Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has garnered a lot of attention for using God-talk during his presidential campaign. From regular discussions of his own faith to a willingness to challenge those who invoke the divine while supporting the policies of President Trump, the millennial Episcopalian has made religion a centerpiece of his pursuit of the Oval Office.
US Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg is “an observantly religious (Episcopalian) Democratic millennial, part of a party and a generation increasingly characterized by nonsectarian belief or unbelief, and prone to thinking of religious expression in a political contest as something those intolerant, Bible-thumping conservative Republicans do.
That makes him an unusually effective scourge for politicized conservative Evangelicals who can’t begin to grasp the phenomenon of a married gay Christian who may go to church more often than they do. But if he’s not careful, he could alienate both irreligious voters and those whose view of the intersection of faith and politics don’t match his own. It’s inherently a balancing act.
Mayor Pete shows his understanding of this problem in answering a very basic question from Religious News Service’s Jack Jenkins about “the appropriate role of religion in American politics”:
You should be able to offer (messages) that anyone — of all religions or of no religion — should find meaningful. Sometimes we’ve been afraid to use this language because we think it means not honoring the separation of church and state. For me, it means we need to honor the separation and also speak to those who are guided (by faith.)
Buttigieg was the first candidate to hire a faith outreach director. Why intentionally target people of faith in the Democratic primary.
Asked about having it it, Buttigieg said “I think it just makes sense to reach people where they are. Some people are brought together by ethnicity or identity. Some by experience or economic role — that’s what a union is, right? The same is true with faith. So making sure that people who are organized through faith — or perhaps come to politics by way of faith — have a way to connect with our campaign on that wavelength is important to me.
Via NyMAG / Religion News