Chuck Currie, a United Church of Christ minister, serves as director of the Center for Peace and Spirituality and university chaplain at Pacific University in Oregon. He is on Twitter @revchuckcurrie. The views expressed in this commentary do not represent those of BCNN1.
This past weekend, Vice President Mike Pence, offering the commencement address at Liberty University, issued a warning to graduates of this Christian university: be prepared to be “shunned or ridiculed for defending the teachings of the Bible.”
Truth be told, it is Christians like Pence who do the most shunning and ridiculing. His message at Liberty was both bad theology and bad politics.
Pence’s faith affiliation, for instance, is what helped propel him to the vice presidency; he is not a victim. When Pence is ridiculed, it is not for the religion he claims, but for the political stances he takes that have led to discrimination against others.
This is, after all, a political leader who helped create an HIV/AIDS outbreak in his own state after cutting prevention efforts, cuts he made to accommodate his theological belief that those most likely to suffer from the disease are expendable.
There are people across the world and in the United States who face genuine discrimination for their faith. Pence trivialized their plight by suggesting that he is somehow a victim.
The Easter bombings of Christian churches in Sri Lanka remind us of the peril Christians face in different parts of the globe. China regularly persecutes Christians. In the aftermath of the Iraq War, Christians were largely erased from that nation.
Human rights, including the freedom to worship, should be the guiding principle of U.S. foreign policy, but the Trump-Pence administration cares more about trade with China than the human rights situation there. The plight of Muslims in China, now being forced into concentration camps, is barely acknowledged by the White House.
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Source: Religion News Service