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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Optimism, Faith and Freedom in America

Optimism, Faith and Freedom in America

Throughout his public and private life, former Vice President Mike Pence has been motivated for the pro-life cause – honoring and protecting life for all women, men, and babies. In an exclusive interview, the former Vice President shares his Christian faith, calls for a compassionate response to all issues of life and encourages the preservation of religious freedom in America.
Original Air Date: June 9, 2022

John Fuller: There’s a familiar passage in scripture from the Psalmist who wrote, “For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Those words have been a great reminder and inspiration to us as we think about how God created each one of us in His image. And that’s an emphasis on our broadcast today with Former Vice President Mike Pence. Welcome to Focus on the Family, with your host, Focus President and author, Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: Man, uh, John, I’m so excited when you think about that, to know that the country is turning back to life, in many ways. It’s exciting. More children will survive than before. And that right there is outstanding to hear about. Uh, John, our VP of External and Government Affairs, Tim Goeglein, had the opportunity to sit down with former Vice President Mike Pence. I was unable to make that trip because of the death of a dear friend of mine, Peb Jackson, and that it landed on the same day as his memorial service. So I stayed here to do that and to be there, uh, for Sharon, his widow. Uh, Tim is from the state of Indiana, which is also the former Vice President’s home state, so they had that in common. Mr. Pence has committed much of his career to promoting and defending life. It’s what motivated him to enter into politics years ago. And he has consistently stood for the pro-life cause. So Tim asked the Vice President about the pending Dobbs case in the Supreme Court, what I was referring to a moment ago, that change for life. Uh, in addition to pro-life issues, he’s also addressed education and religious freedom in America, in this great conversation that he had.

John: And Jim, uh, let’s mention that Tim Goeglein serves Focus on the Family, and has for about a decade now, in the capital, in D.C., building relationships there. And, uh, I think you’ll enjoy this conversation. Here’s Tim Goeglein talking with former Vice President Mike Pence on Focus on the Family.

Tim Goeglein: Mr. Vice President, you have spoken at length on previous, uh, Focus on the Family broadcasts about the impact of your own faith and how it has guided you in the public square. Uh, you know, as a US Representative, as the Governor of Indiana, and as Vice President. Now, you’re in a new chapter in life as a private citizen, three grown children. And, uh, as you’ve gained more wisdom and experience, share with us how your faith in Christ has deepened or widened.

Former Vice President Mike Pence: Well, Tim first, uh, thank you for that. Thank you for the great- great ministry of Focus on the Family. We’re, uh, uh… Ours is a family, as you know, that has greatly benefited by this ministry over the years. We had family nights, uh, at our house every Friday night when the kids were little. And now one of those kids is a captain in the Marine Corps, another one is a published author, and another is a graduate of Yale Law School. And, uh, but I remember those nights and those biblical lessons that, uh, we were able to have on family nights using that wonderful workbook. But, um, you know, for us, um, our family, uh, our relationship with Christ is everything. It’s where everything begins. It’s where our best days begin. Uh, and as our life has changed, um, uh, and our family has changed, that hasn’t changed. Um, I- I love the verse that says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And, um, uh, I- I tell people that after we move back home to Indiana about a year ago, that you know, this- this wasn’t our first choice. Uh, we had different plans for these four years. But over the mantle in our home, for now 21 years, has been that verse from Jeremiah 29:11 that, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” And we don’t know what the future holds for our family, uh, but we thought we’d see it better from Indiana, and, uh, we’ll see our way through it with faith.

Tim: You have been a champion of the pre-born, uh, and- and for adoption and foster care and orphan care, things that we care about very strongly at Focus on the Family. And in fact, the pro-life issue had led you into politics, uh, even though the issue in one sense should not even be political. What are you and Karen doing now as private citizens to advance the cause of human life?

Former Vice President Mike Pence: Well- well, thank you for acknowledging, uh, the work we’ve done. When- when I ran for Congress the first time successfully in the year 2000, our kids were little, and, uh, they would tell you to this day that they remember mom and dad saying, “We’re selling our dream home. We’re moving back to our hometown. We’re gonna spend all of our savings.” And for the babies, that’s what we told our kids. And so for me to have been a part of, uh, a season of service, where I was able to author the first legislation to defund Planned Parenthood in the Congress, where we were able to pass pro-life legislation that made it all the way to the Supreme Court, expand adoption in Indiana when I was governor was deeply meaningful. But I must tell you, Tim, as an old friend, it- it is hard to describe, uh, the sense of privilege I felt being vice president in the most pro-life administration in American history. I mean, I saw this administration from day one, stand without apology for the sanctity of life. And not only in policies like, uh, making sure taxpayer dollars were not being used to fund abortion at home and abroad, but also in- in the way we- we, uh, protected conscience rights of doctors and nurses around the country and stood for religious liberty. But, uh, in the end, it was those 300 judges on federal courts, including 300 just- three justices, rather (laughs), on the Supreme Court of the United States that I know are gonna uphold all the God-given liberties that we cherish in this nation. And as we stand here today, we all know about the draft decision that was leaked from the Supreme Court. My hope and my prayer, uh, is that that draft decision will soon become the majority opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States, that we’ll- we’ll send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history and give America a new beginning on the right to life.

Tim: I wanna pick up on that, if I may. We are, as you say, awaiting this major decision, uh, to either uphold Roe or toss it, as you say, into the dust bin of history. It’s a major decision by any objective measure. If Roe is overturned, Mr. Vice President, what do you think the next chapter of the pro-life movement will look like or should look like?

Former Vice President Mike Pence: Well, I have longed for the day that we would restore the sanctity of life back to the center of American law. Roe v. Wade was- was wrongly decided morally and legally. It essentially overturned pro-life laws in all 50 states with one fell swoop. And when we think about the fact that, uh, 62 million unborn children, uh, saw their lives ended before the day that they would be born, the incalculable impact that those people would’ve had on our nation, and then also when I think of the fact that- that for many women, abortion leave scars that can last a lifetime, I just… I- I rejoice in the idea that we could have a new beginning. But if Roe v. Wade is overturned, while, uh, those who oppose that step by the Supreme Court, um, will tell Americans over and over again that it somehow bans abortion, all that would do is return the question of life to the states and the American people. And, um, uh, I’ve… You asked earlier what we’ve been doing. I’ve- I’ve been speaking at crisis pregnancy centers around the country, pro-life groups. I’m proud to say our daughter Charlotte recently spoke at Wisconsin Right to Life. And I think people do well to know that as we pray for a new beginning from the Supreme Court, we ought to also recognize that should Roe v. Wade be overturned, it will simply open up a new opportunity in all 50 states and the territories of this country to pass pro-life legislation. And what that should look like, Tim, to- to answer your very thoughtful initial question, is I think it should look like compassion. I think it should look like the work that crisis pregnancy centers have done. I think- I think you will see 20, 25 states around the country adopt strong pro-life protections if given the opportunity in a post-Roe America. But I also think that you will see those same states pass unprecedented support for women facing crisis pregnancies. Prenatal care, um, uh, care for young mothers, for unwed mothers. And I also think you’ll see a wave of adoption reform so that when women bring that baby to term that, um, th- that they- they could know that they could raise that child or that- that with great ease be able to place that child in a forever home. And, um, uh, I really do think the hallmark of a post-Roe America, for pro-life Americans like you and me and- and like the millions that would listen to this broadcast, should be defined by a commitment to life and compassion in the same breath.

Tim: I wanna deepen a comment you made a moment ago, which, uh, deserves, uh, more discussion, I think. The federal government continues to fund abortion sellers like Planned Parenthood to the tune of over a half a billion dollars a year, mainly of course, through Medicaid reimbursements and Title 10 grants, despite the great efforts made during the Trump/Pence administration to roll back that funding. What would the country and its families look like, Mr. Vice President, if we instead spent that money on supporting adoption and helping mothers in need?

Former Vice President Mike Pence: You know, I’ve- I’ve long believed that- that abortion is morally wrong, but I also think it’s morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of Americans who cherish the sanctity of life and use it to support organizations that promote or provide abortions. Now, there’s- there’s a loophole. There’s the- the… There’s a, uh, essentially a- a wall that these Planned Parenthood clinics allegedly create that allows them some access to resources that support their non-abortion services, but it all supports the same thing. It was one of the reasons why in 2006, at the urging of the late Henry Hyde, very author of the Hyde amendment, uh, I was encouraged to introduce the first legislation to defund Planned Parenthood. And I must tell you, this is an issue about which, as you know, Tim, there’s been broad bipartisan support through the years, where for many Americans, regardless of where they stand on the question of abortion, they still understand the wrongness of using taxpayer dollars to fund that which, um, I believe a majority of Americans find morally objectionable.

Tim: Mm-hmm.

Former Vice President Mike Pence: And so, uh, I- I think the time has come to defund Planned Parenthood. I’m grateful for the leadership of people like, uh, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, who’s continued that fight. I was proud to cast the tie-breaking vote as Vice President to give states the right to defund Planned Parenthood. But I- I really do believe, uh, that the largest abortion provider in America should not be the largest recipient of federal funds under Title 10. And my hope is with new majorities in the Congress and ultimately new leadership at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, uh, we will achieve that in the- in the near future.

John: Former Vice President Mike Pence on Focus on the Family today with the hopeful outlook on the pro-life front. Uh, Tim Goeglein serves as the Vice President of External and Government Relations here at Focus, and he was visiting with Mr. Pence. And we encourage you to find out more about our major pro-life simulcast event coming up next week. It’s called See Life 2022. All the details about See Life 2022 are at our website, focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let’s go ahead and rejoin the conversation now with Tim Goeglein and former Vice President Mike Pence.

Tim: I want to, uh, step forward, if I may, for a moment, uh, to talk a little bit more about, uh, the thing that you spoke about as we opened our conversation, your faith and its impact. You have always said that marriage, family, and parenting are the center of your life with Karen. Uh, all of it rooted, you’ve said, in Jesus Christ. But now our nation is facing very large levels of fatherlessness, the lowest marriage rates in American history, historic fertility and childbearing at soberingly low levels. Yet marriage, family, and parenting has never been more important. What can our nation do about this, far beyond the control or the direction or the scope of Washington and the federal government?

Former Vice President Mike Pence: Well, first and foremost is for people to understand there’s- there is no force more powerful than prayer. And praying as the- as the Bible tells us that those would turn the hearts of the fathers to their children ought to be on the lips of every believer across the country who shares your very eloquent concern about fatherlessness in this country. And I know people are praying to that end. And- and I- I will tell you that I- I continue to be inspired by ministries across the country that are reaching out to many, uh, um, families, particularly in our inner cities, who- who are struggling under the weight of fatherlessness, coming alongside particularly young men, uh, although boys and girls both need fathers (laughs).

Tim: Yes.

Former Vice President Mike Pence: But, uh, it seems like boys have a greater propensity to find the wrong path, uh, without a strong father figure in their life.

Tim: Mm-hmm.

Former Vice President Mike Pence: Or they replace it with, um, a different kind of authority figure that leads them the wrong way. And I- But I think there’s great work being done across the country, but ultimately, I- I really do believe that- that, um, the key for us going forward is- is to do what in many respects, um, I’ve sought to be about throughout my career, and that is to create an opportunity society. I mean, the- the truth is that- that for many families living in our inner cities, particularly predominantly minority families, they oftentimes face struggling economies, few jobs, failing and dangerous schools, which itself wages war on families. And, um, for our part, I was- I was proud in our administration, Tim, we had the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded for African Americans. With Senator Tim Scott, my great friend, we created more than 8,000 opportunity zones that directed billions of dollars to create jobs in underserved communities around America. And of course, um, I was just this last week in Michigan with the sec- former secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, working to enact educational choice in that state. I mean, the African American community has been ahead of the broader population on the need to let parents choose where their kids go to school for decades. And we know that the key to strengthening communities, to strengthening families is to- is to strengthen the education that kids are getting. And- and, um, I- I do believe the time has come to let every parent in America choose where their children go to school regardless of their income, area code, whether that’s public, private, parochial, Christian, Orthodox, or, um, homeschool. And, uh, I believe the combination of those things will strengthen the foundation, uh, under the family in this country in- in ways incalculable.

Tim: You’ve been, uh, great with your time. Two quick questions, if I may. First, Focus on the Family, as you know, cares very deeply about the fate and state of family, of marriage, the healthy raising of kids, flourishing faith, etc. The author of the US Constitution, James Madison, one of your heroes, said that conscience is the most sacred of all property, conscience. What’s the way forward to unshackling our faith in public as granted by the constitution?

Former Vice President Mike Pence: I think it’s… I think you put your finger on it to begin with, is that… I mean, the truth is that for many who share our worldview, for many conservatives, we may be the last line of defense on the Constitution of the United States. The constitution, I believe, is the most important secular document in human history. It has created the freest and most prosperous and most powerful nation in the history of the world. But there are those that wanna walk away from the principles of limited government, that wanna walk away from the God-given liberties enshrined in the First Amendment. We see in this cancel culture today and de-platforming efforts to silence people with whom those on the left disagree. There are people that want to do away with our Second Amendment, uh, denying the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. And of course, I don’t have to tell your listeners about the consistent assault on the freedom of religion across this country. And so I- I think for all of us, I really believe, Tim, that the place that every American should be able to rally around is the Constitution, the ideals of our founders. And then let’s hash it out in elections. Let’s divide it up. But let’s, um… But at the end of the day, let’s- let’s all keep faith with the Constitution. Um, I love what George Washington said once, um, that he said, “The Constitution is the guide I will never abandon.” And, uh, that’s my hope, my aspiration, and, uh, it’s my prayer for America and the generations to come.

Tim: Finally, Mr. Vice President, some believe that if you can just change the government, you can change culture. And some believe that in fact, culture pushes up against the public square. Many Christians, of course, believe that politics, left or right, is downstream from culture, that culture leads. How can we as a nation work toward a healthier culture for families, for religious liberty, and for the sanctity of human life?

Former Vice President Mike Pence: Well, I- I put myself squarely in the camp that the pulpits across this country, throughout our history and today, have, and will always have, more impact on the life of this nation than any podium a politician ever stands behind. I truly believe that. I mean, you look at… And you and I are both- we both love history. You look at the American founding and- and recognize it was the sermons thundering from pulpits up and down the Eastern seaboard (laughs) that drove the quest for independence and won us a country of our own. You think of the great progress we made toward a more perfect union, the civil rights progress we made in our lifetime in this country, all of that with very, very few exceptions was driven from communities of faith. And- and so I- I say that, um, I’m- I’m very optimistic about the future of America. Because I will tell you, in all of my travels as Vice President and all of the other roles I serve, I’ve come to two fixed opinions. And that is that this is a freedom-loving nation, and this is a nation of faith. People all across America cherish faith. And I- I think more and more are turning back their hearts to, um, that foundation of faith, and- and in so doing, I have every confidence that we’ll- we’ll, as the Bible says, we’ll, “He’ll hear from heaven and he’ll heal this land,” but it’ll be because of the prayers of the faithful, uh, as it has always been that we’ll have a brighter future for America.

Tim: On that Reaganite and optimistic tone, Mr. Vice President, thank you so much for your time. It’s greatly appreciated. And all of us in Focus on the Family are praying for you and Karen and your great family.

Former Vice President Mike Pence: Thank you, Tim. Wonderful to be with you.

Tim: God bless.

John: Well, that’s Tim Goeglein, Focus on the Family Vice President of External and Government Relations, speaking with former Vice President Mike Pence.

Jim: Uh, John, something that caught my attention was when the former Vice President described in one word what the pro-life movement should look like. He said compassion. I love that. Uh, there are women who are hurting and confused and scared, and they may have an unplanned pregnancy and they don’t know where to turn for help. Maybe they’re embarrassed for anyone to know they’re pregnant. And that leads to ending the pregnancy secretly, quietly. Um, though they may not have chosen God’s best for their baby, and maybe they didn’t really understand at the time what they were really doing, the church’s response should always be filled with compassion and love for that woman. They need to know the scope of God’s grace, His love and forgiveness that’s available through Christ, no matter their past decision making.

John: Mm. Well, Jim, what I hear you saying is that, uh, we need to be first, focused on understanding and loving people, and then, uh, at the same time, sharing truth.

Jim: Right. Uh, the pro-life cause is not about winning an argument. It can’t be about proving that we’re right and someone else is wrong. I think as the church, we’re doing a pretty good job in this area of compassion. But if we’re going to influence the culture to honor and preserve life, we have to be willing to step up and help women and men for that matter, uh, involved in these decisions in some very practical ways. Uh, there are lots of things that we can do. It’s a big commitment that we’re gonna have to make as we become the hands and feet of Jesus in the lives of others, and we impact them for Christ.

John: Yeah.

Jim: And I can only say, uh, you know, with the Dobbs decision, if it goes the way we think it will go, uh, it makes it a 50-state field of play. We’ve got to get engaged in 50 states and do what God’s called us to do.

John: Mm. Well, one of the ways that we can help you, uh, grab onto and seize this pro-life moment is through our See Life 2022. It’s a series of videos and a simulcast experience that happens, uh, next Tuesday, June 14th, on our campus. Uh, the digital experience features vignettes shown on all the Focus social media sites with really inspirational stories, and- and messages from prominent pro-life voices, including Ben Shapiro, Candace Owens, and Jeanie Mancini. Phil Wickham is leading our worship. Uh, come and see what God has in store for us this year and join us for See Life 2022. That’s Tuesday, June 14th. All the details are at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call us and we’ll be happy to tell you more. Our number, 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, (800) 232-6459.

Jim: John, let me also add, uh, man, this is so critical, Focus is trying to work with the pregnancy resource centers and other service facilities, you think about it, Catholic hospitals, uh, Protestant hospitals, in pro-life states, where we can work together to create an environment of life. I’ve talked to several of those governors. They’re willing, they’re open, they’re ready. I think in many ways they need some, uh, guidance on how we are gonna do this. This really puts it back to all 50 states. And I could easily see these states that support life in a bigger way than, say, Colorado or California that are supporting death until the last moment of birth. I mean, think of the gruesomeness of that. But I could see a few years from now, these states that have supported life, that family is thriving in those states, that moms and babies are thriving in those states. But we have a lot of work to do, and Focus is gonna play a role. And I hope you, as a supporter to this ministry, will be willing to help us. I mean, right now, $60 saves a baby’s life through Option Ultrasound. But that is just the beginning. As we talk about working as an agent to bring groups together in these various states, to deliver services for moms, to work with Christian business owners to provide job training, job placement, hospitals for pro bono medical services, to work with those pregnancy resource centers to help equip these moms with cribs and diapers and other things, all of us need to be involved. Uh, locally, the churches can help. Uh, get involved, volunteer. Uh, also work with Focus to bring life to these states. And I just think those states that don’t wanna work toward life, they will unfortunately hang a shingle of death out for those babies.

John: Well, I so appreciate your heart there, Jim. And a- again, let me turn to you, our listener, and say you can make a difference on this issue of life by getting involved. Certainly, we would encourage you to support Focus on the Family as we’re stepping up in big ways in the coming days. Make a generous donation today, however God leads, and help us continue this work at Focus on the Family. And thanks in advance for your support and thank you for praying for us as we continue to step up day in and day out. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here at Focus on the Family, thanks for joining us today. I’m John Fuller inviting you back tomorrow as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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