Mike Pence on His Faith Story
“I feel a great debt of gratitude to the faith that my parents taught me. We were a church family. But along the way, as happens with a lot of young people, I just lost interest in faith.
I was having some success in my high school years, and I decided that God was a crutch I didn’t need. When I went to college, I had a nagging sense that something was missing in my life and heart. I started to meet people that talked about having a personal relationship with God, which was foreign to my experience. I started to show up at a fellowship group on the campus, but it would be in the spring of 1978 that I traveled to a Christian music festival in Wilmore, Kentucky, at Asbury University.
We traveled down there in the early days of contemporary Christian music. I listened to some of those early Christian artists, but it was as though I heard for the first time that God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever might believe in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life.
I remember standing up as the rain fell gently on that Saturday night and walking down at the invitation given from the stage. My heart broke with gratitude for what Jesus did for me on the cross, and it all came home to me. I went down, and I prayed to receive Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, and it changed my life forever.
As you can read in the pages of that book, it was an imperfect path and continues to be. I’m still a growing Christian, still learning, but I learned some hard lessons early on in politics.”
How Mike Pence Saw His Faith and Politics Interact
“I came to the conclusion that I’d let my ambition get ahead of my values and what I professed to believe. When politics came back around a decade later, we ran campaigns that first honored God, treated others the way we wanted to be treated, and stood for values more important than our own election. The Lord honored that approach through 12 years in Congress, four years as governor, and four years as your vice president.
I was doing a book signing at the Billy Graham Library not long ago. My friend, Franklin Graham, introduced me, and he didn’t say my testimony was in the book; he said, this book is a testimony. And that really blessed my heart. The title of the book is So Help Me God, and the last three words are, thank you, Jesus. I hope all the inContext listeners know that this is our story. But I hope they also sense that it is a story filled with gratitude about God’s grace in my life.”
How Does Mike Pence Encourage People to Have Faith in The System?
“We live in a very challenging time in this nation, but our politics are more divided than ever before. The American people are not as divided as our politics. Once you get 15 miles out of Washington, DC, people in this country actually get along pretty well. But what we have in public life and our nation’s capital and many state capitals around the country is a secular philosophy of the radical left. It presses against what I believe are the values of the overwhelming majority of the American people.
During my 20 years of public service, my opinion of the national government went down, but my opinion of the American people went up every single day. This is a great country filled with people that are principled and dedicated to family. It’s a nation of faith. To see the way Americans will jump in the car and drive to natural disasters and pour out their hearts working 20 hours a day to help people they’ve never met before and will never see again, rebuild their lives all in the name of Jesus; that’s who America is.
We have to have a government as good as our people again. That means a government that shares the values and ideals of the American people but also a government that shows the kind of civility and respect that the American people show each other every day. I’m very optimistic about the future. Look more at the people of this country than those that are governing them. America will never fail to inspire you.”
What Mike Pence Sees Ahead
“Karen and I are giving prayerful consideration to running for president in this next election. One of the ways we get encouraged is if people say, ‘We really love the policies of the Trump-Pence administration, but we also want to get back to politics where people can clash on ideas, but then go sit down together and talk about their families and find ways to have a principled compromise.”
National Debt and The Responsible Answer
“Today, we have a national debt the size of our nation’s economy, which is unsustainable. The last time that happened was when Americans were coming home from fighting and winning World War II. According to CBO and the most responsible estimates that are available, the national debt will grow by another 120 trillion in the next 30 years. The reality is that if we don’t offer the kind of reforms that’ll set those programs in a fiscally responsible but compassionate direction, we will bequeath to our grandchildren an unimaginable debt crisis. If we wait to deal with it until then, they’ll only have bad choices.
I read an article today that said, ‘Mike Pence was jeopardizing any potential future because he is talking about the fact that we’ve got to reform entitlements and set our country back on a policy of fiscal restraint.’ But when I wrote that essay, Confessions of a Negative Campaigner, after I lost those early campaigns, I said that campaigns ought to be about issues that are more important than your election. And whether we emerge in the race for president or whether we’re simply a voice of this rising generation, I will continue to be a voice for us doing our part.
You don’t have to make any changes to people that are retiring in the next 25 years. But by making and offering changes for people, never at the point of the need, never anybody that really needs the support, you can set those programs back on a sound fiscal policy. But it’s going to take leadership to do it. That begins with being straight with the American people.”
What Mike Pence Believes is The Cause of Irresponsible Presidential Spending
“John Maynard Keynes was a famous economist in the 20th century who basically argued that deficits and debt are a good thing. He believed that when the government borrows money and spends that at a modest level, it supports that government spending can impact the economy.
But I go back to the fact that we have a national debt the size of our nation’s economy. It is about to increase by a factor of five, and nobody’s talking about it. The time has come for us to have a real conversation and to speak to people with deep compassion. I love 1 Peter 3:15, which says, ‘Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, but with gentleness and respect.’ The American people are prepared to deal with some of these intractable problems that we’re facing at home and abroad.
They’d like to see our politics return to what we had with Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill. They used to fight, clash hard knuckles, call each other out in public, then sit down at a negotiating table and get a deal done. And in their case, they actually extended the life of Social Security and Medicare by 50 years with a few modest reforms. That was responsible work done on a bipartisan basis. That only happens if you return to the core ideals.”
Why Is It Important to Know What We Fought For?
“We’re endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There’s no more important issue than the right to life. If the Lord called me home tomorrow, I would count it among the great privileges in my life to have played some small role in an administration that appointed three of the justices that overturned Roe versus Wade and gave us a new beginning for life.
I’ve said many times at pro-life gatherings in the last year we haven’t come to the end of the cause of life. We’ve come to the end of the beginning. It may take as long to restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law as it took us to overturn Roe versus Wade, which was a half-century.
But, the cause of life speaks to the character of the nation. A nation can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable. I want to assure the inContext listeners and viewers that we have a strong religious liberty majority on the Supreme Court of the United States. I have every confidence that this court will uphold the inalienable right to live, to work, and to worship.
It’s not lost on me that the pilgrims that came to this country came here for religious freedom. It was our first freedom. And other than life, there’s no greater cause than religious liberty. America will find its way through these large challenges; I have no doubt.”
One Major Lesson Mike Pence Has Learned
“I have a fundamental distrust of my own ambition. If you read this book, you know I love the old saying that there are two kinds of people in politics. There are people that are called and people that are driven. In my first two campaigns, I allowed my political ambition to get ahead of my values and the way that I’ve carried myself as a follower of Christ.
But for our family, the last 20 years has been about trying to discern what the Lord has for us now. We get that from studying His word, prayer, godly counsel, and looking at circumstances outside our control. And so we’re reflecting on all of that. That’s the biggest enduring lesson. People say to me, ‘Well, it matters what you want.’ I said, ‘Well, not from that day in 1978. For me, it matters what He wants.”
Mike Pence’s One Regret
“I wish I had joined the United States military when I was a young man. I remember I was a senior in high school. My dad, who was a combat veteran from the Korean War, came home with medals he put in the drawer and never talked about. I grabbed a few brochures and told my dad I wanted to join the Marine Corps.
My dad looked at me and said, ‘If something was going on, you’d have my full support. But why don’t you get your college degree and then you can go do that’? And I just never got back to him. As a father of a United States Marine, father-in-law of a Navy pilot, and as someone who has had the privilege of spending a lot of time with the men and women of our armed forces, including down range in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, I regret that I didn’t take that moment in my life to put on the uniform and serve. And when I talk to young people, I encourage them all the time. If you’ve got a heart for service, why don’t you start by putting on the uniform of the United States?”
Mike Pence’s Greatest Joy
“Other than that day in 1978, the greatest joy in my life was the day that Karen Whitaker said yes. She’s really the star of So Help Me God. I hope people, when they read my story, know it’s our story.”
One Wish Mike Pence Has For Every American
“I tell young people interested in politics to take this time in their life to develop the qualities of the inner man or woman. That’ll make you into the kind of leader that the American people need. Chief among those things is if they have yet to make time in their lives to reflect on what our founders believed about a Creator, they would do that. I hope people find faith. And I also hope people will hold onto faith in this country. I don’t want what you see on cable tv, and in the national government, to be confused with the vast majority of the American people.
This is a great, good principled, compassionate, courageous country. I encourage people to find time in their life to nurture their faith in God. Never give up on the American people.”
Handling Criticism as a Politician
“I’m as human, maybe more so than the next person. So I can’t say to you that it occasionally doesn’t sting. But I think for our family, it’s about serving an audience of one. A lot of people come to Congress, and try and figure out what they should do and how it would benefit them or their political interest.
I always tell them to vote right and go home for dinner. Just do what you said you were going to do. I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order. I’ve tried to live out those values to the best of my ability and keep faith with the promises I made to the American people and to God and trust Him for the balance.”
Mike Pence’s Experience With Public Slander
“I’m a lot more patient about the arrows when they come my way than when they come my wife’s way. My wife was teaching at Emmanuel Christian School in our third year in the White House.
I’ll never forget being more surprised when a left-wing group started to attack my wife as second lady for teaching at a Christian school that held Christian biblical principles. We called them out hard on it. I accused the network that put people on the air of religious bigotry, and they backed down.
I had fun titling the chapter that is simply called blessed. In it, I talk about the fact that there’s been this unusual preoccupation by some on the American left with my Christian faith. It came into high relief when I was at the White House. But when people speak woefully against you, you’re blessed. So we try to put it all in that camp.”
Taking Heart as a Believer and a Politician
“Throughout my career, I’ve learned that sometimes those criticisms show a whole lot of other people that share our worldview. They give some evidence to them that we hold those views sincerely. I’m always struck as I’m traveling around the country by how many people would stop me and say, ‘I’m a Christian too. I want you to know we pray for your family.’
Sometimes we forget the fact that we’re defined by our admirers, but maybe almost as much by our critics. If someone is criticizing Michael Easley because of the strong and unprincipled biblical stand he takes, there are a whole lot more people standing out there saying, ‘Maybe I’ll go to that church because that’s a pastor that actually preaches the whole book.’ So those are the things that we try to remind ourselves of.”
About Mike Pence
Michael R. Pence was born in Columbus, Indiana, on June 7, 1959, one of six children born to Edward and Nancy Pence. As a young boy he had a front row seat to the American Dream. After his grandfather immigrated to the United States when he was 17, his family settled in the Midwest. The future Vice President watched his Mom and Dad build everything that matters—a family, a business, and a good name. Sitting at the feet of his mother and his father, who started a successful convenience store business in their small Indiana town, he was raised to believe in the importance of hard work, faith, and family.
Vice President Pence set off for Hanover College, earning his bachelor’s degree in history in 1981. While there, he renewed his Christian faith which remains the driving force in his life. He later attended Indiana University School of Law and met the love of his life, Second Lady Karen Pence.
After graduating, Vice President Pence practiced law, led the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, and began hosting The Mike Pence Show, a syndicated talk radio show and a weekly television public affairs program in Indiana. Along the way he became the proud father to three children, Michael, Charlotte, and Audrey.
Growing up in Indiana, surrounded by good, hardworking Hoosiers, Vice President Pence always knew that he needed to give back to the state and the country that had given him so much. In 2000, he launched a successful bid for his local congressional seat, entering the United States House of Representatives at the age of 40.
The people of East-Central Indiana elected Vice President Pence six times to represent them in Congress. On Capitol Hill he established himself as a champion of limited government, fiscal responsibility, economic development, educational opportunity, and the U.S. Constitution. His colleagues quickly recognized his leadership ability and unanimously elected him to serve as Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee and House Republican Conference Chairman. In this role, the Vice President helped make government smaller and more effective, reduce spending, and return power to state and local governments.
In 2013, Vice President Pence left the nation’s capital when Hoosiers elected him the 50th Governor of Indiana. He brought the same limited government and low tax philosophy to the Indiana Statehouse. As Governor, he enacted the largest income tax cut in Indiana history, lowering individual income tax rates, the business personal property tax, and the corporate income tax in order to strengthen the State’s competitive edge and attract new investment and good-paying jobs. Due to his relentless focus on jobs, the state’s unemployment rate fell by half during his four years in office, and at the end of his term, more Hoosiers were working than at any point in the state’s 200-year history.
As Governor of Indiana, Vice President Pence increased school funding, expanded school choice, and created the first state-funded Pre-K plan in Indiana history. He made career and technical education a priority in every high school. Under Vice President Pence’s leadership, Indiana, known as “The Crossroads of America,” invested more than $800 million in new money for roads and bridges across the state. Despite the record tax cuts and new investments in roads and schools, the state remained fiscally responsible, as the Vice President worked with members of the Indiana General Assembly to pass two honestly balanced budgets that left the state with strong reserves and AAA credit ratings that were the envy of the nation.
It was Indiana’s success story, Vice President Pence’s record of legislative and executive experience, and his strong family values that prompted President Donald Trump to select Mike Pence as his running mate in July 2016. The American people elected President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence on November 8, 2016. President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence entered office on January 20, 2017.
In February 2021, Vice President Mike Pence joined the Heritage Foundation as a distinguished visiting fellow. The Heritage Foundation helped shape Vice President Mike Pence’s conservative philosophy for decades. It played a pivotal role advancing conservative policies throughout the Trump Administration. Vice President Pence also joined Young America’s Foundation as the Ronald Reagan Presidential Scholar. Long before Mike Pence became Vice President to President Donald Trump, the vision and leadership of Ronald Reagan inspired his youth.
Vice President Mike Pence remains grateful for the grace of God, the love and support of his family, and the blessings of liberty that are every American’s birthright.
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