Pete Buttigieg leans into his faith ahead of Iowa vote

epaselect epa08183690 A placard in support of former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg (not pictured) lies in the snow outside Lee Lohman Arena during a campaign act for Buttigieg to be the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, in Davenport, Iowa, USA, 31 January 2020. The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses are on 03 February 2020. EPA-EFE/GARY HE

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Pete Buttigieg hasn’t been afraid to mention religion over the course of his 10-month-old presidential campaign.

Nearly 80 percent of residents says religion is very or somewhat important to them, according to Pew Research Center, and Buttigieg has leaned into his faith with an eye toward wooing Democrats and independents at campaign events across the state.

Buttigieg is increasingly making morality and theology a key part of his closing pitch to caucusgoers, even quoting scripture on the stump.

At a hotel ballroom in Ankeny, a Des Moines suburb, Buttigieg told an enthusiastic crowd Thursday night that “God does not belong to a political party in the United States of America.”

“Americans of every religion and of no religion are ready to stand united on the moral principle of treating others as we would want to be treated,” he said.

Citing scripture, he said there was a “historic opportunity to engage voters of faith,” including disaffected Republicans.

At various points in his campaign, Buttigieg, a church-going Episcopalian, has talked frankly about his faith and said there is a need for Christian voters to focus on inclusiveness. Last year, Buttigieg, who married his husband Chasten Buttigieg in 2018, repeatedly took aim at Vice President Mike Pencefor supporting policies and espousing views that are anti-LGBTQ.

Brandy McKibben, who saw Buttigieg speak earlier Thursday in Marshalltown, Iowa, where the former mayor preached inclusiveness, said that, “Everything he stands for and everything he wants to do as far as uniting us is just based on helping the little people.”

“That’s a very Christian value, and I appreciate that he can say it is a Christian value,” McKibben, a 43-year-old hairdresser who identified herself as Catholic, said.

“To have a commander in chief like him, morally speaking, compared to what we have right now, would be wonderful,” she added. “There is an appetite in the Democratic Party for someone who isn’t afraid to speak about religion, about faith, who does that kind of thing publicly.”


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