Vice President Mike Pence: The Dangerous Holy Warrior Waiting in the Wings

May 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


It’s by no means a sure thing that Donald Trump will be forced from office. But if that does happen—and if it happens through the “orderly workings of the system” rather than through mass upheaval that drives the whole regime from power—then Vice President Mike Pence will become president.

Trump has been way out there as the fascist face of the regime. By comparison, Pence has been low key and comes across as at least less volatile than Trump. But Pence has been the main pillar and behind-the-scenes operative, down with Trump every step of the way, from slashing health care to barring Syrian refugees to threatening war against North Korea. Like Trump, Pence backs police suppression of Black and Brown communities through “Stop-and-Frisk” and a stepped-up militarized “War on Drugs,” and he once proposed a law to deny citizenship to children born in the U.S. of undocumented parents.

But Pence is not just a Trump wannabe—he is a leader of a powerful Christian fascist movement that is backed by a major section of the U.S. ruling class and aims for nothing less than a Christian theocratic society ruled by biblical law and morality. These forces believe that the problems U.S. imperialism confronts in the world stem from America getting off of “God’s path,” and that restoring America to “greatness” means reorganizing the government, schools, courts... the whole world, ultimately... on the basis of “God’s plan” (as interpreted by them, of course).

Bluntly, Pence is the Christian version of the Taliban in Afghanistan, imposing a religious fundamentalist order.

The Christian Fascist Outlook

Pence, an evangelical Christian, often says that “I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” In other words, it’s not that his religious views “influence” his political views, but that his political views are an application of his religious views.

But he’s not just talking about where his own views come from; Pence argues that U.S. law and society should be based on “the word of God.”

In 2006, Pence spoke in Congress supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Pence said: “I come to the well today to defend that institution that forms the backbone of our society: traditional marriage,” and that the main reason why this had to be defended is because it was “ordained by God [and] instituted among men.” He then added that “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.”

So first, Pence is arguing that either we implement that which “God” has “ordained,” or society will collapse! Think of the implications of this, in light of the many horrific things that the “God” of the Bible has ordained—the killing of homosexuals, of women who are not virgins when married, of the babies of rival nations... and on and on.

Second, this is an argument for the enslavement and subordination of women (as well as the persecution of LGBT people), because “traditional marriage” and the “traditional values” that Pence upholds mean that women’s main role and purpose in life is to bear and raise children (see below). In Pence’s view, the failure of women to submit to (and men to enforce) this role will lead to “societal collapse.”

In total, this view of society organized on the basis of Christian law, and this religiously conceived vision of traditional marriage, and traditional roles for women, men, and children that go with this—and seeing this as the foundation and the model for society as a whole—are the bedrock of Pence’s nightmarish social vision and policy.

Mike Pence’s Christian Fascist Program

There are many dimensions to this—in this article we are focusing primarily on Pence’s views regarding women, the family, and LGBT people.

Pence believes that government policy should discourage women with children from working. In a 1997 letter to the Indianapolis Star, he said that moms working leads to kids with “good language and cognitive skills but stunted emotional growth” and that we need a “national debate” about “who should be raising the next generation of Americans,” (hint, he means women) and should develop tax policies that facilitate this.

Pence is an opponent of educating young people about birth control. In 2002, he harshly criticized then-Secretary of State Colin Powell for saying young people should protect themselves from STDs by using condoms—Pence said this was “a sad day,” argued that young people should be trained in “abstinence” instead, and (falsely) claimed that condoms are “very poor protection” against STDs.

Pence is a rabid opponent of abortion rights. Pence says Roe v. Wade should be “consigned to the ash heap of history.” As governor of Indiana, he signed eight anti-abortion bills—including bills that required burial of aborted or miscarried fetuses (thus treating this tissue as legal persons), mandated one-on-one sessions for women seeking abortions to be told that a fertilized egg is a human being, and banned abortions motivated by a diagnosis of severe fetal abnormality. In Congress, Pence co-sponsored a “personhood” amendment that defined the fertilized egg as a legal person, which would lay the basis for charging abortion providers, women who take “the day after” pill, or even women who miscarry, as murderers (as actually happens to hundreds of women annually in El Salvador, with a similar legal principle).

But Pence hasn’t waited for the passage of such a bill—while he was governor of Indiana, Purvi Patel, a young woman who had miscarried, was arrested at the hospital, accused of medically inducing the miscarriage, charged with both “feticide” and neglect of a newborn, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. She served almost two years before courts overturned some (but not all) of the charges and released her for time served.

Pence is a fanatical opponent of Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of reproductive health care to women in the U.S., because it provides abortion and birth control to women. He fights to cut off all federal funding, including covering Medicare and Medicaid payments of women treated there. Pence said: “If Planned Parenthood wants to be involved in providing counseling services and HIV testing, they ought not to be in the business of providing abortions.”!

Pence is a fervent opponent of LGBT rights. He said that court decisions protecting same-sex marriage are “ominous,” and a 2007 law to prevent workplace discrimination of gays “wages war on freedom and religion in the workplace.” He signed a law in Indiana to legalize religious-based discrimination against gays. In his 2000 campaign for Congress, he proposed federal funding for “those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior,” a mealymouthed reference to so-called “conversion therapy,” the barbaric and unscientific practice of trying to persuade, bully, or sometimes torture gay youths into “choosing” a different sexual orientation.

Pence believes that “across the wider world, the Christian faith is under siege.” On May 11, he spoke at a conference hosted by Franklin Graham, a notorious Islamophobe, and pledged that “America will stand by followers of Christ.” Afterwards, Graham noted that Christians are also persecuted in the U.S. at the hands of “the gay-lesbian agenda,” and that it was good to know that Trump/Pence are about “defeating the enemies of the Cross.”

What It Means for Christian Fascism to Take Command of All of Society

The Christian fascists already held a lot of power and influence around the U.S. before Trump/Pence came to power, and have been attacking women, LGBT people, Muslims, and critical thinking all along. But they were not able to implement anything like their full vision of a society organized on a Christian theocratic basis—they were constrained by the courts, by other ruling class forces who didn’t agree with their program, and by the opposition and resistance of the masses.

With control of the executive—as well as Congress, the majority of state governments, and the Supreme Court—these obstacles can be violently swept aside, and what has so far been a checkerboard of oppressive laws and practices in certain areas and an increasingly reactionary atmosphere nationally, could be very rapidly transformed into the “law of the land,” and enforced with all the violence at the hands of the U.S. state.

This is already starting with Trump at the helm. Even though Trump himself is not driven by a religious vision, he has fully united with the Christian fascists who actually make up a large part of his administration, particularly his cabinet. If Trump is replaced by Pence, we can expect the regime to move to greatly intensify its drive to carry out the Christian fascist vision and program.



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