Buttigieg takes aim at faith of Trump administration, social conservatives

Washington D.C., Apr 8, 2019 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has criticized Vice President Mike Pence for his views on gay marriage, saying that his civil marriage to his same-sex partner has led him closer to God.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, contracted a civil marriage with his partner Chasten, in a June 2018 Episcopalian ceremony.

Before he became vice president, Pence was Indiana’s governor from 2013 until 2017. In that office, he supported an attempt to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, and signed the 2015 Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. The act was criticized by gay rights activists as permitting discrimination by religious organizations.

“My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man,” said Buttigieg, speaking April 7 at a fundraiser for the Victory Fund, an organization dedicated to electing homosexual political candidates.

“And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God.”

Buttigieg said that he wishes “the Mike Pences of the world would understand” that he was born gay and that he cannot change this. “Your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator,” Buttigieg said.

Both Pence and Buttigieg are baptized Catholics, but neither attends Mass. Buttigieg describes himself as a devout Episcopalian. Pence attends an evangelical church and has described himself as an “evangelical Catholic.”

Earlier this year, a brief controversy arose after it was announced that Pence’s wife, Karen, had taken a job teaching art at Immanuel Christian School. Immanuel Christian School considers homosexual sex acts to be “moral misconduct,” and employees are not permitted to engage in or support these activities.

Pence has denied criticisms that he is “homophobic,” saying that his support for traditional marriage law and religious freedom initiatives, including Indiana’s 2015 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, are not borne of homophobia.

Pence said in 2015 that Indiana law “does not allow businesses the right to deny services to anyone.”

In 2015, he said on Twitter that “If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore.”

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a lifelong partnership between one man and one woman. While teaching that homosexual acts are in themselves disordered and sinful, the Church also says that of those who experience same-sex attraction must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.

Fr. Thomas Petri, O.P., Petri, vice president and academic dean at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, told CNA that the Church’s view on human sexuality is rooted not only in tradition and scripture, but also in the natural law.

“Quite simply, the Catholic tradition going back not only to Judaism but to the natural law is that sex is ordered to procreation and the raising of children. Sex brings a man and a woman together in a union that is not only life-giving but also bond-creating. It’s a union that cannot be simulated by any other type of genital activity,” Petri said.

“Insisting that sex can or should work any other way is to lie to oneself in a desperate attempt to justify a disorder of sexuality and self-image.”

Petri told CNA that he rejects Buttigieg’s claim that God creates anyone to have a homosexual sexual orientation.

“To further conclude that God positively wills people to have disordered desires approaches the line of material heresy and flies in the face of what Christians have believed about God for two thousand years,” he said.

Last week, Pope Francis said that experiencing homosexual desire is not itself sinful, likening the experience to a disposition to anger, and underscoring the Church’s teaching that only acts, including acts of the will, constitute sin. The pope also noted an increasing sexualization of young people in society, and cautioned parents against making assumptions about their children’s sexual orientation.

On Meet the Press on Sunday, Buttigieg also defended earlier remarks in which he appeared to question President Donald Trump’s belief in God, suggesting that Trump’s Evangelical Christian supporters are hypocrites.

Trump, said Buttigieg, is not following scriptural imperatives for believers to care for widows and immigrants, and therefore is not behaving in a Christlike manner.

“The hypocrisy is unbelievable,” said Buttigieg. “Here you have somebody who not only acts in a way that is not consistent with anything that I hear in scripture in church, where it’s about lifting up the least among us and taking care of strangers, which is another word for immigrants, and making sure that you’re focusing your effort on the poor–but also personally, how you’re supposed to conduct yourself.”

Self-described white born-again/evangelical Christians voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016, with 81 percent in favor compared to only 16 percent voting for Hillary Clinton.

Historically, white evangelical support for Republican presidential candidates has never fallen below 74 percent. In 2016, the Protestant/other Christian vote split was nearly identical to the 2012 election.

Catholics, particularly Hispanic Catholics, supported Trump in 2016 at higher levels than they did Mitt Romney in 2012. The last time a Republican presidential candidate won majority support among Catholic voters was George W. Bush in 2004.

In response to Buttigieg’s comments on biblical imperatives, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd asked the mayor about his thoughts on abortion. Buttigieg, who considers himself pro-choice, said that he thinks abortion is a moral question that should be decided by a woman and her doctor, not by “a male government official imposing his interpretation of his religion.”

The Church teaches that abortion is the deliberate ending of an innocent human life, and is a grave sin.

Dr. Chad Pecknold, associate professor of systematic theology at the Catholic University of America, told CNA that Buttigieg offered “a very selective account of Christianity.”

“Mr. Buttigieg invokes Christian authority wherever it can be made to agree with his politics, and yet finds it irrelevant wherever it disagrees,” said Pecknold.

“This approach makes Christianity into a political plaything. This is perfectly illustrated by the way Mr. Buttigieg claims that public policy should favor the poor, but not the unborn. When he calls out other politicians for their Christian hypocrisy, it’s less a matter of theological expertise than a case of the pot calling the kettle.”

“Authentic Christian political thought does not choose between those who need to be protected and defended,” Pecknold said.

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  1. Addition to Fr Petri OP and Dr Pecknold’s excellent defense of traditional marriage may seem superfluous though there is an unmentioned dimension that Pres candidate Buttigieg ignores entirely as do all in same sex relationships. That universal premise is safely said because admission that masculine feminine mutual attraction is nothing more than idiosyncratic choice defeats their logic that all sexual relationships are simply free choice. What is denied then in the denial? Attraction to the opposite sex and willing acceptance is practical for procreation as argued by Fr Petri, and also spiritual in its openness to love of that which differs from self. That by nature opens care for all that exists rather than insulation from reality gearing a person to easily dismiss the value of human life as in abortion policy, euthanasia, assisted suicide and so forth. This truth found in Man conscious of his identity and natural predilections speaks to his inherent spiritual dimension. A truth without which if refused as by homosexuals denies Life denies the God who is Life.

  2. Too much of graffiti photo-ops and sound bites!

    Turning to the bigger picture of sexuality and malaise in the West—-many writers no longer point to plague or invasion as the primary causes for the decline of either Greece or the Roman Empire—

    “Late marriages and small families became the rule, and men satisfied their sexual instincts by homosexuality or by relations with slaves and prostitutes [“modern” recreational sex]. This aversion to marriage and the deliberate restriction of the family by the practice of infanticide [modern-day New York and West Virginia!] and abortion was undoubtedly the main cause of the decline of ancient Greece, as Polybius pointed out in the second century B.C. And the same factors were equally powerful in the society of the Empire. . . .” (Dawson, “The Dynamics of World History,” 1962).

    A related and modern side story: In 1978 the Kinsey Institute [!] reported that, earlier (surveys done in 1968-70), nearly thirty percent of homosexual males had had sexual encounters with one thousand or more partners. Nearly four out of five said that half of their sex partners where strangers. Only one percent had had fewer than five lifetime partners. “Almost half of the white homosexual males…said that they had had at least five hundred different sexual partners during the course of their homosexual careers” (Bell and Weinberg, “Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women,” 1978).

    The modern novelty of gay “marriage” begins to look more like a primal survival technique…It comes on the heels of the AIDS crisis—-originally known as GRID or Gay Related Immunodeficiency Syndrome (which in the 1980s then was spread into the general population).

    A homosexual predisposition is one thing; but quite another is the fatwa-like, courtroom imposition of gay “marriage” and gender theory on all of society, and the branding as “hate speech” of any affirmation of traditional marriage.

    Yes, every person deserves respect, but mythology is not a person.

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