Mike Pence Says It Is 'Deeply Offensive' That Critics Are Attacking His Wife for Teaching at Anti-LGT School

Vice President Mike Pence has hit back against criticism after it emerged his wife had taken a job at a hardline Christian school that rejects homosexuality.

Speaking to Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), a channel pushing the Catholic religion, Pence this week rejected the notion there was anything wrong with the teachings at Immanuel Christian School in Virginia and claimed he was offended by the media coverage.

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The private school, based in Springfield, reserves the right to expel anyone who fails to adhere to a so-called biblical lifestyle—including any gay students—and prohibits "heterosexual activity outside of marriage, homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity [and] any other violation of the unique roles of male and female" for its employees.

"My wife and I have been in the public eye for quite a while, we are used to the criticism, but I have to tell you, to see major news organizations attacking Christian education is deeply offensive to us," Pence told host Lauren Ashburn in the segment, aired Thursday.

"We have a rich tradition in America of Christian education and, frankly, religious education broadly defined. We celebrate it. The freedom of religion is enshrined in the Constitution of the U.S. The Constitution prohibits a religious test for holding public office, and so we'll let the critics roll off our back but this criticism of Christian education in America should stop."

The evangelical policies and employment applications were first reported by HuffPost. Karen Pence, who teaches art, was previously employed at the school for 12 years.

In the new job role, USA Today reported that she will teach twice a week until May. "I am excited to be back in the classroom and doing what I love to do," Pence said in a statement to the outlet.

A spokesperson for the second lady, Kara Brooks, has called the fresh criticism "absurd." The Hill reported yesterday that an LGBT group called The Trevor Project had sent 100 copies of a book about acceptance and marriage equality to the Immanuel Christian School. The LGBT community includes those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

"We know that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth from rejecting families are more than eight times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. We hope Immanuel Christian School will adopt policies of inclusion for LGBTQ young people that make them feel safe, accepted, and loved," read a statement issued yesterday by Amit Paley, the group's CEO and executive director.

Mike Pence's views on homosexuality and gay rights are well-documented. Last year, he spoke at a summit hosted by the Family Research Council, designated an anti-LGBT "extremist group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He has stood against same-sex marriage.

Some of his beliefs have been put in black-and-white during his political campaigning. "Congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage," Pence stated back in 2000.

"Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexuals as a 'discreet and insular minority' entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities."

Mike Pence Says It Is 'Deeply Offensive' That Critics Are Attacking His Wife for Teaching at Anti-LGT School | U.S.