A breakthrough for Democrats: Pete Buttigieg invokes religion in his appeal
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana running as one of the Democratic candidates for President, is using a novel appeal for a Democrat: he is using the language of faith in asking Americans to make a moral judgment about their political choices.
So far, Buttigieg, who is gay and married to his husband, has used the religious appeal primarily in his call for more tolerance for same-sex marriages. According to the New York Times, Buttigieg is “talking about God and sexuality in an unconventional way…to confront the Christian right on territory they have long claimed as their own.”
He has reframed gay rights issues “in religious terms, raising questions about God, morality, sexuality and intolerance that depart from the familiar left-right fault lines.”
Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin has recently published some commentary that strikes us as having a particularly relevant message for Democrats. She talks about how religion plays a positive role in Buttigieg’s outlook. But she says his approach is shared by another Democrat who is gaining increased national prominence—no less than Georgia’s own Stacey Abrams.
Full disclosure: one reason we liked Rubin’s assessment it is that it echoes some of IndieDems previously expressed viewpoints about religion and politics!
Rubin makes her case in:
- Rubin points out that during a remarkable interview in USA Today, Buttigieg stated: “The left is rightly committed to a separation of church and state . . . but we need to not be afraid to invoke arguments that are convincing on why Christian faith is going to point you in a progressive direction.”
- “When I think about where most of Scripture points me, it is toward defending the poor, and the immigrant, and the stranger, and the prisoner, and the outcast, and those who are left behind by the way society works.”
- “And what we have now is this exaltation of wealth and power, almost for its own sake, that in my reading of Scripture couldn’t be more contrary to the message of Christianity.”
- “…it is hard to look at this president’s actions and believe that they’re the actions of somebody who believes in God…I’ve never seen him humble himself before anyone. And the exaltation of yourself, especially a self that’s about wealth and power, could not be more at odds with at least my understanding of the teachings of the Christian faith.”
In short, says Rubin, Buttigieg is saying, don’t be shy in pointing out when Trump and his ilk betray the principles of faith they claim to hold and by which they judge their opponents — but not their own side.
Rubin elaborates in another column:
Things Stacey Abrams and Pete Buttigieg get that most other pols don’t
“Both talk about faith as a motivating force for their public lives… they talk about faith without rancor, without parochialism and without boasting. One knows this is part of who they are.”
Abrams used a campaign video titled “Faith in Georgia” that emphasized her religious roots as a source of her political views.
IndieDems Says: Welcome Aboard
I applaud Buttigieg’s invoking Christian doctrines in support of liberal, and progressive causes—it’s something I’ve done since Trump assumed office. It’s such a natural, I remain mystified that most Democrats have failed to see the powerful instrument it provides. Buttigieg and I share the same favorite Bible verse, from Matthew 6:5-6: about how the loudest public prayers are the biggest hypocrites.
I hope that Buttigieg continues to expand his appeal to religion beyond using it to further tolerance toward gay rights and same-sex marriages. The Judaeo-Christian ethos delivers an even broader and more powerful message. I have put it like this: Donald Trump and his Republican minions live every day in willful, wanton defiance of God’s 10 Commandments and Jesus’ Golden Rule. Let me just quote two of those Commandments: “Thou shalt not bear false witness; and thou shalt not commit adultery.” What more needs to be said?
Christian support of Trump for his position on abortion or gay rights? Jesus, I note, said absolutely nothing about either one. But he explicitly admonished us to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” What Trump Tweet or saying reflects the spirit of those words? Furthermore, the Democratic policies of Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, and Medicaid are the pluperfect examples of the Golden Rule.
And to those Christians who claim that the abortion issue trumps all: where, I ask, in the entire Bible does God or Jesus grant you the right to make such subjective distinctions?
Here’s a selective sampling of what IndieDems has said:
- Christians Choose Trump over 10 Commandments, Golden Rule
- Letter to Christian Clerics – December 2017
- Letter to Rev. Bryant Wright, Chief Pastor, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church
- You Can’t Support Donald Trump and Be a Christian
- The Democratic Party Is the Party of Family Values
- Where Are American Christians as Trump’s Demagoguery Rivals Hitler’s?
- Kavanaugh Fight Reveals the Truth: Christian = Hypocrite
- Christian Hypocrisy Reborn under Trump/Republicans
- “Trump Exposes the Hypocrisy of Christian Republicans”
- Christian Leaders’ Feckless Tolerance of Trump Continues
- Flyover Republicans: Want Respect? Try Adhering to America’s Moral Values