Picture it: a young, handsome, frat boy version of Mike Pence, strumming his guitar with a smile. Friendly and outgoing, he supports the Democratic Party, gay rights and has a healthy relationship with his girlfriend.
How times change.
CNN has released a chilling new report, part of an ongoing profile series on now Veep Mike Pence and his religious beliefs shaped his personality as a young man and his governing philosophy today. In it, friends and acquaintances who knew Pence during his tenure at Hanover College detail his character, including a sudden religious “conversion” which turned a kind, curious young man into–as one woman described it–a “rigid, condescending and exclusionary” preacher/politician.
In other words, this is how young Pence became the hate monger we know today.
We’ve put together a list of the most shocking revelations from the report which detail how Pence went from friendly to freaky.
1. Pence once identified as a Democrat.
Until a sudden bout of religious fanaticism, Pence, like his immigrant grandfather, supported the Democratic party. He also attended campus parties, played the guitar, maintained friendships with classmates–including women–and even joined the fraternity Phi Gamma Delta. That all changed after a religious epiphany in 1978.
2. Pence underwent a “come to Jesus” moment
While studying at Hanover, Pence became a leader with Vespers, a musical group devoted to playing Christian-themed music about spiritual devotion. While attending a Christian music festival with the group, Pence underwent a religious awakening–one which he has described in detail numerous times. After that, according to CNN, friends noticed a dramatic shift in his personality as Pence became “devoted” to God and not to human beings.
3. Pence ratted out his frat brothers
Where there are fraternities, there is beer. That was true even when Pence joined Phi Gamma Delta and participated in their many parties, sometimes even in a Toga. After his religious conversion, however, Pence managed to get his frat brothers in trouble after alerting a dean of students to hidden kegs of beer in the Phi Gamma frat house.
4. Pence once had actual female friends
Lisa Koon attended Hanover with Pence and got to know him through the Vespers group. They enjoyed a warm friendship until Pence’s moment of religious “calling,” when he suddenly became more rigid and judgmental. During one prayer group on a Vespers retreat, Pence reduced Koon to tears over her “sinful” lifestyle, condemning her for attending a frat party, which Pence also attended. A lifelong Christian, Koon suddenly found herself shunned by her fellow Vespers members, not to mention infuriated over Pence’s judgment. Today, Pence notoriously refuses to dine with another woman alone unless his wife is present.
5. Pence had gay friends, too
Yes, really. Pence actually became the first person a fellow Hanover student came out to, labeling Pence a “mentor” figure. The gay man–who remains anonymous in the CNN story–says Pence labeled him “an abomination” and cut off all contact after his coming out. Fellow students have confirmed the account. A frat brother of Pence’s, Scott Roos, says he experienced a similar reaction after his coming out.
6. Pence almost broke up with his now-wife over her sinful lifestyle
Scott Roos also recalls Pence’s disgust over his then-girlfriend Karen’s “sinful” lifestyle. Like many women, Karen had lost her virginity before marriage, which disgusted Pence and strained their relationship. Eventually, Pence managed to forgive Karen, the two married and have three children together. Roos added that he suspects Pence’s religiosity stems from political ambition: Pence once told Roos that “God told [Pence] he would be President.”
A real charmer, that Mike Pence. Suppose there’s any way to enroll him in his beloved conversion therapy…for not being a judgemental jerk?