Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family with Jim Daly

Discussing Family Values With Vice President Pence

Discussing Family Values With Vice President Pence

Vice President Mike Pence discusses his family, faith, the importance of protecting religious freedoms worldwide, and the sanctity of human life. Join us for an insightful discussion about the vice president's values and how his Christian faith guides him daily.
Original Air Date: February 21, 2020

John Fuller: Welcome to the Friday edition of Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and yesterday we had a very special visitor here on the Focus campus.


Vice President Mike Pence: I actually can’t come to Colorado Springs without coming by Focus on the Family.

Jim Daly: (Laughing) Well, that’s nice.

End of Excerpt

John: It really was nice to have Vice President Mike Pence here on the Focus campus yesterday.

Jim: It really was, John. And it was nice. They were gonna be in town, we set up the interview. And to speak to the Vice President to learn more about his faith, about how that faith goes into practice in his daily routine as vice president is really interesting and I think you, the listener, will find this very insightful.

John: And I think our listeners will appreciate so much hearing about his family, as well. Uh, Vice President Pence has been in government for many years. He was a U.S. Congressman for six terms and also former governor of Indiana. And uh, as you said, Jim, he’s a man of deep Christian faith.

Let’s go ahead and hear this interview between Jim Daly and Vice President Mike Pence.

Jim: Well, Mr. Vice President, it is wonderful to have you here at Focus on the Family.

Vice President Pence: Thank you, Jim. Great to be back.

Jim: Man, I’m aware of this…your son, of course, is a Marine. In fact, my son’s thinking about it. He’s a junior in high school, so we’ll have to talk about that later.

Vice President Pence: That’s great.

Jim: But, uh, your daughter, Charlotte, just got married, I think, in December. And your daughter, Audrey, is about to be married. Is that right?


Vice President Pence: That’s exactly right.

Jim: So, let me just ask you as a dad…I’m thinkin’ about this as a dad…

Vice President Pence: Yeah.

Jim: …How’s it making you feel that your kids are gettin’ married so quickly?

Vice President Pence: Oh, it’s just incredible. Our son is now married three years. And, uh, he just – he just finished all of his training. He’s now a Flying Leatherneck.

Jim: Is that right?

Vice President Pence: Yeah. He’s a jet fighter pilot in the Marine Corps.

Jim: My goodness.

Vice President Pence: And the great news was is that one of the pilots he trained with, whose family lives right in here in Colorado…


Jim: We…that’s a great flying state.

Vice President Pence: …took an interest in our daughter and they were married at the Naval Academy…

Jim: Amazing.

Vice President Pence: …just after Christmas. And a wonderful young man, wonderful Christian family. And I have to tell you that it was…I have walked up and um, taken the Oath of Office to be Vice President of the United States. Um, but um, nothing will ever compare to walking my daughter down that aisle. It was a deeply emotional…

Jim: Yeah.

Vice President Pence: … experience. And um, but it was this great moment, Jim. I don’t know if you’ve been through that.

Jim: (Chuckling) Not yet. I have two boys, no daughters.

Vice President Pence: Well I’ve got to do it again this Spring because our youngest daughter’s getting married…

Jim: That’s so good!

Vice President Pence: …uh, to a wonderful young man. But I’m walking down that aisle, it was in the chapel of the Naval Academy.

Jim: Mm-hm.

Vice President Pence: And I really couldn’t speak. I – I was really struck with emotion. I just kept thinking about what this moment meant. Our daughter, who we’re just so proud of…

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Vice President Pence: …she’s an incredible young woman. But we got about 20 feet away from the altar and I looked up. And there stood her fiancé. And there were tears in his eyes. And there was something in that moment, Jim, that when I saw the look on her future husband’s face I just had this peace wash over me.

Jim: Mm.

Vice President Pence: And I think it may have been God’s grace.

Jim: Yeah!

Vice President Pence: It may just simply have been the look on his face. But I just felt this great calm that um, this is exactly where the Lord wanted my daughter to be. Exactly where I wan…

Jim: You knew it was good.

Vice President Pence: …I wanted her to be and I knew it was good.

Jim: That is good. Now I gotta ask you this question. It’s probably way outside of protocol. Do you do background checks when you’re the VP…


Jim: … on your daughter’s dating life?


Vice President Pence: Well…okay. All right. Don’t tell. We don’t. But I… but I tell them we do.

Jim: Oh, good. You know that can put the fear of the Lord in ’em, right? That’s so good. I always had…I had to ask to that question.

Hey, let me you ask you… family formation. There was a recent article David Brooks wrote – I think for the Washington Post. And he pointed out that fact that the nuclear family doesn’t seem to be working. And he was suggesting in this piece that maybe we have to lean on the extended family. And of course, here at Focus on the Family we’re saying, “Wait a minute! Mom and dads count! This is the way it should be.”

Vice President Pence: Yeah.

Jim: And he went on to say that um, you know, fewer people, less than half of the adults in our country now are actually married, have a spouse. And there’s more pets in the home than there are children.

Vice President Pence: Hm.

Jim: As a man who sits where you sit as the vice president, and your core belief as a Christian, what are your thoughts about that in terms of family in this country and what we’re going through?

Vice President Pence: Well there… there’s no institution in the life of this nation more important than the family.

Jim: The bedrock.

Vice President Pence: And uh and making sure that we’re making room for families. Uh, making sure that um, that those who wear the uniform of the United States are able to serve as families.

I just came from Peterson Air Force Base. I… I met with a number of the new leadership of our Space Command and the U.S. Space Force. But I also had the chance to meet with spouses. And one of the things that Karen has been working on diligently has been making sure that as… as we support our military we also support our military spouses and their families.

And uh, let me just say that we really do…we have work to do. I mean there are many, many years where we’ve seen um, particularly in some of our inner cities, a breakdown of the family. But even as I say that, I have to tell you, Jim, uh, everywhere I go I… I sense a renewal in this country. I … I sense people turning back to faith. People turning back to family. I meet people every day and uh, who…I sense that…that energy from and uh, the letters that I receive every day.

My wife and I will be married 35 years this year…

Jim: Congratulations.

Vice President Pence: …proud parents of these three kids…

Jim: Yeah.

Vice President Pence: …and uh, and we hear from people about the pride that people are taking in their families lives. And so, I… I think we’re… I think we’re in the middle of a not just an American comeback in our economy, I think we’re…

Jim: That’s right.

Vice President Pence: …we’re in the middle of a comeback of the American family.

Jim: Well I so appreciate that. I think I would agree with you wholeheartedly that the family is coming back, and we see it in different ways. And I think, you know, uh, a lot of what you and the president have achieved has provided that economic ability for families to become stronger and do the things they need to do. Uh, let…

Vice President Pence: I really think that’s true, Jim. And I…I… I appreciate the connecting those things.

Jim: Yeah.

Vice President Pence: And when you see this booming economy, when you see the way the stock market is rising, and remember that means people’s pensions, their 401k’s are increasing.

I was just was…I was just was told by a hard working blue-collar American the other day that they were planning to retire in seven years. Now they’re going to retire in two years because their 401k has grown so much under President Trump’s leadership and policies that we’ve advanced.

So, you’re absolutely right that a stronger economic foundation, rising wages that we see all across the country, we have absolutely every confidence that that’s gonna strengthen families and strengthen communities.

Jim: Well, and… and… you know the connection there. I remember having a discussion with James Lankford, the great Senator from Oklahoma.

Vice President Pence: Ah. What a great senator.

Jim: Former youth pastor, by the way. A great guy.

Vice President Pence: Yeah.

Jim: He said to me, “You know…

Vice President Pence: Ran a legendary youth camp.

Jim: Yeah. And he said “One of the…one of the things that people don’t understand is that as family weakens, government, by necessity, becomes stronger…

Vice President Pence: Right.

Jim: …through welfare, through food stamps, etc. When we have strong families government isn’t as needed.” Isn’t that interesting? And I thought that was quite profound. We need strong families and I’m sorry to say to someone who works in the government, we need less government.

Vice President Pence: Well, it is an absolute truth of history since the days of Edmund Burke, who is in so many ways the father of conservatism…

Jim: Mm.

Vice President Pence: …in the last 200 years. He talked about the family as the… the little platoons.

Jim: Right.

Vice President Pence: Uh…they’re…it’s uh…the family is the – it’s the nucleus of our civilization and stronger families will always contribute…

Jim: Yeah.

Vice President Pence: …to greater freedom and more limited government.

Jim: Here’s an interesting insight. I remember talking to a supreme court justice. I won’t name him. And uh, he mentioned that, you know, when Christian organizations, he looked a little puzzled, and talked about do they all just feed the poor and take care of poverty. I said, no. Christian organizations have a variety of impact. At Focus on the Family, we’re actually the number one fighter of poverty. And he looked at me a little puzzled. And I said the number one predictor of poverty is a divorce – the breakup of a family.

Vice President Pence: Mm.

Jim: Uh…a woman and her children in an intact family, divorce rates are only about 6, or poverty rates are only about 6%. But once divorce occurs poverty rate goes to 36%. That… keeping a family intact is the number one way to fight poverty.

Vice President Pence: It is. In fact, there’s that jarring statistic, I think it was none other than Bill Bennett, that cited it years ago. That the best advice you can give a young person is graduate from high school.

Jim: Right.

Vice President Pence: Get married. And wait to have children until you’re married.

Jim: Right.

Vice President Pence: And that you do those three things that the likelihood that you will end up living in poverty drop exponentially.

Jim: Hm.

Vice President Pence: And… and that’s a message that we can convey to young people. But I… I really mean to tell you.

You know, the president in his State of the Union address talked about an American comeback. But I really do believe there’s been a… there’s been a strong comeback of the American family, as well.

And I… I want to credit Focus on the Family for the years of ministry on the airwaves and in so many different ways that have strengthened families.

Jim: That’s…that’s…that’s kind. Dr. Dobson did a great job building the foundation here and we’re taking it to the next generation.

Let me turn a minute. There’s something in both of our backgrounds that we share and that’s a connection to Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Vice President Pence: Um-hm.

Jim: Uh, that’s how I became a Christian was at a football camp. What was your connection with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes?

Vice President Pence: Well…FCA uh…I was aware of uh… as a young person. But you know, I… I came to Christ as a freshman in college. I’d really walked away from uh, a strong religious upbringing. You know, church on Sunday morning and grace before dinner. But it was when I went to college that I began to get involved in the Christian fellowship group. Many of those people were involved in FCA and um, and I really… I really saw something different uh, in those people. And it was something I felt very drawn to and uh, the more I participated, the more I went, the more I knew there was something missing in my heart and in my life. And in the spring of 1978 I made a decision to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. And it’s… it was that ministry and ministries just like FCA that impacted me..

Jim: Mmm.

Vice President Pence: …and impacts so many young people every day.

Jim: Well they did a wonderful job. I was that orphan kid playing football…

Vice President Pence: Mm.

Jim: …and they…they were the ones that said, “Hey. There’s a better way to live your life.”

Vice President Pence: Yeah.

Jim: And it was wonderful. Let me…let me ask you about that in terms of religious liberty, one of the big issues and debates of our time. Um…I know that the president and others within the administration are doing so much hard work to lift up the issue of religious liberty. One of the things I did want to ask is when it comes to this barrier between church and state, it was only the last few decades that there was so much hostility toward religious organizations or faith-based organizations that are helping with adoption, which we do. Uh, helping with the poor.

But for some reason this rigid line has been drawn that if you have a faith you gotta check it at the door in order to serve soup and get a government grant. Tell me what’s happening in that space to lower that barrier so that we can all work together as one nation to meet the needs of folks that are hurting.

Vice President Pence: Well there’s no question throughout the long history of this country religious organizations and charities have played a vital role meeting the needs of under-served communities and American’s that are struggling uh, to make ends meet. And from early in this administration President Trump made it clear that we were going to end this barrier that had been erected in the last administration between so many government anti-poverty programs uh, and religious ministries around the country.

And the president, through one executive order after another, has taken steps to ensure that today, Jim, religious charities have the same opportunity to participate in providing services, whether that be food, whether that be shelter, whether that be adoption services, on an equal footing of any other…

Jim: Yeah.

Vice President Pence: …charity.

Jim: Yeah.

Vice President Pence: And this isn’t to exclude other organizations. This is to say that we want the whole American family to come together to meet the needs of our most vulnerable. And I’m incredibly proud of the steps that we’ve taken to defend religious liberty at home and around the world. And, uh, through one executive order – one action after another – President Trump has, uh, has put into practice what we pledged to do from the first days of this administration.

Jim: Yeah, and I think people of faith, not just Chris – the Christian faith but Muslims and others, uh, we feel it and we’re grateful that, uh, you’re doing all you can people to be able to express their faith. I think…

Vice President Pence: Well, it’s – you can’t, uh, understand, um, the American experience without understanding the enormously important role the communities of faith have played since before our nation’s founding.

Jim: Yeah, and you’re a historian. That’s your major in college, right?

Vice President Pence: Well, I – I – I’m a student of history.

Jim: Okay. (laughs)

Vice President Pence: Uh, my historian friends would say…


Vice President Pence: …Mike you’re uh – you don’t have the PH.D. But I read history, uh, relentlessly and, you know, and – and I would tell you, you look at the American founding, the number of signers of the declaration that were ordained ministers. The most powerful speeches for independence in the Revolutionary War were given from pulpits at churches and then distributed as pamphlets. I – I stood a few years ago in the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church in Montgomery, Alabama. I met with many of the, uh, women, now elderly…

Jim: Yeah.

Vice President Pence: …but they were young women when they made the marches. And they spoke to us about how they would gather in the pews of that church and they would pray, and they would sing. And they looked at me and they said, “Mike, we would have church and then we would march.”

Jim: Right.

Vice President Pence: And when you understand the long march toward a more perfect union, the whole movement toward the abolition of slavery, that we had to fight a civil war, uh, to settle.

When you look at the advance of civil rights in this country so much of it is emanated out of vibrant communities of faith. And I – I want to tell all your listeners around the country whether it be ending the legal challenge to Little Sisters of the Poor. Whether it…

Jim: Right here in Colorado.

Vice President Pence: Whether it be ending enforcement of what was known as the “Johnson Amendment” that said that if a pastor or priest or a rabbi or imam were to speak anything political from the pulpit they could lose their tax-exempt status. We’ve ended enforcement of that and we’re going to work to take it completely off the books.

But it’s all be about President Trump’s absolute determination to recognize as he has said that we are a nation of believers and – and we want to continue to advance policies that respect, uh, the right of every person of every faith. And uh, the freedom of conscience of every American.

Jim: Well, we deeply appreciate it. I – I can’t let you get out of here without talking about the pro-life effort.

Vice President Pence: Oh.

Jim: Um, I was at the March for Life. You did a video. You happened to be in Israel. And I think, uh, the Vatican at the time. President Trump came and he was the first, uh, President to speak to the March for Life.

Vice President Pence: Made history.

Jim: A 100 – a 150,000 or so people there. But the point of it is, the pro-life perspective is on the move. And I want to say thank you because you have championed that since you were a congress person. That’s why you got into the congress if I remember correctly was this issue of life. And we are winning, and young people are pro-life, and people are beginning to say, “Maybe this has not been a very good thing.” Speak to that.

Vice President Pence: Jim, well first, let me just thank you and Focus on the Family for your strong stand for the unborn. It’s – it’s made a difference, um, on the airwaves of the nation of through all the materials produced by the ministry.

Because life is winning in America.

Jim: It is.

Vice President Pence: And as you said, what’s most inspiring to me is that younger Americans are more and more pro-life every day.

Jim: Mm hmm.

Vice President Pence: And I think it’s because of the truth about abortion is being told. I – I have this thought in my mind that – that – that voices like yours and I hope voices in the public sphere like we’ve had the privilege to be have made a difference. But I actually think there’s been a greater influence. First, I think it’s been the crisis pregnancy centers around the country…

Jim: Yes.

Vice President Pence: … who’ve been coming alongside women with, um, unexpected pregnancy, putting their arm around them, and saying, “We will help you through this. If you keep the child, we will – we will help you get your life started with your child. Or we’ll help you through the process of finding a forever family through adoption.”

But I also believe the other impact is that…I honestly believe that now, you know so many years since Roe vs Wade, I think that grandmothers are talking to granddaughters, mothers are talking to daughters, and telling them the truth about abortion. That women who found themselves in those circumstances, and I hope in my heart anyone in the sound of my voice would know that there is forgiveness, there is redemption, there’s a fresh start for you. For all of that.

Jim: Yes.

Vice President Pence: And um, because I… I truly believe that…that…that abortion hurts them both…

Jim: Correct.

Vice President Pence: That’s a title of a famous book. And we want that healing in the lives of anyone whose been through the experience of an abortion. But I think, I have to believe that millions of women who’ve gone through that experience are now telling their children and telling their grandchildren um, the truth about that baby.

Jim: Yes.

Vice President Pence: And…and it’s changing hearts, it’s changing lives. And with the advance of science more and more people are seeing it.

And let me lastly say, I couldn’t be more proud to be vice president to the most pro-life president in American history.

Jim: Yeah.

Vice President Pence: I mean, literally from the outset of this administration President Trump expanded the Mexico City Policy to ensure that we don’t use taxpayer dollars to provide or promote abortion uh, around the world. We’ve appointed strong conservatives to our courts at every level including two supreme court justices. We’ve in so many ways this president has put a priority, and…and one decision after another…

Jim: Yeah.

Vice President Pence: …on the sanctity of human life. And uh, and I promise you we’ll continue to take that stand together. And we’ll continue to take that stand with…with millions of Americans who cherish the right to life.

Jim: And that’s exactly right. Millions and millions of Christian and even non-Christians that view life as sacred, I do want to say, “Thank you.”

Thank you for what you do for our country. Uh, it is really an amazing honor to be with you. And we pray for you. We pray for the president. We pray for the congress and the senate as we should as Christians.

So, thank you so much for being here today.

Vice President Pence: Well Jim, thank you. And let me say that the sweetest words we ever hear are when people say, “I’m praying for you” and we hear it a lot.

Jim: Mm-hm.

Vice President Pence: And.. and I just want your millions of listeners to know, around the country, that their prayers for this president, their prayers for this vice president, for our families, for all of us who serve in positions of authority, we feel them every day. And we are grateful every day uh, for the prayers of the faithful.

Jim: God’s at work. Thank you.

Vice President Pence: Thank you, Jim.

John: Vice President Mike Pence visited the campus here at Focus on the Family yesterday and it’s our privilege to share that conversation with you today.

And uh, Jim, you mentioned the March for Life. There were some really very unique moments about that march.

Jim: Well, and the vice president has been so committed to the March for Life. Every year since he’s been vice president he has participated in some way. And I went this year, as we mentioned in the body of the program. Vice President Pence was out of the country, Israel and at the Vatican.

Uh, but to everybody’s surprise, President Trump decided to come. And…

John: That was a first!

Jim: …that was a first for any president in the 47-year history of the March for Life. The president of the March for Life, Jeanne Mancini, we were recording some pieces for our coming event, May 9th, ALIVE2020, and we were there recording them, and she got the text that the president was coming the next day. And she was ecstatic, you know. Like “Wow, this is going to be so good for the march.”

And uh, I want to play a couple of clips because I believe, as Christians, the comments that the president made about his position on life, and just the heart of what he was saying, was so phenomenal for those of us who are pro-life. And I want to play a couple of these clips to give you an insight on what that day felt like hearing from the president for the first time at the March for Life.

President Donald Trump: It is my profound honor to be the first president in history to attend the March for Life.


We’re here for a very simple reason. To defend the right of every child, born and unborn, to fulfill their God-given potential.


All of us here today understand an eternal truth. Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God.


Together, we must protect, cherish, and defend the dignity and the sanctity of every human life.


When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God’s creation.


When we hold a newborn in our arms, we know the endless love that each child brings to a family. When we watch a child grow, we see the splendor that radiates from each human soul.


And as the Bible tells us, each person is wonderfully made.


Jim: John, I was standing there with those other 100-150 thousand people and my jaw was hanging open. This is the President of the United States speaking so boldly about the truth of what we believe, in the Christian community, about how God sees a baby in the womb.

John: Mm-hm.

Jim: That we all have potential. And it was so riveting to hear that truth proclaimed.

John: From the highest office in the land.

Jim: Yeah. And it… just everybody was so appreciative. The politics aside, I’ve always said the abortion issue was taken from the moral sphere into the political sphere. This is a moral issue that our nation is facing. And I’m grateful for anybody, democrat, republican, anybody, that has the clarity to see what life is about.

John: Well let’s go ahead and continue now. More remarks from President Trump back in January at the March for Life, specifically encouraging moms.

President Trump: To all the women here today, your devotion and your leadership uplifts our entire nation, and we thank you for that. The tens of thousands of Americans gathered today, not only stand for life, it’s really here that they stand for it so proudly together, and I want to thank everybody for that.

You stand for life each and every day. You provide housing, education, jobs, and medical care to the women that you serve. You find loving families for children in need of a forever home. You host baby showers for expecting moms. You make… you just make it your life’s mission to help spread God’s grace.


And to all of the moms here today, we celebrate you. And we declare that mothers are heroes.


Your strength, devotion and drive is what powers our nation. And because of you, our country has been blessed with amazing souls who have changed the course of human history. We cannot know what our citizens yet unborn will achieve. The dreams they will imagine. The masterpieces they will create. The discoveries they will make. But we know this. Every life brings love into this world. Every child brings joy to a family. Every person is worth protecting. And above all, we know that every human soul is divine. And every human life, born and unborn, is made in the holy image of Almighty God.


And I say with true passion, thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you all. Thank you.


John: Well those are some of the comments that President Trump made at the March for Life back in January. The first time, Jim, that a president has ever attended that event in 47 years.

Jim: Yeah. It’s so true. And it just, again, it encourages the pro-life community. Millions of us who stand for the voiceless speaking into power.

John: Mm-hm.

Jim: And you know I understand maybe people who disagree don’t like hearing that. But I’ve gotta tell you the pro-life movement is… is moving.

John: It’s gaining steam.

Jim: And it’s gaining steam. And people are beginning to wonder, “Why do we do this? How can we do this? Should we be doing this?”

John: Mm.

Jim: And I think… I’m hopeful that the end of abortion is near. And I think we will be a better nation for it.

John: Yeah, well certainly we’re praying toward that end, Jim, when abortion is no longer legal.

Let’s go ahead and remind people about ALIVE2020, our big event coming up on May 9th.

Jim: It’s exciting, John. We’re building off of the New York Times Square event that we did last year. We had about 20 thousand people who came out. We had protesters as well. But May 9th, the day before Mother’s Day, in five cities. It’s going to be in Southern California, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, and Chicago. We’re gonna do a simulcast. We’re gonna have great speakers, wonderful music, and of course the keynote speech will be given by a third trimester baby in the womb – a live ultrasound.

And we want people to come out in those five locations. You can go to the website. Find out where it’s at in those specific areas. And I’m hoping 100 thousand people will come out to say we’re gonna stand for life today.

That’s May 9th. Go to the website to register.

John: We want you to register so we have an idea of how many people are coming to each of those five cities. And it’s very easy – we’ll link over to it at or call, if you’d like details. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team thanks for listening to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller hoping you have a great weekend and inviting you back on Monday as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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