Earlier this week, I wrote about Mike Pence’s complicated past history on religious liberty and argued that he had two choices before him on the issue: take a strong stand or retreat back to ambiguity.
While Pence was not asked to address the topic during Tuesday’s debate, he was presented with several questions on social issues during an appearance on Dr. James Dobson’s “Family Talk” radio program yesterday. Unfortunately, Trump’s VP pick showed little willingness to defend a robust vision of religious liberty beyond a number of weak platitudes.
First, Pence was asked by Dobson how a hypothetical Trump administration would approach President Obama’s infamous contraception mandate, which has been challenged in two high-profile Supreme Court cases featuring Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor:
What I can tell you is that a Trump-Pence administration will be dedicated to preserving the liberties of our people, including the freedom of religion that’s enshrined in our Bill of Rights. … We have a long tradition in this country of accommodating religious belief and respecting religious belief. But under this administration, you’ve seen the heavy hand of government — whether it be in the Hobby Lobby case, or whether it be in the Little Sisters of the Poor [case] — where there’s an unwillingness by the administration to accommodate the religious sensibilities and convictions of ministries or private organizations. And the question of non-profits that you raise in this case is equally relevant.
But our administration is going to err on the side of freedom.