You’ve Been Warned: Mike Pence’s Version of ‘Truth’

Mike Pence

Pence claims he values truth, yet he leaves out quite a bit. I liken it to this example from my own life.

A few years ago a friend’s son was away at college. Sadly the son’s beloved dog, Tippy, died. His father called him at college and said “Tippy didn’t wake up this morning.”THIS WAS A TRUE STATEMENT. When the son came home for holiday the father explained that Tippy suffered a major seizure. The father agreed with veterinarian to put Tippy down. Technically Tippy did not wake up. But the father left out the rest of the story.

Mike Pence does this every time he makes a statement. Here are just a few examples from his time as Indiana Governor.

ev Cheryl Rivera, co-chair of the Federation. speaking to Mike Pence about Gary unemploymentUnemployment

Yes, Indiana unemployment is at a low. However, certain areas of the state are at all time highs. In 2016, Pence actually traveled to Gary. He proudly stated Gary’s unemployment was at 5.6%. Immediately afterward members of the Northwest Indiana Federation of Interfaith Organizations showed Gov. Pence their statistics, which had rates of 40%. The photo of that encounter with Rev Cheryl Rivera, co-chair of the Federation is to the right.

Domestic Violence 

In 2013, Pence tweeted that domestic violence programs would receive $740,426 in additional funds, thus DV funding for 2014-25 would exceed $4.2 Million.

He neglected to mention that in actuality $448K was already earmarked, and the remaining $344K was approved in 2013 but returned to the State for undisclosed reasons.

Education

In January 2015 Pence announced he was rescinding his executive order establishing the CECI –Center for Education and Career Innovation, calling the disbanding  a gesture of goodwill for upcoming education session.

In actuality, after Glenda Ritz unseated the incumbent Superintendent of Schools by a wide margin, Pence could not have a Democrat at that position. He immediately set about an attempt to undermine her responsibilities and by executive order  created the shadow agency. The CECI wasted millions of tax dollars and impeded educational progress by stripping her of powers. Made up of Pence appointees, it cost over $5 million allocated for education. The non-educator chair had a salary of $120,000 – more than Pence or Ritz. Six of the 16 members made over $100,000.

Transparency 

Then there is Pence’s mantra of the importance of transparency. In 2014 Governor Pence announced the creation of an on-line State Run newspaper, “Just-IN”. It would primarily report news from the Executive Branch and administration. There were two employees with combined salary over $100K. (Somehow they didn’t secure social media accounts). Immediately, questions arose and by the next day the Governor was claiming it was a calendar, and by day three he called the whole thing an “understandable misunderstanding.”

Earlier in the year, Indiana once again sought to pass a bill redefining marriage as between a man and a woman. Pence deleted comments on his official Facebook page which didn’t agree with him, comments not abusive nor threatening. Thankfully savvy Hoosiers created the Facebook page Pencership to document his violating free speech on his official social media pages.

Religious Freedom

I could write volumes on this. Pence used to describe himself on his official pages as “a Christian” first. He repeats how he values freedom of religion. Yet he consistently ignored the numerous denominations that publicly supported by their polity and governance affirmation of same-sex marriage (some as early as the 70’s).

As then Board President of the Interfaith Coalition on Nondiscrimination, we tried for months to meet with him. He maintained in the media he wanted dialog, yet despite emails and phone calls and registered letters he refused to meet with us. Finally we received a form letter which unbelievably included how he is confident Hoosiers can sit down together (!) and directed us to his webpage – yes, the one he censors.

Choice

This is included with religious freedom, especially the passage of the Religious Freedom Reformation Act  (RFRA) which he signed. Many religions advocate the life of the mother ahead of the fetus. That may not be his religious beliefs, but it is certainly a component for many faiths. He never mentions the faiths that demand the mother‘s life over the fetus. Additionally, he continually awards state grants to organizations, which, by contract, can not even mention choice when discussing the health of women who may be pregnant.  Real Alternatives was one such organization with questionable contract. Pence also appoints with great consistency, those who identify as pro-life to judiciaries, committees, and heads of departments.

These are the highlights. Be warned America, he will be dangerous for the United States. He refuses to address facts and beliefs other than his, he has certain phrases he repeats and facts be damned. He speaks in half-truths. His version of truth is to say as little as possible. And many are gullible.

Rev. Marie Siroky is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ serving as a Chaplain in Northwest Indiana. A former nun who taught in the inner-city of Philadelphia, Marie self defines as having a “Catholic Spine” and is fiercely protective of religious freedoms for all as well as addressing injustice in every form (including Cubs fans). She is past president of the Interfaith Coalition on Nondiscrimination (ICON) advocating for LGBT justice in Indiana for over 15 years. She currently serves on the board of UCAN (the United Church of Christ’s HIV/AIDS network). She and her wife have been together over 24 years, married in Iowa in 2009, and are current members of Trinity United Church of Christ in her hometown of Gary, Indiana. Follow Rev. Marie Siroky on Twitter: @GaryMillrat. You can also find her writing at http://garymillrat.com.

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