Former vice president Mike Pence appeared at First Baptist Dallas this past weekend, where he signed copies of his new book, “So Help Me God,” and discussed the book with Pastor Robert Jeffress during Sunday services on Jan. 15.
“Honored to be at @firstdallas tonight with @robertjeffress, @KarenPence, and so many believers to share our story from ‘So Help Me God’ with you and sign copies!” tweeted Pence on Saturday, Jan. 14. “Thank you for the warm welcome and a great evening! See you tomorrow at Sunday worship!”
Honored to be at @firstdallas tonight with @robertjeffress, @KarenPence, and so many believers to share our story from “So Help Me God” with you and sign copies! Thank you for the warm welcome and a great evening! See you tomorrow at Sunday worship! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/VUxR3TuYoa
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) January 15, 2023
Mike Pence: ‘This Is a Nation of Faith’
Mike Pence joined Robert Jeffress onstage at the Dallas church prior to Jeffress preaching each service’s sermon. The church has hosted political figures in the past; former president Donald Trump spoke at First Baptist Dallas in December 2021.
In November, Pence published his book, “So Help Me God,” described as “the inside story of the Trump administration by its second highest official—what he said to the president and how he was tested.” While promoting the book, the former vice president has discussed his experience during the days leading up to the infamous events of Jan. 6, 2021.
During the first service, Jeffress introduced Pence as “truly a committed Christian,” “a true American patriot” and a “great friend” to himself and First Baptist. One of the questions the pastor posed to the former vice president pertained to the relationship between faith and politics. “What do you say to people who say there ought to be a wall of separation, not just between church and state, but between faith and public life?” asked Jeffress.
The concept of the separation of church and state has been a matter of controversy of late, with some conservative politicians denouncing the idea. U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO) drew criticism in June 2022 for her comments on the topic. She said:
The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our founding fathers intended it, and I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk that’s not in the Constitution. It was in a stinking letter, and it means nothing like what they say it does.
The concept of “separation between church and state” originates from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802.
In July 2022, Jeffress himself faulted what, in his view, the separation of church and state has come to mean. “Never in his wildest imagination did Thomas Jefferson ever suspect that one day his letter would be used to prohibit prayer in the public schools, or Bible reading, or nativity displays in the town square, or using the name of Jesus in a commencement speech,” said the pastor. “That was never in his mind at all.”
In response to Jeffress’ question about the relationship between faith and politics, Pence said, “The freedom of religion was the first freedom…but the freedom of religion is not the freedom from religion. The truth is, this is a nation of faith.” Pence said he witnessed ample evidence of Americans’ faith during his time in public office. He loved when people told him they were praying for him, saying those were the “sweetest words” to hear and “I literally heard it everywhere.”