Luke Hartman, a gay man, has a message for his former teacher, Karen Pence.
“I went to Immanuel Christian School which is in northern Virginia, which is adjoining to Immanuel Bible Church where my family attended,” he explained. “The church and the school were a huge part of my upbringing as well as my identity as a whole.”
Karen Pence returned to Immanuel Christian School in January 2019. She taught there while Mike Pence was in Congress. The school does not accept openly LGBTQ+ students or employees.
“When I saw the news about Karen Pence, I didn’t really think about her or the policies. I immediately thought about the kids that are there right now and how having that representation in their classrooms every day would affect them growing up,” Hartman said. “When I was in Immanuel Christian middle school, I was bullied a lot by people who were taught to be loving and accepting. I’m a living example of the policies that she’s supporting.”
For Hartman, being a gay man and a person of faith are not mutually exclusive.
“While Immanuel Christian School has a lot of problems, I don’t really have anger or hatred towards these people or the policies,” he stated. “I just sort of pity that they’re so limited and that they can’t see the full spectrum of what God’s love really means.”