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Taking Offense at Karen Pence



Hypocrisy is alive and well in Washington, D.C., (I can already visualize your expression and hear your sarcastic response, "So what's new!") The ongoing circus of the Trump administration's monumental lies, corruption and adolescent pettiness has kept us steadily, though morbidly, amused for the past three years. Sadly, American's have become junkies, addicted to the stunning revelations that punctuate almost every new day. Many of us are praying for the coup de grace, when Trump goes down. But the thought has crossed my mind, "What the hell will we all do for entertainment when the orange jester-buffoon is finally gone?" I don't know about you, but I'm really worried—will there be anything at all left to write about? Perhaps even scarier: Who will take Trump's place when he's gone.

Even without the president's own morally vacuous behavior as "The Chosen One and banner-carrier for the Christian Right," the White House menagerie is rife with scores of others who are equally devoid of good character. Case in point: Karen Pence, this year, returned to a part-time teaching position at the Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Va., a school that refuses entrance to anyone who is a member of—or has family members who are—involved in any way with the LGBTQ community. The school uses an entrance application which includes an oath, essentially committing parents and students to a literal belief in the Holy Scriptures, abstaining from any practice considered by the Bible to be an "abomination" in God's eyes.

The all-encompassing oath even addresses such matters as the premise that the world is no more than 6,000 years old, and reinforces the doctrine that a woman must obey her husband in all things. Now, that might all seem a bit extreme, but one must accept the fact that the exclusion of outsiders is very much a pillar of fundamentalist Christian beliefs. The assertion that the Bible is the literal word of God ensures that Christian religious zealotry will always be alive and well. The exclusivity is an essential part of the religion. Although there are many moderate Christians, the nation's Bible Belt is replete with the smugly-exclusive belief that God has made them His chosen people. Actually, that belief doesn't make them exclusive at all. They're just like all the other religious zealots, claiming that there's only one road to heaven, and the interstate starts at the doors of their church.

Now, if Karen Pence were simply a private citizen, there would be no clamor over her employment decision; no one would even raise an eyebrow. After all, the law allows religion-based business entities to broadly discriminate against those who don't espouse their faith. There have been a number of court cases in which that doctrine was upheld, so it's a done deal.

And yet, the No. 2 lady of the land (SLOTUS) is not "just anybody." She should be a model for the core values America holds dear. Instead, her bigot-based employment is morally reprehensible. How can she even have considered working for an entity that encourages prejudice against anyone who doesn't embrace her religion? Even worse, ICS' vocal and unbending rules make children responsible for the supposed sins of their parents. As Utahns, we might be aghast at such unfair prejudice, but ICS' policies are very much akin to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' recent disenfranchisement, and, then, restoration of blessings for the children of gay parents.

Sadly, the Karen Pence matter is not about God, nor is it about right and wrong. It is about the hate that predictably develops from the white-Anglo-Saxon-Christian mentality or any religion that presents itself as the only true and correct way to God. Children are taught, perhaps even inadvertently, that others are inferior and that exposure to outsiders will bring the devil into their midst. It is the same kind of moral failure that has inspired the rise of many genocidal regimes, most notably the creation of the Hitler-monster and the Third Reich. It is not surprising that Karen Pence's attitudes are not so distant from the sexist-racist-monarchist orientation of America's commander in chief. Trump has created an atmosphere of fear, distrust and hate.

While VPOTUS and SLOTUS might appear to be substantially more presidential than the Orange Raccoon, it appears that they might actually share some of the president's DNA. Although St. Michael and his reportedly virgin wife Karen expound heartily on the glories of Christianity, they have consciously chosen to ignore the most essential teachings of Jesus. Karen Pence's employment decision is a disgrace to all Americans. She has become the ultimate bad example.

As yet another reminder of a bigoted, smug administration, the Pences exude a constant flow of unhealthy pus. They are certainly not an example of what Christians should strive to be, but an embarrassment to conscientious Americans.

I know the word "pus" is pretty disgusting, but it seems to be exactly the right term. After all, pus is the indicator of a deeper infection. Our country suffers from a potentially fatal malady, and the White House is the host organism.

The author is a former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and one mongrel dog. Send feedback to comments@cityweekly.net