Mayor Pete Buttigieg used a discussion about the border to accuse Republicans of religious hypocrisy during Thursday night’s Democratic debate. During the second night of Democratic debates, moderators asked how many of the candidates on stage would make illegal border crossings a civil rather than criminal offense. Every candidate on the stage said they would.
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, jumped on the question to take a shot at Republicans over recent reports that the Trump administration continues to separate children from their families and houses them in squalid conditions. Without acknowledging that President Trump has said that he is concerned about the situation at the border and that Vice President Pence called the situation “totally unacceptable” and called on Congress to provide more resources for border security, Buttigieg attacked Republicans as hypocritical over the issue.
Buttigieg said, “The Republican Party likes to cloak itself in the language of religion,” and then acknowledged that Democrats don’t talk about religion as much because of their commitment to the separation of church and state. Then, he continued his line of attack on Republicans, saying “We should call hypocrisy, and for a party that associates itself with Christianity to say it is okay 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.”
This is not the first time that Buttigieg, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who is married to a man, has challenged the Republican party’s commitment to faith and family values. As Christian Headlines previously reported, Buttigieg questioned the faith of Vice President Mike Pence during a town hall meeting. After telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that his understanding of Scripture was about “protecting the stranger and the prisoner and the poor person and the idea of welcome,” he openly attacked Pence’s faith, saying, “That’s what I get in the gospel when I’m in church. And his 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? Is that he – is that he stopped believing in scripture when he started believing in Donald Trump? I don’t know. I don’t know.”
Buttigieg is a practicing Episcopalian and has openly used religious language throughout his campaign. Emma Green, who writes about religion for The Atlantic, observed after Thursday night’s debate that, “While the other candidates gestured at American values and the country’s torn moral fabric, Buttigieg is by far the Democratic presidential candidate most comfortable using the language of faith—and arguing that Republicans are no longer the party of God.”
While the other candidates gestured at American values and the country's torn moral fabric, Buttigieg is by far the Democratic presidential candidate most comfortable using the language of faith--and arguing that Republicans are no longer the party of God.— Emma Green (@emmaogreen) June 28, 2019
According to the Real Clear Politics average, Buttigieg is running 5th among Democratic hopefuls, though he polls higher in Iowa and New Hampshire, where voters will have the first say in their preference for the Democratic nominee.
Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”
Photo Courtesy: Getty Images, Win-McNamee-Staff