Vice President Mike Pence received a standing ovation as he gave the opening lecture on Saturday at Indiana’s Taylor University, despite scheduled demonstrations and a pupil and faculty walkout just before it was launched.
The IndyStar recorded that dozens of learners and faculty members silently went out as attendants sang the anthem, “Be Thou My Vision,” after protests urging the tiny non-denominational Christian college to dis-invite Pence failed.
IndyStar’s Alexandria Burris noted that a number of students wore stickers and customized mortarboards which were designed to send a specific message as well.
I’m also seeing that a tweet I sent earlier didn’t post. Some faculty and graduates in the social work dept. wore stickers that said, “We are Taylor too” in protest of Pence’s presence at Taylor. Another graduate decorated her cap with a protest message. pic.twitter.com/g9PcfBNfJU
— Alexandria Burris (@AllyBurris) May 18, 2019
Once he took the stage, Pence delivered a message designed to encourage Christians to stand strong in a culture that is increasingly antagonistic to faith and to Christian principles.
In his remarks, Pence urged students and faculty to stand tall against increasing hostility against Christians. “Throughout most of our American history it’s been pretty easy to call yourself a Christian, but things are different now,” Pence said. “Lately, it’s become acceptable, even fashionable, to malign traditional Christian beliefs.”
Thank you for the warm welcome, Indiana! @SecondLady & I are happy to be home in the Hoosier state. Heading to @TaylorU to offer the commencement address to the class of 2019 at 10:30! pic.twitter.com/tQ6v7nIAhk
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) May 18, 2019
The AP reported:
The protest was planned and discussed prior to Saturday’s ceremony. Some faculty and students at the nondenominational Christian liberal arts school debated the appropriateness of the former Indiana governor at the commencement ceremony.
Most of Taylor’s graduating class did not leave. Pence received a standing ovation.
For the lecture of the vice president, most of the 494-student graduating class stayed in the classroom, and the audience honored him with widespread applause and standing ovation.