The school where Vice President Pence’s wife, Karen, has accepted a part-time job teaching art requires potential employees to affirm certain religious beliefs that seek to exclude homosexual and transgender applicants, including that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
Immanuel Christian School, a private K-8 school in Springfield, Va., outside of Washington, sets forth the position in its employment application for teachers and support staff in a section that requires applicants to initial a set of standards that begins with a promise that they are born-again Christians.
One of the items is a pledge to “live a personal life of moral purity."
“I understand that the term ‘marriage’ has only one meaning; the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive covenant union as delineated in Scripture," the section says, saying that God intended sexual acts to occur only between “a man and a woman who are married to each other.”
“Moral misconduct which violates the bona fide occupational qualifications for employees includes, but is not limited to, such behaviors as the following: heterosexual activity outside of marriage (e.g., premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex), homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female, sexual harassment, use or viewing of pornographic material or websites, and sexual abuse or improprieties toward minors as defined by Scripture and federal or state law.”
Robert W. Tuttle, a professor of law and religion at George Washington Law School, said that the school’s language on sexuality was typical of conservative Christian institutions, and was not surprised by Pence’s school choice, which he said was well within her rights.
“They have staked out a certain set of positions on issues that are confrontational,” he said of the Trump White House. “The administration seems to live on wedges, so paying attention to this just feeds their interest in driving one more wedge. And this confirms their bona fides with religious conservatives and they sort of seem to do that, because Donald Trump, whatever he might say, is not that.”
The passage was noted by HuffPost reporter Rebecca Klein on Twitter in the hours after Pence’s new position was announced.
The application says that employees are subject to termination for the “sexual immorality” it described above. Another section asks prospective teachers to explain their view of the debate about creation and evolution.
The Pences have long been known for their religiously influenced brand of conservatism.
Kara Brooks, a spokeswoman for Pence, pointed out that the second lady had taught at the school for 12 years previously when Mike Pence was a member of Congress.
“It’s absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school’s religious beliefs, are under attack,” Brooks said.
She did not answer a question about whether Karen Pence signed an application with the morality pledge as part of her employment. The school did not return a request for comment.
In a parent agreement the school hosts on its website, Immanuel Christian School notes that it has the right to refuse admission or kick out students if the activities of either the student or their parents or guardians go against the biblical lifestyle espoused by the school. This includes “condoning sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bi-sexual activity, promoting such practices, or being unable to support the moral principles of the school.”
JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, questioned Karen Pence’s choice of the institution in a statement given to HuffPost.
“The Pences never seem to miss an opportunity to show their public service only extends to some,” she wrote.