On Tuesday, Karen Pence’s office announced the second lady would return to a part-time gig at Immanuel Christian School, where she taught during her husband’s Congressional tenure. Pence, a noted watercolor enthusiast, will be teaching art in the academy’s elementary school. The school’s rules, as codified in a couple of legally binding agreements first reported by the Huffington Post, are fairly standard for an Evangelical school. They’re also good reminders of what the Pences actually believe.
Immanuel Christian School, founded in the 1970s, is located in Virginia’s Fairfax country, among the most affluent commuter neighborhoods outside of Washington, D.C. A sample payment plan on the school’s website estimates full-day Kindergarten tuition at around $10,725.00 a year. The school’s board members include white-collar government bureaucrats; the Pence’s daughter, Charlotte, attended the school. In 2015, Immanuel was among only 50 schools in the country to be awarded a National Blue Ribbon for academic achievement by the Department of Education. But, like many Christian schools across the country—even well-funded five-acre campuses attended by the children of D.C’s elite—its community banishes LGBTQ people and anyone associated with them. It also teaches female students, somewhat bizarrely, to remain chaste by not succumbing to what is considered “normal” in places like California or, apparently, the entire Indian subcontinent.
In the Immanuel Bible Church, the school’s parent house of worship, women are only permitted to teach scripture to children, teenagers, and other women. Health classes begin in the 5th grade, and they are taught from a “distinctly biblical perspective.” Texts included on the school’s website include Secret Keeper by Dannah Gresh and Girls Gone Wise by Mary A. Kassian.
Here’s what Secret Keeper has to say about a woman’s power:
Here’s Kassian, the author of Girls Gone Wise, on the great tragedy of “Average Anna” and “girl-on-girl sex”:
Statistics give us insight into the life of today’s typical woman, who I’ll call “Average Anna.” Average Anna loses her virginity at age 16. In college, she has a friend-with-benefits. Anna also has at least 1 one-night-stand (which she deeply regrets). There’s a 16% chance that Anna will experiment with girl-on-girl sex. By the time she marries at age 27, Anna will have had 2 or 3 committed relationships and 4 or 5 sexual partners.
Given her sexual history, Average Anna has a 50/50 chance of getting an STD. The likelihood that she indulges in pornography and erotica on a semi-regular basis is about 60%. And there’s an 18% chance that she has a serious porn addiction.
Average Anna almost certainly has issues with her self-image. When she has kids, she starts having a tough time maintaining a satisfactory work-home balance. She’s overstressed. She experiences difficulty in her marriage. There’s a 25% chance that she’ll become clinically depressed. There’s a 19% chance that she’ll cheat on her husband and have an affair. The likelihood of her marriage failing is more than 30%. She’ll probably be the one to initiate the divorce.
And that scenario doesn’t even take into account the toll that negative experiences such as father absence (33%), abuse (15-35%), and abortion (28%) will have on Anna’s psyche.
As the Huffington Post first noted yesterday, Immanuel’s employment application also requires teachers to agree not to engage in “moral misconduct” such as “homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female.” A lengthy agreement posted online requires parents to acknowledge their children could be kicked out should “the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home, the activities of a parent or guardian, or the activities of the student are counter to, or are in opposition to, the biblical lifestyle the school teaches.” This includes:
but is not limited to contumacious behavior, divisive conduct, and participating in, supporting, or condoning sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bi-sexual activity, promoting such practices, or being unable to support the moral principles of the school.
Should conflicts arise at the school or between members, the agreement also notes, parents “expressly waive” their right to file a lawsuit in civil court. The school’s policy is instead to settle issues with a “council of believers” from the school’s affiliated church—or, failing that, legally binding arbitration. So if anyone’s ever had an issue with Immanuel, we are very unlikely to know.
Pence’s office did not immediately respond to Jezebel’s questions about the school’s code of conduct or California values. This week her office pointed out the second lady worked for Immanuel for 12 years prior to returning there this week, and declined to comment on whether she’s signed the morality pledge to ban LGBTQ people from her life. With its rules against fraternizing with homosexuals and insular mediation techniques and insistence on chastity as a woman’s natural state, Immanuel isn’t much different than any other strict Christian school.
It’s notable only as a reminder of who the vice president and his wife are, and what they’re in their respective offices to do.