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Religious Liberties Are Being Attacked. Again?

| Opinion | January 24, 2019

by Gary Curtis

Second Lady Karen Pence has returned to teaching art part-time at a Church-sponsored, K-8 Christian-school in Northern Virginia, where she taught for a dozen years when her husband was a congressman.

The school has clear behavior standards for employees and students. It reserves the right to refuse applicants or expel students who engage in homosexual or transgendered behavior, or otherwise violate “the moral principles of the school.”  The liberal media find this shocking, “anti-gay,” and worthy of public shaming and political criticism.

Employment applications at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia ask applicants to affirm that God “intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other and that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity is engaged in outside of marriage between a man and a woman.”

Applications further clarify moral misconduct which violates the occupational qualifications for employees of this Christian school. These include, but are not limited to, such behaviors as the following:

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“…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.”

Rather than understanding these biblical standards as traditional Christian teachings, the progressive left sees these restrictions as discriminating and hateful. CNN’s Kate Bennett demonstrated her disapproval of Karen Pence’s employment when she tweeted: “So, lemme get this straight, the second lady of the United States has chosen to work at a school that openly discriminates against LGBT adults and children?”

Jewish commentator and radio host Ben Shapiro replied: “So, lemme get this straight. You’re a reporter but you’ve never heard of religious people before? ‘BREAKING: Pence’s wife is working for a Christian school that requires that Christian students pledge to abide by Christian standards of sin that have not changed in 2,000 years.’”

CNN’s anchor John King asked if it matters that taxpayer dollars are being used to pay for Karen Pence’s housing and Secret Service protection. The panel he was moderating seemed a little surprised by the bizarre premise. Sirius XM correspondent Olivier Knox hesitatingly responded, “So, do you mean, does her — do her First Amendment freedoms get somehow curtailed because taxpayers pay for her accommodations and security? I don’t know that a lot of people would sign on for that.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, believes that criticism of Second Lady Karen Pence amounts to “attacks on Christian education by the mainstream media.” He said the left’s “real problem isn’t that Mike Pence’s wife is working at an evangelical school — but that evangelical schools exist at all.”

Perkins insisted Immanuel Christian doesn’t “ban” anyone from the school but rather sets standards of behavior which apply to everyone. “As Christians, our behavior doesn’t define us — we define our behavior,” he said.

Vice President Mike Pence responded to this criticism of his wife’s short-termed service to the Christian school, calling the negative reaction “deeply offensive.”

Interestingly, the same week this criticism of Christians and Christian institutions occurred, President Trump re-affirmed his support for religious liberty and conscience protection, during an address on Religious Freedom Day, on January 16. U.S. presidents have done likewise annually since 1993, when legislation passed to strengthen these First Amendment liberties. He said:

“On Religious Freedom Day, we celebrate our Nation’s long-standing commitment to freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess one’s own faith…The right to religious freedom is innate to the dignity of every human person and is foundational to the pursuit of truth.”

After more than 200 years as a constitutional republic, we can no longer take our First Amendment freedoms for granted. Living out our supposed religious freedoms and conscience protections may bring us public criticism, targeted shaming and even legal prosecution.

The Apostle Paul told young Timothy that “…all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12 Modern English Version (MEV)

Let us pray for the genuine believers who are serving our nation in public office. Pray for Vice President and Mrs. Pence. The Left’s attack on Mrs. Pence is emblematic of their disdain for all religious people who are not socially liberal. May they and we bravely endure the mocking and lies of evil people.

Peter admonished believers to “live your lives honorably among the Gentiles, so that though they speak against you as evildoers, they shall see your good works and thereby glorify God in the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:12 (MEV)

May the political activists and adversaries around us see our good works, humble spirits, and pure motives, so they will be drawn to our God and His godly goals for these last days.

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