On Wednesday night, CNN reporter Kate Bennett, who describes herself as “on the FLOTUS beat,” took her hint from a Huffington Post article about Vice President Pence’s wife Karen titled, “Karen Pence Is Working At A School That Bans LGBTQ Employees And Kids." Bennett tweeted, “So, lemme get this straight, the second lady of the United States has chosen to work at a school that openly discriminates against LGBT adults and children.”
Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro flattened Bennett on Twitter, firing back, “So, lemme get this straight: you’re a reporter but you’ve never heard of religious people before.”
In case Bennett hadn't heard of religious people before, Shapiro enlightened her, tweeting, “BREAKING: Pence’s wife is working for a Christian school that requires that Christian students pledge to abide by Christian standards of sin that have not changed in 2,000 years.”
He then pointed out that Bennett wasn’t all that tolerant herself:
Shapiro has addressed the hatred of the Left for the Pences’ openly-Christian beliefs before: last August, he wrote:
What is so frightening about Pence? His status as a religious Christian. According to many on the left, Pence's religiosity means he's a theocrat. Never mind the fact that Pence is a limited-government conservative who isn't generally interested in imposing policy preferences from above; he believes in The Jesus, and therefore, he must want to install himself at the head of the United Christian States of America.
But that isn't even what bothers those on the left. What bothers many on the left about Pence is the same thing that bothers them about religious Christians in general: They seem convinced that religious Americans are merely bigots hiding behind the Bible. The perspective is well-expressed by Greg Carey, professor of the New Testament at Lancaster Theological Seminary: "People either use religion to justify their bigotry or they refuse to give up their bigotry for the sake of maintaining false religious security." Or let's listen to Bruni again, this time from April 2015: "our debate about religious freedom should include a conversation about freeing religions and religious people from prejudices that they needn't cling to." Or Hillary Clinton in 2016: "deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed."
This view of religious belief is deeply demeaning. The suggestion seems to be that religious texts are utterly malleable, and that human beings twist them to fit their preconceived notions. But the suggestion is alien to most religious people, who believe that their religion dictates and they listen. This perception gap plagues our public discourse and helps explain why the left seems so unperturbed by violating the religious-practice rights of other Americans: They think those Americans are bad human beings using the Bible to shield themselves. Pence is merely the latest example.
The great irony, of course, is that religious people generally wish to be left alone. They're not seeking to impose "The Handmaid's Tale"; such compulsion is endemic to a left that insists we "bake the cake." Such psychological projection damages the public discourse and undermines cultural unity. If the left truly wants a more tolerant America, perhaps it should start by assuming that its opponents in the religious community aren't mere bigots cloaked in the vestments of God — and perhaps it ought to think more deeply about whether the true bigotry lies within itself.