When you see a headline that starts with “conservatives attack Pete Buttigieg for…,” the only proper reaction is a sharp intake of breath, because it seems very likely that the next two words will have something to do with the South Bend mayor and presidential hopeful’s sexuality. In what passes for “good news” these days, that is not the case in this situation. Instead, conservatives are attacking him for being Episcopalian.
No, you didn’t hear that wrong.
As the Daily Beast reports, right-wing pundits are on a mission to attack the legitimacy of Buttigieg’s left-wing Christianity, and the least offensive path they found was through his, um, Episcopal-ness. Two of the usual suspects, at least, are already in on the act: Fox News’ Laura Ingraham and online idiot Erick Erickson:
“He says he’s a traditional Episcopalian, whatever that means these days,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham said in a segment that dismissed Buttigieg as “but another creation of a media apparatus desperate to oust Trump.”
“If Buttigieg thinks evangelicals should be supporting him instead of Trump, he fundamentally does not understand the roots of Christianity,” conservative commentator and reformed #NeverTrump Republican Erick Erickson tweeted on Sunday. “But then he is an Episcopalian, so he might not actually understand Christianity more than superficially.”
Of course, as DB notes, Erickson previously opined that Buttigieg thinks “Jesus would be okay with beastiality,” so you may want to take his opinion with a grain of salt.
All of this stems, of course, from Buttigieg having the gall to call himself a Christian and also support homosexuality and abortion rights and other left-wing ideas. Christians of the Ingraham/Erickson stripe believe that their faith should be synonymous with political conservatism, and any move toward a more progressive idea of Christian faith will be met with swift opposition. If you’re not Republican, their thinking goes, then you are not Christian.
For Buttigieg’s part, he’s doing the smart thing and mostly ignoring these bizarre broadsides:
“We’ll let whatever that meltdown was speak for itself,” said Lis Smith, Buttigieg’s communications director. “The mayor has spoken extensively about his faith and how it guides him as a human being and elected official. It’s not surprising that this administration’s defenders are sensitive about being called out for their hypocrisy.”