South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg used the Bible to justify a higher minimum wage during Tuesday night’s Democratic primary debate, and he took a shot at conservative Christians in the process.
Buttigieg, who has discredited the faith of Vice President Mike Pence on more than one occasion, cited a verse from Proverbs as a reason that the minimum wage should be increased to $15.
“The minimum wage is just too low,” Buttigieg said. “And so-called conservative Christian senators, right now, in the Senate, are blocking a bill to raise the minimum wage, when scripture says that whoever oppresses the poor taunts their maker.”
The full verse he is referencing is Proverbs 14:31, which in the New American Standard Bible reads, “He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.”
This line of thinking, of course, ignores the reality of how many jobs would be lost when the government forces businesses to pay everyone $15 per hour.
But, this has been Buttigieg’s approach to Christianity as a presidential candidate—to espouse an interpretation of the religion in order to fit with liberal political policies, and vilify politically conservative Christians by discrediting the authenticity of their faith.
Sometimes, he does this by quoting scripture directly, like in this case. Other times Buttigieg, who is gay and married, flips the script and criticizes conservative Christians, like Pence, for adhering to a literal reading of the Bible when it comes to sexuality and marriage. Just whatever fits the moment.
I’m not sure how effective or ineffective this is with Democratic voters, but from the outside looking in, it seems obvious how disingenuous it is. To watch Buttigieg shape his personal view of Christianity to fit with his political ambitions means listening as he says you’re not being a good Christian think it’s okay to pay someone less than $15 per hour, but you’re also not being a good Christian if you believe “You shall not murder” includes unborn children.