The Media Trashes the Pences’ Church For … Being a Christian Church
With Christian moral standards
A few years ago, the infamous Westboro Baptists loudly picketed Immanuel Bible Church. They stood on our heavily trafficked corner in Springfield, Virginia, one Sunday with signs claiming that our pastor is “a whore” because he does not hate homosexuals enough.
IBC was church home to my family and me for about 20 years. It is also the church Mike and Karen Pence attended when Mike was a Congressman. Karen taught for 12 years at Immanuel Christian School, and is going to teach there again. That’s put the church in the news as a hotbed of “anti-LGBT-ism.”
Like All Bible-Believing Churches
Like all Bible-believing churches, IBC affirms that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, for life. Any kind of sexual intimacy outside of two-sex, two-person marriage is offensive to God. This applies to pre- and extra-marital heterosexual sex. And to polygamy, polyamory, polyandry. And, yes, homosexuality. Even homosexual “marriages.”
The school’s detailed statement of Essentials of the Faith says it can drop a student if he or his parents oppose “the biblical lifestyle the school teaches.” That lifestyle opposed many things, including “divisive conduct.” It also opposes “sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bi-sexual activity.” Note that IBC’s standard includes all types of sexual behavior not in keeping with scriptural norms.
This is the standard of the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church in America, the Assemblies of God, the Calvary Chapel movement, and all the member denominations and churches of the National Association of Evangelicals. And of the Roman Catholic Church. And the Greek Orthodox Church.
Many major media reacted with shock and disgust at IBC’s standards. Apparently, to most of the mainstream media, all Christians faithful to the Bible’s teaching on human sexuality are bigots, homophobic, gay hating and just plain mean.
A CNN columnist accused the Pences of “astonishing moral hypocrisy.” CNN anchor Chris Cuomo declared that by teaching at IBC, Karen Pence embraced “the value of exclusion.” He linked her working at the school with Congressman Steve King’s remarks about white nationalism.
Lady Gaga spoke for many in the entertainment industry when in a concert she said to the vice-president: “You are the worst representation of what it means to be a Christian. … So you can take all that disgrace Mr. Pence and you can look yourself in the mirror and you’ll find it right there.”
In the Vanguard
In tandem with popular entertainment, the media are in the vanguard of the LGBT movement. They rejoiced in 2015 when the Supreme Court discovered a long-hidden “right” for same-sex couples to marry.
This revelation, explained by then-Justice Anthony Kennedy, had been so well disguised by the drafters of our Constitution and those state legislatures that approved it that no one had ever seen it before. We can be ever grateful Kennedy brought to light that which had for centuries been undetected by even the finest jurists and scholars.
The media accept, uncritically, the claim that to uphold Christian teaching on marriage indicates blind bias, hatred of homosexuals, and gorilla-like stupidity.
Reporters do not investigate the reasons for the Bible’s teachings about human sexual and marital conduct. Why look into something as archaic as the Christian holy book, a collection of disproven stories and cruel moral mandates?
After all, didn’t Jesus just teach us to love one another? Meaning, accepting whatever anyone does as morally OK as long as it doesn’t hurt me or someone else?
Loving and Affirming
Immanuel Bible Church is one of the most loving and life-affirming places I’ve ever been. When my wife and I adopted our three as babies, IBC stepped in and, through its adoption fund, helped us defray the costs.
IBC has a clothing and housewares ministry to the area’s large Latino and Korean immigrant communities. People can walk in, take what they need, and leave. No questions asked.
The church has a large “English as a Second Language” ministry. IBC hosts community soccer and basketball leagues. IBC hosts what is, I believe, the largest Trail Life and American Heritage Girls troops in the greater Washington, D.C., area. I could go on and on.
No doubt Second Lady Pence’s work with children at Immanuel Christian School will be equally affirming. She will encourage them to enjoy the color and creativity God has given all around us. Let’s pray for her as she goes about this good work.
And pray for those who, in their ignorance and agenda-driven hardness, mistake love for God for hatred of people. How sad. How very, very sad.