At a recent Forum in Global Leadership, former Vice President Joe Biden referred to Vice President Mike Pence as a “decent man.” Within hours, New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon confronted Biden on Twitter, writing: “[Joe Biden], you’ve just called America’s most anti-LGBT elected leader “a decent guy.””
Acting more like a whooped pup than a man, Biden backed down, stabbing his long-time friend and colleague in the back for political gain, narrowing Pence’s decency down to “foreign policy” when he tweeted back, “There is nothing decent about being anti-LGBT rights, and that includes the vice president.” Biden’s words, however, show just how ignorant he is regarding the vice president, his views of the LGBT community, and his decency. After all, I should know. I just got through interviewing almost sixty of his closest friends, family and colleagues on the topic for my upcoming book, “The Faith of Mike Pence.”
It is true that Mike Pence is a Christian, but why does his worldview automatically cast him as a villain of hate and discrimination? When you ask those in Mike Pence’s inner circle how he feels about a person’s sexual orientation you’ll get answers that are in direct contrast to what left-wing media and gay activists want you to believe.
“When I hear Mike criticized for his hatred of homosexuals…I become [upset],” says Charles Lake, who has served as the Vice President’s pastor for over decade. “There isn’t a bone of hatred in that man’s body towards anyone.”
Gay-rights activists almost always try to prove their view by saying that Pence is a proponent of conversion therapy, a rumor that started over a decade ago. But a quick fact check on snopes.com will verify he’s never even mentioned the controversial treatment. Then they’ll bring up his time of service as the Governor of Indiana, using legislation titled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as proof of his discrimination.
Pence stated, “If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore.”
The truth is that RFRA had been on the table of lawmakers in Indiana for years. Legislators had been trying to amend Indiana’s constitution, which allowed individuals and companies to assert as a defense in legal proceedings that their exercise of religion has been, or is likely to be, substantially burdened. The bill was approved by a vote of 40-10 in the House of Representatives long before it came across Pence’s desk. In fact, similar bills had passed in several other states and Congress had passed comparable federal legislation into law in 1993 that was signed by President Bill Clinton. However, when Pence signed the bill in March of 2015, gay rights groups came out of the woodwork to condemn the bill, claiming that it was targeted against the LGBT community.
Pence tried to explain the law, but no matter what the then-governor tried to say or do, gay rights advocates and supporters refused to extend a hand of peace, instead calling on the nation to boycott Indiana.
According to those who were along for the ride sitting next to Pence as he faced this uphill battle, it was an unwarranted battle.
“It was not our agenda,” says then Lt. Governor of Indiana Sue Ellspermann. “He was not the author or the co-author of the bill. Because it protected religious freedom of course Mike would support it…[but Mike] listened to everyone. I know how prayerful he was during that time…he led with great integrity.”
Ellspermann goes on to say that Pence would have never “signed an openly divisive, prejudicial, discriminatory bill.”
In agreement with that statement, Pence said, “We live in a diverse country [with] people with different viewpoints and different life styles, and I don’t believe in discrimination or mistreatment of anyone. I think we should love our neighbors as [ourselves], but neither do I think people should fear persecution because of their deeply held religious beliefs. When those things come into conflict, that’s what we have the courts for. The courts sort out those issues and have done so throughout the history of this nation.”
Going even further to show his heart and passion against discrimination, Pence stated, “If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore.”
Amidst the turmoil and growing tensions, within days Pence signed an amended copy of the bill using language that protected both advocates of religious freedom and those of gay rights advocates.
There are three descriptions of Mike Pence I heard repeatedly among the people I interviewed regarding who he is at the core – that he is genuine, affable, and a man of God. If these attributes are true, then it’s impossible for him to be discriminatory towards anyone regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation.