Vice President Mike Pence and other Christians who believe homosexuality is sinful are bigots tantamount to those who opposed civil rights and supported slavery, according to a well-known Washington Post columnist.
The newspaper’s Richard Cohen argues in a new column that the beliefs of Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, about sexuality are no different than the racist beliefs from America’s past.
“I have a question for those Republicans who, along with Democrats, demand the resignation of Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam for the abhorrent photo that appeared on his page in his medical school yearbook: If bigotry is repugnant, why not demand the resignation of Vice President Mike Pence for his ugly views on homosexuality?” Cohen asked. “And while they’re at it, why not insist that Pence’s wife resign her position at a school that discriminates against gays and lesbians?”
Karen Pence is teaching at a private Christian school that affirms traditional biblical teachings on sexuality, as Christian Headlines previously reported.
To argue that the Pences’ views are based on religious belief is inexcusable, Cohen asserts.
“The Bible was used to justify slavery, and in my own time, racists cited this or that biblical passage to assert that racial segregation was precisely what God intended — the so-called ‘curse of Ham’ or the ‘mark of Cain,’ both used to add biblical authority to the rantings of bigots,” Cohen wrote. “Now the mark or the curse is on the Pences, who share views that in our nation’s history have caused much suffering, including violence.”
America may have a history of religious freedom, Cohen noted, but it’s not without boundaries.
“Lines have been drawn,” Cohen wrote. “Utah was not admitted as a state until the Church of Latter-Day Saints renounced polygamy. No one is advocating a law requiring Immanuel Christian to practice tolerance, both in its pedagogy and its hiring practices. But the First Amendment that guarantees the school’s rights also gives us the right to criticize. It is simply wrong to foster a belief that homosexuality and same-sex marriage are immoral.
“I have been torn about Northam -- about whether a single yearbook photo negates a lifetime of tolerance,” Cohen added. “But I am not torn about Mike and Karen Pence. They are figures of consequence and their bigotry – regardless of their religious justification – has to be confronted.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr. president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said Christians should not ignore the arguments in Cohen’s column.
“The real antipathy Cohen directs at the Pences and to conservative Christians centers on our audacity to draw anything from the pages of Holy Scripture,” Mohler wrote on his website. “We dare to say, ‘God said.’ We dare to believe that God has spoken, that the Bible is his Word, that it bears divine authority and is without error. The secular mind cannot accept the audacious claim to believe that true morality flows from God’s revelation, that God has spoken and established an order to his creation. The secular elites believe that anyone who holds to a biblical morality is a bigot and anyone who believes in divine revelation must be an idiot.”
Cohen believes in right and wrong, Mohler said, “but measured by his own internal compass and prevailing elite opinion.”
The Washington Post columnist is correct that the Bible was misused in the past, Mohler added, yet the “misuse of the Bible on the matters of race in no way nullifies its clarity or its authority for Christians on sexual ethics.”
“Justification for slavery relied upon a few verses, ripped out of their historical, literary, and theological context,” Mohler wrote. “But the Scriptures abound with texts, verses, and instructions regarding marriage and sexuality. The Bible presents a unified theme in all 66 books – a theme that declares marriage as an institution created by God that unites one man to one woman. Indeed, in Romans 1, Paul grounds marital and sexual ethics not only in the Old Testament but in the broader scope of creation. The structure of creation testifies to the goodness and orderliness of God’s design for humanity as male and female – from birth – and for marriage and the proper expression of sexuality.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.