(CNSNews.com) – Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is openly gay, said Thursday that God won’t let us off the hook for harming people with climate change.
During an appearance on CBS’s “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Colbert asked Buttigieg about his comments about climate change as it pertains to religion during CNN’s Democratic presidential town hall debate.
“Last night in the town hall climate change, you called climate change a sin. In what way is climate change a transgression of God's laws?” the host asked.
“I'm not out to impose my faith on anybody else –” Buttigieg said.
“Is this sharia law?” Colbert asked.
“I'm Episcopalian. Our sharia law is called the Book of Common Prayer, and there's a lot of stuff in there about the environment. There's a lot of stuff in there about stewardship for creation, but also to me, environmental stewardship isn't just about taking care of the planet. It's taking care of our neighbor,” Buttigieg said.
“We're supposed to love our neighbor as ourselves, and the biggest problem with climate change isn’t just it’s going to hurt the planet. I mean in some way shape or form the planet’s still going to be here. It's that we are hurting people - people who are alive right now and people who will be born in the future is the way I see it,” the mayor said.
“I don't imagine that God's going to let us off the hook for abusing future generations any more than you would be off the hook for harming somebody right next to you with climate change. We're doing both,” Buttigieg said.
“One thing that's sort of interesting to me is that you are the candidate, as far as I can tell, who is talking about their personal faith more than the other candidates on the Democratic side, and the GOP has gone a long way over the last generation of trying to make themselves the Christian party or the party of faith. Where do you see faith properly influencing your job as a politician?” Colbert asked.
Buttigieg said Democrats “have been a little allergic to talking about faith,” because they “passionately believe that when you're running for office or when you’re in office, you have an obligation to treat people of any religion and people of no religion equally.”
“It's a basic American principle, but at the same time, as we see some of these figures on the religious right embrace behavior and I think policies but definitely behavior that flies in the face not just of my values but of their own, then it reminds me of all of the parts of Scripture where there is a lot about hypocrisy,” he said.
“And I think we have an obligation to call that out and to speak about how, you know, not just the Christian faith tradition that I belong to but pretty much any religious or non-religious moral tradition I’ve ever heard of tells us that it’s really important how we treat the least among us, the most vulnerable, the marginalized, that we are obliged to serve the poor and heal the sick and clothe the naked and welcome the stranger – stranger, by the way, being another word for immigrant -- and that what we're seeing right now in the White House is the opposite,” Buttigieg said.