Ben Kruger | Contributor
Last week, a document called "In Defense of Mike Pence" was distributed around the Student Center and DC. We tried to state our points well, without causing more controversy.
"It made your point in the right way," Jeff Cramer, associate professor of computer science and engineering, said. I am proud to say this was the goal. I would like to elaborate more on it.
Mike Pence is a prominent public figure. He is the second-highest public official in the executive branch of the strongest country in the world. He has a record of promoting biblical values through his personal life and political agenda and has made some great progress in the state of Indiana as governor and as a Congressman. He is also very outspoken about his faith, and has spoken at many other Christian and secular schools in the past.
President Trump's character does not represent Mike Pence's, nor does Pence's character represent Trump's. Yes, they ran for their current positions together, and they probably have similar goals for their time in office, but political agreement does not equate to implicit support of character.
I do not understand the hate from believers toward Trump and his administration. Yes, he says and does many things that are very clearly against the Bible's teachings, and has been known for saying things that could, and often should, be considered racist and misogynistic. These are reasons I did not vote for him; I personally believe he is ill-suited for the office.
That said, our president, however unlikeable as a person, is the leader of the free world and deserves to be treated with respect. It seems many of us have forsaken the mandates for respect set forth in 1 Peter 2:13-17, Romans 13:1-7 and Titus 3:1-11.
Even when we disagree with authority figures, we should still respect them, because God has put them in those positions of authority. Christians have absolutely no right to be offended or angry that our university honors this biblical command. It is an honor to have Pence come and speak here, and while taking offense or being hurt by the decision is not inherently wrong, many (certainly not all) of the angry reactions I and the media have seen have been decidedly disrespectful and therefore unbiblical.
"Mike Pence is our Vice President and a man of integrity, as far as I can tell," James Spiegel, professor of philosophy and religion, said. "Just as previous vice presidents Hubert Humphrey and Al Gore served with a severe racist (Lyndon Johnson) and deceitful adulterer (Bill Clinton), respectively, but each was nonetheless a decent, respectable man, I think the same is true of Mike Pence. And he deserves our respect when he visits campus for commencement."
Beside that, our nation is built upon principles of free speech. Why are we trying to get that removed from our school? Are we seriously going to try to prevent someone from speaking just because of their political affiliation? Surely we will not stoop so low. Personally, I am of the mindset that any belief is permissible insomuch as it does not violate any teachings in scripture; any idea which can defended biblically is valid. Pence's actions and words fit this, so while inviting him, albeit a fantastic opportunity, was probably not the best idea, I see absolutely no cause to rescind his invitation.
Summarily, much of the backlash against the invitation is ridiculous. Everyone has the right to their own opinion and to protest what they think is wrong, but we need to make sure we do that the right way.