Catholic News Agency: Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg quoted the Gospel of Matthew in his first statewide ad in South Carolina, the latest in the candidate’s references to Christianity in his campaign messages.
The ad opens with a clip from an Iowa speech Buttigieg gave Nov. 1:
“In our White House, you won’t have to shake your head and ask yourself: What ever happened to ‘I was hungry and you fed me; I was a stranger and you welcomed me’,” a reference to Matthew 25:35.
The ad [was] released on [December 3rd] in South Carolina television markets.
Although he has polled better in Iowa and New Hampshire, Buttigieg polls at an average of 6.5 points in South Carolina, behind former vice president Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
As the first southern state in the primary process, South Carolina is generally considered an important campaign milestone, and primary performance in the state is regarded as an indication of a candidate’s national electability.
The South Carolina primary is especially a key indicator of support for candidates among black voters, who make up 30% of the state’s electorate and 60% of Democratic primary voters.
Buttigieg has come under harsh criticism for his record on racial issues during his term as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and has only 4% support among black voters nationwide. Some political analysts have suggested his Gospel-themed video is intended as an overture to churchgoing black voters in the state.
In the ad, Buttigieg stresses a need to “unify the American people,” saying that unification “doesn’t mean pretending that we’re all the same. It means unifying around issues from wages and family leave to gun violence and immigration. The hope of an American experience defined not by exclusion, but by belonging.”
Buttigieg, a baptized Catholic who now attends an Episcopalian Church, has repeatedly invoked his Protestantism to support his stance on a range of political issues, including support for same-sex marriage. Earlier this year, he said that those who opposed same-sex marriage had a problem “with my Creator.” Buttigieg is in a civil same-sex partnership. In recent months he has also invoked his religious affiliation to criticize Republican tax and immigration policies.
In an April appearance on Meet the Press, Buttigieg also defended earlier remarks in which he appeared to question President Donald Trump’s belief in God, and suggested that Evangelical Christians who support President Trump 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.”
In response to Buttigieg’s comments on biblical imperatives, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd asked the mayor his thoughts on abortion. Buttigieg, who considers himself pro-choice, said 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.”
Part of Satan’s plan in the great controversy is to use professed Christians who fail to surrender fully to the teachings of the Bible. They may use Bible passages that support their own personal agendas but are they allowing the Word of God to transform their lives?
“God’s holy word, which has been handed down to us at such a cost of suffering and blood, is but little valued. The Bible is within the reach of all, but there are few who really accept it as the guide of life. Infidelity prevails to an alarming extent, not in the world merely, but in the church. Many have come to deny doctrines which are the very pillars of the Christian faith. The great facts of creation as presented by the inspired writers, the fall of man, the atonement, and the perpetuity of the law of God, are practically rejected, either wholly or in part, by a large share of the professedly Christian world.
In rejecting the truth, men reject its Author. In trampling upon the law of God, they deny the authority of the Law-giver. It is as easy to make an idol of false doctrines and theories as to fashion an idol of wood or stone. By misrepresenting the attributes of God, Satan leads men to conceive of Him in a false character. With many, a philosophical idol is enthroned in the place of Jehovah; while the living God, as He is revealed in His word, in Christ, and in the works of creation, is worshiped by but few. . . . Though in a different form, idolatry exists in the Christian world today as verily as it existed among ancient Israel in the days of Elijah. The God of many professedly wise men, of philosophers, poets, politicians, journalists—the God of polished fashionable circles, of many colleges and universities, even of some theological institutions—is little better than Baal, the sun-god of Phoenicia.” Great Controversy, pages 582-583.