Mayor Pete's sexuality should not enter into political discussions

Mayor Pete's sexuality should not enter into political discussions
© KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Almost three decades ago, while working at the Pentagon, I had the honor of meeting and speaking with the Rev. Billy Graham. As a conservative Christian, it was one of the true highlights of my spiritual life.

Today, I am still a conservative Christian, but one who takes issue with the Rev. Franklin Graham — though I recognize the tremendous good he has done for countless people in need the world over, after emerging from the shadow of his famous father.

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That said, good people can certainly disagree from time to time, in a civil and respectful manner — a form of debate that, sadly, appears to be on its way to extinction in the age of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE, when many people on both sides of the political aisle exist on the razor’s edge of rage and see those who disagree with them as the enemy.

Here’s the truth: Republicans and Democrats are not enemies. Conservatives and liberals are not enemies. The haves and have-nots are not enemies. Heterosexuals are not the enemies of the LGBTQ community. We are all Americans, human beings dealing with an unpredictable, often cruel world.

While it is now a mostly ignored cliché, we are in fact much stronger as a people when we band together as one to fight real common enemies. We are much better as a people when we unite to help those most battered by life through no fault of their own.

South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Gabbard, Buttigieg battle over use of military in Mexico MORE, whose star has been rising among Democratic presidential candidates, touched upon some of this at a recent CNN “Town hall” meeting.

Said the mayor: “It can be challenging to be a person of faith who’s also part of the LGBTQ community and yet, to me, the core of faith is regard for one another. And part of God’s love is experienced, according to my faith tradition, in the way we support one another and, in particular, support the least among us.”

He stressed: “I get that one of the things about Scripture is, different people see different things in it. At the very least, we should be able to establish that God does not have a political party.”

Buttigieg makes a good point about supporting “the least among us,” and he’s certainly correct that “God does not have a political party.” We are all God’s children, born with the exact same rights.

When I met Billy Graham, I believed gay rights to be a human right. So, I was disappointed to see Franklin Graham criticize “Mayor Pete” for his sexuality. Though we can disagree with Buttigieg on issues, his sexuality should not be a topic of discussion when it comes to politics, or life.

But Franklin Graham does not share that view. “Mayor Buttigieg says he’s a gay Christian. As a Christian, I believe the Bible, which defines homosexuality as a sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized,” he said in a tweet.

But isn’t Pete Buttigieg a creation of God? Does Rev. Graham believe that God makes mistakes?  

Certainly, as president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Franklin Graham does good work and carries out Christian deeds. Precisely because of the powerful platform he has, he should use his considerable influence to instead call out the “prosperity preachers” who prey upon the poor, the elderly, the infirm and the desperate.

If Rev. Graham really wants to point out sin and put a stop to it, that would be a great place to start.

Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration. He is the author of “The Forty Days: A Vision of Christ’s Lost Weeks” (Post Hill Press, 2016).