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Pence to critics of wife's new job: 'Attacking Christian education is deeply offensive'
Vice President Pence responded to critics questioning his wife's new job teaching at a school that prohibits LGBT students and faculty by saying attacks on Christian education are "deeply offensive."
Pence spoke with EWTN host Lauren Ashburn in an interview airing Thursday for the Catholic news program about the backlash following Karen Pence announcing she's taking a job at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Va.
"My wife and I have been in the public eye for quite a while but I have to tell you, to see major news organizations attacking Christian education is deeply offensive," Pence said.
"We have a rich tradition in America of Christian education and, frankly, religious education broadly defined. We celebrate it," Pence said. "The freedom of religion is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution prohibits a religious test for holding public office, so we'll let the critics roll off our back."
"But this criticism of Christian education in America should stop," he concluded.
The interview comes after news reports that Karen Pence would be teaching art at a private school that requires potential employees to pledge that they believe marriage is between a man and a woman and that they do not engage in "homosexual or lesbian sexual activity" or "transgender identity," according to the employment application.
Parents are also required to sign a clause indicating that the school "reserves the right" to refuse admission to or discontinue enrollment of a student if their activities are "in opposition to the biblical lifestyle the school teaches."
The Pences are both evangelical Christians. Policies similar to those at Immanuel Christian School are common among private, Christian schools.
The school's policies were first reported by HuffPost.
Karen Pence previously taught at the school while her husband was a member of Congress.
The Trevor Project, a group dedicated to suicide prevention for LGBT youth, announced on Wednesday that it would be sending 100 copies of a parody book depicting the Pence family's bunny as gay to Immanuel Christian School.
"We know that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth from rejecting families are more than eight times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers," said Amit Paley, executive director and CEO of the Trevor Project. "We hope Immanuel Christian School will adopt policies of inclusion for LGBTQ young people that make them feel safe, accepted, and loved."
Pence has faced criticism for his stance on LGBTQ issues in the past. He signed a religious freedom law that was criticized as a pathway to legal anti-LGBTQ discrimination while serving as Indiana governor. As a congressman, Pence supported a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.