Democratic presidential nominee and wannabe theologian Pete Buttigieg appeared on a radio show last week to spread his version of the Gospel. When asked about the “reckoning between the GOP and Christianity” (whatever that means), Buttigieg first complained about Vice President Mike Pence and then argued that the Bible says babies aren’t alive until they’re born. Both of these things warrant closer examination.
Here’s what Mayor Pete had to say about Pence: “I mean if you’re in Mike Pence’s world, where being Christian has to do with, you know, a kind of rigid sexual ethics … And he thinks that this president ought to be the moral as well as political leader of this country.”
If I were advising Mike Pence, I’d recommend that he think about getting a restraining order, just in case. Buttigieg’s obsession has crossed from merely bizarre to pathological. He seems to rope Pence into every discussion, no matter how far he must stretch to make the connection. Meanwhile, Pence has only ever said nice things about Buttigieg, although mostly he says nothing about him either way. Perhaps this is why Buttigieg’s obsession grows more and more frantic by the day. He is not the sort of man who can tolerate being ignored.
Now, here are Buttigieg’s thoughts on abortion and the Bible: “There’s a lot of parts of the Bible that talk about how life begins with breath. And so even that is something that we can interpret differently … Most Americans can get on the board with the idea of, alright, I might draw the line here, you might draw the line there, but the most important thing is the person who should be drawing the line is the woman making the decision.”
There are so many logical and theological problems here that it’s hard to know where to begin. First of all, does the supposedly devout Buttigieg really think that women are the sole authorities who decide where to “draw the line”? If so, he has placed their word above God’s. Any believing Christian must acknowledge that God is the author, and thus definer, of life. One cannot develop a coherent conception of the Christian God that does not exclusively grant Him that power.
Buttigieg must know this because he quotes — rather, mangles — the Bible in an effort to justify his position. Where are these “a lot of parts” that allegedly disqualify the unborn as humans? I am not aware of any parts that even hint at this possibility. The only passage in Scripture that gets within 100 miles of Buttigieg’s claim is Genesis 2:7, which states: “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
What does this have to do with the abortion debate? Precisely nothing. “Breath of life” is poetic language. We are not meant to imagine God literally leaning down from the clouds to deliver CPR to Adam. And even if we did imagine it that way, the creation of every successive human does not equate to the creation of Adam. Adam was formed from the dust of the ground. You and I were not. Eve was formed from Adam’s rib. Your mother was not. The process of creation for a child in 2019 is not the same as the process for Adam and Eve. Does Buttigieg even know where babies comes from?
That said, the Bible does indeed contain many verses that bear on the abortion issue. But every single one of them affirms the dignity and value of unborn life. Some examples:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nation.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows well.” (Psalm 139:13)
“Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” (Psalm 100:3).
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit … ‘As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.'” (Luke 1:41, 44).
And this is to say nothing of the “you shall not murder” stipulation in the Ten Commandments.
Of course, for a Christian, the most definitive biblical statement on abortion cannot be reduced to one particular verse. Christians believe that God Himself came to Earth as a “fetus” in the womb of His mother. God Himself was once unborn. If the unborn are subhuman, then that would mean that God was once subhuman. Such a claim is heretical and blasphemous in the extreme. There have long been heresies claiming that Jesus was man but not God, or that Jesus was God but not man. Buttigieg is going even further afield, claiming that Jesus was less than man while still God.
Of course, there is no reason to have the abortion discussion on Christological terms. We know from science that unborn children are both alive and human. There is no question about this fact. It is not up for debate and no credible scientist on Earth would debate it. It is Buttigieg, not Mike Pence, who wants to turn this into a religious discussion. And, as it turns out, he knows about as much about the Bible as he does about biology. Which is to say, he’s completely clueless on both counts.