Speaking on Tuesday to a Scottsdale, Arizona-based religious freedom advocacy organization, Vice President Mike Pence said his prayer life compels him to staunchly defend the sanctity of human life, religious liberty and freedom of speech despite personal attacks by media critics and political opponents.
“Number one is spend more time on your knees than on the Internet,” Pence said during a meeting with the Alliance Defending Freedom legal organization. “As a Christian believer, we’re charged to pray for our loved ones, but also pray for our enemies. You have lots of opportunities in politics to do that. But I would say that forgiveness is a great gift. My wife and I literally try and work through forgiving people who might speak willfully against us or might mischaracterize who we are or what our family is all about.”
Earlier this year, media outlets and LGBTQ organizations vehemently criticized second lady Karen Pence for teaching art part-time at a private Christian school in the Washington, D.C. area that required faculty members to sign a statement of faith adhering to Biblical teaching on heterosexual marriage and gender identity. The Pence’s children attended the same school when the vice president was a congressman from Indiana.
Pence has also been roundly criticized in the media throughout his political career for invoking “The Billy Graham Rule” to never meet alone with another woman, other than his wife.
On his Facebook post Thursday, Franklin Graham affirmed Pence’s commitment to prayer.
“Vice President Mike Pence gave some great advice this week. I’m so grateful for a vice president who understands the power of prayer and isn’t afraid to talk about it. Pray for our leaders and elected officials who are influencing the direction of our communities and our nation—and that includes those you don’t agree with.”
“The greatest day of my life is when I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior in 1978,” Pence said. “And His grace has sustained me, and my wife, and my family, and does every day. I think the lessons I’ve learned in public life are, in terms of sustaining that, is to make time. Make time for renewing your mind. Karen and I try and spend a little bit of time in prayer and reading the Bible every day. And that’s a very renewing and important time for us.”
Pence said he tries to not get distracted by the pettiness of politics but instead focus “on things that are more important than ourselves, that are more important than any intermittent controversy that might arise.”
Pence continued, “And for me, that’s about being a part of an administration, standing next to a president that’s rebuilding our military, who’s revived our economy, who’s appointing a historic number of conservatives to our federal courts, who’s standing, as I said, for our first freedom, for religious liberty, for the right to life.”
To that end, Pence touted the administration’s efforts to protect the unborn domestically and around the world by defunding Planned Parenthood and “preventing taxpayer dollars from being used to promote or provide abortion overseas.”
“I’ve long believed that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable, the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn,” Pence said. “I promise you, this president, his vice president and this administration will always stand for life.”
And when it comes to religious liberty, Pence said the United States will advocate steadfastly for the persecuted church globally.
“In this administration we’re going to continue to hold up the high principle of religious liberty,” he said. “We’re going to continue to engage nations to affirm our commitment to religious liberty and send a message around the world to people of faith, of all faiths, that the American people stand with them and pray for them, and always will.”
Criticizing the creation of “safe zones” and “speech codes” that create an “increasingly insular environment” on college campuses, Pence said such thinking inhibits the communication of dissenting ideas and is “antithetical to the process of learning.”
“We’ve sent a very strong message to campuses, universities and colleges around the country, that the freedom of speech is enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution,” Pence said. “And we expect our institutions of learning to respect that and respect diverse views on our campuses, and create an environment that’s conducive to learning.”
Photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters/Newscom