The recent war of words between Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Vice President Mike Pence is an excellent illustration of one of the fundamental differences between liberal/progressive and conservative thinking.
Buttigieg was the one who started the war. In an evident attempt to distinguish himself from his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Buttigieg attacked Pence’s supposed Christianity. Pence, who is known for his avowed piety, displayed some sense of surprise and hurt. “I’ve known Mayor Pete for many years,” he told CNN. “We’ve worked very closely together when I was governor, and I considered him a friend, and he knows I don’t have a problem with him. I don’t believe in discrimination against anybody. I treat everybody the way that I want to be treated.” Buttigieg disagrees with Pence’s self-assessment.
Buttigieg is openly gay, has a male husband, and professes his Christian faith. He supports LGBT causes in the ongoing national debate and expresses concern that discrimination still exists against homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals.
Pence professes himself to be a Christian evangelical. He believes that marriage was ordained to be only between one man and one woman, and he has frequently supported that position in the public square. His wife teaches at a Christian school that excludes practicing homosexuals and promotes the New Testament view of marriage.
The root of their problem appears to be their differing approach to tradition and the interpretation of sacred texts.
As an Evangelical, Pence tends toward literalism in his reading of the Holy Bible, particularly the New Testament. Like me and most of his fellow Evangelicals, Pence allows for some latitude in interpreting certain passages, but he holds that the main thrust of the scriptures is not to be questioned. Biblical texts are “God breathed”, and that label is accorded to the letters of the apostles as well as to the gospels. Both the New and the Old Testament condemn homosexual practices. I am convinced that Pence is honest when he says he likes and respects Pete Buttigieg but does not approve homosexuality. For him to say otherwise would be a denial of the tenets of his Christian faith.
As a liberal Christian, Buttigieg joins many of his fellows in a somewhat loose and flexible interpretation of holy scriptures. They like to point out that Jesus himself said nothing about homosexuality. (Of course, he said nothing about many other evils, including pederasty). As for the Apostle Paul, liberals emphasize that his anti-homosexual comments were made in the context of his times, as were many of his observations on the submissive roles of women. Buttigieg is no literalist. To him the main message of the New Testament is to love one’s fellow men and women, thereby expressing one’s love for God.
Interestingly, this conservative-liberal split on Biblical interpretation extends to another inviolable text, the United States Constitution. Conservative jurists tend to interpret the Constitution as it was written. Liberal justices often appear to look beyond the words and find underlining meanings that reflect their own vision of how things should be.
ON BUTTIGIEG’S HOMOSEXUALITY
One more observation about Buttigieg. He says that God made him the way he is, and if Pence has a problem with that fact he has a problem with “my creator.”
I do not doubt Buttigieg’s honesty. He is sexually attracted to persons of the same sex, and this was not because of a conscious choice on his part. He believes that he was born that way.
What about the pedophile who, for unknown reasons, is strangely attracted to children? Did God make him that way?
How about the middle-age heterosexual married man who is obsessively attracted to a nubile young woman?
Each of us sometimes subject to unhealthy desires, but whereas the individual may not have absolute control over his or her sexual thoughts, preferences or inclinations, every sane person can control his or her overt sexual behavior. This is true of men and women with either heterosexual or homosexual inclinations or any variation thereof .
Personally, I agree with Vice President Pence that the monogamous heterosexual life-style is to be preferred and promoted. I applaud him for speaking out for his beliefs in the face of often virulent criticism from members the LGBT community and their allies in the liberal press. I believe the New Testament model to be the foundation of traditional family life wherein our children are conceived, born, sheltered, and nurtured. In the family lies the future of our society; and our nation, state, and local communities must do everything possible to protect the family.
Homosexuals should be treated with compassion as human beings, and they must be guarded from blatant discrimination and harassment. Evangelicals like Pence do not hate or dislike Buttigieg. They simply disapprove his life style and his “in your face” promotion of the LGBT agenda. Most of them also believe that a person’s private life is essentially his own concern, a matter between that person and God, so long as that person’s actions do not adversely impact the health and well-being of those around him.
All people deserve courtesy, kindness and consideration regardless of their differences, and there is no excuse for violent or destructive acts by persons on any side of the volatile issue of human sexuality. On the other hand, I am also convinced that most of my fellow citizens agree with me that the heterosexual majority must resist aggressive efforts by LGBT activists to impose their own views of sexual morality and acceptability upon our society at large, especially on our children.