Indiana Governor Mike Pence is the Vice President-elect of the United States. During the general election, all focus is on the top of each ticket. But Governor Pence stands to make a significant difference in the Trump White House. So let’s meet Mr. Pence. There are five things you need to know about his faith and positions on issues like abortion and religious liberty.
1. Catholic, then Evangelical
Pence was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and attended private schools, belonging to what he once described as a large Irish family that celebrated the 1960 election of Democrat John F. Kennedy.
In an interview with CBN in 2010 while still a member of Congress, Pence explained that he had a deep spiritual conversion in college that eventually led him to become an evangelical.
“I began to meet young men and women who talked about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and while I cherish my Catholic upbringing and the foundation that it poured into my faith, that had not been a part of my experience,” Pence said to CBN.
“Standing at a Christian music festival in Asbury, Kentucky, in the spring of 1978, I gave my life to Jesus Christ and that’s changed everything.”
2. Once Endorsed Ted Cruz for President
Initially during the 2016 Republican primary season, Pence officially endorsed not Trump but rather U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.
“I’m not against anybody, but I will be voting for Ted Cruz in the Republican primary,” said Pence to WIBC back in April. “Let me be very clear on this race. Whoever wins the Republican nomination for president of the United States, I’m going to work my heart out to get elected this fall.”
Pence’s endorsement of Cruz, however, also came with the Indiana governor speaking highly of Trump and urging primary voters to “make up their own minds” on who to elect.
3. A Pioneer Opponent of Common Core
As Governor of Indiana, Pence is credited with being the first state executive to sign legislation to reverse the controversial Common Core State Standards. In March of 2014, Pence singed Indiana Senate Bill 91, which reversed the Common Core standards adopted four years earlier by the Hoosier state.
“I believe when we reach the end of this process there are going to be many other states around the country that will take a hard look at the way Indiana has taken a step back,” stated Pence.
4. Pro-Life Record
Pence has been known as a staunch supporter of the pro-life movement. While in Congress he championed the effort to defund Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Earlier this year, Pence signed into law House Enrolled Act 1337, a pro-life bill that banned abortions on the basis of a baby’s race, gender, or potential disability.
When Trump initially stated he supported punishing the mother who sought an abortion, Pence was one of the many pro-lifers to express his disagreement with the idea. “Governor Pence does not agree with the statement made by Donald Trump. As someone who has embraced the pro-life position all of his life, he has a deep compassion for expected mothers and the unborn,” stated Pence’s office in March.
5. Religious Liberty Legislation
While Governor of Indiana, Pence signed into law the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, garnering much backlash from LGBT and progressive groups.
Even though the state RFRA law did not mention the LGBT community at all and was inspired by federal legislation that had been on the books since the 1990s and had bipartisan support, many activists wrongly interpreted it as allowing Christian businesses to deny services to gay people. Pence eventually caved into the pressure, receiving widespread criticism from religious freedom activists.
By any standard, Mike Pence is a reliable conservative, devoutly evangelical in his faith. Whether he will be an effective Vice President remains an open question.
About the Author
Michael Gryboski is a writer for the Christian Post and a featured lecturer on the cultural issues of the day. He has addressed such relevant issues as the legalization of drugs and a biblical perspective on national leadership.