#ExposeChristianSchools: Twitter erupts over Pence’s defense of Christian schools
The US vice president has come under fire for defending his wife’s teaching appointment to an anti-LGBTQ Christian school. Mike Pence said attacks on Christian schools need to stop, sparking a huge debate on Twitter.
Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia requires staff to affirm their Christian faith and pledge not to engage in homosexual activity or promote transgender identity. According to the school’s website, employees “must be committed followers of Christ who teach and lead from a biblically integrated perspective.”
Karen Pence, who previously taught at the school, recently started a part-time post there teaching art. Following a public backlash over her employment, her husband responded by tweeting that “criticism of Christian education… must stop.”
We’ll let the critics roll off our back. But the criticism of Christian education in America must stop. https://t.co/ync0tgwhG4— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) January 18, 2019
Twitter users were quick to reply with anecdotes of their own experiences of gender segregation and allegations of abuse at the Christian schools they attended growing up.
#ExposeChristianSchools Christian counselors taught me that my depression and anxiety existed because I didn't have enough faith in God. Couldn't miss an opportunity to teach me to blame myself for my suffering— 🐧🌳🌺 (@JaneDoe25) January 19, 2019
So many things I could say about the Bible college I attended. The academic rigor was less than my very average public high school. Women wouldn't report rapes for fear of being expelled for extramarital sex. Women were held to stricter rules than men... #ExposeChristianSchools— Whittier Strong (@WhitNate) January 19, 2019
My “sex education” teacher (the same under-qualified teacher who taught geography and biology) told us that sex creates an unbreakable blood bond, which is A) false and B) convinced me that I was forever bound to my abuser. #ExposeChristianSchools— Melissa Stewart (@LissaStewartVB) January 19, 2019
Christian school was supposed to be ‘safer’ or ‘better’ than public school, but I was still bullied and isolated by cliques, and I wasn’t the only one. I’m 35 and STILL finding gaps in my education. This is a page from my 4th grade “science” book.#ExposeChristianSchoolspic.twitter.com/U1gQVAVLwe— Zannah is Tired (@asholohan) January 18, 2019
My school had Slave Day. Each year the jr class was auctioned off in the chapel; the auctioneer - a teacher - held a whip. Other students would “own” them for a day. Was a fundraiser. Couldn’t have prom/dances, but we had Slave Day. #ExposeChristianSchools@brchastain@C_Stroop— hagen (@laura_hagen) January 19, 2019
#ExposeChristianSchools at my college (PCC) they employed “outside security” whose job was to patrol the city and make sure male and female students weren’t fraternizing off campus. Essentially they were spies who reported you if you broke rules OFF CAMPUS.— DaveGass (@DaveGass3) January 19, 2019
Some pointed out that their criticism of Pence’s comments is due to the school’s exclusionary and discriminatory attitude towards homosexuality rather than a hatred of Christianity.
It’s not the “Christian education” people are criticizing but the discriminatory practices of that school, but you know that don’t you?— Big Mac🧜🏻♀️ (@ShortAndSweetMJ) January 19, 2019
Pay attention to the fact that the "backlash" has absolutely zero do with with 'despising Christianity", but rather 100% to do with the fact that the school she's teaching at refuses to allow students that are gay or PARENTS that are gay to come to their school.— Dre, last name Bonhoeffer 🏳️🌈 (@AltChristians) January 18, 2019
You’ve intentionally and dishonestly missed the point you weak-willed over-matched climber. The wife of the Vice President of the United States should not endorse an institution that is antithetical to Constitutional principles, and hate-filled to boot. But you’re a bigot, so.— Marc Murphy (@MurphyCartoons) January 18, 2019
Meanwhile, others defended Christian schools, commending them for their openness on following religious teaching, and saying that their teachers’ emphasis on love encouraged their compassion.
Which is more discriminatory: a private school requiring that its voluntary attendees abide by a code of conduct, or people saying such a school should not exist because that school disagrees with their ideas?— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 16, 2019
My Christian education taught me to fight for Love, Justice and Mercy. Honestly I would be a homophobic, white nationalist bigot if wasn’t for the education I receive, it was my school that stressed loving people exactly they they are. 2/2— Lianne Healey (@lmtimmermans) January 18, 2019
Free practice of religion needs to be protected. Ya know, first amendment and all.— Sherm (@IamTheSherm) January 18, 2019
Some social users suggested that true freedom of expression means schools should be allowed to adhere to their religious beliefs.
I thought we still lived in America where you had the freedom to choose. The same people who believe in the freedom to choose, really mean only them, not others who disagree with them.— Rick Kloete (@ob1kalody) January 17, 2019
I think it’s possible to think both the school should be allowed to exist AND the people who work and support such a school aren’t people I’d want my kids around at the same time.— liz (@liz00647902) January 16, 2019
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