Vice President Mike Pence was tapped to speak at the commencement of a Christian college in his home state of Indiana, but students at the nondenominational Taylor University are protesting the decision.
Some Taylor students say the vice president is an inappropriate choice based on the Trump administration's hateful policies. Since it was announced last week that Pence would be the guest commencement speaker, more than 4,500 people have signed a petition asking the university to rescind Pence's invitation.
"I am signing because Pence is a disgrace to humanity. He gives a bad name to evangelism--proclaiming the Good News. His news proclaims Trump's evil," wrote one person who signed the Change.Org petition.
Taylor University announced Pence would be the speaker in a Facebook post praising his faith:
"Taylor University is honored to have Vice President Mike Pence featured as our commencement speaker. Mr. Pence has been a good friend to the University over many years, and is a Christian brother whose life and values have exemplified what we strive to instill in our graduates."
But not all of Taylor's students agree that Pence is the kind of "Christian brother" they want speaking on their big day. The petition reads:
"Inviting Vice President Pence to Taylor University and giving him a coveted platform for his political views makes our alumni, faculty, staff and current students complicit in the Trump-Pence Administration's policies, which we believe are not consistent with the Christian ethic of love we hold dear."
In addition to signing the petition, protesters are encouraged to push back on Taylor's social media announcements that Pence would be the speaker.
"What a politically polarizing choice for a commencement speaker. Why can't the evangelical church and institutions distance themselves more from partisan politics and focus on living out their faith in daily life?" wrote one commenter on the Facebook post. "Christian just simply does NOT equal Republican. Of all the choices of wise and inspiring leaders that could be chosen, I think this is an extremely poor choice."
One person who signed the petition suggested a more inclusive Christian politician and Indiana native.
"I'm a husband of a Taylor alum and suggest that if Taylor is looking for a Hossier Christian politician for the commencement they might consider inviting Pete Buttigieg," the signer wrote.