South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg came out swinging at President Trump and Christians on “Meet the Press” Sunday, after host Chuck Todd asked him about evangelical support for the president.
“You said something rather strong about the president, that you said, ‘It’s hard to look at his actions and believe that they are the actions of somebody who believes in God.’ How do you square that assessment with the fact that the evangelical Christian community is so devoted to his candidacy?” Todd asked.
Mayor Pete (as the fawning media has dubbed him) called evangelicals who support Trump hypocrites. “Here you have somebody who not only acts in a way that is not consistent with anything that I hear in scripture or in church, where it’s about lifting up the least among us and taking care of strangers, which is another word for immigrants,” Buttigieg said, “and making sure that you’re focusing your effort on the poor. But also personally, how you’re supposed to conduct yourself. Not chest thumping look-at-me-ism, but humbling yourself before others.”
WATCH: How does Mayor Pete Buttigieg explain President Trump's support from the evangelical community? #MTP #IfItsSunday@PeteButtigieg: Scripture talks "about lifting up the least among us, and taking care of strangers, which is another word for immigrants." pic.twitter.com/sVzOxAJHWz
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) April 7, 2019
Let’s put aside for a moment Buttegieg’s reductionist definition of Christianity — a truncated version that leaves out the bits about sin, repentance, and judgment. Let’s continue:
“Foot washing is one of the central images in the New Testament,” he continued. “And we see the diametric opposite of that in this presidency. I think there was perhaps a cynical process where he decided to, for example, begin to pretend to be pro-life and govern accordingly. Which was good enough to bring many evangelicals over to his side.”
Well, I’ll give him that. Trump’s vocal opposition to abortion is the main — if not the only — reason many evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in 2016. And his actions to limit abortion as president are why they will vote for him again in overwhelming numbers in 2020 — despite his personal moral failures, which many Christians find odious.
“But even on the version of Christianity that you hear from the religious right, which is about sexual ethics, I can’t believe that somebody who was caught writing hush money checks to adult film actresses is somebody they should be lifting up as the kind of person you want to be leading this nation,”
To which Townhall’s Katie Pavlich replied:
Buttigieg supports late term abortion, making this point moot https://t.co/A2zgBNO3rY
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) April 7, 2019
Erick Erickson had a similar response:
I mean if Buttigieg thinks evangelicals should be supporting him instead of Trump, he fundamentally does not understand the roots of Christianity. But then he is an Episcopalian, so he might not actually understand Christianity more than superficially.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) April 7, 2019
As Erickson rightly noted, Buttigieg’s theological lecture comes to us courtesy of a man who a) is gay and married to his partner and b) supports partial-birth abortion. Is it any wonder this charismatic boy mayor is the darling of the mainstream media?
In Buttigieg’s mind, evangelical Christianity (as if anyone could even define that in the year 2019) is merely “about sexual ethics.” That’s completely false on its face, of course. Christianity — true Christianity as God defines it in the Bible — is about Jesus: his life, death on the cross, and resurrection. Christians the world over will be heading into Easter weekend soon, when we contemplate the violent death Jesus suffered on the cross. The theological term — penal substitutionary atonement — means that God, in order to appease His wrath at the sin of mankind, punished Jesus for our sins. It’s not pretty — it’s not meant to be. Sin — from the tiniest white lie to the most vicious murder — offends God on the deepest level and denies the imago Dei (image of God) that dwells within us. God calls our feeble attempts at self-righteousness “filthy rags” (some translate the words to mean menstrual cloths). All that to say: God takes sin very, very seriously — Trump’s sin, Buttigieg’s sin, my sin. Only faith in the substitutionary atonement of Christ — the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world — can make us right with God.
Which brings us back to Buttigieg’s definition of Christianity — his idea that it’s merely about how we care for immigrants and the poor and how we conduct ourselves. It is all of those things, but it’s so much more. Treating people kindly, loving our neighbors, and showing humility are all signs of a soul that’s been regenerated by God. Demonstrating the “fruit of the spirit” — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control — is the mark of a true Christian. So is obeying the sexual ethic commanded in the Bible: marriage is between one man and one woman for life. Both Trump and Buttigieg have found themselves on the wrong side of God on this issue.
But Buttigieg, an openly gay man who supports the murder of babies on their way out of the birth canal, seems to want to pluck the specks out of the eyes of evangelical Christians who voted for Trump while ignoring the huge telephone pole hanging out of his own eye.
When Chuck Todd asked the presidential hopeful — who plans to make his official announcement next week — when life begins, Buttigieg punted, saying the answer is “unknowable,” a moral question that’s “not going to be settled by science.” He’s right that it’s a moral question, but it’s not merely a moral question (that reductionism again). The science is settled on whether an unborn child in his mother’s womb is alive. His cells divide and multiply, he has a beating heart and brain waves and his own unique DNA separate from his mother. Only a science-denier could claim that an unborn child is not alive until he exits the womb (or, monstrously, even later). But according to Buttigieg, restrictions on abortion amount to a “male government official imposing his interpretation of his religion” on a woman. He seems willfully unconcerned that a death sentence is being meted out on the child at the behest of his mother and with the consent of the government.
If the choices were Trump and Buttigieg, voters would be faced with two men who have openly, unapologetically, gratuitously violated God’s commands — one of whom is basically right on policy, the other who couldn’t be more wrong. https://t.co/rSUZ6HjRiV
— Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard) April 7, 2019
It’s long been known that much of the support Trump enjoys from evangelical Christians is transactional: he’s restricting abortion, curbing the rush to accept gender confusion, treating Israel and the Jews with respect, and celebrating our nation’s Christian heritage. The left, of which Buttigieg is a creature, denigrates Christians and Christianity at every turn, brands supporters of traditional marriage as akin to racists, and seeks to erase every vestige of Christianity from public life. One doesn’t have to approve of Trump’s personal life to be grateful for the gains he’s made to roll back the bigoted policies that the radical, anti-Christian left has achieved over the last few decades. While I didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 (nor did I vote for Hillary — I could never vote for someone who is pro-abortion), I have a lot of devout Christian friends who did — and I can’t fault them for the decision. I understand the fear that drove them to do it.
But Buttigieg says they’re all a bunch of hypocrites — which is about as hypocritical as it comes.
Follow me on Twitter @pbolyard