Examining Mayor Pete - A Worldview At Odds With God's Word
By Tony Perkins/David Closson - Family Research CouncilFebruary 10, 2020
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You've got to hand it to Pete Buttigieg. While the rest of the competition is out there in far-left field, he's trying to carve out a nice little niche for himself in the space no one's bothered to occupy: the middle.
For the last several weeks, there's been a whole lot of elbow room for the South Bend mayor, who's making hay pretending to be a mild-mannered moderate. There's just one problem. Behind the disarming façade, his positions are just as extreme as everyone else's.
Buttigieg's schtick has played especially well in places like Iowa, where everyday Democrats are desperate for a candidate whose every other word isn't "socialism." As a young, charismatic Midwesterner, Pete's managed to connect with a lot of voters who haven't found a reasonable-sounding Democrat in the race.
In a party that's done everything it can to distance itself from God, this is a man who's gotten quite good at throwing in the odd reference to faith. It's part of the reason people like this Iowa caucus-goer are so shocked to find out he has a husband. They just assume that when Mayor Pete talks about Christianity, he also practices it.
Now, as Buttigieg starts surging at the polls and he's pressed more intently on the issues, the veneer is starting to crack. On abortion and religious liberty, especially, the mayor is being revealed for what he truly is: an ardent extremist with no regard for what the Bible actually says.
Pete's ruse had a lot of Americans fooled until more public appearances -- like his recent stop at "The View" -- started unraveling his "centrist" cred. The show's token Republican, Meghan McCain, didn't pull any punches on Buttigieg's abortion views, asking him to explain what he meant by his statement "life begins at breath," which she called "pretty radical." "I think people, even Democrats..." Meghan said, "want to know exactly where your line is."
Buttigieg didn't directly respond, instead insisting that if there was a line, the government shouldn't draw it. "So if a woman wanted to invoke infanticide after a baby is born, you'd be comfortable with that?"
"Does anybody seriously think that's what these cases are about?" he fired back in the ultimate insult to the hundreds of documented abortion survivors. Then, without ever answering her question, he implied that the only time women seek out late-term abortions is when doctors discover something wrong with the baby. (A lie, incidentally, that's been completely debunked, even by pro-abortion groups like Guttmacher Institute.) Regardless, Pete rambled, "I don't know what to tell them morally about what they should do," and, as far as he's concerned, the government shouldn't either.
First of all, yes. People actually do think that's what these cases are about. If it weren't, why would the U.S. Senate waste its time with a hearing on born-alive protections? Liberals want you to think that infanticide is a fake crisis invented by pro-lifers. Trust me, I wish it were.
There are literally hundreds of infants being thrown out like garbage every year -- a fact we know thanks to eyewitnesses like Jill Stanek. When the CDC says there were 143 cases of babies born alive between 2002-14, the agency is only basing that number on the reports from six states!
Factor in the other 44, and the hundreds of undocumented "snippings" and stabbings of born babies by monsters like Kermit Gosnell and Douglas Karpen, and we're talking about entire schools of children disappearing.
But either way, the number of children affected has nothing to do with the morality of infanticide. If there were only two kids on a burning bus, people wouldn't shrug and say, "Oh, the bus isn't full. Don't bother." And yet, Mayor Pete can't bring himself to say that killing a living, breathing, born baby is wrong. It's a matter of personal morality, he believes, and the government shouldn't intervene.
How about rape -- is that matter of personal morality too? Or child abuse? Should the government ignore a man beating his wife, because that's his choice? If killing a newborn is a personal decision, what about killing a teenager? The problem with the Left's sliding scale of morality is that it doesn't work. Right and wrong goes beyond Scripture to the laws of nature inscribed upon the hearts of people everywhere.
And how does Buttigieg square his political radicalism ("I support the position of my party") with Christianity? Well, he insists, "We all come at faith in a different way... You don't have to vote a certain way because of your faith." In other words, the Bible is a nice collection of stories that are convenient to mention but should have no bearing on daily life.
His brother-in-law finds that appalling, tweeting after "The View," "Pete misuses scripture to fit his own political agenda, such as in the case of advocating for abortion. This is disturbing and I think he needs to be held accountable for that. Pete's thoughts on abortion are extreme and evil."
While he's busy dressing up his views to look like Vacation Bible School puppets, FRC's David Closson argues that what's really dangerous about Pete "is that he's not just mistaken about what the Bible says. He's actually twisting God's word to advance a political agenda that is antithetical to biblical Christianity.
With Pete's apparent victory in the Iowa Caucuses, and his rise in polls across the country, there is a real chance the former mayor will make a credible run for the Democratic nomination. Thus, as he continues to attract attention, Christians must realize that while Pete can come across as reasonable and even charming when he talks about social and cultural issues, he is guided by a worldview at odds with God's Word."
Buttigieg's repeated emphasis of his religious background is unique for his party: Democrats have been reluctant to speak about their faith on the campaign trail but Buttigieg made a point (as he has throughout the election) to highlight the role of religion in politics. Responding to a question about his electability, Buttigieg highlighted his Midwestern roots, military service, and Christian faith.
He said, "If a guy like Donald Trump keeps trying to use religion to somehow recruit Christianity into the GOP, I will be standing there not afraid to talk about a different way to answer the call of faith and insist that God does not belong to a political party."
The comment received little public attention following the debate, but Christians should pay close attention to what Buttigieg is suggesting. He is arguing that President Trump's relationship with the faith community is transactional and utilitarian. In Buttigieg's view, President Trump is using religion to advance his political agenda, and Christians who support him are allowing their faith to be co-opted.
This is the same argument Mark Galli made last month in his widely shared Christianity Today editorial. In Galli's words, if Christians don't oppose President Trump, the "reputation of evangelical religion" and "the world's understanding of the gospel" will be harmed. Buttigieg evidentially agrees with this assessment, which is why he is proposing a "different way to answer the call of faith."
Buttigieg's (and Galli's) allegation deserves a response. How should Christian voters think about Buttigieg's call for a "different way to answer the call of faith?" Is it true that Christian leaders have sacrificed their moral witness for a seat at the table of political power?
First, when it comes to evaluating the theological claims made by Buttigieg, it is important to remember that he is a member of the Episcopal Church, a theologically liberal denomination that has taken public stands against the historic teachings of Christianity on a host of social issues.
For example, the Episcopal Church ordained its first clergy member who openly identified as gay in 1977 and continues to actively support LGBT causes. Also, since 1967 the Episcopal Church has opposed national or state legislation that would restrict abortion and, in 2018, called for "women's reproductive health and reproductive health procedures to be treated as all other medical procedures."
Buttigieg's liberal politics align nicely with the liberal politics of the Episcopal Church, so it is not surprising that he finds himself at home there. Thus, when Buttigieg argues that the "Christian faith is going to point you in a progressive direction," it is important to realize that by "Christian faith," Buttigieg means something very different than what Christians have taught and believed for two millennia--not only about the nature of marriage and life but also about the role of Scripture.
Buttigieg's understanding of the Bible came up in an interview with Rolling Stone last November. When asked to respond to the charge that his progressive faith disregards the Bible's teaching on social issues, Buttigieg said: "There's so many things in Scripture that are inconsistent internally, and you've got to decide what sense to make of it. 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 the Scripture can fit into the Bible that I find in my hands."
A shocking admission, Buttigieg's comments shed light on the candidate's flawed understanding of Christianity. They also explain what he likely had in mind during the last debate when he referred to a "different way to answer the call of faith." By calling the Bible "inconsistent" and insisting that Jesus spoke in "mysterious code," Buttigieg is rejecting what theologians refer to as the perspicuity of Scripture, which says the Bible communicates the doctrines of the faith clearly.
It is worth noting that some passages in Scripture are more difficult to understand than others. In fact, when referring to the Apostle Paul's epistles, the Apostle Peter said, "His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:16b). But even as he acknowledges the fact that Paul's writings could be hard to understand, Peter underscores the fact that Scripture is objective and that failure to attend to the meaning of the text is harmful.
The Bible teaches elsewhere that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). While there may be portions of Scripture that require extra study and attention, the Bible is clear on the doctrines of God, man, the way of salvation, and many issues with social and political implications.
However, by rejecting the clarity of Scripture, Buttigieg is conveniently able to remake and reinterpret the Christian faith to suit his preferences and beliefs, advancing proposals and policies in the garb of Christianity that either bear little resemblance or directly contradict "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).
A clear example of this is Buttigieg's argument that "there's a lot of parts of the Bible that talk about how life begins with breath." This despite the Bible's repeated affirmation of the personhood of the unborn (see Psalm 139:13-16, Psalm 51:5-6, Luke 1:39-45, Jeremiah 1:4-5, Job 10:8, Genesis 25:22-23, and many others). By doubling down on this demonstrably false claim, Buttigieg is showing that political talking points, not Scripture, informs his view on life.
Finally, in response to Galli's charge that Christian leaders have sacrificed their moral witness and are no better than Buttigieg and his supporters on the religious left, it should be conceded that some on the right are willing to trade their credibility for influence.
However, to allege, as Buttigieg has, that the "credibility of Christianity" is at stake because many Christians have supported President Trump and his party after measured consideration of their voting options is both unfair and inaccurate.
Far from sacrificing their values and credibility, it is largely due to Christian encouragement that President Trump has taken significant action on issues of concern for social conservatives--issues such as life, religious liberty, Israel, and a return of faith in the public square.
As the 2020 election gets underway, it will be important for Christians to submit everything to the Lord, including their political engagement. As I argue in my recent publication, Christians ought to engage, but we must engage biblically.
And as Christians, this requires prayerful consideration of candidates, party platforms, and most importantly, the Bible's teaching on moral issues.
On one level, Buttigieg is right when he insists, "God does not belong to a political party." However, God does care deeply about many issues in our politics. And if Christians are going to be faithful in a time fraught with political turmoil and confusion, it will require more, not less, commitment to God's Word.