Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a sudden Democratic presidential contender, is attacking the religious beliefs of his opponents.
Worse, he is mocking the faith of religious voters who support President Donald Trump.
The irony is rich: Buttigieg is openly gay, and is married to a man, both of which contradict traditional religious teachings.
That is not to say his faith is illegitimate, but one might expect him to be less judgmental of others.
Last week, in an interview with USA Today, Buttigieg called Trump’s Christian faith into question: “I would say it is hard to look at this president’s actions and believe that they’re the actions of somebody who believes in God,” he said. “I just don’t understand how you can be as worshipful of your own self as he is and be prepared to humble yourself before God,” he added. Buttigieg later defended his remarks on ABC, saying he was attacking Trump’s “hypocrisy.”
It is odd that someone whose own faith would have been called into question until quite recently for a lifestyle that directly contradicts traditional Christian principles would dare to question anyone else’s commitment, doing unto others precisely what he would not have done unto him.
But in point of fact, Trump has openly — and humbly — acknowledged his personal religious failings, telling the Republican National Convention in accepting his party’s nomination in 2016 that “I’m not sure I totally deserve” the support he had received from the evangelical community.
Buttigieg wasn’t finished. In a speech to the LGBT Victory Fund’s annual brunch Sunday, he attacked Vice President Mike Pence, suggesting that Pence was an anti-gay bigot. “My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man. And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God,” he said, as quoted by The Hill. He added that he wished “the Mike Pences of the world would understand” that being gay was not a choice: “Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
The left is obsessed with the idea that Pence is anti-gay, solely because he is a born-again Christian and once advocated for conversion therapy — 20 years ago.
If anything, Pence has tried to appease the gay community. In 2015, when Indiana passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, to protect Christian business owners from being compelled to endorse gay marriage, Pence immediately backed down in the face of criticism and signed a “fix” to the law.
In 2018, when he was publicly taunted by gay competitors at the Olympic Winter Games, Pence reached out — to no avail.
LGTB activists have set up the false conceit of Pence as an enemy, when he has treated them with nothing but tolerance.
Buttigieg’s remarks were not only mean-spirited, demonstrating the opposite of the Christian tolerance he claims to espouse, but they were also an indirect attack on the traditional Christian teachings that Pence, like many others, embraces.
Finally, on Sunday’s edition of NBC News’ Meet the Press, Buttigieg accused evangelical Christians of “unbelievable” hypocrisy for voting for Trump: “It’s something that frustrates me because the hypocrisy is unbelievable. Here you have somebody that not only acts in a way that’s not consistent with anything I hear in scripture or church were it is about lifting up the least among us and taking care of strangers, which is another word for immigrants, and making sure that you are focusing your efforts on the poor. Also personally how you’re supposed to conduct yourself.”
As has been widely reported, evangelicals have overlooked Trump’s personal failings because he has been more faithful than any other president to his promises on pro-life policies, conservative judges, religious freedom, protecting Israel, and other issues.
Buttigieg’s response is to attack evangelical voters. That is not exactly a smart idea when the main pitch of his presidential campaign is that he will be able to compete against Trump for support in the heartland.
Buttigieg is smart enough to know that voters are tired of the public attacks on Christians and Christianity — hence his recent defense of Chick-fil-A, noting that while he disagrees with its owners’ views, he dislikes “virtue signaling.”
And yet Buttigieg cannot help himself. Like many other Democrats, he disdains religion in the public sphere until he can use it to bludgeon his opponents, adopting the self-righteous posture towards other Christians that he accuses them of taking toward the LGBT community.
Rather than humility, Buttigieg is displaying intolerance, adding to the sense religious voters have that what Democrats want is not just to drive them out of the public square, but out of their own faith.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.