Students at a small Christian liberal arts university in Indiana are "shaking" at the prospect of Vice President Mike Pence — who has formerly served as both a U.S. congressman and governor of the Hoosier State — coming to campus to deliver a commencement speech.
According to Fox News:
Vice President Mike Pence is getting pushback from Taylor University students and alumni after the small evangelical Christian school tapped the former Indiana governor to be this year's commencement speaker.
Over 3,300 people have signed a change.org petition to get Pence's invitation to the mid-May commencement ceremony rescinded, claiming the "Trump-Pence Administration's policies" are "not consistent with the Christian ethic of love we hold dear."
One Taylor grad said the school, "should be ashamed...I am physically shaking...I feel personally attacked," but not all alumni agree and Taylor officials said they are standing by their decision.
Pence himself is, of course, an evangelical Christian who has never been shy about his Christian faith. Pence has been in an extended back-and-forth (certainly not due to Pence's own choosing) with openly gay Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana who has tossed his hat into the ring for the Democrats' 2020 presidential nomination. The subject matter has been the nature of Pence's Christian faith. The Daily Wire's Hank Berrien reported Friday on the kerfuffle:
After Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who is gay, eschewed any semblance of gentlemanliness and gratuitously attacked Vice President Mike Pence and others of faith whom Buttigieg believes harbor an animus toward gays, Pence responded on Thursday, telling Joe Kernan on CNBC’s "Squawk Box," [that] "[h]e said some things that are critical of my Christian faith and about me personally, and he knows better; he knows me." Pence pointed out that Buttigieg’s remarks were likely a political move, adding, "I get it you know, it’s like — you have 19 people running for president on that side in a party that’s sliding off to the Left."
Buttigieg had said last Sunday at the LGBTQ Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch, "If me [sic] being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade. At the And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand — that if you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator." He added on the The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, "He’s nice. If he were here, you would think he’s a nice guy to your face. But he’s also fanatical."
Yet in 2015, after Buttigieg had announced publicly that he was gay, Pence said, "I hold Mayor Buttigieg in the highest personal regard. I see him as a dedicated public servant and a patriot."
But Pence's devout Christian faith appears to be unwelcomed by some in the broader Taylor University community. As The Hill reports, Taylor University spokesman James Garringer said in a statement: "Since making the announcement of Vice President Mike Pence's upcoming commencement speech, we have received feedback from people on either side of the issue. Taylor University is an intentional Christian community that strives to encourage positive, respectful and meaningful dialogue." Additionally, according to Fox News, Taylor University president Paul Lowell Haines has reaffirmed Pence as "a Christian brother whose life and values have exemplified what we strive to instill in our graduates."
Thankfully, Taylor University presently shows no indication of rescinding its invitation to Pence.