On Saturday, University of California, Los Angeles professor Carla Pestana published a piece in the Huffington Post titled "Arrogant Christians in the White House," taking aim at President Trump and Vice President Pence for their Christian faiths.
The irony here, in fact, is that Pestana's piece is predicated on the rather arrogant presumption that, as someone who has likely never met either man, she understands the nuances of their personal faiths.
Right off the bat, Pestana grossly exaggerated the now-infamous detail about Pence and his wife's relationship included in a Washington Post profile last month, referring to him as "the fundamentalist Christian whose views are so extreme that he cannot be alone with a woman other than his wife." In fact, the Post only noted that Pence does not eat alone with women other than his wife, nor does he attend events featuring alcohol without her.
Pestana, a Huffington Post contributor, continued her smear campaign by writing of the vice president's faith, "Its arrogance lies in the hubris of those who believe that only their chosen answers are correct."
She continued, "Its potential to harm others comes when adherents gain political power and force their mandates on nonbelievers," broadly claiming that "women's rights and gender equality are on Pence's hit list."
Moving on to President Trump, Pestana, who apparently just finished up teaching a class on the history of religion in the United States last month, brazenly asserted, "Trump accepts a religious viewpoint that tells him he is uniquely awesome. Whatever he has—however he acquired it—God wants him to enjoy to the fullest."
"Although traditional Christian social practice mandates that believers exercise humility, charity and other virtues that put others before self," Pestana wrote, "Trump's faith rejects all curbs on self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement."
How she knows that to be true, however, Pestana does not say.
In the penultimate paragraph, the professor summarized her argument by comparing the beliefs of both men, alleging, "Pence's arrogance leads him to believe that he knows exactly what God wants us all to do and that he ought to force that on us if he has the power to do so. Trump's faith simply endorses his own self-regard, elevating his personal whims to God's desires."
But how does she know, for instance, that "Trump's faith rejects all curbs on self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement?" Without supplying any hard evidence to support the claim that president himself actually believes there ought to be no such curbs, it is reckless to publish that assertion as a statement of fact.
Actually, the article lacks a single quote from either Trump or Pence, the ultimate authorities on a subject as personal as this.
Again, the great irony here is that Pestana's entire argument hinges on the arrogant presumption that her understanding of the personal religious beliefs of two men she has probably never met or spent time with is unimpeachable.
The piece's lack of any hard evidence linking either man to these sweeping characterizations of their faiths, assuming them instead as matters of fact, was just icing on the cake.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.