Pollak: Gay Athletes’ Attack on Mike Pence Repays Tolerance with Anti-Christian Bigotry

Adam Rippon (Jamie Squire / Getty)
Jamie Squire / Getty

Gay competitors representing the United States at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, renewed their attack on Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday.

Figure skater Adam Rippon posed for a photo with skier Gus Kenworthy, which Kenworthy posted to his Instagram account with the comment, “Eat your heart out, Pence.” The gesture amounted to a rejection of Pence’s efforts to reach out after Rippon criticized Pence last month.

Neither Rippon nor Kenworthy offered any explanation for their attacks on the vice president.

Speaking to USA Today in January, Rippon attacked Pence for supporting “gay conversion therapy” as governor of Indiana.

But Pence has indicated that he does not support the practice, and even liberal USA Today felt compelled to point out that Rippon’s thin claim rests solely on a statement on Pence’s congressional website in 2000: “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

Rippon did, however, single out Pence for his Christian faith, telling USA Today: “To stand by some of the things that Donald Trump has said and for Mike Pence to say he’s a devout Christian man is completely contradictory.”

Pence has never singled out an Olympian for his or her sexuality. The bigotry would appear to be on the other side.

Recall that in 2015, Pence was attacked by gay rights groups over an Indiana law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was passed to respond to a series of court cases in which Christian business owners were sued for declining to participate in gay weddings. (The issue is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.) Faced with calls for boycotts of Indiana that were instigated by gay rights groups nationwide, Pence immediately backtracked.

He held an apologetic press conference at which he was at pains to insist that he meant no offense to anyone. And he demanded, and signed, a “fix” that removed the protections for private businesses for which the original bill had been passed. Conservative groups blasted Pence for his retreat, which also ended talk of his presidential prospects in 2016.

And what does Pence get from the LGBTQ community in response? More abuse, on an international stage.

This is just the latest example of a familiar pattern in which the left rejects any effort at compromise, repaying any effort at reconciliation with demands for more and more concessions.

It is not even clear what the gay Olympians want from Pence, short of resigning from the Trump administration and joining Democratic calls for impeachment.

It is also another case of the moral myopia of LGBTQ activists, who are attacking their own country while ignoring the actual persecution of gays by some of the countries participating in the Winter Olympics.

But the attacks on Pence are also an attack on Christianity. Rippon and Kenworthy cast Christians as intolerant, and presume to know what Pence believes in his heart while rejecting almost any effort to find out for themselves.

They are revealing their own intolerance, and are abusing the privilege of representing their country to divide it further.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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