By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35
In 1980, I was a graduate student at the University of South Florida majoring in History. I worked for one of the professors. We often talked about current events. I think he found me unique from the other students. After all I graduated from a Southern Baptist college in the Bible belt. I was everything he was not, a nonpracticing Jew from New York City. One day, we discussed the upcoming presidential election. He was surprised that I was torn between the two candidates, Democrat incumbent President Jimmy Carter or Republican Ronald Reagan. After all, Reagan was endorsed by the evangelical Christian right. Yet, Jimmy Carter was Southern Baptist and even a Sunday School teacher. He asked me why it bothered me that churches were supporting Reagan when black churches had long promoted political candidates. I explained that there was a difference in being told that a certain candidate would promote Christian values and therefore was the best person for the job and what was currently being said, “If you are a Christian, then you will vote this way.” In other words, “If, then” implied that my vote confirmed my relationship with Christ. Articulating my feelings that way, surprised both of us. For the next four decades, I have contemplated my words whenever people begin discussing election politics and Christianity especially when someone implies that Christians should support one person over another. It is particularly difficult when abortion is used as the litmus test; save the babies becomes the reason for supporting a candidate. In some instances, such as our current president, a misogynist, white supremist, many times divorced, adulterer can become our country’s leader as long as he promises to restrict abortions. Does anyone think past that statement? What are his reasons? Does it have to do with following Christ’s leading or a desire to suppress women? Or to gain power? Today, I posted my support of Pete Buttigieg on Facebook. Even though I have hinted at my endorsement previously, it took a lot of thought for me publicly say that I would vote for “Mayor Pete.” I know that many friends and family will disapprove. However, after much research and for many reasons I support Buttigieg. He is pro-life, just a different definition of pro-life that some people have, but pro-life none the less. Buttigieg’s policies are pro-human. For kindness and against discrimination. For assisting the poor and against caging them. For opening doors instead of closing them. For making the world a better place for all, children included, and against giving one group all the power. But, the best thing about Buttigieg is that he holds all Christians, not just the evangelical right, accountable to follow the words of Jesus. He is a Christ follower and expects those who take the name of Christ to act like Christ. When Buttigieg quotes scripture, it is not designed to appeal to voters, but to inspire. He calls us to a higher plane. Like Jesus did. That’s my litmus test.