article, which called gay sex “repugnant,” no longer reflects his views; there has been no comment from the vice president. Then Thursday, former VP Joe Biden called Pence a “decent guy” during an appearance in Nebraska, causing many LGBTQ advocates to point out the indecency of Pence’s homophobic and transphobic stances. Biden walked back the comment in response to criticism from actress and activist Cynthia Nixon.
Pence’s full CPAC speech is below.