Pence the Promise-Keeper vs. Those Who Hate Promises

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Hard to tell who are the Scribes and Pharisees these days. Used to be easy to label any religious zealot, call them a fanatic, and ignore their judgments.

That’s what Jesus did, right? He lambasted those who looked for the worst in people, while ignoring their own, obvious faults.

So take Mike Pence. He was once a Catholic and now considers himself an evangelical Christian. In some corners, he already has two strikes against him. Oh, if he were only enlightened, not by any truth or unproved faith, but by the will of the people, depending on how winds blow.

Pence is the U.S. Vice President. I realize, dear reader, that you know that, but I need to clarify in case any of those folks “on the street” happen upon this (you know those folks, the ones interviewed randomly who can name every Kardashian but not a single Supreme Court justice, let alone the vice president).

Pence is an easy target, since he is the Number 2 man in a controversial administration. He attended a Broadway musical in November and was both entertained and then lectured by the cast. For his part, he said he was not offended  

But Pence also makes people uncomfortable with his transparent ease of communicating the importance of religion in his life. The man has values. People don’t agree with him on issues, so they attack his values – and demand he quit pushing his religious beliefs.

All of which makes no sense. True religion either affects a person, or it is simply a hobby that can be dropped for another one. (Google the words “devout” and “Pokémon Go.”)

Pence the politician cannot divorce himself from Pence the Christian. Nor should he.

Or, as one politician once wrote:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports … reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

Damn that George Washington. If only the American Civil Liberties Union was around then to squelch such illegal establishment of religion.

Pence made the news recently, for something he said 15 years ago. The Washington Post published a feature on March 28 on Pence’s wife Karen. Neither Mike nor Karen Pence offered comments for the profile, so the story relied on interviews with others and previous stories. A 2002 article on Mike Pence was brought up because he explained some of the boundaries he maintains in his marriage – never eating alone with a woman other than his wife, not attending events that include alcohol unless his wife is with him.

For talking about ways he honors his marriage, he was of course lampooned. The modern-day Scribes and Pharisees came out in force with their favorite form of stoning – Twitter. You might say modern-day scribes are those journalists who rely on Internet hits and always being “edgy.” Pence was criticized for living out his own form of Sharia Law, while discriminating against other women. One theorized that he must have “uncontrollable sexual compulsions.”

All because the man wants to ensure his commitment to his wife.

When my wife and I took marriage preparation classes, I was asked about female friends and if I intended on still seeing them alone? I had never thought about it, but realized anything that resembles a date with someone other than my wife was not the path I wanted to take.

It was a simple decision I made, and not forced on others. Same goes for the conscious decision to limit my alcohol intake, and abstain completely if I’m going to drive. Nothing holier-than-thou about that one. I’ve witnessed the effects of alcohol on family life. Why risk it?

Mike Pence appears to love his wife. For him and others, that love involves discipline.

For that, he must be ridiculed, because the enlightened among us know so much better.

Remind me again. Who are the fanatics?


Kevin Thomas is a writer and teacher, living with his wife and children in Standish, Maine.