Merriam-Webster defines the term “evangelical” this way: of or relating to a Christian sect or group that stresses the authority of the Bible, the importance of believing that Jesus Christ saved you personally from sin or hell, and the preaching of these beliefs to others.
By definition, that makes me an “evangelical.” I think it defines the overwhelming majority of Christians if you asked them what makes them “Christian.”
But it’s that word. “Evangelical.” Most Christians I know may agree with the proper definition of the word when it comes to their own faith, but they’d bristle if someone called them an evangelical.
Understandable, since it’s been hijacked, compromised, and besmirched as a political label through the years to mean rigid, intolerant, and even bigoted. To be called evangelical in mixed company today is to be considered outside the bounds of social politeness.
In the increasingly crowded Democrat field for the presidency, South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg is a proud and practicing Episcopalian who seems to want to start a holy war with the President and Vice President.
Buttigieg is openly gay and married to his husband Chasten. He’s had a well-documented professional and political friendship with Vice President Mike Pence while Pence was governor of the Hoosier State.
Now, the Mayor seems to have calculated an effective political strategy throwing down the communion cup and challenging Pence and President Trump’s Christianity.
On President Trump, Buttigieg told USA Today,“I'm reluctant to comment on another person's faith, but I would say it is hard to look at this president's actions and believe that they're the actions of somebody who believes in God."
“I just don't understand how you can be as worshipful of your own self as he is and be prepared to humble yourself before God.I've never seen him humble himself before anyone.
Buttigieg continued to pound away on the President’s Christianity… reluctantly, of course.
“And the exaltation of yourself, especially a self that's about wealth and power, could not be more at odds with at least my understanding of the teachings of the Christian faith.”
As for the Vice President, Buttigieg – again, reluct…you know – has been more pointed. Regarding Pence’s support for Trump:
“The idea that God wants somebody like Mike Pence to be the cheerleader for a president largely known for his association with hush money to adult-film actresses seems to me to give God very little credit.”
Just last weekend, Buttigieg – all together now – “reluctantly” – said that if Pence and those who share his opposition to gay marriage have a problem with who he is, then they have a problem with God himself.
“And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand: That if you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
By now I think you understand Mayor Buttigieg isn’t a reluctant Christian critic. He sounds more obnoxious than Dana Carvey’s Church Lady on SNL.
All ol’ Pete needs to do to complete the act is break into Carvey’s signature “superiority dance” at the end of each speech.
Come to think of it, Buttigieg sounds an awful lot like those evangelicals he and so many leftists and moderates despise.
He’s judgmental, he’s condescending, and perhaps most offensive is his presumptuous and arrogant notion he is the arbiter of what makes for or disqualifies one as a quality Christian.
Pete Buttigieg knows well his denomination suffered a painful split years ago over the issue of gay marriage. The Methodist Church just held a narrow and divisive vote over the same issue weeks ago.
The issue of Mayor Buttigieg’s sexuality and marriage as well as President Trump’s past behaviors is all subject to debate and division if you’re strictly discussing it through a spiritual lens.Good Christians can and do disagree.
But as a matter of governing the nation, none of it is particularly relevant when it comes to the metrics of policy decisions you believe best suit the direction of the country.
If it’s not in the Constitution, it’s for states and communities to sort out. It’s that simple. But for the left and people like Buttigieg, their version of morality MUST be foisted upon the rest of the country because they’re unwilling to make the case in their communities. They’d rather the Supreme Court do their bidding when the Constitution has nothing to say on their issue.
As a true conservative as well as a Christian voter, I can walk and chew gum at the same time. I can question whether my Christian faith sanctions the behaviors of a candidate personally while at the same time elect them to do a job well.
Mayor Buttigieg doesn’t believe both can be true. If I hold him to his own standard, I can’t vote for him either. He’s an all-or-nothing candidate on the issue of faith. How’s that for ironic? I either support gay marriage or I’m a no-good Christian.
My reading of the Bible and my interpretation of God’s teaching may or may not tell me to stand firmly against Mayor Buttigieg’s personal life as well as President Trump’s.
If I ultimately determine their lives don’t jive with my understanding of Christianity, it doesn’t mean I stand in judgment of them as men. In fact, I’m commanded to not.
Said another way, we can simultaneously identify the speck in someone’s eye while attempting to remove the log from our own.
My Christian faith instructs me to love them, pray with and for them, forgive them, worship with them, and most importantly understand any perceived sins they possess I can match in my own life.
Very simply, evangelical Christianity is a personal relationship. It can be complicated, too. Which is why it’s been studied, debated, and discussed for thousands of years.
But it should never be used as a blunt-force instrument to attack someone’s Christianity or candidacy. Yet it’s happening now. Political money is being raised from such behavior.
Yes, the most judgmental and intolerant evangelical of the presidential campaign cycle happens to be an openly gay Democrat.
Isn’t that special?