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Mike Pence Cautions Christian College Graduates They'll Be 'Ridiculed' For Faith

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition in Washington, Monday, May 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition in Washington, Monday, May 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Mike Pence tells Liberty University graduates to prepare to be “shunned” and “ridiculed” for being Christian. Is he right?


Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, one of the largest Southern Baptist evangelical churches in the country. Fox News contributor. (@robertjeffress)

Nikki Toyama-Szeto, executive director of Evangelicals for Social Action. She has worked with leaders of faith communities, including the Billy Graham Center and CCDA, on issues of biblical justice within the Global Church. (@ntoyamaszeto)

The Rev. Jim Wallis, public theologian. President and founder of Sojourners, a Christian group advocating a style of peace and justice. He served on President Obama’s White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Author of “God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It.” (@jimwallis)

From The Reading List

Washington Post: “Mike Pence’s speech to Christian college graduates furthers ‘evangelical persecution complex’” — “Commencement ceremonies are usually opportunities for college graduates to hear a successful person share wisdom and counsel on how to succeed in a world that many young adults find overwhelming.

“While Vice President Pence may have attempted to do just that during his Saturday speech to graduates of Liberty University, one of the world’s largest evangelical universities, much of his talk appeared to perpetuate what some call ‘the evangelical persecution complex.’ ”

USA Today: “Mike Pence: Why his role as Trump’s evangelical ambassador is facing new pushback” — “President Donald Trump began a recent National Day of Prayer event recognizing the ‘big, big help’ he’s received from his vice president.

“Although not specified, that help has included Mike Pence’s full-throated defense of Trump’s faith credentials as a liaison to Christian conservatives – a bedrock constituency for the Republican president.

“But in an overheard private exchange, Pence’s longtime friend Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, offered the vice president words of reassurance that hinted at the tougher political climate he has faced lately.

“‘I hope you’ve seen me out there defending you,’ Reed told Pence at a White House dinner the night before. ‘It hasn’t been a hard job.’ ”

Washington Times: “Opinion: Christian persecution’s ‘inconvenient truth’” — “Vice President Mike Pence told a crowd of graduates from the Christian-based Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, that they ought to be ready for ridicule because this secular world is about as intolerant of those of the faith as can be.

“How right he is.

“Christianity is, after all, the most widely persecuted religion in the world. No need to sugarcoat.

“‘[It’s an] inconvenient truth that the overwhelming majority of persecuted religious believers are Christians,’ stated an excerpt from an interim report from the United Kingdom.

“Why inconvenient?”

Sydney Wertheim and Anna Bauman produced this hour for broadcast.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.