In a crowded field of competitors I get what he’s
doing. And politically I don’t blame
him. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is
a longshot candidate who lacks the pedigree, chops, and experience for the
office he seeks. But that doesn’t always
matter in presidential primaries. Often
times outsider candidates who find a niche, tap into a core group of committed
supporters who are willing to ride with them through thick and thin, can take
advantage of the splintering nature of crowded race demographics and pull the
Apparently for Buttigieg’s team, they’ve decided going after
the disaffected religious left is his best strategy. Not since James Garfield, the only minister
ever elected president, has a candidate appealed so frequently to Christianity
in making his campaign speeches. Except
with Buttigieg, it’s forced, contrived, and quite clearly a ham-fisted
electoral strategy that is focused on votes rather than holiness.
The Mayor told an audience several months ago that he knew
God wouldn’t be a Republican. Clearly
that wasn’t some kind of theological revelation to suggest that the Almighty
wasn’t going to be registering in any primary election states any time
soon. So what was it? An applause line? A political attack on the faith of
Just days later, Buttigieg was back at it again, suggesting that:
“[A Republican] party that associates itself with Christianity to say that it is OK to suggest that God would smile on the division of families at the hands of federal agents, that God would condone putting children in cages, has lost all claim to ever use religious language again.”
I dealt with Buttigieg’s rank hypocrisy of pretending to
have the compassion of God for “children in cages” while simultaneously
supporting the dismemberment of “children in wombs” here,
but the Mayor was just getting warmed up.
In the next Democrat debate, Buttigieg attempted to
differentiate his support of the federal minimum wage by appealing to…you
guessed it…God. Manipulating the text of
Proverbs to support his own policy preference, Mayor Pete intimated that those who disagree with his desire to harm the country’s job creators
through centralized regulation are “taunting” the Lord of Heaven and
Earth. Good grief.
To a discerning mind focused on Biblical authority rather
than political expediency, this stuff doesn’t get off the runway. But in his targeted demographic of religious
left activists, it’s manna from heaven.
For instance, author and activist leader of the increasingly irrelevant
“Emergent Church” Brian McLaren retweeted this doozy:
This kind of nonsense needs to be repudiated by the church
forcefully and without prejudice. This
is the very kind of superficial piety that the left has justifiably criticized
conservative Christians for participating in for years. Promoting policy that is consistent with
Godly morality, while admirable, certainly does not qualify a candidate as
“God-fearing.” If that seems difficult
for the Brian McLarens and David Darks of the world to grasp, consider that just
because President Trump signs legislation to save the lives of unborn babies or
secures the release of a tortured Christian pastor in Iran, that doesn’t mean
he is God-fearing.
Words have meaning; and for believers, the designation of
one who “fears God” must be cautiously guarded since it affects our testimony
of Christian obligation to the world.
The cause of Christ is more important than political posturing or the
pursuit of power.
That means Christians will be wary of tagging one like
Trump, whose lifestyle flagrantly taunts Biblical ethics of compassion,
kindness, and gentleness, as a “God-fearing” man. It also means that Christians will be equally
wary of tagging one like Buttigieg, whose lifestyle flagrantly taunts Biblical
ethics of sexual morality and repentance, as a “God-fearing” man.
This isn’t about who you vote for. It’s about respecting the name of God.