Pete Buttigieg, Gay and Christian, Challenges Religious Right on Their Own Turf
by Elizabeth Frantz, New York Times

WASHINGTON — As a religious gay man who believes his party has ceded discussion of religion and spirituality to Republicans, Pete
Buttigieg, a Democratic candidate for president, is talking about God and sexuality in an unconventional way: He is using the language of
faith to confront the Christian right on territory they have long claimed as their own.

Mr. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., has provoked a backlash from conservatives in the last few days after questioning the moral
authority of evangelicals like Vice President Mike Pence who remain silent about President Trump’s personal conduct yet disapprove of
same-sex marriages and oppose gay rights.

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Though many conservatives were initially reluctant to engage Mr. Buttigieg because they feared it would only add to his growing stature as
a 2020 contender, they jumped on his latest comments. Some suggested he was attacking the vice president to further raise his profile.
Others challenged Mr. Buttigieg’s understanding of Christianity and accused him of smearing the religious convictions of the very people
he wants to win over.

A devoted Episcopalian who fluidly quotes Scripture and married his
husband, Chasten, in a church service last year, Mr. Buttigieg is making
the argument that marriage is a “moral issue.” In a speech on Sunday to
the Victory Fund, a group that supports gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender politicians, he said his relationship had made him “more
compassionate, more understanding, more self-aware and more decent.”

He then directly addressed Mr. Pence, as one man of faith talking to another: “And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God.”

This is not the domain where social conservatives and gay rights advocates are used to doing battle. In the decade and a half since
same-sex marriage became a galvanizing issue for both sides, the national debate has largely focused on the tension between civil
rights and individual freedoms.

Mr. Buttigieg has reframed it in religious terms, raising questions about God, morality, sexuality and intolerance that depart from the
familiar left-right fault lines. That quickly caught the attention of Republicans and conservative media commentators, who tried to cast his
remarks as an unprovoked attack on faith-abiding Christians.

Karen Pence, the vice president’s wife, insisted Tuesday that her husband has no quarrel with Mr. Buttigieg. “I don’t think the vice
president does have a problem with him,” she said in an interview with Fox News radio. “I think in our country we need to understand you
shouldn’t be attacked for what your religious beliefs are,” she added, noting that the speech was probably “helping Pete to get some

Mr. Buttigieg has reframed the fight over gay rights in religious terms, raising questions about faith, tolerance and morality that depart
from the familiar left-right fault lines.CreditBizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal, via Associated Press
But Mr. Buttigieg has cited Mr. Pence’s support for legislation that made it easier for religious conservatives to refuse service to gay
couples as a reason he decided to come out publicly in 2015.

Mr. Pence’s office responded to Mr. Buttigieg’s comments this week by releasing an old video clip in which he praised the mayor as a
“dedicated public servant and a patriot.” Mr. Buttigieg’s ramped-up attacks on Mr. Pence have miffed the vice president, who has privately
told allies that if Mr. Buttigieg had questions about his religious beliefs, he could have asked him at any time during their friendship.

The issue followed the vice president to the United Nations on Wednesday, where reporters shouted questions at him about whether
being gay was a choice. Mr. Pence walked away without answering.

In an interview with CNBC that aired Thursday, Mr. Pence addressed Mr. Buttigieg’s criticism by saying that the mayor “knows me,” and
suggested that repeated questioning of his beliefs were a way for Mr. Buttigieg to gain traction in a crowded field.

“My family and I have a view of marriage that’s informed by our faith,” Mr. Pence said. “But that doesn’t mean that we’re — that we’re
critical of anyone else who has a different point of view.”

The reaction from other conservatives has been less measured. A Fox News host, Todd Starnes, accused the mayor of wanting “to shove
evangelical Christians into the closet.”

Mr. Buttigieg has provoked a mixture of concern, derision and faint admiration from conservatives. Some built him up early as an
undeniable but stealth force in the race. Rush Limbaugh warned his listeners that someone as articulate, personal and seemingly
reasonable as Mr. Buttigieg would be a strong opponent. Ben Shapiro, the writer and podcast host, argued that he was the candidate
who could most likely beat Mr. Trump. “Really. He’s not crazy, he’s from the Rust Belt, he served in Afghanistan,” Mr. Shapiro wrote on

But this week provided a moment of clarity on the right, and the backlash was a reminder of how galvanizing religion and homosexuality
can be when evangelicals and other conservatives of faith are convinced that their values are under attack. This sentiment, which was
stoked by Mr. Trump and his allies in the Christian right in 2016, was a major factor in the president’s huge margins with white
evangelicals. Eighty-one percent voted for him, compared with 16 percent for Hillary Clinton.

Indeed, if Mr. Buttigieg continues to gain in the polls, it could prompt the religious right to draw attention to numerous comments he has
made about evangelicals and Mr. Trump — “the hypocrisy is unbelievable,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this week — as
conservatives did after Mrs. Clinton called Trump voters a “basket of deplorables.”

Mr. Buttigieg and Mike Pence in 2015, when Mr. Pence was governor of Indiana. Mr. Buttigieg has challenged the moral authority of
evangelicals like Mr. Pence who disapprove of same-sex marriages.

Ralph Reed, the founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said Mr. Buttigieg’s approach struck him as odd given how so much of his
message has been focused on unity and restoring the Democratic Party’s relationship with voters who are more religious and
conservative. “It seems to me the solution to that is not to attack the faith of anyone else, whether it is the president, the vice president or
anyone else,” Mr. Reed said. “The solution should be to talk about their own faith.”

Mr. Buttigieg’s words suggest that he will spend little effort trying to entice any of the president’s most loyal religious supporters. But by
pushing the discussion of homosexuality and marriage toward morality and the Bible, he is opening a door to voters of faith who are
turned off by the dominance of the Republican Party’s far right but are not yet convinced they could vote for a Democrat.

That approach would be similar to the one Barack Obama took in 2008 when he received 26 percent of the white evangelical vote. Mr.
Trump’s approval rating among white evangelicals has remained high — 69 percent as of January, according to the Pew Research
Center. But that has slipped 9 points since his inauguration.

Some evangelical Christians say that the fracture over Mr. Trump within their community runs so deep that the desire for an alternative —
especially one like Mr. Buttigieg, who is so temperamentally different from the profane, brash and unpredictable president — will remain

Pete Wehner, an evangelical who worked in the George W. Bush White House and has split with his community and his party over Mr.
Trump, said the way Mr. Buttigieg speaks with ease and familiarity about Christianity is a trait many voters will find to be a welcome
contrast with the president.

“It’s not a foreign language to him like it is to Donald Trump, so you’re not going to get ‘Two Corinthians’ from him,” Mr. Wehner said,
referring to Mr. Trump’s flub of the Bible book properly referred to as “Second Corinthians.”

“He speaks about faith in a way that is largely nonthreatening and not filled with anger,” Mr. Wehner added. “That is a real opening.”

But the unflagging devotion that most white evangelicals have for the president suggests that many will be far more concerned with policy
results like conservative Supreme Court justices than with electing someone who speaks their language. The relevant question for Mr.
Buttigieg is whether there is a critical mass of those who are wavering.

“Mayor Pete could not have hoped to capture conservative Christian voters or moderate Christian voters at any point in modern American
history — until now,” said Jonathan Merritt, an evangelical author and speaker who disagrees with the decision by evangelical political
leaders to stand by the president.

Mr. Merritt, who believes the taint of hypocrisy has turned many young evangelicals like him away from traditional leaders, said he
remembers growing up in the South when antipathy toward President Bill Clinton and his personal conduct was running hot.

The line he remembers seeing and hearing over and over, he said, was “character matters.”

El alcalde gay Pete Buttigieg se presenta a la presidencia de EEUU

El alcalde abiertamente gay Pete Buttigieg ha anunciado su candidatura a la presidencia
de los Estados Unidos. El alcalde de South Bend, Indiana, se unió a un campo demócrata
en expansión en el mes de enero en un intento que podría convertirlo en el primer
candidato presidencial abiertamente gay para un partido importante.

El político abiertamente gay Pete Buttigieg anunció que su comité exploratorio ha
alcanzado la meta de 65,000 donantes requerida para calificar para el debate primario
del Partido Demócrata en junio.

Buttigieg, el alcalde abiertamente gay de South Bend, Indiana, escribió en Twitter que ha
recibido donaciones de más de 76.000 personas.

“Gracias a ustedes, logramos la meta de los 65.000 donantes de @TheDemocrats para
ser invitados al primer debate. Pero vamos a necesitar recaudar mucho más dinero para
competir”, escribió.

Y añadió: “Sé que puedo defenderme en el escenario del debate y representar sus valores con honor e integridad, pero necesito saber
que también podemos construir una organización fuerte”.

Buttigieg salió del armario durante su segunda campaña de reelección en 2015 en una columna de un periódico. Fue reelegido con el
80 por ciento de los votos.

Cuando este hombre de 37 años anunció la creación de un comité exploratorio en enero, muchos comentaristas consideraron que
tenía pocas posibilidades de ganar la candidatura del Partido Demócrata, lo que lo convertiría en el candidato presidencial más joven
de la historia, así como en el primer candidato presidencial abiertamente homosexual.

Los partidarios de Buttigieg ven el debate de las primarias demócratas como una oportunidad para que el funcionario, conocido
localmente como “Mayor Pete”, brille realmente.

Un titular en el Wall Street Journal describió su candidatura como “arriesgada”, mientras que Sky News lo describió como “el más
arriesgado de los candidatos”, ya que otros tienen un perfil nacional mucho más alto.

“¡¡¡¡¡Felicidades!!!!! ¡Me alegro de que nos veamos en el escenario del debate! Creo que el país quedará asombrado“, escribió un
partidario en Twitter, comentando el post de Buttigieg.

“¡Tan emocionado por ti y por que el país te escuche! Esta chica de Texas donó después de verte en el ayuntamiento de SXSW CNN. Me
volaste por los aires”, reaccionó otra persona.

El abarrotado campo de candidatos presidenciales de los demócratas de 2020 que luchan por la nominación del partido ha llevado al
presidente del Comité Nacional Demócrata, Tom Pérez, a anunciar una serie de criterios para la participación en los debates primarios.

Como se informó en NBC News el mes pasado, cada uno de los 12 debates programados para la temporada de primarias del Partido
Demócrata del 2020 verá alineaciones elegidas al azar entre los candidatos.

Para calificar para el debate, cada candidato necesitará tener al menos un 1 por ciento de apoyo en tres encuestas de calificación, o
proporcionar evidencia de al menos 65.000 donantes únicos, con un mínimo de 200 donantes diferentes en al menos 20 estados.

En caso de que haya más de 20 candidatos que cumplan con uno de estos dos requisitos, los 20 mejores serán elegidos siguiendo un
sistema separado que consideraría el cumplimiento de ambos criterios, los promedios de las encuestas y el número de donantes más

El primer debate de las primarias presidenciales de 2020 será organizado en junio por NBC News, MSNBC y Telemundo; se organizará
más de un debate durante las noches de semana consecutivas para acomodar a un gran número de candidatos.

La CNN será la anfitriona del segundo debate en julio y otros cuatro más a finales de este año, con seis más programados para 2020.

¿Tendremos un presidente gay en EEUU?

Buttigieg, un veterano afgano de 37 años que se casó el año pasado con su marido, el profesor Chasten Glezman, destacó su juventud
y su carácter progresista en el vídeo de lanzamiento de su campaña presidencial de 2020.

En el video, Buttigieg dice: “Pertenezco a una generación que está dando un paso adelante en este momento.

“Somos la generación que vivió los tiroteos en la escuela, que sirvió en las guerras después del 11 de septiembre, y somos la primera
en ganar menos que nuestros padres a menos que hagamos algo diferente”.

Buttigieg continúa: “La realidad es que no hay vuelta atrás, y no hay tal cosa como ‘otra vez’ en el mundo real. No podemos buscar
grandeza en el pasado. Ahora mismo, nuestro país necesita un nuevo comienzo”.

Y añade: “No podemos simplemente pulir un sistema tan roto. Es una temporada para la audacia y un enfoque en el futuro”.

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