Karen Pence takes teaching job at Christian school that bans LGBTQ students and faculty

By Holly Rosenkrantz, Kathryn Watson

/ CBS News

Karen and Charlotte Pence on new children's book

Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President Mike Pence, is returning to teaching, taking on a job as an art teacher at a Virginia Christian school, where she has previously taught. The school bans LGBTQ students and employees. The Immanuel Christian School in northern Virginia bars employees from engaging in homosexual "sexual activity" and does not condone "transgender identity," according to its employment application. A "parent agreement" says it will not admit students who participate in or condone homosexual activity.

"I acknowledge the importance of a family culture based on biblical principles and embrace biblical family values such as a healthy marriage between one man and one woman," the parental agreement says. "My role as spiritual mentor to my children will be taken seriously."

Such a requirement is common in Christian schools, and the Immanuel Christian School specifically bans all sexual activity outside of marriage — premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex, for example — in addition to homosexual sexual activity. The "transgender identity" wording focuses on an identity, not an activity.

The application also asks school staff to sign a pledge to "live a personal life of moral purity." Applicants are also asked to explain their "view on the creation/evolution debate."

Pence previously taught at the school for 12 years, while her husband Mike Pence was in Congress. As Second Lady, Pence has also promoted art. In 2017, she announced a platform called "Art Therapy: Healing with the HeART", highlight art therapy as a mental health profession.

"Mrs. Pence has returned to the school where she previously taught for 12 years. It's absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school's religious beliefs, are under attack," her spokeswoman Kara Brooks said.

The employment rules were first reported by the Huffington Post.

First published on January 16, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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