I’ve been holding on to this idea for a blog. It’s been festering for awhile so I’m going to put it out there.
About a month ago Vice President Pence, while giving a commencement speech at Liberty University, warned graduates to be prepared to be “shamed and ridiculed for defending the teachings of the Bible.” I believe his message is both bad politics and horrible theology. Pence is not nor has he ever been the victim of religious persecution. When Pence is ridiculed, it is not for his religion, but the for the political stances he takes that have led to the discrimination of others.
There are people in the United States and the world who face genuine discrimination for their faith. Pence trivializes their plight by suggesting that he is a victim. The Easter bombing is Sri Lanka or the murder of Jewish worshipers in Pittsburgh or Muslims being forced into concentration camps in China are constant reminders of people being truly persecuted because of their faith.
As a Christian who tries to do his best to follow Jesus’ Great Commandment – to love God and my neighbor – I can’t reconcile Pence’s teaching with that of the gospels. Pence and his like deserve to be criticized when their political positions leave people without shelter or health care or accelerate the pace of climate change.
Imagine if Pence and others of the right, instead of whining about be persecuted, worked for a more just, a more fair, a more loving, a more Christ like world, what a wonderful place this would be.