Showing posts with label US Vice President. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US Vice President. Show all posts

April 14, 2019

Evangelical college students say they don’t want Mike Pence to be their speaker


This article was from Thuraday but unfortunate there were problems with the  system

                                   



LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 06:  U.S. Vice President Mike Pence waves as he arrives at the  







Students and alumni of a small Christian college in Indiana are pushing back against the state’s former governor — saying that Vice President Mike Pence shouldn’t deliver the school’s commencement address because he doesn’t represent their Christian values.

Taylor University, an evangelical school with about 1,900 undergraduate students, announced on Thursday that Pence had accepted an invitation to speak at its commencement ceremony in mid-May.

“Taylor University is pleased and honored to welcome to our campus and its 2019 Commencement exercises, Vice President Mike Pence,” Paul Lowell Haines, president of Taylor University, said in a statement. “Mr. Pence has been a good friend to the University over many years, and is a Christian brother whose life and values have exemplified what we strive to instill in our graduates.”

A sizeable group of current and former students, however, disagree. 
A Change.org petition in protest of Pence’s invitation to speak — which was launched by a Taylor University alumni just a few hours after the school president’s announcement — has amassed more than 2,800 signatures since its inception.
“Inviting Vice President Pence to Taylor University and giving him a coveted platform for his political views makes our alumni, faculty, staff and current students complicit in the Trump-Pence Administration’s policies, which we believe are not consistent with the Christian ethic of love we hold dear,” the petition states.

Alex Hoekstra, who started the petition, graduated from Taylor in 2007. As a gay man, he feels “personally injured” by the policies championed by the Trump-Pence administration, and thinks university officials should recognize that those policies aren’t reflective of Jesus’ teachings or the Christian emphasis on love, according to an interview he provided to Newsweek.

That argument is echoed in many of the comments from other signatories of Hoekstra’s petition, many of whom write that Pence doesn’t represent their faith.

“The politics and policies of VP Pence and President Trump are incongruous with the Christian values the university is sworn to uphold,” one supporter wrote.

“I stand for the values of that Jesus promoted and when people in places of power so blatantly oppose those values (or remain silent), they should not receive such a privileged position,” another commented. 

Writing in the Christian magazine Sojourners, Taylor University alumni C. Christopher Smith argued Pence represents a version of evangelicalism that doesn’t resonate with him or many of the other students and faculty at Taylor.

“We need to ask ourselves the question: To what sort of gospel do Mike Pence’s political values bear witness, and is this the sort of gospel that we want to proclaim or to send out our young people out into the word with?” Smith writes. “Taylor University, and other evangelical institutions, should no longer give credence to this administration as representative of evangelicalism.”

Similarly, an adjunct professor at Taylor, Amy Peterson, penned a Washington Post op-ed describing the hurt, dismay, and dissent among the campus community in the aftermath of the announcement that Pence would deliver the commencement.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a press conference after the UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Venezuela at United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States on April 10, 2019.  (Photo by Selcuk Acar/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Mike Pence’s reply to Pete Buttigieg ignores the brutality of anti-LGBTQ policies
Peterson acknowledged that the strong reaction to Pence’s invitation may seem surprising to outsiders, given that Taylor University has a largely white, evangelical, and Midwestern student body. But she noted that evangelicalism is not a monolith — and argued that the school’s decision to invite Pence sends the problematic message that there is just one acceptable way to enage in politics as an evangelical Christian.

“Inviting Pence reinforces the creeping conflation of ‘evangelical’ with ‘Republican,'” Peterson writes. “The question of how our political identity relates to our Christian identity is up for debate in this cultural moment.” 

Pence is not a stranger to dissent during his visits to college campuses. In 2017, as he delivered the commencement address at Notre Dame University — which is a Catholic institution — a group of graduating students walked out in protest of the administration’s policies that target the most vulnerable Americans.

But the controversy swirling around his invitation to Taylor points to a larger tension within the Christian community, as progressive people of faith argue that major Religious Right figures — who have become the most visible representations of Christianity in politics — don’t accurately reflect the version of the faith they practice.

For example, Pete Buttigieg — a longshot 2020 presidential contender and the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana — has been frank about his religious background, and outpsoken about the fact that he thinks it’s a mistake for Democrats to cede the language of religion to Republicans. Buttigieg is an Episcopalian who says he wants to challenge the Religious Right’s monopoly on morality and faith.

Buttigieg and Pence have recently been engaged in a public back-and-forth about Christian ideology and anti-LGBTQ theology. While giving a speech to an LGBTQ equality group on Sunday, Buttigieg directly addressed the vice president when he commented that his marriage to his husband has brought him closer to God.

One of the signatories of Hoekstra’s petition called attention to the contrast between the two Indiana politicians.

“I’m a husband of a Taylor alum and suggest that if Taylor is looking for a Hoosier Christian politician for the commencement they might consider inviting Pete Buttigieg,” he wrote.

March 5, 2019

Joe Biden Walks Back His Statement About How Good Mr.No 2 Homophobe in The Nation Might Be




         

If you read the previous story about Billy and how he was brutally killed by someone listening to people like Pence you will see how this hatred language which is not biblical, damages minds that are already looking for an excuse to killed someone so they can feel better about themselves and their screwed up lives. Adam



Former Vice President Joe Biden prides himself on his bipartisan relationships. But on Thursday, Biden’s mild praise of one Trump administration official became a political liability.
At a speech in Omaha, Biden called Vice President Pence “a decent guy.” That statement drew quick criticism from the LGBTQ community, an influential liberal voting bloc.
Pence has aggressively opposed gay rights as a lawmaker in Indiana and Washington. In 2015 as Indiana governor, Pence signed a bill to extend legal protections to business owners opposed to participating in same-sex weddings because of their religious beliefs. Critics argued the bill legalized discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“Mike Pence has made a career out of attacking the rights and equal dignity of LGBTQ people, women and other marginalized communities,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, one of the largest gay rights organizations in the country, in a statement from 2018. “Now as vice president, he poses one of the greatest threats to equality in the history of our movement." 
After Biden’s comments, LGTBQ activists quickly took Biden to task. “Mike Pence believes in gay conversion therapy and allowed an HIV outbreak to happen in Indiana,” activist and podcast host Adam Best tweeted. “No, Joe Biden, Pence is not a decent guy.”
Cynthia Nixon, an actor and Democrat who ran for New York governor in 2018, married her wife in 2012 and is the mother of a transgender child. She tweeted: “Joe Biden you’ve just called America’s most anti-LGBT elected leader ‘a decent guy.’ Please consider how this falls on the ears of our community.”
In the past, Biden has defended his praise of Republicans, arguing that being able to reach across the aisle makes him a better lawmaker. Not this time.
In a tweet Thursday, Biden walked back his statements about Pence. “You’re right, Cynthia,” he wrote. “I was making a point in a foreign policy context, that under normal circumstances a Vice President wouldn’t be given a silent reaction on the world stage. But there is nothing decent about being anti-LGBTQ rights, and that includes the Vice President.”
Biden is well-respected within the LGBTQ community for his advocacy of gay rights. He made headlines in 2012 for coming out in support of same-sex marriage before President Barack Obama did. And he was recently the featured speaker at the national dinner for the Human Rights Campaign, one of the more most influential gay rights organizations in the country.
Biden supporters argue that the former vice president is one of the few Democrats who appeals to the white working-class and independent voters who backed Trump in 2016 and the more liberal Democratic base. But figuring out how to woo both groups will be a challenge for the former lawmaker who is considering a 2020 presidential campaign. Thursday’s exchange is likely just a taste of what is to come if Biden enters the race for the Oval Office. 

December 3, 2018

Mile Pence Seems to Hate AIDS and The One Affected By It {There Was a President Who Would Not Mention AIDS and delay Treatment for a Year

YES PAPI GIVE ME YOUR LOVE and show me your empty heart full of dogma and ideas of Christ who Love us and gives you love to love us. In The Case of the of the Catholic church and contrary to it who hates the Sin but not the Sinner, Pence hates AIDS and the Homosexual but how about the one with AIDS and Heterosexual?? Adam๐ŸฆŠ

Yesterday, in a speech given in advance of World AIDS Day, Vice President Mike Pence didn’t bother mentioning LGBTQ victims of the epidemic. Given what we know of Pence and his anti-gay Christian values, we can’t even call that hypocrisy, much less an oversight. It’s right in line with his character.
The neglect, however, is worth bringing up since conservatives and faith-based groups were the ones who looked the other way while LGBTQ people suffered.
Pink News reports:
Thousands of men who have sex with men lost their lives in the AIDS crisis, with homophobic stigma fuelling social and political rejection on the issue.
Pence failed to wear an AIDS ribbon for the speech and also failed to mention gay people or homophobia.
Instead, Pence recalled stories of straight people who contracted HIV/AIDS from contaminated blood and other sources.
Pence also pledged new funding to “faith-based organisations” who he claims are on “the frontline against HIV/AIDS.”
That makes as much sense as a future headline all about how evangelicals led the way in the struggle to achieve civil rights for LGBTQ people. They were, historically speaking, the obstacle, no matter what they’re doing about it now. 
It’s not the first time that Pence has made a mess of HIV prevention activism: As a congressman back in 2002, Pence condemned condom use as a means to prevent STDs, claiming they were in fact “poor protection,” a statement that contradicts virtually every study on the subject. He also insisted that abstinence was the best means of HIV prevention… which, while technically true, avoided reality. (You can also avoid gun violence by never leaving your bedroom. That doesn’t make it good advice.)
As governor of Indiana, Pence also cut funding for HIV testing and banned needle exchanges, resulting in a predictable — and highly preventable — HIV/AIDS outbreak: the largest in the state’s history.
But what else would you expect when toxic ideology is held to be more important than the facts?
(Image via Shutterstock)

By Patheos



September 26, 2018

Mike Pence FIRST VP to Speak at Anti Gay Group's Values Summit








Vice President Mike Pence over the weekend addressed the annual Values Voter Summit, a conference hosted by Christian activist group Family Research Council, which is designated an “anti-LGBT hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Pence is the first vice president to address the group’s yearly event, and last year President Donald Trump became the first sitting president to do so.
According to the Family Research Council’s website, the Values Voter Summit was created in 2006 to “provide a forum to help inform and mobilize citizens across America to preserve the bedrock values of traditional marriage, religious liberty, the sanctity of life and limited government that make our nation strong.”
In his address on Saturday, Pence checked off Trump’s deliveries to his evangelical Christian supporters, saying Trump took efforts to “protect the religious liberty of everyone.” He then looked forward to the 2018 elections and predicted that Republicans would retain control of Congress. “I know in my heart of hearts we will deliver another historic victory,” Pence told the attendees.
Pence spoke immediately after a panel titled “How Gender Ideology Harms Children,” which included Dr. Michelle Cretella from the American College of Pediatricians. The ACP, also designated an “anti-LGBT hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, uses its name — nearly identical to the mainstream medical association the American Academy of Pediatrics — to obfuscate the fact that it pushes extreme views regarding the transgender community. The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) last year issued a scathing response to an article Cretella wrote, titled: “I’m a Pediatrician. How Transgender Ideology Has Infiltrated My Field and Produced Large-Scale Child Abuse,” saying it pushes “political and ideological agendas not based on science and facts.” 
Other speakers at this weekend’s Values Voter Summit included Seb Gorka, the former presidential adviser who applauded Trump’s trans military ban; Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips, who won a narrow Supreme Court victory in June after refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding; and “Activist Mommy” blogger Elizabeth Johnston, who has defended the medically debunked practice of so-called gay conversion therapy.
Aside from Pence, several other Republican officials and lawmakers were also in attendance, including Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
One of the arguably more surprising guests to address the conference was “Superman” actor Dean Cain. Cain, who has claimed to be an LGBTQ-rights supporter, told gay blog Towleroad he was attending solely to promote his film “Gosnell,” a biopic about abortion doctor and convicted child murderer Kermit Gosnell.
The Family Research Council has been an opponent of LGBTQ rights since its founding in 1983. Since 1992, FRC’s lobbying arm, FRC Action, has fought legislation seeking to expand the rights of sexual and gender minorities, and its leaders have consistently compared gays to pedophiles and painted them as a risk to children. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the FRC uses “policy experts” to “make the case that the LGBT community is a threat to American society.” 
Trump, who attended the Values Voter Summit last year, promised to support the LGBTQ community during his 2016 campaign and was the first Republican presidential nominee to mention LGBTQ people from the dais of a GOP convention, saying in 2016, “I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful, foreign ideology,” raising the specter of Islamist violence against LGBTQ people while ignoring allied groups like the Family Research Council.
Since becoming president, however, Trump has done much to roll back protections for LGBTQ Americans. His State Department has removed a section about violence and discrimination against LGBTQ people from its annual human rights report, his Justice Department rescinded Obama-era guidance instructing public officers to interpret sexuality and gender discrimination under federal prohibitions on sex discrimination, and he twice failed to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month. Trump also tried to bar transgender people from joining the military, an effort currently tied up in court. 
 NBC OUT

President Trump misses LGBTQ Pride Month — again 

The Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ advocacy group, denounced the Values Voter Conference and its conversion-therapy-promoting attendees, saying those “peddling this sort of junk science are doing enormous harm to LGBTQ people and LGBTQ kids.”
“Once again, Mike Pence has made clear that he stands with many organizations and leaders who promote hate and fear,” HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy said. “We know those are not true American values.” 

August 24, 2018

Only Trump Will Give us A Vice President As Bad as He Is- Meet V.P.Pence


                                                     ๐Ÿ‘บ๐Ÿ‘ผ

[, USA TODAY]
Democrats may not like President Donald Trump, but do they want the alternative?
“That is probably what we hear most from Democrats,” said Kevin Mack, lead strategist for the “Need to Impeach” President Donald Trump campaign. " 'Well, if we get rid of Trump, then we end up with (Mike) Pence.' "
As Trump’s presidency became more endangered this week with the conviction or guilty plea of two of his former aides, a new book about the vice president will stoke concerns about Pence.

1. Is he a 'Christian supremacist'?

In “The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence,” on sale Tuesday, authors Michael D’Antonio and Peter Eisner cast Pence's background – congressman, Indiana governor, Trump VP – in a harsh light, arguing that “the most successful Christian supremacist in American history” is already functioning as a “kind of replacement president” and is preparing to “fashion a nation more pleasing to his god and corporate sponsors.” A flattering preview of the book by New York Times columnist Frank Bruni – that ran under the headline “Mike Pence, Holy Terror” – already has religious leaders and other Pence supporters accusing Bruni and the book’s authors of religious bigotry. Saying he’d “never heard such hatred poured out against such a good man,” evangelist Franklin Graham urged supporters to pray that God will put a “hedge of protection” around Pence and his family.

2. It's not the first Pence warning

The authors are not the first to raise alarms about who is waiting in the wings should Trump leave office – voluntarily or involuntarily.
Arguing Pence has taken advantage of the chaos of the Trump administration to amass “enormous power” under the radar, the Human Rights Campaign launched a campaign earlier this year to highlight Pence’s record on issues important to the LGBTQ community.
Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman writes in her new memoir that Pence is biding his time until Trump resigns or is impeached.
“As bad as you think Trump is, you should be worried about Pence,” she said on "Celebrity Big Brother" in February after leaving the White House. “He thinks Jesus tells him to say things.”

June 14, 2018

Southern Baptists are No Longer A Friendly Audience For Vice-P. Pence




Dallas (CNN)

At first glance, a Southern Baptist meeting might seem like a friendly audience for Vice President Mike Pence. 
A conservative Christian and longtime culture warrior, Pence shares many of Southern Baptists' faith commitments and some of their political views. With more than 15 million members, Southern Baptists are the country's largest evangelical denomination, and more than 80% of white evangelicals voted for the Trump-Pence ticket. 
But as Pence prepares to address nearly 10,000 delegates -- called messengers -- at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting here on Wednesday, a small but significant slice is opposing his appearance. 
Younger Southern Baptists in particular -- a rising force with the election on Tuesday of J.D. Greear, 45, as the new president of the denomination -- are wary of appearing too close to the GOP and detracting from their main mission: winning souls for Jesus. 
    "By associating publicly with any administration," Garrett Kell, lead pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church in Virginia, told his fellow delegates Tuesday morning on the convention floor, "we send a mixed message to our members that to be faithful to the Gospel is to also align with that administration." 
    Kell and others said they are also concerned that Pence's speech could endanger Southern Baptist missionaries and aid workers serving in countries that oppose the Trump administration. It could also harm the denomination's fragile relationship with racial minorities, he said. 
    Kell said he "has nothing against Pence personally," but he suggested Tuesday that Southern Baptists essentially disinvite Pence and replace his planned speech with time for prayer. 
    Kell's motion was soundly defeated, but that didn't stop other Southern Baptists from proposing several similar resolutions, none of which passed. 
    It's not unusual for national politicians to address church meetings. Barack Obama spoke at national meetings for the United Church of Christ, his own denomination, and a gathering of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 
    Southern Baptists have hosted several presidents at their annual gatherings, according to historian Thomas Kidd, including George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, who was himself a Southern Baptist before leaving the denomination for a more liberal one.
    A spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention said the White House made the first move on Pence's speech, reaching out to ask if he could address the annual meeting. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 
    Victor Pollido, a Southern Baptist pastor from California, said he believes God has placed officials such as Pence in office. He added that he is not bothered by the vice president's planned speech.
    "It's OK with me," Pollido said. "Christians need to participate in society, just like Jesus did."
    Mike Turner, pastor of Lexington Baptist Church in South Carolina and a delegate to the annual meeting, said he didn't have a problem, either, with Pence's speech: "Our conviction is that we should respect the people who are in positions of government leadership." 
    But Turner said he knows many younger Southern Baptists don't agree. 
    "Clearly, there's a new generation coming up who are growing discontent with the Republican Party and are more sensitive to the racial ramifications of the decision." 
    Indeed Alishah Nemieboka, a delegate to the meeting who lives in Randallstown, Maryland, said she is not pleased about Pence's appearance and is considering skipping his speech.
    "With the history of the Southern Baptist Convention, and with us trying to get over that history and unite, Pence coming is like one step forward, two steps back," she said. 
    The Southern Baptist Convention was founded in 1845, splitting with its Northern counterparts over slavery
    Nemieboka and other Southern Baptists said they have not heard Pence make harmful statements about race. But he is tainted, Nemieboka said, by his association with President Donald Trump, who has made racially charged statements about Mexicans and other minorities and said a white nationalist rally in Virginia included some "very fine people." 
    Nate Akin, 37, director of the pastor-led network Baptist21 and the son of a Southern Baptist seminary president, said it's too simplistic to paint all older Southern Baptists as pro-GOP and younger Southern Baptists as wary of partisan politics. But there is some truth to the generalization, he said. 
    "There is a perception that Southern Baptists are in the pocket of the Republican Party," he said. "But to be a good Christian doesn't mean you have to be a good Republican -- or a good Democrat, for that matter." 
    Akin looked around the crowded lobby of a hotel adjacent to the convention center where Southern Baptists are meeting. 
    "There's people here who would disagree with me about that, but I think it's true."
    Akin said Pence's appearance is an unwelcome distraction from Southern Baptists' main mission of spreading the Gospel. It also potentially makes people of color feel less at home in the Southern Baptist Convention, he said. 
    "I'm not sure what he could say, unless he comes out and disagrees with his boss publicly from the convention floor, that would help us with either of those missions," Akin said.

    April 20, 2018

    Mike Pence is a Danger to All LGBT, He is Dangerous Because He Believes It and With Power Will Act On It

     





    Vice President Mike Pence has come under fire from an LGBT rights group that has described him as “one of the greatest threats to equality” in a new campaign slamming the politician.

    The Republican has a dim record on LGBT rights. He opposes equal marriage and signed a religious freedom bill during his tenure as governor of Indiana which was viewed by many as effectively permitting discrimination against LGBT people.

    The Human Rights Campaign is focusing on "The Real Mike Pence," releasing a report on the vice president that includes his positions on LGBT issues, according to Politico, which saw a copy of the report ahead of its release on Thursday.

    “Mike Pence has made a career out of attacking the rights and equal dignity of LGBTQ people, women and other marginalized communities,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. 
    “Now as vice president, he poses one of the greatest threats to equality in the history of our movement. With the world distracted by Donald Trump’s scandal-ridden White House, Mike Pence’s nefarious agenda has been allowed to fly under the radar for too long," Griffin continued. "He has become not only the most powerful vice president in American history, but also the least scrutinized.”

    Pence, who is known for his conservative views on LGBT and abortion, among other things, is also suspected of being in favor of controversial “gay conversion therapy.” 


     
    On his campaign website in 2000, Pence discussed the Ryan White CARE Act that provides funding for HIV patients, stating resources should be “directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior” in a comment that has been widely interpreted as his supporting conversion therapy.

    The vice president has recently denied this is the case, Pink News reported, stating he was suggesting funds be directed to groups promoting safe sex. But some LGBT groups remain skeptical.

    The HRC's focus on Pence’s attitudes toward LGBT people comes in the wake of several scandals surrounding President Donald Trump, including the possibility that he will not run in 2020 or will be forced from the White House before that point, Politico reported.

    “This is just another politically-motivated attack on the VP by a left-wing organization closely aligned with the Democratic Party,” Pence's Press Secretary Alyssa Farah told Politico of the campaign by HRC.

    The New York Times reported on Wednesday there has been some speculation about the possibility that Pence could run 2020 on a ticket with the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, although Haley has denied such an alliance.



    March 26, 2018

    Charlotte Pence Tweets Indirect Mild Support For LGBT








    “I have bought his book,” she told ITK Wednesday. “He’s giving proceeds of the book to charity, and we’re also giving proceeds of our book to charity, so I really think that we can all get behind it.” She continued, “I also want to support those charities — I really mean that.”
    Then, she put her final stamp of approval on the cause, tweeting, “Happy to support charity and important causes,” with a link to an article announcing her purchase.


    Happy to support charities and important causes ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป https://twitter.com/thehill/status/976574953012318209 
    This is the first and only deviation the 24-year old has shown from her father’s views. Charlotte, who lives in Los Angeles, says she always wanted to be a writer growing up. Being a writer, living in Los Angeles, and supporting LGBTQ rights? Maybe Pence’s politics skew more moderate than her father’s, who has supported gay conversion therapy in the past, and was largely credited with starting an HIV outbreak in Indiana due to his public health funding cuts. 
    Charlotte says she doesn’t “pay a ton of attention to the negativity” surrounding Washington. When asked how she deals with the criticism of her controversial, uber-conservative father, Pence said, “I think you just have to have the mindset that my parents have really taught me to have, which is while people may be critical of my dad, we live in a country where we have freedoms to speak out against our elected leaders.” She continued, “So whenever people protest, my dad always has this line, he says, ‘That’s what freedom looks like.’ And it’s really true.”
    “At the end of the day, he’s still my dad, and my opinion of him is going to be good because I know him and I know his heart,” Charlotte added.
    Oliver’s parody book has—somewhat unsurprisingly—outsold Pence’s. But according to Charlotte, it’s not over. Hinting at a sequel, she said, “Marlon I think definitely has some adventures up his sleeve, for sure.”
    BY: JILL GUTOWITZ

    Photo by Peter Parks-Pool/Getty Images

    It is adamfoxie's 10th๐ŸฆŠAnniversay. 10 years witnessing the world and bringing you a pieace whcih is ussually not getting its due coverage.



    March 16, 2018

    Vice Pence Seems To Have a Phobia in Meeting Publicly with Gay Leaders Of State .Ie: Gay Irish PM




     Vice President Mike Pence listens as Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar speaks before presenting a bowl of shamrocks to President Trump in the East Room of the White House on March 15, 2018.Mandel Ngan, AFP/Getty Images
    [Author: Dwight Adams, IndyStar] 

    Last year, the Irish prime minister was welcomed by the U.S. president and vice president with open arms — and with open coverage by reporters — ahead of the annual St. Patrick's Day festivities.

    But this year, Vice President Pence's breakfast with new Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar will be closed to the media — at the request of the vice president. In a departure from the recent past, reporters were told Friday's event to be attended by Pence and Varadkar will be private and the media won't be invited. 

    Pence also had an St. Patrick's Day breakfast in March 2017 with Enda Kenny, the Irish prime minister at the time. The difference this year could possibly be Varadkar's visibility as an openly gay man as well as Pence's long record of opposing issues important to the gay and lesbian community.

    People are speculating whether issues such as gay and lesbian rights and Pence's stance on gay-conversion therapy might be discussed at their meeting. For instance, the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ civil rights advocacy group, sent a tweet questioning the motive for banning the media from the Pence-Varadkar event.

    That the request for a private meeting came from the Pence camp, as reported by Irish media, was confirmed Thursday by a source at the White House. Pence and Varadkar had both been in attendance at three meetings Thursday in Washington that were open to the media.
    Alyssa Farah, the press secretary for Pence, released a statement Thursday about the Friday breakfast.
    "The Prime Minister had a formal bilateral meeting with President Trump today, which was attended by the Vice President. The Vice President and Prime Minister also attended Speaker Ryan’s annual St. Patrick’s Day lunch, and the Shamrock Exchange reception at the White House today. Tomorrow’s breakfast is an informal gathering of several dozen people at the Vice President’s home where he will reiterate the major themes of the important relationship shared by the U.S. and Ireland." 
    According to the Irish Examiner, Varadkar said he would have preferred that his meeting with Pence would be open to the public, but added that a private session may allow for more "frank conversation."
    Varadkar became the first openly gay Irish government minister in 2015, during a debate over an amendment to the Irish constitution to allow same-sex marriage that was eventually passed. 

    Varadkar who is the Taoiseach of Ireland — a role which comprises the titles of the prime minister, chief executive and head of government  — also is the first Irish government minister of Indian descent. He took office in June.
    Last year, Kenny joined the vice president for an open breakfast with several dozen other invited people, before meeting later in the day with the president in the Oval Office.
    But this year, Varadkar and Pence will have the breakfast event in private at the vice president's residence on Friday morning, a day after Varadkar's meeting with Donald Trump.
    Pence, who is of Irish descent, and his wife, Karen, spoke to the media at last year's festivities, where Pence expressed his excitement over being able to invite a "special guest to the White House" —  in reference to Kenny.
    But it's different this year — and Varadkar's comments in recent days to the media may be a reason why.
    When asked whether he would talk to Pence about the vice president's stance on gay-conversion therapy, Varadkar told an Irish publication, TheJournal.ie, on Wednesday that if given the chance he would talk about "the wider issue" of gay rights
    “I am told Vice President Pence is not a supporter of conversion therapy even though some people have mentioned he is," Varadkar said, according to TheJournal.ie. "But I imagine I will have the opportunity, I am going to be meeting him over breakfast on Friday morning, so if I have the opportunity I will certainly be mentioning the wider issue of equal rights and freedoms for LGBT citizens.”

    U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon accused Pence of being a supporter of gay-conversion therapy in an interview with USA TODAY in the days leading up to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

    The issue of gay-conversion therapy has dogged Pence since a statement was posted on his campaign website during his run for Congress in 2000. Gay conversion therapy is a now-discredited practice that once used psychiatric treatments — and electric shocks — to try to persuade a person to change his or her homosexual orientation.
    Although it doesn’t use the words “conversion therapy,” gay rights groups say the wording used by Pence nearly two decades ago is language that both supporters and opponents of the practice would recognize as a clear reference.
    Here's what the campaign statement said in part: "Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior." 

    Pence’s office later said the campaign statement from 2000 was meant to indicate support for groups promoting “safe sexual practices.”
    "The vice president has never supported conversion therapy and doesn’t support it now. Any reports to the contrary are patently false," spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said in February. "He’s been abundantly clear on the matter.”

    But Pence, who previously has suggested homosexuality is a choice, declined to say whether or not he believes conversion therapy has merit.

    A religious conservative, Pence has a long record of opposing gay rights while he served as an Indiana congressman, including advocating for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, opposing measures to protect gay men and lesbians from discrimination in the workplace, and opposing lifting the military’s ban on gays serving openly. While governor of Indiana, he signed a "religious freedom" law that LGBT activists say allowed for Christian businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

    It is adamfoxie's 10th๐ŸฆŠAnniversay. 10 years witnessing the world and bringing you a pieace whcih is ussually not getting its due coverage.




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