When the governing class finds faith inconvenient, there are two ways of proceeding: the Soviet model of trying to crush it and the Nazi model of trying to co-opt it. Presidential contender Pete Buttigieg, the self-righteous sage of South Bend, is clearly in the latter camp.
“St. Pete,” as commentator Tucker Carlson calls him, has made religious appeals a campaign cornerstone. One of his themes is that Scripture can justify prenatal infanticide — even the late-term variety — and he reiterated this claim, along with calling the Bible “inconsistent,” in a Wednesday Rolling Stone interview.
As the Washington Examiner reported Thursday:
Responding to charges that he was “picking and choosing” what the Bible teaches about certain issues, Buttigieg told Rolling Stone, “Well, I think for a lot of us — certainly for me — any encounter with Scripture includes some process of sorting out what connects you with God versus what simply tells you about the morals of the times when it was written.”
“And to me, that’s not so much cherry-picking as just being serious, because of course there’s so many things in Scripture that are inconsistent internally, and you’ve got to decide what sense to make of it,” Buttigieg continued, adding, “Jesus speaks so often in hyperbole and parable, in mysterious code, that in my experience, there’s simply no way that a literal understanding of Scripture can fit into the Bible that I find in my hands.”
The 37-year-old South Bend, Indiana, mayor reiterated his stance that the Bible potentially justifies abortion up to the point of birth because “there’s so many parts of the Bible that associate the beginning of life with breath.”
It would be interesting to ask St. Pete, biblical scholar, to cite the passages in question. I know of none supporting his position. Yes, the Bible does often speak of “breath.” But when it’s mentioned relating to life’s beginning, it’s generally in reference to God’s breath, as in Job 33:4’s statement that “the breath of the Almighty gives me life”; or Genesis 2:7, which reads, “Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
In fact, the “Bible does not say life begins at ‘first breath.’ Whoever created this meme needs to read their Bible again,” states Christian education website Stand to Reason.
Scripture “says Adam came to life at first breath (Gen 2:7). Of course, this is a descriptive statement, not a prescriptive statement,” the site continues. “The author of Genesis is not telling us when all human beings come to life. The Bible doesn’t teach that every man comes to life at first breath any more than it teaches that every woman comes from the rib of a man (Gen. 2:21-22).”
In other words, since Adam was formed as an adult, his story does not relate a divine message about life in the womb because he never occupied one. As for everyone else, the biblical message seems clear: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5), “Did not he who made me in the womb make him?” (Job 31:15), and “when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb” (Luke 1:41). There are many, many other examples, too.
Now, by “you,” “me,” and “baby” did God actually mean “unviable tissue mass”?
But the Church of St. Pete is hardly the first to use and abuse Christianity to serve un-Christian ends. For example, unlike the Soviets’ overt hostility to faith, the Nazis instead conjured up their “Positive Christianity,” which held that Jesus was a Nordic character fighting a Jewish establishment.
St. Pete likewise has a flexible relationship with Scripture and Truth, and he’s quite inconsistent himself. He also said in the Rolling Stone interview that Christianity to him concerned defending the “weakest among us.” But who is weaker than a tiny baby in the womb?
Pastor Rhyan Glexman, the brother of the man St. Pete calls his “husband,” Chasten Buttigieg, has called the South Bend mayor a “modern-day Pharisee” and “a person who’s making up their [sic] own rules and regulations” — and he’s spot-on with the latter.
The real issue with Buttigieg is the same issue most people have today: He’s a moral relativist. He speaks of the “morals of the time,” but there are no such things. There can be values of the time. There can be preferences, prejudices, and politics of the time. But “morals,” properly understood, refer to unchangeable, eternal, universal principles of right and wrong; they reflect Truth, Divine Law. Speaking of the morals of the time is like dismissing God as just the god of the time — which, of course, the comparative-religion Left also does all the time.
That Buttigieg — who now leads the Democrat field in Iowa and New Hampshire polling — departs from this makes his message all the more dangerous. Nazi tyrant Adolf Hitler was not a man of faith (he did assume that pose sometimes, though), but he believed that a prerequisite for a political movement’s success was having a religious foundation. Thus did he indulge that Positive Christianity while trying to forge a new Germanic pagan religion.
Along with being intelligent, articulate, and relatively engaging, Buttigieg seems to have had the same realization. Instead of ignoring faith, why not employ the seduction of a false prophet?
So we certainly can call St. Pete and his acolytes the Christian Left — they’ve left the idea of being Christian.
Photo of Mayor Pete Buttigieg: Gage Skidmore
Selwyn Duke (@SelwynDuke) has written for The New American for more than a decade. He has also written for The Hill, Observer, The American Conservative, WorldNetDaily, American Thinker, and many other print and online publications. In addition, he has contributed to college textbooks published by Gale-Cengage Learning, has appeared on television, and is a frequent guest on radio.