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US VP's wife defends new job at Christian school which bans LGBT employees
The wife of the US vice-president has defended her decision to return to a teaching job at a school that prohibits employees from engaging in an LGBT lifestyle.
Second Lady Karen Pence previously taught art at Immanuel Christian School in northern Virginia for more than a decade while her husband Mike Pence was a member of Congress.
The school requires job applicants to agree that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
Applications for employment state: "I understand that the term 'marriage' has only one meaning; the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive covenant union as delineated in scripture and that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other and that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity is engaged in outside of marriage between a man and a woman."
The form adds that: "Moral misconduct which violates the bona fide occupational qualifications for employees includes, but is not limited to, such behaviours as the following: heterosexual activity outside of marriage (e.g., premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex), homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female, sexual harassment, use or viewing of pornographic material or websites, and sexual abuse or improprieties toward minors as defined by Scripture and federal or state law."
News of her return to the Christian school sparked sharp criticism over her affiliating with it while serving as second lady.
One user tweeted: "I pay for Karen Pence's housing, I pay for Karen Pence's security, I pay for Karen Pence's health insurance. All Americans do. So she needs to explain why it's okay to teach in a place that discriminates against the LGBT community, who are Americans that pay taxes."
However, others defended Mrs Pence with another Twitter user commenting: "Well it's a Christian school so Duhhh, this is a non-story."
Mr Pence has also defended his wife's new part-time job.
In an interview with Eternal Word Television Network, he said that the negative reaction was "deeply offensive."
He added: "My wife and I have been in the public eye for quite a while. We're used to the criticism.
"But I have to tell you, to see major news organizations attacking Christian education, is deeply offensive to us.
"We have a rich tradition in America of Christian education and, frankly, religious education broadly defined. We celebrate it.
"The freedom of religion is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution prohibits a religious test for holding a public office and so we'll let the other critics roll off our back, but this criticism of Christian education in America should stop."
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