Vice President Mike Pence turned the other cheek and offered forgiveness to ABC’s “The View” host Joy Behar following her jokes about Christians being “mentally ill.” In a world of inclusiveness and a nation founded on (religious) liberty, there shouldn’t room for religious intolerance.
Last night on a television program, VP Pence addressed a recent uproar when Behar and another co-host made fun of him for openly practicing his faith – as well as tens of the millions of other Christians.
He didn’t get back at her, but offered a surprising response according to The Hill:
“I give Joy Behar a lot of credit. She picked up the phone. She called me,” Pence told Fox News host Sean Hannity in an interview set to air Monday night on the network. “She was very sincere, and she apologized, and one of the things my faith teaches me is grace; forgive as you’ve been forgiven,” he added.
Beyond just forgiveness, Pence is challenging Behar to also offer an apology to all Christians, adding:
“Look, but I said to Joy: ‘Of course, I forgive you.’ That’s part of my faith experience,” Pence replied. “But I did encourage her, and I’m still encouraging her, to use the forum of that program or some other public forum, to apologize to tens of millions of Americans who were equally offended.”
The mele began on February 13 when the hosts of “The View” were discussing comments made by former Trump White House staffer and former “Celebrity Big Brother” contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman about Pence being “extreme” in his faith.
Co-host Sunny Hostin said, “I don’t know that I want my vice president, um – speaking in tongues and having Jesus speak to him.”
Behar responded, “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct, hearing voices.”
Behar and Hostin’s comments about the Vice President and Christians expose what many consider religious intolerance among voices in the mainstream media and entertainment. Here are just a few examples.
CNN’s Erin Burnett mocked when pastors prayed for President Trump in the Oval Office. SNL mocked a popular Christian film, “God’s Not Dead” calling God a “boob” at the end. Celebrities like actress Mayim Bialik point out the unfriendliness of Hollywood towards people with faith.
What we see in entertainment and media may be symptomatic of growing religious intolerance toward Christians. According to one poll conducted in 2015, nearly two-thirds of Americans (63 percent) say Christians are facing intolerance and that is up from half just two years prior. That;’s a considerable number of people when we consider that according to Gallup, three-quarters of Americans identify as being Christian (49 percent Protestant, 23 percent Catholic and 2 percent Mormon).
The Pilgrims and Puritans came to America seeking religious freedom. Our Founding Fathers wanted to ensure that every person could practice their faith or no faith at all by enshrining religious freedom in the First Amendment. The religions have not perfectly co-existed, but religious liberty is widely supported.
Behar and her colleague may not like how VP Pence practices his faith, but they are out of line for mocking him and those whose religious experience he shares. There’s room for disagreement but not intolerance.