CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - Vice President Mike Pence stopped by the Church by the Glades on Sunday where he spoke to the congregation about his faith.
Paster David Hughes said the megachurch was honored to have the vice president visit, but when the announcement was made that he'd attend a service, it did come with some backlash since the congregation is a mix of Republicans and Democrats.
"The vice president's office asked if he could share his faith story as long as it's not something political, Hughes said. "I'm open for that as well."
Pence had been in Florida over the weekend to push for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the installment of President Donald Trump's health plan.
During the service, Pence sat down for a discussion with Hughes, and although faith was the focal point of his message to the church, he did take time to defend Trump.
"He's one of the most considerate people I've ever met,” Pence said, referring to Trump.
As for uniting the country, Pence said it boils down to respect.
"For me, my house, it all really comes down to just treating others the way you want to be treated,” Pence said.
As Pence's motorcade made its way out of Coral Springs, churchgoers had a chance to reflect on what Trump's right-hand man spoke about at the church. Some who attended the service said they enjoyed Pence's message.
"I think it's an awesome opportunity," Abraham Matos said. "I know he's not here for any political reason. That's not the purpose. I just want to hear what he has to say about our faith. Regardless of his beliefs he's welcome here and I'm just excited to hear what he has so say and share a Christian perspective on his faith."
Miri Rodriguez agreed.
"I just am enjoying that he's coming here, I love that he stands for Jesus and so yes, I love that he stands for Jesus because I do to," she said.
Ivonne Reynolds, a Democrat, said it was important for her to listen to Pence and get his perspective.
"The president of the United States just seems to be opposite of his vice president, and I wanted to hear what he had to say, because he sounds like a Christian, but his counterpart is totally different in my opinion," she said. "I'm concerned and I'm very worried. There's just a lot going on in the world and I almost sometimes feel like I'm not living in the United States. It's just, it's scary to me."
Despite those protests, Reynolds said she was glad to see the vice president tell his story. She said as someone who voted for Hillary Clinton, she's doing her best to give this administration a chance. She said she’d like to see more unity in the country and less division.
"We can't have one side or the other. We are one and we're trying to be one and that's what this is about," she said.
Not everyone greeted Pence with open arms. Outside the church, dozens of activists gathered to protest the vice president’s visit.
"I can't stand that they want to take my country apart," Jay Petroff, of Hollywood, said. “We're not protesting the church. We're protesting Mike Pence, and it's the administration. We want the world to know that there's still a large majority of people that do not appreciate Mike Pence and Donald Trump, and we stand united with them against the administration.”
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