On Tuesday of last week, news broke that Second Lady Karen Pence would be teaching at a school that publicly bans LGBT students, teachers, and parents. It has been reported that Pence is set to teach an art class part time at Immanuel Christian School, a private school in northern Virginia.
The Immanuel Christian School overtly denounces any relation that they deem “sexual immorality” as stated in their employment application. The school’s employment application outright diminishes any relationship outside of a heterosexual normative union. With one of their guidelines required to follow specifically stating, “I understand that the term ‘marriage’ has only one meaning; the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive covenant union.” It goes on to say that moral misconduct includes behaviors such as “homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female,” which is blatant discrimination of the LGBT community. The school’s website also contains a parent agreement that states their right to refuse admission or dismiss any student based on the lifestyle choices made by them or their parents that are within those that the school does not condone including “sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bi-sexual activity, promoting such practices, or being unable to support the moral principles of the school.”
Courtesy: People Magazine
This news was received with plenty of backlash throughout the media by human rights groups and upset citizens. JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, commented on the news in a statement to HuffPost by questioning, “Why not teach at a school that welcomes everyone, instead of choosing one that won’t serve LGBTQ kids, kids of LGBTQ parents? ... The Pences never seem to miss an opportunity to show their public service only extends to some.” In response to the public’s reaction, Vice President Mike Pence said attacks on Christian education are “deeply offensive,” as reported by New York Post. However, some have begun to oppose his statement by clarifying that the outrage from this news is not aimed at Christian education, but at the policies that the Immanuel Christian School publicly stands behind.
Kara Brooks, Pence's communications director, also responded to the backlash in a statement to CNN, “Mrs. Pence has returned to the school where she previously taught for 12 years. It's absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school's religious beliefs, are under attack.” Brooks did not answer questions regarding Pence’s views on the school’s policies.
The Pence family is known for their conservative views, so although it is still unsure whether Karen Pence has signed the school’s employee agreement, it is likely that she is aware of the school’s policies.