Almost predictably, D’Antonio and Eisner manifest their displeasure with Pence from the outset. They rightly tag him for his tropism toward other people’s money and his discomfort with modernity. All of which is understandable, to a point.
What is disappointingly left unaddressed is that the US is the world’s most religious wealthy country, where two-in-five claim to pray daily and where evangelicals comprise nearly the same ratio in our armed forces, despite being only a quarter of the population.
The fact is the first amendment’s free exercise clause was designed to protect those who embrace discomforting creeds. In a narrow 7-2 decision this June, the supreme court sided with a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. In the majority’s view, the Colorado civil rights commission demonstrated “hostility” to the baker’s religious beliefs by ordering him to undergo anti-discrimination training.
Politicians less doctrinaire and more capable of nuance than Pence may yet be able to achieve a modus vivendi. With the Democrats in desperate search of a foothold in red America, the percentage of religious nones growing and evangelicals not backing down anytime soon, that result may even be a matter of civil and political necessity.