|Karen Pence: a bigot playing the victim card.|
According to Karen and Mike Pence they are the victims of persecution by those who find it inappropriate for the wife of the Vice President to be employed at a vitriolically anti-LGBT school. It's not as if there are not a multitude of other schools - both public and private - in Northern Virginia at which Karen Pence could have chosen to work. Mike Pence finds criticism of his wife's choice "offensive" and whines that they are being "persecuted" for being "Christian." Never mind that Immanuel Christian School not only bans LGBT individuals and seemingly wants them to cease to exist, but the school also bans anyone that does not embrace its bigotry and homophobia. The Pence's hypocrisy and dis-ingenuousness is the norm nowadays among Christofascists who whine that any restriction on their ability to mistreat others is "persecution." "Modern day Pharisee" is too kind a label for these vicious and falsely pious hypocrites. A piece at NBCNews looks at this display of false victimhood. Here are excerpts:
Karen Pence, currently the second lady of the United States, is returning to Immanuel Christian School, a private K-8 elementary school that is a part of the Immanuel Bible Church, to teach art part-time to students.
Civil rights and LGBTQ activists, including most recently Lady Gaga, criticized the SLOTUS’s new position because the school explicitly “refuse[s] admission” to students who do not live according to the “biblical lifestyle” — which means no rough-and-tumble homosexual or bisexual activity. Likewise, the school discriminates against job applicants who do not “live a life of moral purity;” disqualifying conduct includes everything from “lesbian sexual activity” to transgender identity” to “heterosexual activity outside of marriage.”
“It’s disturbing Second Lady Karen Pence would put her stamp of approval on an institution that actively targets LGBTQ students at one of the places where they should feel the safest,” Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement through the organization.
Legally, Immanual Christian School can discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Virginia, in addition to 38 other states, does not prohibit private workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Increasingly, this is the desperate defense of those who find themselves on the wrong side of history — as well as societal and legal norms. While LGBTQ individuals still suffer from hate crimes (especially trans Americans) and prejudice, the majority of Americans have no problem with gay marriage or other civil and legal rights. Realizing this, one pocket of America is now attempting to hide its own historical privilege in the language of the oppressed.
But I have to tell you, to see major news organizations attacking Christian education, is deeply offensive to us,” Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview with Eternal World Television. . . . . Or, as David French wrote at the National Review: “No one is forced to attend the church. No one is forced to attend the school. It’s a voluntary association that is protected by the First Amendment and rooted in the faith that guides the lives of tens of millions of Americans.”
French is correct, actually. Despite having a lifestyle at least partially funded by the American taxpayer, Karen Pence has the freedom to believe in her evangelical Christian faith; she has the freedom to work at a school that espouses this faith — a faith constructed by a morality that is fundamentally patriarchal, sexist and homophobic. And her freedom to do so is indeed protected by the First Amendment.
The ground lines of the cultural battle have been set — and they’re in favor of the bigots, who have strategically positioned themselves as the victims of an attack on their religious freedom.
Through a manipulation of First Amendment language, freedom of religion currently serves as code for bigots to justify not only their discriminatory beliefs but the continuation of verbal and physical violence against minority communities. Even though they project the language of the snowflake at civil rights advocates and liberal-leaning citizens, it is they who cry “victim” when their moral values are exposed as promoting hate and violence. Using a quite simple two-pronged logic, they circumvent accountability by projecting blame onto those people who they discriminate against while obfuscating the bigotry of their own beliefs.
And the refusal to hold oneself accountable is a strategy for dominance that unethically burdens, and potentially harms, others. A more critical interrogation of historical values — here, religious values steeped in misogyny and homophobia — gets crushed by the moral panic of Karen Pence’s defenders, who are frothing at the mouth to evangelize the rightness of America’s “culture wars.”
Here, they even have an unexpected ally in people who perceive Pence’s return to the workplace as an equal rights issue.
However, a woman entering the workforce is not a feminist victory if the work performed is in the service of bigotry and discrimination. Remember, you cannot divorce the act from the identity. This equation is akin to the mislabeling of white suffragists as feminists. White women who fought for other white women to have the vote, and aligned themselves with racist patriarchs in order to finance their constitutional battle for the 19th Amendment, were not feminists.
Karen Pence is not, contrary to what her defenders say, a victim. Willfully ignorant about the harmful cultural messaging of her actions, and complicit with oppressive systems built on bigoted beliefs, she is the unimpeachable mother — white and heterosexual — who, actually, has always been the idol of “good,” Christian, white America. Her defenders are knights in white robes who shout “freedom!” as they cut down their enemy.
This is American history, and, it seems, mother will continue to teach it.