Written by Don Byrd
Vice President Mike Pence, in his commencement address at Liberty University over the weekend, claimed without explaining that the administration has taken “decisive action to protect religious liberty.” But he spent a large part of his speech warning graduates that they are entering a world of persecution, violence, and ridicule directed at Christians.
Here is an excerpt:
The truth is, we live in a time when the freedom of religion is under assault. Yesterday, I was informed by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that today Christians suffer more persecution around the world than any other religion. In fact, the United Kingdom released a report just last week that said persecution of Christians worldwide is “near genocide levels.”
In the last few months, we’ve seen unspeakable attacks on people of faith — on Jewish synagogues in Pennsylvania and California, on mosques in New Zealand, Christian churches in Sri Lanka, and on three historically black churches in Louisiana.
No one should ever fear for their safety in a place of worship, and these attacks on people of faith must stop. (Applause.)
[W]e live in a time when it’s become acceptable and even fashionable to ridicule and even discriminate against people of faith….
[W]hen my wife Karen returned to teach art at an elementary Christian school earlier this year, we faced harsh attacks by the media and the secular Left. And a major newspaper reporter actually started a new hashtag, called “Expose Christian Schools,” inviting students to share their “horror stories” of Christian education.
The freedom of religion is enshrined in our First Amendment and in the hearts of every American. And these attacks on Christian education are un-American. (Applause.) I’m proud to report our administration has already taken decisive action to protect religious liberty, and we’ll continue to do just that. And I promise you: We will always stand up for the right of Americans to live, to learn, and to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience. (Applause.)
Violence and persecution directed at Christians is indeed on the rise around the world. But here in the United States, the gravest threats of violence based on religion are not the hashtag attacks faced by Christians but the violent hate crimes targeting American Jews and Muslims, which have been increasing according to the FBI.
You can read Pence’s entire address here.