Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, started teaching art this week at Immanuel Christian School, a Northern Virginia establishment where LGBTQ staff and kids are not welcome.
Soon, the school will receive a large pile of books with a very different, and accepting, message.
The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, announced Thursday that it has sent Immanuel Christian 100 copies of A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, a children’s book about a boy bunny who falls in love with another boy bunny. Included with the books is “a heartfelt note that encourages the school’s leaders to accept LGBTQ young people,” the group said.
A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo debuted last year as comedian John Oliver’s response to Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President, a book written by Pence’s daughter, Charlotte, and illustrated by Karen Pence that depicts the family’s pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo.
Mike Pence is notoriously hostile to LGBTQ rights, once opining that marriage equality could lead to “societal collapse.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, the queer version of the bunny book has sold much better. Proceeds benefit The Trevor Project, which works specifically to prevent suicide by LGBTQ youth, and AIDS United, which is dedicated to stopping AIDS in the U.S.
An alumnus of Immanuel Christian voiced support for the donation in the group’s statement, saying that he is “a living example that intolerance, both in policy and rhetoric, are harmful to the mental wellness and development of LGBTQ students, who are desperately looking for ways to fit in.”
The former student, Luke Hartman, an out gay man, continued by explaining that “silent and spoken messages of rejection” felt by LGBTQ youth “directly impact the relationship they have with their faith, education, and relationships with family and friends,” ultimately damaging their sense of self-worth.
As first reported by HuffPost, Immanuel Christian says it can refuse to admit students who participate in or condone homosexual activity, per a “parent agreement” posted online. Employees of the school are made to sign a statement saying they will not engage in homosexual activity or violate the “unique roles of male and female.”