Mike Pence, the vice president of the United States, has always been proud to put his faith on display. A born-again evangelical Christian, Pence previously explained that he gave his life to Jesus Christ and "that's changed everything."
It is his strong faith that also shaped the decisions he made as an adult as well as political stance on a number of issues like abortion.
“I sign this law with a prayer that God would continue to bless these precious children, mothers and families,” Pence said as he signed an abortion bill that makes it illegal for a woman to abort a fetus because it has a disability like Down syndrome.
Recently, former White House political aide Omarosa Manigault revealed more about Pence's "extreme" beliefs on the reality show Big Brother. She told her roommates that Pence "thinks Jesus tells him to say things" and even as a Christian, she finds that "scary."
As soon as this information leaked, the media used it to attack Pence's religious convictions. The View co-host Joy Behar was among them.
On a recent episode of the daytime talk show, Behar made some controversial remarks when discussing Manigault's revelation about Pence.
“It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you,” the comedian said. “That’s called mental illness if I’m not correct. Hearing voices.”
Behar's mocking comments did not bode well with many Christians, and according to watchdog group Media Research Center, ABC has since received more than 25,000 calls from people who had complaints about Behar's segment.
“Make no mistake, the slurs against the vice president’s faith insult millions of Christians and are unacceptable. If there are no on-air apologies after this deplorable episode, Christians will tune out ABC programming across the board. And we will do our best to encourage it,” MRC President Brent Bozell wrote in an open letter.
He threatened to reach out to advertisers of The View if an on-air apology isn't issued to Christians across the nation.
Now, Pence himself is firing back at Behar for her insensitive statement.
Pence addressed the issue during a new interview with Fox & Friends from the U.S.-Mexico border. The vice president explained to the show's co-host Ainsley Earheardt that he is "accustomed to criticism," but he "just couldn't be silent" this time.
Pence, didn't mention Behar's name, but he did confirm that he heard that a host on the ABC show described his faith as a "mental illness."
“People of all different faith traditions, they cherish their faith in God,” Pence said. “And to have ABC have a forum that spoke in such demeaning terms, I think it’s evidence of how out of touch some in the mainstream media are with the faith and values of the American people.”
Although this is the first time that Pence has addressed Behar's joke in detail, he did previously comment on it in an interview with Axios founder Mike Allen. At the time, he called the remarks "an insult, not to me, but to the vast majority of the American people who, like me, cherish their faith."
Earhardt's co-host, Brian Kilmeade, came to Pence's defense by pointing out that Oprah's believes aren't all that different from the vice president's but she was never mocked for it. Kilmeade referred to an instance during Oprah's 60 Minutes interview when she said "If God actually wanted me to run [for presidency], wouldn’t God kind of tell me? And I haven’t heard that."
“Really? So is Oprah Winfrey also mentally ill?” Kilmeade asked.
Behar has yet to issue an apology, but when asked by her co-host Whoppi Goldberg if she really believes Christians are mentally ill, she responded with "of course not."
Behar then explained that many of her friends and family are Christian and she did not take the comment seriously. She said, “I don’t mean to offend people, but apparently I keep doing it. It was a joke. Comedians are in danger these days.”
Did Behar take her joke too far? Let is know in the comments!