Pete Buttigieg has tried to carve out a niche among Democratic presidential hopefuls as the candidate who is comfortable talking about religion. Unfortunately, he’s only comfortable trying to use religion as a means of beating conservatives, especially religious ones, over the head.
This annoying penchant was on display again in Buttigieg’s Christmas message. He tweeted:
Today I join millions around the world in celebrating the arrival of divinity on earth, who came into this world not in riches but in poverty, not as a citizen but as a refugee. No matter where or how we celebrate, merry Christmas.
Buttigieg’s message struck me as fake history. To my understanding, Jesus (the name Buttigieg conspicuously omitted from his tweet) came into the world neither as a refugee nor in poverty.
I’m not an expert on these matters, so tonight on our Power Line VIP program, I checked with John, a devout Christian and student of religion. John confirmed that Joseph, a carpenter, was a working man and not impoverished.
Joseph was also not a refugee, whatever that might mean in the context of the Roman Empire. Joseph and his family were traveling back to Joseph’s native town because the Romans were requiring people to do so for purposes of a census. They weren’t fleeing anyone, nor were they homeless. They were travelers, not refugees.
To me, the interesting question is: What purpose does Buttigieg think his fake history/religion serves? He’s not bridging any religious/cultural divide, as some of his fans claimed he could do. If anything, he’s upsetting non-leftist Christians through his attempt to put the Christmas story to left-liberal use.
I think Buttigieg is trying to impress secularists with his ability to use the jargon of religion to make left-liberal points. He isn’t reaching out to conventional Christians or bridging any gap. Rather, he’s preaching to those on his side of chasm, using (or in this case misusing) the other side’s text.
He’s also taunting religious conservatives, and not for the first time. This may be a way to score a point or two with those who hate such conservatives (i.e., a large chunk of the left). But Buttigieg was initially billed as a healer, and taunting is very far from healing.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Buttigieg truly hates the Christian religion as traditionally practiced due to its views about of his sexuality.