Vice President Mike Pence’s wife Karen Pence has taken on a part-time job as an art teacher in a Christian school that bans LGBT+ students and staff.
The Second Lady, who is an illustrator and an advocate for art therapy, announced she will return to teach at the Immanuel Christian School on Tuesday (January 15).
But publications like the Huffington Post and The Washington Post were quick to point out that the school, an institution she used to work at between 2000 and 2012 when her husband served as a congressman, operates admission and employment policies that discriminate against LGBT+ students, families and staff members.
The Immanuel Christian School is based in Fairfax County in Virginia, one of 26 states that allows religious-based discrimination against LGBT+ people.
The school can ban LGBT+ students and families for not following ‘biblical lifestyle’
Families of prospective students are required to follow a parental agreement that reads, in part: “I understand that the school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission to an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student if the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home, the activities of a parent or guardian, or the activities of the student are counter to, or are in opposition to, the biblical lifestyle the school teaches.
“This includes, but is not limited to contumacious behavior, divisive conduct, and participating in, supporting, or condoning sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bi-sexual activity, promoting such practices, or being unable to support the moral principles of the school.”
One of Pence’s daughters, Charlotte, was named as a graduate of the school on its website.
The school considers homosexual relationships and transgender identity examples of ‘moral misconduct’
Prospective school employees are required to sign a document in which they pledge to “maintain a lifestyle based on biblical standards of moral conduct,” which includes understanding that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman and that sexual intercourse can only take place between a married heterosexual couple.
The document also quotes Ephesians 5:22-33 in defining a husband’s duty as being “commanded to love his wife as Christ loved the church,” while a wife is required to “submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ.”
The employment agreement also defines “moral misconduct” that could result in not being hired or being fired as: “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.”
It is unclear whether the second lady was also required to sign the document.
“It’s absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school’s religious beliefs, are under attack,” said her spokesperson Kara Brooks in a statement to Huffington Post.
Karl Frisch, a Democrat who is running for the Fairfax County School Board, commented on the news in a Facebook post: “Hopefully someone can carry a message to these kids that there is nothing wrong with them — they are fine just as they are.”