When asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper at the SXSW town hall event in Austin on Sunday night if he thought Vice President Mike Pence would make a better or worse president than President Donald Trump, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg opted to use Pence’s well-known Christian faith as an avenue of attack.
Buttigieg, who has formed an exploratory committee for a 2020 Democratic presidential run but has not officially announced, responded, “I don’t know” to Tapper’s quesion. But one thing he did know, evidently, was that “it’s really strange because I used to at least believe that he believed. I disagreed with him ferociously on these things, but I thought, well at least he believed in our institutions and he’s not personally corrupt.”
Now, however, because of Pence’s association with President Trump, Buttigieg is not so sure about the sincerity of Pence’s Christian faith, because “then how could he get on board with this presidency? My understanding of Scripture, it’s about protecting the stranger and the prisoner and the poor person and that idea of welcome. That’s what I get in the gospel when I’m in church.”
Buttigieg’s “gospel” is, of course, what is known as the “social gospel.” While the apostle Paul described the gospel as “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,” decades ago those on the Left chose to describe the gospel as “feeding the hungry and clothing the naked” --- and taking money from the taxpayers in order to do it.
In contrast, Buttigieg argues that the gospel Pence believes in “has a lot more to do with sexuality and I don’t know, a certain view of rectitude but even if you buy all of that, how could he allow himself to become the cheerleader of the porn star presidency?”
The partisan CNN audience cheered wildly when Buttigieg added, “Is it that he stopped believing in Scripture when he started believing in Donald Trump?”
One can safely assume that Buttigieg was referring to the payments that Trump made to the porn star Stormy Daniels through his now-former lawyer Michael Cohen in 2016. (In fairness to the president, such payments do not constitute any admission of guilt in an affair with Daniels). It is odd that Buttigieg would argue that Pence’s place in the Trump administration discredits him because of Trump’s decade-old relationship with Daniels, when Buttigieg has been “married” to a man since June of last year. Scriptural support for same-sex marriage is non-existent.
While Buttigieg’s parents were both professors at Notre Dame, perhaps the most prominent Roman Catholic university in the country, he himself is a member of the Episcopal Church. A graduate of Harvard in 2004, Buttigieg was also a Rhodes Scholar.
If Buttigieg, a 37-year-old mayor, does opt to run for president, he would have to edge out another candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a socialist whom he has long admired. His essay on the political courage of then-U.S. Representative Bernie Sanders won him a first prize in the JFK Profiles in Courage Essay Contest.
Buttigieg also seems to share Sanders’ disdain for Pence’s evangelical brand of Christianity. A fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of religious liberty was demonstrated by Sanders, who announced in 2017 that he would vote against Russell Vought for the position of deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget simply because Vought believed in the “centrality of Jesus Christ in salvation.”
Buttigieg and Sanders are not alone in making an issue out of the religious beliefs of those with whom they disagree politically. For example, when Amy Comey Barrett was up for confirmation to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last year, California Senator Dianne Feinstein grilled her over her Roman Catholic beliefs. “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern,” Feinstein said of Barrett’s Catholicism.
In the case of Pence, Buttigieg is clearly offended by the vice president’s publicly stated view that homosexual behavior is a sin — a position taken by the overwhelming majority of Christians for the past two thousand years. To Buttigieg, Christianity is instead all about such things as open borders (protecting the stranger) or government welfare programs for the poor. Ironically, conservatives — whether or not they are Christians — give a much larger percentage of their incomes to charitable causes than do those on the political Left. Those on the Left — such as Buttigieg — are quite generous with other people’s money, but conservatives tend to be more generous with their own money.
Since Buttigieg mentioned Scripture, Tapper should have asked him where in the New Testament did Jesus or any of the biblical writers call for government to take money from one person and give it to another person. Of course, Tapper did not ask such a question, because like almost all the mainstream media, he is a cheerleader for such hypocritical politicians as Buttigieg.