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November 22, 2019

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Vice-Presidence Pence with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Today NPR's Morning Edition discussed impeachment, politics, and Mike Pence’s faith—a test of how Pence’s political path will be shaped by his faith.
For we walk by faith, not by sight. - 2 Corinthians 5:7
We have all heard about the Vice President’s personal faith and how it impacts his politial choices. From his time as Governor of Indiana, where he enacted some of the most restrictive reproductive rights bills and anti-LGBT-rights legislation, to Leslie Montgomery's August 2019 book The Faith of Mike Pence, we have all heard how central his faith is to his identity. The question to ask is not whether Mike Pence has a personal faith that affects his political leanings, but rather how this personal faith will dictate the laws governing every one of us. If, and hopefully when, President Trump is impeached, Mike Pence will be next in line to assume the duties of the Presidency. 

For the past several years now I’ve been emphatic about how much worse it would be for our country to have Mike Pence as the President. As bad as 45 is, Pence is pure evil. There is no question in my mind that the political decisions and bills that Pence would veto and support as President would negatively impact nearly everyone in this country. As the verse from 2 Corinthians says, we walk through this world by our faith and not just by the sight we are given with our eyes. Our faith leads us to make choices, and it helps us discern what is the  truth, what is a lie, what is good, and what is evil. We are called not only to believe in the things we see but also to believe in the things we do not see. This call, though, does not grant us permission to ignore the things that we see. We’ve seen the damaging effects of one person’s faith convictions dictating authoritative control over a community, and we’ve seen the damaging effects of Pence’s personal faith on the people of Indiana and the people of this great country. 

As a librarian-in-training (a library assistant working on my MLIS), when I listened to this NPR story on my commute, I latched onto the part about Mike Pence’s senior thesis. I took it upon myself to try and figure out where this thesis lives. Sadly, a search through both Hanover College’s library catalog and in WorldCat has left me empty-handed. I am left to rely on the statements that journalist Tom LoBianco offered. “It's all about Abraham Lincoln's ambivalence towards organized religion, his own agnosticism and how that played to his own political peril in his career," LoBianco said. "And I'm reading this and I'm like, this isn't about Abe Lincoln. This is about Mike Pence. You can see him reasoning through the political calculus with the faith calculus."

Pence is cunning and smart. As much as many of us may dislike and distrust him, he is good at what he does and has always been open to participating in conversations with those he disagrees with, without allowing his viewpoints to be swayed. We need to be alert and leery of Vice President Mike Pence. We need to guard ourselves against the sneaky and evil nature by which he allows his narrow-minded faith convictions to govern the laws we all have to live by and endure.
Read. Listen. Learn as much as you can about those who endanger you. Get your hands on a copy of Piety & Power: Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House by Tom LoBianco. It’s available at many public libraries and academic libraries around the country in ebook format, normal print, and large-print editions. If you’re not big on reading, take a listen to the audio file in today’s story. Look into Pence; get to know him well. If Trump is impeached and removed from office, Pence is next in line to be our President.
God of glory, you nourish us with spiritual food. Fill us with your Holy Spirit, that through us your light may shine into all the world.

Because the world is poor and starving, go forth with bread.
Because the world is filled with fear, go out with courage.
Because the world is in despair, provide hope.
Because the world is living lies, speak the truth.
Because the world is sick with sorrow, go out with joy.
Because the world is weary of wars, bring peace.
Because the world is seldom fair, go do the work of justice.
Because the world is under judgment, go with mercy.
Because the world will die without it, always go with love.

- adapted from a prayer by Rev. Mark Jennings
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