Does the country need an awakening of the Christian left? Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg thinks so.
Mayor Pete, as he is affectionately called, is having a moment with a first quarter fundraising haul of $7 million and a third place showing in an Iowa poll at 11%. In January, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, held last place at 0%. In the intervening months, Buttigieg has wowed Democrats with his mastery of policy issues and Midwestern charm. The 37-year-old is a military veteran who served in Afghanistan, a Rhodes scholar and speaks seven languages.
He’s alluding to a burgeoning Christian left led by pastors and writers like Jim Wallis, the Rev. William J. Barber II, Rachel Held Evans, the Rev. James Martin, Lisa Sharon Harper, Diana Butler Bass and many others. But nonconservative Christians generally do not receive the same level of news media attention as the religious right, despite their deep understanding of Scripture and thriving faith traditions. Because most journalists are secular, they can be gullible in looking to the religious right as arbiters of biblical interpretation, especially as it relates to hot-button cultural and political issues. Because of this, many Americans aren’t even aware of the rich tradition of progressive Christianity.