Before giving up the podium for Vice President Mike Pence to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a church service this weekend, Bishop Vincent Mathews Jr. called the vice president one of the “most persecuted Christians in America.”
“One thing I love about this man of God, you know if you don’t know anything, is that he is one of the most persecuted Christians in America,” the world missions president of the predominantly African American Church of God in Christ said, according to The Christian Post. “The biggest criticism that he gets all over television and everywhere else is that he actually believes the Bible. They hate him for believing the Bible.”
Pence thanked Bishop for the introduction, calling it “overly generous.”
Though Mathews made it clear that the vice president was not making a campaign stop, Pence used the opportunity to honor Dr. King, as well as highlight the administration’s work empowering the African American community.
“As Dr. King said in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, ‘One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters they were in reality standing up for what’s best in the American dream and for the most sacred values of our Judeo-Christian heritage.’ As I stand before you today, I want to assure you that under this administration we’ve made every effort to open pathways to the American dream for every American and we have stood strong for the values that we hold dear.
Pence continued, “Under the leadership of President Donald Trump, we’ve created more than 8,700 opportunity zones, including many here in Tennessee, bringing new investment and jobs to underserved communities across the nation. And I’m proud to say that today, African American unemployment is at the lowest level ever recorded.’”
He also highlighted Dr. King’s work, calling him “one of the heroes of my youth.”
“On his birthday last Wednesday, he would have turned 91,” Pence said. “Earlier today, visiting the National Civil Rights Museum, I was deeply moved standing in the parking lot and look[ing] up at the very balcony where he fell. Standing there I could not help but think what King David said on the death of Abner: ‘Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel?’” he said.
Pence also acknowledged that “there’s much to be done” in racial reconciliation efforts and promised that the President would work to protect “the right of every American to live the American dream regardless of race or creed of color, so help us, God.”
Watch the church service below:
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Scott Olson/Staff
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine.