Buttigieg stance on religious liberty 'extremely troubling'
Monday, February 10, 2020
Chris Woodward, Chad Groening (OneNewsNow.com)
He's known to quote scripture and is considered by some as a "moderate," but not everyone thinks Pete Buttigieg is a friend of religious liberty.
Buttigieg has been surging in the polls, and after a virtual tie with Bernie Sanders in Iowa, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is closing in on the Vermont senator in polls in New Hampshire (primary on Tuesday). Among that state's Democrats, the latest RealClearPolitics average has Sanders with 28.5% and Buttigieg at 22%, with Senator Elizabeth Warren (12.3%) and former Vice President Joe Biden (11.5%) a distant third and fourth.
Mary Vought, executive director of Senate Conservatives Fund, says it's pretty surprising knowing how well Buttigieg did last week in Iowa because "those caucuses are generally more faith-focused."
"So, it's telling that people don't really know where he stands on the issue," says Vought, whose husband Russell is acting director of the White House's Office of Management and Budget. "He was asked specifically about religious liberty at a campaign rally and his quote was 'the right to religious freedom ends where religion is being used as an excuse to harm other people.'"
Several individuals, religious leaders, and theologians pushed him on that, but Buttigieg didn't explain what he meant by his remarks.
"And that's extremely troubling," Vought continues. "You can look back to some other rhetoric that he's used and policies that he's supported to show where he stands on the issue."
Buttigieg has referred to Vice President Mike Pence as a "pharisee." His campaign announced in April 2019 that he would stop using the term after concern was raised by progressive Jewish leaders that the term had anti-Semitic undertones.
Vought goes on: "You can also look to the Equality Act, which he overwhelmingly supports and several religious leaders have already signaled what that would mean for faith-based establishments. The Equality Act passed the House [and] it hasn't been taken up in the Senate yet – but it's definitely foreshadowing of where the Democratic Party wants to go on this issue."
She adds that even non-religious people should be concerned by this issue. "Once you start chipping away at those individual beliefs [and] those rights that are ensured under the Constitution, who knows what else will happen?" she warns.
Micah Clark is executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana. The pro-family activist isn't convinced that Buttigieg can overcome some serious negatives to be the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. He suggests to OneNewsNow that the former mayor is benefitting from being a virtual unknown in the race.
"They could basically write his script and portray him as anything they want to because he has very little political history, very little record," Clark explains. "So, it's possible that the party leadership could turn to him – although he has problems with a big part of the African-American base; he's not popular in South Bend with African-Americans and he's had some problems with the police department."
OneNewsNow asked Clark if he thinks the Democratic Party is prepared to nominate an open homosexual.
"I don't know if people want a 'first husband' in the office married to a man. I don't think we're ready for that," he responds. "It's one thing to be tolerant of the lifestyle; it's another thing to put it up on a mantle in the highest position of office.
"There may be people who say it doesn't bother them, but once you get in the voting booth you don't know how they will vote," he observes.
Buttigieg is currently polling badly (in the single digits) in both Nevada and South Carolina, the next two stops of the primary season. Biden leads in both of those states.
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