Mike Pence has warned Christian graduates of an evangelical university that they should prepare to face ridicule for their beliefs.
The deeply religious vice president told Liberty University students that “some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs”.
In a commencement address at the college founded by right-wing preacher Jerry Falwell, he said: “Throughout most of American history, it’s been pretty easy to call yourself Christian.
“It didn’t even occur to people that you might be shunned or ridiculed for defending the teachings of the Bible. But things are different now.
“You’re going to be asked not just to tolerate things that violate your faith, you’re going to be asked to endorse them. You’re going to be asked to bow down to the idols of the popular culture.”
As an example, he cited attacks on his wife Karen’s decision to begin teaching at a school that bans LGBT+ pupils.
And Mr Pence, who has said he would like to see the landmark Roe vs Wade decision overturned, reaffirmed the Trump administration’s anti-abortion stance, saying it stood “without apology for the sanctity of human life”.
Both the president and vice president have been vocal in their support for anti-abortion activists over the last two years, and have both previously visited Liberty University.
The late Mr Falwell’s son, Jerry Jr, has provided advice to Mr Trump on faith matters and, during his speech, Mr Pence revealed that four Liberty University graduates worked in his White House office.
The vice-president’s comments on Saturday came a day after a judge struck down a Kentucky law that would have restricted access to terminations after 15 weeks by cracking down on the dilation-and-evacuation procedure. The state’s governor vowed to appeal.
State governments across the southern US are considering or have passed so-called heartbeat abortion laws that prohibit terminations after a fetal heartbeat can be detected – which often occurs before a woman knows she is pregnant, at about six weeks’ gestation.
Such restrictions in Georgia, in particular, have sparked threats of boycotts by Hollywood production companies. Actor Alyssa Milano called for a “sex strike” in protest.
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