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Buttigieg Denounces ‘Hypocrisy’ of Pence, Other Christian Politicians

Mayor Pete Buttigieg looks out to the audience during a campaign stop in Dover, N.H., July 12, 2019. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg blasted Vice President Mike Pence and other Christian politicians this week for adopting what he charged were un-Christian political stances.

Asked by Religion News whether he would call “sinful” those Christian politicians who supported the Trump administration’s since-scrapped policy of separating families arrested after crossing the southern border illegally, Buttigieg declined to go that far.

“I’ll be careful to use that word to kind of point out a speck in my brother’s eye,” the South Bend, Ind. mayor replied. “What I would say is that it’s clear that some naked sins are being at best condoned by people who then summon religious arguments. That rings more and more hollow.”

“It’s not just that we might have a different interpretation of faith, it’s that these arguments no longer stack up even on their own merits, right?” the openly gay Buttigieg continued. “For example, Mike Pence’s view of Christian sexuality is obviously a little different than mine. But even with his view, it makes no sense to condone this president and his behavior. So there’s two layers to this. There’s the fact that I subscribe to a vision of faith that leads me to a certain place politically. But it’s also just seeing the hypocrisy among people who now endorse people and practices that are offensive, not only to my values, but to their own.”

Buttigieg made a similar accusation during the first Democratic presidential primary debate in June, calling out the “hypocrisy” of Christians who supported the family-separation policy.

“For a party that associates itself with Christianity to say that 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,” he said.

The Indiana mayor targeted Pence directly earlier this year as well, saying during an address to the LGBTQ Victory Fund’s annual brunch that he wishes “the Mike Pences of the world would understand. . . . If you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

Pence pushed back at the time, saying he takes issue with what he saw as Buttigieg’s personal attacks.

“He said some things that are critical of my Christian faith and about me personally. And he knows better. He knows me,” said Pence, who has long been an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage.