As Pete Buttigieg‘s profile rose to a legit Democratic contender for president, many waited to see how the Christian right would respond to a married gay man seeking the highest office of the land. Now, we’re getting a look at how things are going to play out, and it’s just as ugly as anyone expected.
From within the message machine of the Christian right, the narrative is clear: Buttigieg’s life as a proud gay man is a threat to the religious liberty of bible-believing Christians, and he shouldn’t be allowed to become president.
Take for instance the Family Research Council’s prayer of the day condemning Buttigieg’s “radical ideology” which they say includes a “sweeping LGBTQ expansion of the civil rights code through the Equality Act and rolling back President Trump’s military transgender policy.”
Holy God, we pray for this misguided soul who unashamedly calls good “evil” and evil “good.” Protect those who hear this “blind guide” from following him into the ditch spiritually and politically. Reveal yourself to him in an unmistakable way to the end that he can no longer worship the god of his imagination but worship you in Spirit and in truth.
And then there’s radio host and American Family Association president Bryan Fischer, who thinks Buttigieg is the “greatest threat to religious liberty in history.”
In an op-ed for OneNewsNow, Fischer argued that liberals who criticize Donald Trump‘s “sexual romps” that took place “12 or 13 years ago” are hypocrites for supporting Buttigieg at the same time.
“This means, of course, that unless they are profoundly hypocritical, regressives will be able to understand our legitimate concerns about Buttigieg’s aberrant sexual conduct and what it means for his qualifications to become the leader of the Free World,” Fischer writes.
And what’s the main thing that has Fischer concerned? It’s Buttigieg’s support for the The Equality Act, or as Fischer calls it, the “Homosexual Supremacy Act.”
“This bill is the single greatest direct threat to the America established by the Founders,” he declared.
“Buttigieg’s own sexual preference is a huge problem in all this. His identity is wrapped up in getting societal approval for his behavior. He cannot live in a society that does not celebrate his sexual choices. If that means trampling on the First Amendment, tough darts.”
The attack on Buttigieg from the far-right was likely exacerbated by his public criticisms of Vice President Mike Pence, which prompted a week-long back-and-forth between the two. In different interviews, Pence said he worked closely with Buttigieg, who is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, when he was governor of the state. Pence even called him “a friend.” Buttigieg said he’s “not interested in feuding” with Pence and is just pointing out his discriminatory policies against the LGBTQ community. Nevertheless, Buttigieg has mentioned Pence numerous times, which prompted Pence, and other evangelicals, to accuse Buttigieg of an unprovoked attack on Christians.
During an appearance on the Ellen show this week, Buttigieg clarified his motives.
“I’m not critical of his faith, I’m critical of bad policies,” he told host Ellen DeGeneres. “I don’t have a problem with religion, I’m religious too. I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people, especially in the LGBTQ community.”
That’s likely not going to convince the Bryan Fischers of the world.