In a speech on LGBTQ rights, Democratic presidential hopeful and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg had a message for the Mike Pences of the world.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Pete Buttigieg (whose last name is pronounced “BOOT-ih-jedge”) is not officially a candidate for president, but is expected to officially announce his candidacy as early as Sunday.
Buttigieg mentioned the current vice president, Mike Pence, in a recent speech about gay marriage and LGBTQ rights. Specifically, Buttigieg criticized Pence for his “anti-gay” policies while Pence was governor of Indiana.
He then took on the issue of whether being gay is a “choice,” something some Evangelical Christians have long insisted:
“If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade. And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand — that if you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Years ago, far more years ago than I realized when I went searching for it, I gave my take on the “God made me this way” argument that many people suggest.
I don’t believe that God “made” Buttigieg gay. But I also don’t believe Buttigieg was born straight and inexplicably “chose” to ignore his heterosexual tendencies so that he could be gay and marry a man.
I don’t believe people make such choices. The way the LGBTQ community is treated, even in the 21st century, should make anyone ask a blatantly obvious question: Why would anyone possibly make such a choice?
Pence answered Buttigieg’s criticism, first feigning surprise since he and “Mayor Pete” got along so well and worked so well together in Indiana.
Pence has likewise been criticized by LGBT activist groups over his opposition to gay marriage and his support, while governor, for a “religious freedom” bill that opponents said targeted gays and lesbians.
But while Pence says he stands behind his beliefs, including a Biblical view of marriage, he adds this: “But that doesn’t mean that we’re critical of anyone else who has a different point of view.”
If he were to somehow win the Democratic nomination over the umpteen candidates who’ve also announced their intention to run and then actually win the presidency, he’d be the youngest man ever to do so and the first openly gay president. And, of course, he’d be the first president to be in a same-sex marriage.
Buttigieg, who is a Rhodes Scholar and war veteran, is also a Christian. He says his marriage to Chasten Buttigieg has brought him closer to God.
And Buttigieg’s focus on his own faith seems to be something that is setting him apart from many other Democrats these days. Consider this:
“I think it’s unfortunate [the Democratic Party] has lost touch with a religious tradition that I think can help explain and relate our values,” Buttigieg told The Washington Post. “At least in my interpretation, it helps to root [in religion] a lot of what it is we do believe in, when it comes to protecting the sick and the stranger and the poor, as well as skepticism of the wealthy and the powerful and the established.”
It will be interesting to see in what way faith plays a role in the 2020 election. It will be even more interesting to see if Christians are willing to accept Buttigieg’s take on faith.