Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and FRC senior staffer David Closson claimed that openly gay Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg does not represent the “biblical” version of Christianity because of his sexuality. Both also suggested that Buttigieg is hypocritical for criticizing Christians who support President Donald Trump while being, in Perkins’ words, “a man who gets in bed with another man.” FRC is an extreme anti-LGBTQ group.
The evangelical right, including FRC and its allies, have repeatedly cited Buttigieg’s faith and sexuality to attack his candidacy and to criticize progressive Christians, particularly those who support LGBTQ equality and abortion rights. Anti-LGBTQ and right-wing media figures have claimed that progressive Christians are not “serious Christians,” even calling their beliefs a “hypocritical farce” and “politicized sham.” Perkins previously compared Buttigieg to “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and claimed that his progressive agenda is “not in line with the Scripture.” Other figures have accused him of practicing “fake Christianity” and said that he “keeps trying to play a Christian on television.”
On the November 21 edition of FRC’s Washington Watch podcast, Perkins reiterated his claim that Buttigieg -- who speaks openly about his faith -- goes against the Bible, saying, “It's amazing to me that he would so use Scripture when he is ... openly in a lifestyle that is contrary to the teaching of both the Old and the New Testaments.” Perkins’ guest, FRC Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview David Closson, doubled down on this sentiment, claiming Buttigieg “is actually twisting God's word to advance a political agenda that is antithetical to biblical Christianity.” Closson also said that Buttigieg speaking about his faith is “not just ironic” but also “sinister to twist God's word to advance a radical left-wing anti-biblical agenda.”
Portraying Buttigieg’s faith and sexuality as being at odds reflects right-wing evangelicals’ broader efforts to create a false “God vs. Gay” dichotomy by suggesting that LGBTQ equality will result in the loss of rights for religious people, particularly Christians. However, polling by the Pew Research Center shows that the majority of members of most religious groups in the United States say that homosexuality should be accepted. In May 2018, the Public Religion Research Institute found that “most religious groups now support the legalization of same-sex marriage,” and although many white evangelicals and Mormons still do not express support, “there is evidence that even these groups are trending toward majority support.”