Second Lady Karen Pence recently announced her decision to return part-time to work at Immanuel Christian School in northern Virginia, where she was previously an elementary school art teacher for 12 years (of a 25-year teaching career). The move raised eyebrows, as the school (which boasts a US Department of Education “National Blue Ribbon School” title on its website) has an admissions policy and parent agreement that explicitly prohibits LGBTQ-identifying parents, children, and faculty from the school on the basis that this “lifestyle” is not in accordance with their Christian values. Apparently, tolerance, love of thy fellow person, and reserving judgment as the purview of God are not Christian principles that Immanuel Christian School or Karen Pence hold dear.
Well, sure, one can only find time for so many values, and it is far easier to be virulently exclusionary towards certain demographics than to grow as a person and just continue along with your own sad little life, keeping your nose out of who loves and has sex with the consensual partners of their choosing. I mean, it’s not as thought LGBTQ people have made any kind of contribution to art throughout history.
“I am excited to be back in the classroom and doing what I love to do, which is to teach art to elementary students,” Pence said in a statement, as reported by CNN. The statement did not indicate whether Pence was also excited to have the opportunity to bias young minds in the direction of hate and homophobia, but one presumes this is a fringe benefit of the work for her. After all, as Second Lady to the Vice President, one only has so much opportunity to model disastrous values in the name of Christ and family; if you really want to get in there and build future generations of toxicity, fear, and violence, you have to start while they’re young!
As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever.
Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all.