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Op-ed

Viral Iowa caucus gay marriage argument shows two mistakes Christian supporters of Pete Buttigieg make

Ignorance and interpretation

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Bible doesn't tell you who to vote for. The Bible doesn't tell you who to vote for. Let me say it again, one more time for every American Christian who thinks people who vote for the *other* party are going to hell: The Bible doesn't tell you who to vote for.

Now that we've established that, we can address the below video: A now-viral encounter between a Pete Buttigieg-supporting precinct captain and a voter who wanted to change her pick after learning that Buttigieg is gay.

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To summarize, the precinct captain believes Buttigieg's sexuality shouldn't matter to Christians in how they vote. Everyone is human, and love is love, she says. The voter wants her ballot card back, because she somehow didn't know beforehand that Buttigieg is an openly gay, married, man. How have I never heard of this, the voter wonders aloud. A good question — it's not exactly a secret.

I don't want to name these women, or shame either side, because they didn't ask to go viral for this conversation. And, both of them conducted themselves courteously and engaged without escalation or insult. But the conversation is instructive for Christians who engage in politics, as each woman made a significant mistake.

The precinct captain's mistake

The precinct captain, much like Buttigieg, chooses to ignore or brush aside portions of the Bible that are inconvenient to her opinion. She argues on the basis that she has her own interpretation of the Bible and says that "we weren't around when the Bible was written." This is problematic ground for a Christian to stand on, as a core Christian belief is that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. And whether one agrees with it or not, the Bible's stance on sexuality and marriage is plainly clear.

Now, this is where I have to restate an important point: The Bible doesn't tell you who to vote for. And if you're looking to vote for a candidate who checks all the religious boxes, you'll come up empty — regardless of your party affiliation. Voting almost always means voting for someone who, in some way or another, goes against what you believe is right. But Christians should at least be able to face up and acknowledge clear contradictions, even if we choose to cast that vote anyway.

The voter's mistake

The voter has a different issue. She has no problem with what the Bible says, and she makes her argument based solely on that. The problem is, she had already cast her vote. She had already signed the ballot. And she didn't know even the most basic thing about the man she picked. Even casual observers of the Democratic primary would likely know Pete as the young, gay mayor. It's a key part of his identity, and one that he is proud of and happy to talk about.

This is irresponsible. Christians do not have to vote. They do not have to engage in politics. But if they choose to do so, a bit of due diligence must be done. Maybe you can't tell the specific difference between the health care plans of Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, but a few minutes of reading someone's biography and scanning their platform on their website isn't too much to ask. And if you can't do that for some reason, maybe just ask someone who follows it a little more closely.

Don't walk into the situation ignorantly. You might end up voting for someone fully opposed to the values you hold tightly. You may wind up on the internet for arguing with a caucus official about gay marriage, simply because you voted blindly. That doesn't reflect well. Now, she's known as the Christian woman who "flipped out" when she found out Pete was gay. This was avoidable.

Remember, the Bible doesn't tell you who to vote for. The biggest mistake these women made was not that they are Democrats, or that they supported Pete Buttigieg. We all cast our own votes for our own reasons, and thank God we live in a nation where we're free to do so. But in making that choice, we have to be honest about what we believe, and be educated about who we support. That's how we make this whole system work.

One last thing…
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