What Religion is Mike Pence?

Mike Pence, the former Vice President of the United States, is a figure of significant interest, especially concerning his religious beliefs. Pence’s faith has played a pivotal role in shaping his political career and personal life. This article delves into his religious background, exploring how his faith has influenced his decisions and public service.

Mike Pence’s Religious Journey

Early Life and Religious Background

Childhood and Upbringing

Mike Pence was born into a family with a mix of religious traditions. Raised in Columbus, Indiana, his family was deeply rooted in the Roman Catholic Church. His parents, Edward and Nancy Pence, were devout Catholics, and Pence himself was an altar boy during his early years. The foundation of his faith was laid early, and the Catholic Church played a significant role in his upbringing.

Education and Religious Influence

Pence attended parochial schools, which further solidified his Catholic faith. He graduated from Columbus North High School and went on to Hanover College, a Presbyterian liberal arts college in Indiana. During his time at Hanover, Pence’s religious views began to evolve. He started to question his faith and explore other religious perspectives, leading to a significant shift in his beliefs.

Conversion to Evangelical Christianity

Spiritual Awakening

Pence’s religious transformation occurred during his college years. In 1978, while attending a Christian music festival in Kentucky, he experienced a spiritual awakening that led him to embrace evangelical Christianity. This conversion marked a turning point in his life, steering him away from his Catholic roots and towards a more personal and evangelical form of Christianity.

Influence of Evangelical Leaders

Prominent evangelical leaders and their teachings significantly influenced Pence’s newfound faith. He became an avid listener of Christian radio programs and was particularly inspired by the works of Billy Graham. This period of spiritual growth and discovery solidified his commitment to evangelical Christianity, shaping his worldview and future political career.

The Role of Faith in Pence’s Political Career

Early Political Career

Entry into Politics

Mike Pence’s faith was a driving force behind his decision to enter politics. He believed that public service was a calling and a way to live out his Christian values. Pence’s early political career included an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 1988 and 1990. Despite these setbacks, his faith remained steadfast, guiding his political aspirations.

Governor of Indiana

In 2013, Pence became the Governor of Indiana. His tenure as governor was marked by several faith-driven initiatives, including the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This legislation aimed to protect religious freedoms but faced criticism for potentially allowing discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals. Pence’s stance on the issue highlighted the complex interplay between his religious beliefs and political responsibilities.

Vice Presidency

Faith and Governance

As Vice President under Donald Trump from 2017 to 2021, Pence’s faith continued to be a central aspect of his identity. He often spoke about the importance of prayer and sought divine guidance in his decision-making processes. Pence’s faith was evident in his speeches, policy decisions, and interactions with the public.

Controversies and Criticisms

Pence’s strong religious convictions were both a source of support and criticism. While many admired his steadfastness and moral clarity, others viewed his policies as overly influenced by his faith, potentially compromising the separation of church and state. The debates surrounding Pence’s religious beliefs underscored the broader national conversation about the role of faith in politics.

Mike Pence’s Denominational Affiliation

Evangelicalism and Its Impact

Core Beliefs

Evangelical Christianity emphasizes a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the authority of the Bible, and the importance of sharing one’s faith. Pence’s alignment with these core beliefs has shaped his public persona and political actions. His commitment to evangelical principles is reflected in his advocacy for pro-life policies, traditional family values, and religious liberty.

Influence on Policy

Pence’s policies often reflect his evangelical beliefs. His pro-life stance, opposition to same-sex marriage, and support for religious freedom legislation are rooted in his interpretation of biblical teachings. These positions have garnered him both staunch supporters and vocal critics, illustrating the polarizing nature of faith-based politics.

Church Attendance and Community Involvement

Regular Worship

Mike Pence is an active member of an evangelical church, where he participates in regular worship and community activities. His church involvement underscores his commitment to his faith and provides him with a spiritual support system. Pence’s church community plays a crucial role in his life, offering fellowship and accountability.

Community Engagement

Beyond church attendance, Pence is involved in various faith-based initiatives and charitable activities. His engagement with the Christian community extends to supporting missions, participating in prayer groups, and advocating for faith-related causes. This involvement reflects his belief in the transformative power of faith and its role in public service.

The Influence of Faith on Personal Life

Family Life

Marriage and Parenting

Mike Pence’s marriage to Karen Pence is a cornerstone of his personal life. The couple shares a deep commitment to their faith, which has been a guiding force in their relationship and parenting. They have three children, and their family life is characterized by prayer, church involvement, and adherence to Christian values.

Public Persona

The Pences have often spoken publicly about their faith and its importance in their lives. Their commitment to Christian principles is evident in their lifestyle, public appearances, and interactions with others. This transparency about their faith has endeared them to many evangelical voters while also attracting scrutiny from critics.

Moral and Ethical Decisions

Integrity and Honesty

Mike Pence’s faith informs his approach to ethics and integrity. He strives to conduct himself with honesty and transparency, guided by his Christian values. This commitment to moral principles has been a defining aspect of his public service, influencing his decisions and leadership style.

Challenges and Criticisms

Despite his efforts to live out his faith, Pence has faced challenges and criticisms. His decisions, particularly on contentious issues like LGBTQ+ rights and abortion, have sparked debate and controversy. These challenges highlight the difficulty of balancing personal faith with public responsibility.

Comparison of Catholicism and Evangelical Christianity

AspectCatholicismEvangelical Christianity
AuthorityPope and Church TraditionBible as the ultimate authority
SacramentsSeven sacramentsTwo sacraments: Baptism
AspectCatholicismEvangelical Christianity
SacramentsSeven sacraments: Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and MatrimonyTwo sacraments: Baptism and Communion
SalvationFaith and good worksFaith alone (Sola Fide)
WorshipLiturgical, formalNon-liturgical, informal
Role of Mary and SaintsVeneration of Mary and saintsNo veneration, direct relationship with Jesus
ClergyPriests, bishops, cardinals, popePastors, elders, deacons
CommunionTransubstantiation (literal body and blood of Christ)Symbolic remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice
EvangelismLess emphasis on personal evangelismStrong emphasis on personal evangelism
Interpretation of BibleGuided by Church tradition and teachingsIndividual interpretation encouraged

Influence of Mike Pence’s Religion on Public Perception

Support from Evangelicals

Evangelical Base

Mike Pence’s steadfast evangelical beliefs have garnered him substantial support from the evangelical community. His alignment with their values, particularly on issues like abortion and religious liberty, has solidified his standing as a leading figure among conservative Christians. This base of support has been crucial throughout his political career.

Advocacy and Outreach

Pence actively engages with evangelical organizations and participates in events that promote Christian values. His speeches often include references to his faith, and he regularly attends gatherings hosted by evangelical groups. This outreach has strengthened his ties with religious conservatives and reinforced his commitment to their causes.

Criticism and Controversy

Secular Opposition

Pence’s overt religiosity has also attracted criticism, particularly from secular and progressive groups. Critics argue that his policies are too heavily influenced by his religious beliefs, potentially undermining the separation of church and state. This tension has sparked debates about the role of personal faith in public office.

LGBTQ+ Rights and Religious Freedom

The most contentious issues involving Pence’s faith-based policies are his stances on LGBTQ+ rights and religious freedom. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) he signed as Governor of Indiana was perceived by many as enabling discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals. His opposition to same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ+ rights has also drawn significant backlash, highlighting the deep divisions in public opinion regarding faith and policy.

Mike Pence’s Public Statements on Faith

Notable Quotes

Faith in Speeches

Pence frequently incorporates references to his faith in his public addresses. Notable quotes include his declaration that “I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” This phrase encapsulates how he prioritizes his faith above his political and ideological identities, emphasizing the foundational role of religion in his life.

Interviews and Media Appearances

In interviews, Pence often discusses how his faith influences his worldview and decision-making. He has shared personal anecdotes about his spiritual journey and how prayer guides him in his roles. These statements serve to reinforce his image as a devout Christian committed to living out his beliefs.

Public Reaction

Supportive Responses

Many of Pence’s supporters appreciate his openness about his faith, viewing it as a sign of integrity and authenticity. His willingness to speak about his religious convictions resonates with voters who prioritize moral and ethical leadership.

Critical Responses

Conversely, Pence’s religious rhetoric has also been met with skepticism and criticism. Some view his public expressions of faith as a means to pander to religious voters, while others fear that his beliefs could lead to policies that marginalize non-Christians and secular individuals. This duality in public reaction underscores the complex interplay between faith and politics.

Key Legislation Influenced by Pence’s Faith

LegislationDescriptionImpact and Controversy
Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)Aimed to protect religious freedom by preventing government from burdening individuals’ exercise of religionCriticized for enabling discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals
Pro-Life PoliciesAdvocated for and signed numerous laws restricting abortion accessSupported by pro-life groups, opposed by pro-choice advocates
Religious Liberty Executive OrderIssued as Vice President to protect religious organizations from federal interferenceSeen as bolstering religious freedom, criticized for potential bias

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What religion does Mike Pence practice?

Mike Pence practices evangelical Christianity. He converted from Roman Catholicism during his college years and has been a committed evangelical ever since.

How has Mike Pence’s faith influenced his political career?

Pence’s faith has significantly influenced his political career. His evangelical beliefs guide his stances on key issues such as abortion, religious freedom, and family values, shaping his policy decisions and legislative actions.

Did Mike Pence grow up in a religious family?

Yes, Mike Pence grew up in a devout Roman Catholic family. He was an altar boy and attended parochial schools, which laid the foundation for his early religious upbringing.

What church does Mike Pence attend?

Mike Pence is an active member of an evangelical church. He regularly attends services and participates in church activities, reflecting his commitment to his faith.

How do Mike Pence’s religious beliefs affect his views on LGBTQ+ rights?

Pence’s religious beliefs have led him to oppose same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ+ rights. He supports policies that he believes protect religious freedom but has faced criticism for enabling discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.


Mike Pence’s journey from Roman Catholicism to evangelical Christianity has profoundly shaped his life and political career. His faith is not just a personal matter but a guiding force in his public service. From his early years in Indiana to his tenure as Vice President, Pence’s religious convictions have influenced his decisions, policies, and the way he navigates the complex landscape of American politics. While his steadfast faith has garnered both staunch support and significant criticism, it remains a central aspect of his identity and public persona.


  1. “Mike Pence: The Shadow President” by Michael D’Antonio and Peter Eisner.
  2. “The Faith of Mike Pence” by Leslie Montgomery.
  3. Various articles from major news outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN.
  4. Official statements and speeches by Mike Pence.
  5. Evangelical Christian sources and interviews with religious leaders.

Leave a Comment