On Tuesday, faith writer Bonnie Kristian scrutinized Vice President Mike Pence’s commencement speech at Liberty University.
During his address, Pence told students that they would have to fight for and defend their faith in the midst of a culture war. He said that in the past people were not “shunned” for their Christian beliefs as much as they are now.
“Things are different now. Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs. 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,” Pence said.
Kristian noted that while Pence might have been speaking from a sincere place that his words are damaging and misguiding.
“Though I share Pence’s concern that Christians prepare themselves for faithfulness in the face of cultural challenge, this fearmongering is not productive,” she said.
She went on to explain how persecutions have always been a part of the Christian faith.
“Persecution has always been part of the story of the church. The New Testament reports the first martyrdom just a few years after the life of Christ, and after that, we’re told, “a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem,” scattering Christians into modern Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and beyond,” she explained.
She went on to say that Pence’s words negatively portray Christianity and that it’s not generally hard to be Christian in 2019.
“Pence’s words and the mindset that feeds them are arguably even more deleterious to Christians experiencing real persecution abroad,” she said.
Adding, “It’s still pretty easy to call yourself Christian in America. And if the days are evil, our task is not to deploy one of the most powerful men in the world to hyperbolize on our behalf at the largest private non-profit university in the country. It is to live wisely, make the most of the opportunities we do have and give thanks.”
Read the full op-ed here.