College announces Faith & Public Life center, Pence fellowship

Grove City College is establishing the Center for Faith & Public Life to explore and support the presence of Christian faith in public institutions.

To help launch this important initiative, former Vice President of the United States Mike Pence will immediately begin serving as the Distinguished Visiting Fellow for Faith & Public Life.

“The appropriate role of faith in the public square is a major issue in this moment of our American life. The Founders envisioned a free society sustained by a self-governing citizenry and strengthened by virtues rooted in religious belief. At the core of Christian faith is the call to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. The Center will examine how and why Christians have sought to put their faith into action for the common good,” said Grove City College President Paul J. McNulty ’80.

The presence of Judeo-Christian values in the public square – once common, expected, and welcome – is facing increased scrutiny and growing opposition. The rapid rise of secularism, the influence of contentious voices, and other conditions present in post-Christian America are diminishing and endangering the historic and vital role of faith in society.

To meet this moment, Grove City College is launching the Center for Faith & Public Life to expand awareness of the historic relationship between religious belief and public life; explore ways to integrate faith in public policy and service; and strengthen opportunities for Christian engagement in public life. The term “public life” is not limited to government and politics. The Center will examine a broad range of issues encompassing business, education, media, and other sectors that impact the social fabric.

The Center is a natural extension of Grove City College’s grounding in permanent ideas and conservative values, its longstanding commitment to the foundations of a free society and advancing the common good, and its mission to prepare young people for lives of Christian service and civic responsibility.

As the Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Pence will play a key role in the Center’s work, McNulty said.

“Mike Pence is the perfect choice for the Center’s first fellowship,” McNulty said. “No one has pursued this calling more sincerely than the former vice president. He is an extraordinary role model for what it looks like to lead with wisdom and winsomeness in public life, and he will be a leading source of thought leadership and an impactful voice of the Center.”

As one of America’s foremost Christian political leaders, Pence has been explicit about how his faith has guided him as a public servant. The wisdom he has accrued over decades of service in Congress, as governor of Indiana, and as the nation’s second-in-command for four years under President Donald J. Trump will benefit the new center.

Pence, who was on campus Thursday to address the annual conference held by The Institute for Faith & Freedom, offered his thoughts on joining the Center and its mission.

“It is my great honor to serve as a visiting fellow to Grove City College’s new Center for Faith & Public Life,” Pence said. “Faith and engaging in public life are not mutually exclusive, nor should they ever be. History shows that Christians steadily working toward the common good have changed the world, and Grove City College opening a center shows they are committed to continuing this work.”

In addition to providing thought leadership through speaking and writing, Pence will be a presence on campus, participating in events, interacting with students, and teaching a course with McNulty next year.

“Grove City College has been a pivotal institution in helping students grow in their faith and in understanding God’s calling for their life through a rigorous education and a faith-based community. Grove City works to send out young men and women into the world to be beacons of light and truth in a world that needs leaders of integrity and principle,” Pence said.

About the Center for Faith & Public Life

The Center for Faith & Public Life will operate under the auspices of The Institute for Faith & Freedom, Grove City College’s vision and values think tank. Its work will focus on four broad categories of study:

  • Winsome witness – Christian conduct in public life, including communication, family life, and concern for the common good.
  • God and government – the relationship between religious beliefs and public policy and service.
  • Religious freedom – the basic legal protections of conscience, religious speech and practice, and the free exercise of religion.
  • Faith and the common good – the role of faith in every public sector for promoting prosperity, family values, human dignity, justice, and other attributes of a healthy society.

About Mike Pence

Distinguished Visiting Fellow for Faith & Public Life Michael R. Pence earned a degree in history in 1981 from Hanover (Indiana) College, where he renewed the Christian faith that is the driving force in his life. He graduated from Indiana University School of Law, where he met his wife Karen Pence. They married in 1988 and have three children. Before entering politics, Pence practiced law and hosted a talk radio show and public affairs program in Indiana. He was elected to the first of six terms in Congress in 2000 and served as chairman of the House Republican Study Committee. In 2012, he was elected governor of Indiana, where he enacted the largest income tax cut in state history. In July 2016, Donald Trump selected Pence as his running mate. He was sworn in as vice president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2017, and served until January 2021. Since leaving office, Pence wrote a book, “So Help Me God,” and mounted a presidential campaign. He recently launched Advancing American Freedom, a policy and advocacy organization committed to traditional conservative ideals that are” bigger than any one moment, election, or person.”

College announces Faith & Public Life center, Pence fellowship

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