Probing Pence: Did his Hillsdale College commencement speech get anything right?

By Andrew Seidel

Every year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation gets complaints about graduations in public schools. Preachers delivering sermons, staff and students scheduled to deliver prayers, the graduation being held in a church — you name the violation, we’ve seen it. None of these is an issue for a commencement ceremony at a private religious college, such as Hillsdale College in southern Michigan, which, however, had a problem of its own.

The trouble with Hillsdale’s commencement, which was full of religion, was that it was also full of lies and alternative facts (but perhaps I repeat myself). The source of this problem was Vice President Mike Pence, who addressed the graduating class.

One of Pence’s favorite lines, which he used when he accepted the Republican nomination and trotted out again for the graduates, nicely illustrates the Pence problem: “I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican — in that order.” Pence considers himself a Christian before anything else, including someone who values facts and truth (but perhaps I repeat myself yet again).

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19 COMMENTS

  1. Pence considers himself a Christian before anything else, including
    someone who values facts and truth

    We have a name for that : Liars for Jesus.

  2. Pence uses every speaking opportunity he gets to praise Trump in some way because he’s a disgusting sycophant who places far more importance on his political ambitions than in facts or truth. Plus he’s busy building up an organisation to support him in a possible 2020 run for president or to take over if anything happens to Trump. This is causing Trump some concern so Pence brown noses him frantically to stay in his good graces.

  3. @OP – The source of this problem was Vice President Mike Pence, who addressed the graduating class.

    Surely history has shown us that unless Pence was likely to be abysmal as a vice president, Trump would not have chosen him!

  4. Alan4discussion #4:
    I wonder if Trump surrounds himself with people who are even stupider than he is, so (he thinks) he looks (relatively) “good” by comparison…

  5. Probing Pence: Did his…

    Maybe some aliens will come along and “probe” Pence so we won’t have to. Aliens don’t seem to know about consent issues or if they do then they just don’t seem to care.

  6. @ LaurieB #6

    Maybe some aliens will come along and “probe” Pence so we won’t have
    to…

    The evangelicals are pretty strident in their aversion to sodomy, but there is a suspicion it is more often than not a projection of wishful thinking.

  7. rogeroney

    a projection of wishful thinking.

    Oh yes. Never underestimate the consequences of forcing people into a puritanical lifestyle. It produces a twisted human who goes on to make the lives around them just as miserable as their own. While I feel very resentful toward these agents of misery, I also feel great pity for them. They seem stunted in a way that I can’t relate to. Sexuality is a great evolutionary force that drives much of human behavior and it seems that it would take such a great degree of indoctrination starting from a young age to overcome that in us. I suppose this speaks to the power of religious brainwashing. It’s very sad to see children and young people falling victim to the repressive monsters in the clergy and their supporting prigs.

    God forbid the day when women get the upper hand in the mating and reproduction game! What will happen to men when women can have casual sex with whoever they fancy at any moment of the day or night?! What if they want to have sex with other women or participate in thrilling group sex and walk away from it without a single shameful feeling?! And then to top it off, with no catastrophic consequences at all?!! No illegitimate children to punish for their mother’s licentious behavior! No wracking guilt from an abortion, just a feeling of relief. No feelings of shameful dirtiness, just strolling away from an encounter feeling satisfied, peaceful and happy with oneself.

    Those of us of a certain age remember being told that if we weren’t a virgin on our wedding night that it would be a shameful catastrophe that would destroy our marriage, possibly on the spot. Now we can say – Oh course I’m not a virgin- not that it’s any of your business and why get married in the first place? When young women have their own careers with their own money and benefits then who needs to lock themselves into a legally binding relationship with someone who intends to control and diminish them?

    And when the time comes to think about reproduction, we hold the cards there too. Not in a permanent relationship with a document to prove it? So what?! Women always know that their child carries their own DNA and until recently, men could never be sure of it. That must really suck. But that’s where religion comes into the picture. While there must have always been the guarding of wives and daughters to control their sexual behavior and fertility, religion must have provided an addition safety measure. Infecting our minds with shame and fear is a powerful and effective tool to control us.

    This is what I see all over the face of Pence in that picture above. A sputtering barely contained rage against the natural evolutionary reproductive strategy of human females. A strategy that does not bode well for the interests of control freak alpha males like him and their intellectually stunted minions.

    Why are women voting for these assholes? The Republican party openly declares themselves to be anti-abortion and never gives up hope of abolishing Planned Parenthood. They openly advocate so called “family values” which can be translated as sending women back to the days of barefoot and pregnant with no legal rights at all. This is a life of domestic and reproductive slavery. There is no such thing as “the good ole days” for women. The good days are happening right now.

    Feminism is an ideology that has always been splintered into factions but through it all, it has been a guiding force for many women to demand change for the better. Everything I’ve said here is standard second wave feminist thinking. Coming of age in the seventies, the second wave feminists offered me and other young women a paradigm shift in our worldviews and gave us the motivation to walk away from our insidious religions. Feminism brought me in a straight line to atheism and I’ll be forever grateful for that.

    With the current upsurge in Christian fundamentalism in this country and their access to the highest political offices in the land, now is the time for all American women to be aware of the goals of those who seek to oppress us (and the men who will also suffer under Christian control), and I hope that feminists of all stripes will unite to push back against fundamentalists and their power grab.

  8. Excellent post Laurie!

    Concerning Pence, the expression ‘more dollars than cents’ comes to mind. I don’t know about ‘alpha male’ though. It says far too much about US politics when this callous-knuckled ignoramus amounts to an alpha.

  9. LaurieB #8
    May 18, 2018 at 8:12 am

    God forbid the day when women get the upper hand in the mating and reproduction game! What will happen to men when women can have casual sex with whoever they fancy at any moment of the day or night?! What if they want to have sex with other women or participate in thrilling group sex and walk away from it without a single shameful feeling?!

    They already do. In the virtual online world called Second Life which is where I spend a lot of my time these days. Anything you can do in Real Life (RL) you can do in Second Life (SL) including all the things you’d be too scared to try in RL. Go boating, flying, motorcycling, laze on a beach, chat someone up or get chatted up. Google it if you have no idea what I’m talking about. I only found out about it a year ago by chance so it’s easy to miss even if you spend a lot of time online.

  10. Thank you Geoff.

    Re: alpha males, it’s just a matter of definition. Here’s Wiki definition:

    Alpha (ethology)
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    In studies of social animals, the highest ranking individual is sometimes designated as the alpha. Males, females, or both, can be alphas, depending on the species. Where one male and one female fulfill this role together, they are sometimes referred to as the alpha pair. Other animals in the same social group may exhibit deference or other species-specific subordinate behaviours towards the alpha or alphas.

    Alpha animals usually gain preferential access to food and other desirable items or activities, though the extent of this varies widely between species. Male or female alphas may gain preferential access to sex or mates; in some species, only alphas or an alpha pair reproduce.

    Alphas may achieve their status by superior physical strength and aggression, or through social efforts and building alliances within the group.[1] The individual with alpha status sometimes changes, often through a fight between the dominant and a subordinate animal. These fights are often to the death, depending on the animal.

    Assuming you’re a guy, your dismissal of Pence as an alpha doesn’t necessarily means he isn’t one. It just tells me that you don’t accept him as having dominance over you personally. If we took a poll of American evangelicals, what do you think they’d say if we asked them if Pence is an alpha or not? Aren’t all male top politicians alphas? The dream of every fundamentalist everywhere is to have their top fundamentalists gain access to the halls of political power. For our American fundamentalists their dream is within their grasp now in the form of Pence. When I see Pence standing just off to side of Trump this is what I see; how close the fundamentalists are to imposing their disgusting theocratic fascist agenda.

    Margaret Atwood wrote the book on this literally. The Handmaid’s Tale. Read it or watch it on Hulu. It’s prophetic.

  11. Arkrid

    We already do these things in real life (RL) too. If there’s one good thing about being a feminist/atheist who came of age in the seventies it’s that we had no qualms about taking control of our own sexuality and seeing clearly the sexual agenda of men and the control tactics of our conservative religious parents. Birth control and abortion were easily available. There were no STDs that would kill us. There was still substantial slut shaming but it could be kept to a minimum if some secrecy was maintained. Some men can be trusted but some can’t resist bragging. Those don’t get a call back.

  12. Hi LaurieB,

    The Handmaid’s Tale has been on my reading list for some time now. After your recommendation I will move it nearer to the top.

    I wasn’t actually denying Pence’s ‘alpha’ status, merely lamenting the quality it demonstrates of both the competition and the peer group of which it is a part. I don’t know how stupid, sociopathic or delusional this political thug is but his policies and aspirations strongly suggest the need for both psychological and intelligence evaluation as a prerequisite for all political candidacies. It’s interesting that Trump has stated his preference for subordinates less capable than himself. Clearly the evangelical right top that vanishingly short list.

  13. There’s no way that bobblehead Pence is an alpha male. No one who is scared to dine alone with a woman and who won’t go into an establishment selling alcohol without his wife is a pathetic pussy not a real man never mind an alpha one. Trump is not an alpha male either. He’s a spineless coward who can only bully other people when he holds all the cards. Without his money and his lawyers to hide behind he’s nothing. Being a real man isn’t about physical strength, money or political power. It’s about wisdom, compassion, foresight, empathy and caring. Standing up for what’s right not just what is convenient. Protecting women not harassing them. Recognising that all people are valuable and that the poor and weak need your help to lift them higher.

  14. Being a real human isn’t about physical strength, money or political
    power. It’s about wisdom, compassion, foresight, empathy and caring.
    Standing up for what’s right not just what is convenient. Protecting
    people, not harassing them. Recognising that all people are valuable and
    that the poor and weak need your help to lift them higher.

    Fixed it for you, Arkrid 🙂

  15. No one who is scared to dine alone with a woman and who won’t go into an establishment selling alcohol without his wife is a pathetic pussy not a real man never mind an alpha one.

    The fundamentalist Muslims use the same tactics. Segregation of women which is, so they say, for the good of the women! As they insist, this is necessary to show their respect for us. Cover us up so no men can leer at us with dirty thoughts. No dancing to inspire dirty thoughts and groping. No songs that will teach impure thoughts and actions. No alcohol because it diminishes self-control. No socializing with women who aren’t closely related because he will be vulnerable to temptation. Always have a chaperone to prevent these temptations.

    This is all part and parcel of every fundamentalists playbook. Their definition of a “good man” or “real man” has nothing to do with our definition. Personally, I agree with yours, goes without saying. Theirs implies a world full of women and other men who are predatory and out to trick them into sin and hellfire. There is no instruction and molding of young people to respect others because it’s the right thing to do. We all feel overwhelming lust at times but what to do with it is a different scenario in the secular communities and the fundamentalist communities. We’ve seen a terrible display of this in recent situations where the two communities overlap.

    Pence, to the evangelicals, is at this point, a demi-god. A (appearing) humble servant of God who cleaves only unto his wife and will soon lead the rightous faithful to the promised land according to God’s plan. Trump is a vessel for God’s will and will burn in hell for his own personal sins after all is accomplished. This is not an issue whatsoever. Remember that Pharaoh was also a pagan heathen unbeliever who was a necessary evil and prompted Moses to rise up and deliver the Israelites from slavery. These despicable sinners are necessary for the ultimate salvation of true Christians. The fact that all Jews will return to their homeland so that Jesus can return is what’s important in their story. That they will ultimately burn in hell is irrelevant to fundamentalists. It’s all part of The Plan!

    That Pence doesn’t trust himself to resist sexual temptation that would be presented to him and needs his wife there to fend off other women is a disclosure that serves as a litmus test. Those who admire him for this have a certain worldview that others don’t have. To them, he is honorable and pure. To others he is incapable of self-control and has a view of women that is threatening to those of us who value equality and self-determination and see relationships between the sexes as something that we all negotiate individually with respect for rights, rule of law and acknowledge the right of individuals to consent or refuse consent as adults in a free society.

    Even though I consider him to be an evil automaton, he still fits the definition of alpha male whether we like it or not.

  16. justasec #1
    May 17, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    It’s reports like this that make the term “President Pence” almost as scary as the present incumbent!

    Trump really is seeing how far he can push out the outrageous defiance of law, while the Republican noddies fail to proceed with impeachment!!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-44319709

    President Donald Trump has issued a pardon to conservative writer Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted in 2014 of violating campaign finance laws.

    D’Souza, 57, was found guilty of making an illegal campaign contribution of $20,000 (£15,000) to a New York politician.

    He was sentenced to five years of probation for violating federal campaign law after admitting the crime.

    D’Souza “was treated very unfairly by our government”, Mr Trump tweeted.

    “Mr D’Souza accepted responsibility for his actions, and also completed community service by teaching English to citizens and immigrants seeking citizenship,” said a White House statement from spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Thursday.

    “In light of these facts, the President has determined that Mr D’Souza is fully worthy of this pardon.”

    As he signed the order, Mr Trump told reporters that he spoke to D’Souza by phone last night, adding that “he almost had a heart attack” when the president told him of his decision.

    This is Mr Trump’s fifth full pardon. Among the president’s prior pardons are Arizona Sherriff Joe Arpaio – who is now running for senate – and former Bush White House aide Scooter Libby.

    He later told reporters that he was considering pardoning lifestyle guru Martha Stewart and commuting former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich’s sentence.

    D’Souza, who is a conservative filmmaker and political commentator, pleaded guilty in 2014 to using straw donors to illegally contribute money to a Senate campaign for his friend Wendy Long.

    He pleaded guilty to illegally reimbursing two “straw donors”, or those who make political contributions in their own name, using another person’s money.

    Perhaps Trump is preparing his base for the likely coming evidence of his use of straw donors” in the pending court cases!!

  17. Taking of political donors with Russian connections, I see the UK government is investigating and probing the brexiteers principle donor behind Farage!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44428115

    The founder of Leave.EU, Arron Banks, has confirmed he will appear before MPs this week to answer new allegations about his links with Russia.

    It has been reported that Mr Banks, who bankrolled the unofficial leave campaign, had more contact with Russian officials than he previously admitted.

    The allegations come as MPs investigate accusations Russia attempted to influence the EU referendum.

    The Sunday Times said Mr Banks and Leave.EU director of communications Andy Wigmore had also had lunch with the Russian ambassador in November 2016 – just three days after they and the former UKIP leader Nigel Farage had met Donald Trump in New York following his election victory.

    Mr Banks and Mr Wigmore also discussed potential business opportunities in Russia, emails reportedly show, including a proposal involving six goldmines.

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