A Calling Rooted in Faith

A conversation with former Vice President Mike Pence

A Calling Rooted in Faith

A conversation with former Vice President Mike Pence

During his more than 20 years in politics, former Vice President Mike Pence has never lost sight of Biblical values. From advocating for the sanctity of human life to supporting religious liberty, Pence, an evangelical Christian, has been an unwavering advocate for Christian faith and virtue during his time in the White House and since returning to the private sector.

As part of his efforts, Pence addressed a passionate crowd of young pro-lifers at the National Pro-Life Summit held in the nation’s capital on Jan. 22, the day after the March for Life. In his remarks, Pence quoted another former vice president and eventual president, Thomas Jefferson, who wrote: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.” After his remarks, Pence spoke with Decision about his desire to see babies saved from abortion and how he relies on his faith in times of crisis.

Q: You have stood resiliently for the sanctity of human life. Why has this been a nonnegotiable issue for you?

A: Well, for me, it ultimately comes back to my faith in Jesus Christ. When I went to college, I was active in Democrat politics and liberal in my thinking, but I made a decision to put my faith in Jesus Christ in the spring of 1978, and as I opened His Word and I read, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5), I knew that the cause of the Author of Life must be my cause. So I have stood for the right to life. 

My wife and I have championed the right to life throughout our career. And in fact, when we ran for Congress the first time successfully—we ran first in 1988 and then in 1990 but came up short—we ran pro-life campaigns. So in the year 2000, our kids had come along and they were 6, 7 and 8, and when we were explaining to our children why we sold our dream home, moved back to my hometown, were spending all of our savings and running for Congress—again my wife summed it up by looking at our kids and saying, “It’s for the babies.” Our kids, who are now in their late 20s and have all gone on to be married and lead productive lives, would tell you to this day that they remember being told that we ran for the babies. As a conservative, I’ve championed strong national defense and fiscal responsibility, but there’s been no cause for me greater or more important than the cause of life.

Q: Right now you’re a Distinguished Visiting Fellow with the Heritage Foundation, and you’ve started Advancing American Freedom, a conservative policy organization. How are you continuing to advocate for the American people?

A: The Heritage Foundation, which I think is the flagship of the conservative movement, has been a stalwart for limited government and the right to life throughout its half century of work. And Young America’s Foundation has me now traveling to campuses, along with the work of our policy foundation, Advancing American Freedom. To me it’s all about taking the opportunities I’ve been given—my years as vice president, my years as governor of Indiana and my years in Congress—just to continue to be a voice. The calling of my life has been to be a voice for conservative values, and chief among those is life.

Q: As vice president, you and your colleagues fought diligently to make religious freedom a priority. We’ve seen Christian business owners being coerced to violate their consciences; and globally, we’ve seen violence against Christians and other religious minorities increase. Why is it critical for Christians to continue standing strong when it comes to advocating for religious freedom both here and abroad?

A: The freedom of religion is our first freedom. It’s enshrined in the First Amendment for a reason, because our nation was founded in large part by people who came here to exercise religious liberty. I have said in recent years that the foundation of America is freedom, but the foundation of freedom is faith. And for our freedom to prosper in the generations ahead, the freedom of religion must prosper. The freedom of conscience must prosper. 

Franklin Graham and Mike Pence at BGEA’s World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians, in May 2017.
 
Photo: Tommy Berry/©2017 BGEA

And I couldn’t have been prouder to be a part of an administration that championed religious liberty. We ended the assault on the Little Sisters of the Poor. We appointed more than 300 conservatives to our courts, including three justices to the Supreme Court that I believe will uphold our God-given liberties and the freedom of religion. We supported conscience protections for health care providers around the country through the Department of Health and Human Services. 

But the battle goes on because now the radical left is in the saddle in the Democratic Party. We have an administration and majorities in Congress that are being driven by a political movement that would not only trample on the sanctity of life but trample on the religious liberties of Americans. And so now, more than ever, we need to stand by women and men who are willing to step forward and serve. And part of the time that I’m spending as I’ve traveled around the country from our home in Indiana is to support candidates for the House and Senate, and governors around the country who stand for life and liberty.

Q: There’s a lot of chaos in our world today. How does your relationship with Jesus Christ bring you a sense of certainty in such an uncertain world?

A: Well, I try and spend some time in prayer and in my Bible every day. And I believe, ultimately, that’s where my peace comes from, that the Bible tells us that “the Lord will keep in perfect peace the man who trusts in Him” (Cf. Isaiah 26:3). I truly do believe that the best days for this country are ahead, because in all of my travels, in all of my years of service, I am absolutely convinced that this is a freedom-loving nation and this is a nation of faith. I’ve seen it everywhere I’ve gone in my official duties. I’ve seen it as we returned to private life a year ago. I’ve seen it as we’ve had the great privilege of volunteering for Samaritan’s Purse in disaster scenes around the country. I’ve been deeply moved at not just the work of that ministry, but the way that volunteers travel across the country to put hands and feet on their faith and come alongside perfect strangers with compassion and care, and it just has been deeply inspiring to me.  

When I think about my time around this country, I think of that Bible verse where young King Solomon prayed that God would give him a discerning heart to distinguish between right and wrong. And then he prayed, “For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:10). And I must tell you, my one overarching conclusion from my four years as vice president and my service to the people of Indiana is that the people of this nation are a great people with good hearts. 

My aim in the rest of my life is to work to give the good and decent people of this country a government that’s as good as its people. The way I’ve seen Americans care for one another in times of great challenge—especially the way I saw American businesses large and small step up to meet the needs of our health care providers in the early days of the COVID pandemic—it’s never been clearer to me that this is a great people. And I must tell you that for all the division that we see today in this country, I really do believe that if we will turn our hearts back to faith, if we will renew our commitment to freedom, the best days for America are yet to come.

Q: How would you encourage the American people to be praying for healing in our nation?

A: I closed my remarks today at the National Pro-Life Summit here in Washington, D.C., with an encouragement that these young people gathered here take time to pray. To pray for the babies and their mothers. And their fathers. I urged them to pray for our leaders and the Congress and the State House and the courts. And ultimately, I urged them to pray for America because I do believe that the destiny of this nation lies very close to restoring our commitment to life and liberty at the center of American law. 

But I also always encourage people to pray with confidence because we have a promise that if His people who are called by His Name will humble themselves and pray and turn, He’ll do like He’s always done in the long and storied history in this country. He’ll hear from Heaven and He’ll heal this land (see 2 Chronicles 7:14). I’ve claimed that promise in my years as vice president, and I claim it still today. I know that the Lord will heal this land because God is not done with America yet.

 

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version.

Interviewed by Brittany Raymer and Giovanna Albanese, assistant editors.

Photo: Courtesy of Students for Life of America

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