In a commencement speech at Liberty University this weekend, Vice President Mike Pence warned the young Christians that the secular world was not always so easy for a person of faith to navigate. Pence, who has been mercilessly mocked and criticized for his Christian beliefs, told the graduates of the Virginia private school that they would face waves of intolerance from the very people who claim to fight for inclusiveness.

“Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs,” Pence said. “So as you go about your daily life, just be ready.”

Pence noted that, even as they spoke, there was a “bevy of Hollywood liberals” preparing to boycott Georgia for passing an anti-abortion law. He said that whenever Christ’s teachings came to fruition in politics or any area of public life, the “secular left” would be there to fight those principles every step of the way.

He said that today’s Christians would be facing a much different American environment than those of previous generations.

“Throughout most of American history, it’s been pretty easy to call yourself Christian,” Pence said. “It didn’t even occur to people that you might be shunned or ridiculed for defending the teachings of the Bible. But things are different now.”

But the vice president reminded the grads that no matter what trials and tribulations life put them through, they needn’t fear that they will face them alone.

“Just know this: If, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego you end up in the fire, there will be another in the fire,” Pence said.

With this in mind, he said, the students should be fearless in taking on their enemies. He encouraged them to “stand firm” in their faith, be unafraid to witness to the secularists, and to do it “with gentleness and respect.”

“Because,” he said, “our nation and our world need that message of grace and love. Maybe more now than ever before.”

Pence knows more than most about what it means to be persecuted for his Christian beliefs. From his passing of a religious freedom law in Indiana to his fight for faith-based government today, he has been a huge target for the left. He’s been mocked for “talking to Jesus,” he’s been accused of being murderously hostile to gays, and his wife has been savagely attacked for going to work at a Christian school.

As he said, it was not that long ago when such attacks would be unthinkable and unacceptable.

“But things are different now.”