Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s excellent Washington Post piece on Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg‘s progressive Christianity is getting a lot of attention. I think its cool that Guttigieg studied early American religious history in college. But his progressive approach to religion and politics is nothing new. Here is a taste of Bailey’s piece:
Now Buttigieg wants a “less dogmatic” religious left to counter the religious right, an unofficial coalition of religious conservatives that for decades has helped get mostly Republicans into office.
“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,” he said. “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.”
He thinks President Trump has found favor among many white evangelicals and white Catholics because of his opposition to abortion, he said. But Buttigieg said he believes the president is behaving “in bad faith” and said there’s no evidence that he doesn’t favor abortion rights deep down.
“I do think it’s strange, though, knowing that no matter where you are politically, the gospel is so much about inclusion and decency and humility and care for the least among us, that a wealthy, powerful, chest-thumping, self-oriented, philandering figure like this can have any credibility at all among religious people,” he said.
Read the entire piece here.
I am not sure there is anything new here beyond the fact that Buttigieg is gay. He seems to be following some pretty well-established progressive/liberal/Democratic Christian political candidates, including George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson, Joe Lieberman (if you move beyond Christianity), Hillary Clinton and, of course, Barack Obama. I might even put my former Senator Bill Bradley in this group.
Perhaps it is time that we stop getting so excited about Democratic candidates who can talk about religion. They have been around for a long time.