Pete Buttigieg Jim Wallis

Pete Buttigieg and Jim Wallis Discuss Christianity in Politics

on November 18, 2019

The Democratic Party is reluctant to discuss Jesus because they have seen others abuse Christianity in politics, according to 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.

In a one-on-one interview with Sojourners Editor and Religious Left fixture Jim Wallis, Buttigieg, an Episcopalian shared how his Christian faith impacts his politics, including immigration, climate change, and religious liberty.

“You have talked more about Jesus than any other candidate, Republican or Democrat. Why?”  Wallis asked.

“Because I think it’s important, and because I fear that there’s been an effort to recruit Jesus into one political party – the Republican party. Of course, God doesn’t belong to a political party in this country,” Buttigieg told Wallis.

“And there’s an allergy in my party to doing this, and the allergy comes from a very healthy place,” claimed Buttigieg. “Which is, we’ve seen, what happens when people are subjected to other people’s interpretations of their own faith. It’s very important to me and I think it’s very important to the country.”

“I feel like that may have prompted us to feel like we can’t bring [Christianity] up at all, because there are those with very different views and very different values,” he maintained. “It’s created the impression that if you’re guided by faith, you only have one place to go.”

Wallis later cited the parable of the Good Samaritan while asking Buttigieg how the question, “Who is my neighbor?” underlies all political issues facing the nation.

“One of the radical things, one of the scandalous things that Jesus says, is that these people that you are led to believe are unfit to be in contact with you, that’s who I have in mind,” Buttigieg replied. “That’s your neighbor. That’s me, He says, in some ways.”

The topic of immigration was then wrapped in the broad concept of belonging.

“We’re at a moment where there is such a big question about belonging in this country. What it means to belong and an effort to tell others they do not belong, perhaps because they aren’t citizens, or even if they are citizens, because there’s something different about you.” Buttigieg said.

He further noted that the Gospel is radical because it “includes this idea that every single person is of equal concern, has the divine in them,” regardless of origin, ability, race, or environment.

“What a nation can do at its best is create a sense of belonging that reminds us all that we’re neighbors,” Buttigieg insisted.

“How do we change the religious narrative in this 2020 election?” Wallis asked. “You say the Republicans act like they own religion, own God. They often claim that… But how can we go deeper than just Religious Right and Left?”

“I do think that if there is a Religious Right, then there had better be something like a Religious Left,” Buttigieg replied. “Although that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s got to be a mirror image. I think it means that, above all, people of faith know that they do have a choice.”

He continued to argue, “If your religious values guide you in what you do in the voting booth, then make sure that is all of your religious values, including protecting the marginalized, or being concerned for the poor, respecting the dignity in everybody, and feeding the hungry, and identifying with prisoners, and welcoming strangers and all that’s in [Scripture].”

Climate change, too, is another political issue that cannot be separated from principles of faith, said Buttigieg, “Especially if you believe we are entrusted with power over something that we certainly didn’t create, and had better treat it well.”

“Here you have climate. It’s an issue that, in my view, the urgency of dealing with climate change is just manifestly beyond anything we can allow to remain a partisan issue. It’d be if cancer were a partisan issue and people said it wasn’t real,” he went on to explain.

Buttigieg is the first presidential candidate in a same-sex marriage. So what of same-sex marriage and Christians who hold to traditional sexual ethics? Here he insists, “We’ve got to remember that seeing the humanity in everybody means everybody, especially those we’re having a problem with.”

“On an issue like LGBTQ equality, I really believe this is also a battle within people. It is sometimes a battle between what they have been told and how they have been brought up, and something very good inside of them, which is compassion,” Buttigieg said of conservative Christians.

Wallis then mentioned Buttigieg’s opposition to Beto O’Rourke’s promise to seek to withdraw tax-deductible status from religious groups not approving same-sex unions. “It’s one thing to enforce anti-discrimination law on organizations, even religious ones. In many cases that’s what I think we ought to do. It’s another thing to say you don’t get to be in whatever protections we’ve created for religion as a whole because you have a position that I don’t like,” Buttigieg explained.

He continued, “To me, that doesn’t mean we get to use the mechanisms of the state in that particular way. Because when you’re going after tax exemption of a church, what you’re really saying is this church isn’t a church. We’ve decided it’s not.”

“Faith can be very divisive,” Buttigieg said. “As long as there’s been religion people have been fighting about it. But, imagine if we who are involved in politics took every chance we can to [view] faith as a source of unity.”

You can listen to the entire podcast interview here.

  1. Comment by Eternity Matters on November 18, 2019 at 7:21 am

    Two fake Christians talk about Christianity. Fascinating.

    The “Christian” Left is the opposite of Christianity. Soros-supported Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis is a fraud, and Buttigieg mocks Jesus 24×7 with his lifestyle.

  2. Comment by Mike on November 18, 2019 at 8:41 am

    “Two fake Christians talk about Christianity.”

    That says it all.

  3. Comment by Rev. Dr. Lee D Cary (ret. UM clergy) on November 18, 2019 at 9:35 am

    Just five additional questions for Mayor Pete:

    Q1. Mayor Pete, why is it that we find the deepest concentration of hunger, poverty, homelessness, drug abuse, and crime in America’s predominantly Democrat-run (for decades) big cities?

    Q2. Pete, you claim that Republicans talk more about Christianity than Democrats because Democrats are “allergic” – silenced by Republicans – to engaging the issue because they practice greater diversity of religions and religious beliefs? What makes that allergy “healthy”?

    Q3. Mayor Pete, are you saying that because the Gospel suggests that because every “single person is of equal concern, has the divine in them regardless of origin, ability, race, or environment” that America should permit anyone to enter to live in the nation without question, approval or scrutiny? In other words, Pete, no borders to the nation? And does that mean than anyone/everyone in the world has the divine right to vote in the next Mayoral election in South Bend, Indiana and in the upcoming U.S. Presidential election? No! Why not, Peter?

    Q4. Pete, concerning Climate Change – used to be Global Warming – since it’s a religious issue to you, should those who question the science behind it be silenced, shamed, and, if necessary, punished? (Or, at a minimum, considered atheists.)

    Q5. Mayor Pete, please, tell us where you gained all your vast knowledge of climatology? Perhaps from AOC?

  4. Comment by David on November 18, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    A1. You are engaging in a post hoc fallacy. Cities are not immune from downturns in the national economy or the general trend of de-industrialization. This has happened in many places regardless of political domination. Some differences are due to rural vs. urban. Can one be homeless in a rural area with snow? No, to survive you have to move to an area with services for the poor as provided in cities. Some social problems are due to concentrations of population. Two-thirds of the states in the US have populations less than that of New York City. The fact that people are often willing to pay vast sums to live in urban areas show they are not all so bad.

    A2. Republicans are more likely to pander to religious bigotry than Democrats.

    A3. This is a straw man fallacy. Even the DOB states “all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God.” Does this mean the UMC favors open borders? There is currently a “big lie” circulating that Democrats favor open borders though no major figure has said this.

    A4. Those who reject climate, as well as evolution, are ignorant. The science is there for all to see and read.

    A5. See A4.

    A6. Officers of government are always required to be citizens and declare loyalty to the Constitution and state. An exception to this are Notaries Public in some jurisdictions. See A3.

  5. Comment by Lee D. Cary on November 18, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    I’ll respond when I have the time to play. Later.

  6. Comment by Lee D. Cary on November 19, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    David, since in your A4. Rebuttal you state: “Those who reject climate, as well as evolution, are ignorant. The science is there for all to see and read,” I see no reason to spend time responding to each of your points, since you already discount me as “ignorant”.

    I’ll just offer this one citation re. your A1. response:

    As you survey the list, which political party historically is the home of the homeless?

  7. Comment by Jim on November 18, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Know it all Dave! We can always count on you having all the answers. The only absolute truth you subscribe to is the opinions you spout off. Which of course are just that- opinions.

  8. Comment by David on November 19, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    There’s nothing like ad hominens to make a point.

  9. Comment by David on November 19, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Pardon, ad hominems.

  10. Comment by Lee D. Cary on November 18, 2019 at 10:23 am

    Oh, one last question Mayor Pete:
    Q6. Why is the 1st qualification, of 15, required to apply to be a member of the City of South Bend Police Department listed as being a “United States Citizen”? ( )

    Isn’t that discriminatory against persons with citizenship elsewhere, Pete? (Particularly since the current difficulties the SBPD is having recruiting officers.)

  11. Comment by Joan Sibbald on November 23, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    Memo to Pete Buttigieg and Jim Wallis:

    “From the beginning God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife and the two will become one. What God has joined together let no man separate.”

    “Man must not lie down with man nor woman with woman; it is an abomination in the eyes of God.”

    Then there’s: “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves. For the truth about God is known to them instinctively.
    (Scroll down to today’s subject of homosexual sexual activity, please.)
    “Even the women turned away from the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserve.”

    Finally, Pete and Jim: “Woe to anyone who teaches a child who believes in Me to sin.”

    In a nutshell, there are four words to describe male and female homosexual sexual activities: unnatural, abomination, despicable, perversion.
    “Woe to anyone ………”

  12. Comment by Melvin Aycock on November 25, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    Pray for Mayor Pete. Pray the Holy Spirit will convict him of his sin and that he be saved.
    Consider the repercussions.

  13. Comment by E. Calvin Beisner on November 25, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    Buttigieg and Wallis tout climate change (aka catastrophic manmade global warming–but to be specific like that is to invite the unimaginable, namely, the demand for actual empirical evidence for an empirical claim) as “just manifestly beyond anything we can allow to remain a partisan issue.” If that’s so, then they and others who believe anthropogenic emissions of CO2 and other infrared-absorbing (“greenhouse”) gases are causing CATASTROPHIC warming shouldn’t object to testing that hypothesis empirically (the key to science). When we do, we discover that CO2’s warming effect is most likely 1/2 to 1/3 what the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says ( Two things follow logically: (1) the warming’s harms are most likely 1/2 to 1/3 what they’re claimed to be (and indeed even the IPCC doesn’t foresee warming of that level as problematic, let alone catastrophic); (2) the benefits gained by spending the $1 to $2 trillion per year to implement the Paris climate treaty from 2030 to the end of the century (, averting at most 0.17 degree C of warming by 2100 (–both of those figures, which entail spending $23.3 to $46.6 trillion per tenth of a degree Fahrenheit of reduction in global average temperature, being based on assuming that the treaty’s supporters are right about CO2’s warming effect and the cost of implementation–would be 1/2 to 1/3 what its advocates anticipate. The truth is that fighting “climate change” is worse than a waste of money–it’s a diversion of it from truly helpful uses (providing safe drinking water, reliable electricity, sewage sanitation, medical care, and adequate nutrition to the nearly 2 billion people who now lack all those) to unhelpful ones. The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation has made that case in a major study at

  14. Comment by John Soderberg on November 29, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Thanks for publishing Oete’s thoughtful comments. I’ve been nurtured (baptized, confirmed, married and ordained) by the United Methodist Church, graduated from a UMC college and seminary.

    I find his witness consistent with what has given my life meaning. “His banner over met is love.”


  15. Comment by Anthony E. on December 24, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks for such useful information. The Bible is too powerful and I think Politician wants to bend it in a way that they can use to control the masses. There is no way anyone can purely justify a sinful act like the LGBT. Let’s pray for those trying to brainwash us from the truth.

  16. Comment by Mixchult on May 14, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    Thank you very much for the invitation :). Best wishes.
    PS: How are you?

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