Our current Vice President Mike Pence seems to be a figure who is popular with conservative evangelical Christians. Likewise, he once described himself as, "a Christian, a conservative and Republican, in that order." This recurring image within the media has made him a popular figurehead for the Christian community.
This image of Pence however, is not without controversy even amongst the evangelical population. As a result, his public appearances at dignified schools such as Notre Dame University and Taylor University ended with student walkouts and even a resignation of the school's president.
When taking a better look into the public image Pence portrays, there are five major points which paint him to have a conflicting image.
The first is Pence's description of himself as a "born-again, evangelical Catholic." Mike Pence grew up in a Catholic home and served as an altar boy while attending a parochial school. From here, he consolidated his roots as a believer in Christ while attending a Christian student group while in College. Later on in his years, Pence and his family started attending Grace Evangelical Church in the 90s. Earlier this year however, Pence reconnected with this Catholic upbringing when he met Pope Francis before the pandemic.
The second point is Pence's loyalty to causes before his time as a congressman which reflect upon his evangelical beliefs. To start, it is known that Pence opposes the expansion of abortion rights, the funding of embryonic stem cell research, and supported an bill against same-sex marriage while cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood. On top of this, Pence also became the first VP to address the March for Life which is a cause supporting the pro-life movement.
Another factor regarding his image can be his disagreement in refugee policies with the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis. While halting support in the efforts regarding the relocation of refugees, the archdiocese went against Pence's policies by welcoming a Syrian family to the community. In response, Pence stated his disagreement but did not block state aid to the family. Before his role as the Vice President to President Trump's campaign however, Pence had a different view stating that, "calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional."
Pence being known as a strong supporter of the Pro-Israel lobby, prior to President Trump's annoucement to select Pence as his running mate, advisors recommended Pence to stabilize Trump's relation with the Jewish community. Being a Christian, Pence believes that his faith compels him to support and cherish the biblically significant nation. When Pence visited the middle east in 2018 however, this reasoning behind the support for Israel was met with backlash from local Christians. On the same note, a pastor there stated, "I find very little, from what I know of it, in Mike Pence's religion that looks like Christianity to me,".
Lastly, Pence's stance on a controversial religious freedom law sparked much concern within his own community. While vocalizing the importance of religious freedom throughout his career, Pence was criticized heavily after supporting Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act which allowed for businesses and individuals to refuse services based on their religious beliefs. This stance brought in the support of his fellow evangelicals and conservatives however it would have caused the rest of the community to boycott Indiana.
As a result, Pence had to go back and sign a revised bill in its place.