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Current Page: Politics | Monday, March 11, 2019
Gay pres. candidate Buttigieg talks Christian faith, slams Pence supporting 'porn star presidency'

Gay pres. candidate Buttigieg talks Christian faith, slams Pence supporting 'porn star presidency'

2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on the campaign trail. | Photo: Facebook

Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who announced himself in January as the first openly gay Democratic presidential candidate, says he tries to live a life that is “consistent with Christian teachings” and questioned whether Vice President Mike Pence truly believes in Scripture.

“First of all I try to live a life that is consistent with Christian teachings. I know that it is my responsibility not to ever do anything that would in public life, not be equally beneficial or make as much sense to people of another faith or people of no faith. But in my life I believe in that Christian ethic, the idea that was drilled into me in Catholic school even though I’m not Catholic, I’m Episcopalian,” said Buttigieg at during a Q&A at The South by Southwest Conference & Festivals on the weekend.

The Harvard graduate who served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve and was deployed in Afghanistan, earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his counterterrorism work.

He was responding to a question about what role faith plays in his life and he had a lot to say about it.

“That idea of the invitation of Christ, this sense that when God himself comes to earth, he is rejected in many ways largely because he tells the truth. He concerns himself with what’s going on with those who are marginalized. He understands his role on earth not to be glorified but to serve,” Buttigieg said before pointing out how Jesus demonstrated how Christians should serve by washing the feet of his disciples.

“Foot-washing is one of the most powerful images in the New Testament … Feet are gross and even more so then, right. Not what you would expect the divine to be doing when He comes down to earth. And then the Old Testament full of the complexity of trying to be in contact with the absolute. Wrestling with God, these images. And so I try to live a life that’s consistent with that,” he said.

The Rhodes Scholar who also attended Oxford and lives with his husband in South Bend, described himself as a rationalist “enlightenment kind of guy” who tries to be attentive.

“But I also know that there are limits on where reason can take you especially in public life. A lot of the problems I deal with are not technical problems that have a right answer like ‘how can I treat wastewater at 10 percent less of the cost?’ Right, that has like a right or wrong answer, if we can figure out a way to do it then by definition we should do it,” he said.

“But if the question is ‘there is no way to have these people’s rates going down without those people’s rates go up’ that’s a moral question. How do you want to share a burden? We need more than technical tools to deal with that. We need moral reasoning and in my own experience, faith is a helpful way to tune ourselves to that need,” Buttigieg explained.

When asked when was the last time he prayed he said he prayed in Church on Ash Wednesday in the morning but noted it is an activity he finds challenging.

“I find prayer challenging. I’m liturgically conservative. I like to pray in church when we are all saying prayers at the same time because I think that’s a communal act of tuning our hearts a certain way. I have trouble with the traditional formats for prayer just because I have trouble, I mean grammatically,” he said.

“Grammatically when we pray we are in the imperative mood which means we’re telling God what to do. I get that there’s a lot more to prayer … but personally I think prayer is mostly about making sure that I am tuned. The prayer that makes the most sense to me is that may we delight in Thy will and walk in Thy way which is what we’re supposed to be, not telling God what he’s supposed to do,” he added.

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate also questioned Vice President Mike Pence’s faith on Sunday during the conference noting that Pence’s religious convictions don’t appear to align with his support of President Donald Trump's "porn star presidency."

"I mean, I don't know. It's really strange," Buttigieg said. "Because I used to at least believe that he believed in our — I've disagreed with him ferociously on these things — but I thought, well, at least he believes in our institutions, and he's not personally corrupt. But then, how could he get on board with this presidency? How could somebody who — you know, his interpretation of Scripture is pretty different from mine to begin with."

He argued that Pence's understanding of religious text "has a lot more to do with sexuality and, I don't know, a certain view of rectitude."

"But even if you buy into that, how could he allow himself to become the cheerleader of the porn star presidency?" Buttigieg added. "Is it that he stopped believing in Scripture when he started believing in Donald Trump? I don't know, I don't know."

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