Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate Friday in part because Pence is popular among social conservatives, particularly evangelical Christians.
Pence's Christian values present a contrast to those of Trump, whose own ethics, decency, and sense of morality are stored in an off-shore account near one of the circles of Dante's hell.
Trump needs someone like Pence. But what about Pence?
Pence often describes himself as "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order"?
But he is a politician above everything else. Religion is something he talks about to advance his political interests but he doesn't allow such things as compassion and decency to interfere with his ambitions.
Pence uses the Bible to justify his intolerance for gays but ignores scripture when it comes to helping those who need help and comforting the persecuted.
In this respect, Pence is like so many other social conservatives who drive the far-right ideology of the Republican Party.
They are anti-abortion, but this doesn't necessarily mean they're pro-life. If you were pro-life, wouldn't you oppose torture and capital punishment? You also would oppose corporate polluters who release toxins into the air that annually sicken or kill thousands and thousands in this country, including a disproportionate number of children and the elderly.
If you were really pro-life, you would support universal health care, affordable housing, free lunch programs, benefits for war veterans, racial and gender equality, and equal justice for all. You would support Social Security, Medicare, parental leave, affordable education, and care for the elderly, homeless, and mentally ill.
"For I was hungry," Matthew 25:35-36 tells us, "and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."
Pence may listen to Jesus but he acts according to the Koch brothers and the cynicism of social conservatism.
Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that legalized discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.
Pence says his faith is rooted in The Bible, but there's more to the Bible than the half-dozen or so verses that condemn homosexuality. His faith apparently ignores the hundreds of verses that instruct us to be tolerant, compassionate, and understanding, to care for the poor, sick, and needy.
In late 2014, Pence cut tens of thousands of Hoosiers off food stamps, saying it would be "ennobling" for poor people.
Pence lowered the corporate income tax in the state, which meant less money for towns and cities to go to underfunded schools and libraries.
This, Pence no doubt thought, will be "ennobling" for teachers and students - especially in poor school districts.
In late 2015, Pence ordered an end to the resettlement in Indiana of Syrian refugees who were fleeing their war-torn country. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis, putting its religious principles into practice, defied the governor and accepted the refugees.
Too bad Pence only seeks counsel in the Bible when it comes to preaching and not when it comes to practicing Jesus's words.