VP Pence to College Graduates: ‘The Freedom of Religion Is Under Assault’

May 13, 2019 Updated: May 13, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence told graduating students that the “freedom of religion is under assault” during a commencement speech he delivered at Liberty University on May 11, reminding them to hold on to their religious beliefs and to be prepared to face opposition for their faith as they enter a new chapter in their lives.

“Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs,” Pence said in his speech. “So as you go about your daily life, just be ready. Because you’re going to be asked not just to tolerate things that violate your faith; you’re going to be asked to endorse them.  You’re going to be asked to bow down to the idols of the popular culture.”

The vice president, who is an evangelical Christian, took the opportunity to highlight how the media, Hollywood, and the secular left have used their mediums to attack people of faith and those who want to express their traditional views.

“The truth is, we live in a time when the freedom of religion is under assault,” Pence said.

“[I]t’s become acceptable and even fashionable to ridicule and even discriminate against people of faith,” he added later in his speech.

He gave the example of how a group of Hollywood liberal stars threatened to boycott the state of Georgia they successfully pass the “heartbeat” bill, which outlaws abortions after a doctor can detect a heartbeat in an unborn baby. The bill was signed by Gov. Brian Kemp on May 7.

Earlier in the speech, Pence reiterated that the Trump administration “stand[s] without apology for the sanctity of human life.”

Moreover, he recounted the harsh attacks his wife, Karen, faced when she was teaching art at a private elementary Christian school. He said the second lady was scrutinized in the media for teaching at the school that bans LGBT employees, gay students, and the children of gay parents, according to USA Today. He said a reporter started a new hashtag called “Expose Christian Schools” and invited students to share “horror stories” being educated in a Christian school.

“The freedom of religion is enshrined in our First Amendment and in the hearts of every American.  And these attacks on Christian education are un-American,” the vice president said.

“The American people cherish our tradition of religious education, and as President Trump said at this very podium two years ago, on our watch, ‘No one is ever going to stop you from practicing your faith or from preaching what is in your heart,'” he added.

Pence also called for attacks against places of worship to stop, while bringing up the recent attacks against synagogues in Pennsylvania and California, a mosque in New Zealand, Christian churches in Sri Lanka, and three historically black churches in Louisiana.

“No one should ever fear for their safety in a place of worship, and these attacks on people of faith must stop,” he said.

Moreover, he reminded the graduates that the United States was a nation built on faith, adding that the Trump administration will continue to protect religious liberty.

“And as our first Vice President, John Adams, said, ‘Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.’ So just know, as you strengthen your foundation of faith and the foundation of faith among the American people, you will be strengthening the foundation of America itself,” Pence said.

“I promise you: We will always stand up for the right of Americans to live, to learn, and to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience,” he also said.

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