An openly gay candidate for the US Democratic nomination is challenging the Republican religious right and calling for a religious left to promote Christian values
Something strangely wonderful has happened in the long struggle for gay rights in the United States. An openly gay candidate for the presidency, Pete Buttigieg (pronounced “Buddha-judge”), who is currently Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, participated in a “town hall” debate screened on CNN before an audience of college students in New Hampshire.
The hour-long event was moderated by Anderson Cooper, the most prominent openly gay news anchor in the US. And the two men barely discussed being gay. A few months shy of the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots that launched the gay rights movement, being gay had become unremarkable, at least for an hour of cable news.
But something else is happening with Buttigieg’s candidacy. After months of articles and polling indicating that the Democratic Party was becoming increasingly secular, divorced from, and even disdainful of some of the Christian values that historically had always informed American politics, in February Buttigieg called for a resurgent “religious Left” to balance the religious Right.