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Jake Tapper Calls Pete Buttigieg—to His Face—a ‘White Evangelical Christian’

By CNSNews.com Staff | April 12, 2021 | 9:39am EDT
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg a question about the attitude toward COVID-19 vaccination among his “fellow white Evangelical Christians” on “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Buttigieg, who is married to another man, accepted the characterization and answered the question.

“You have been outspoken on issues of your personal faith,” Tapper said to Buttigieg. “Otherwise, I normally wouldn't bring this up, but why do you think it is that so many of your fellow white evangelical Christians are reluctant to be vaccinated? And what's your message to them?”

“You know, sometimes, I have heard people, people I care about, saying, if I'm faithful, God's going to take care of me,” Buttigieg responded.

“And I guess what I would hope they might consider is that maybe a vaccine is part of God's plan for how you're going to take care of yourself,” Buttigieg said.

“Pastors--I mean, the very word pastor, the idea of pastoral care--is about supporting those who look to you for guidance,” Buttigieg went on to say. “And, usually, we think of that in a spiritual sense, but, sometimes, that could also just be true for health.

“And, so, I hope anybody who is looking after a community of people, including a faith community, will consider ways to help guide them towards steps that can protect them and protect those around them,” said Buttigieg.

Tapper then referred to a joke about God.

“Yes, it reminds me of that old joke about God saying, I sent you the boat, I sent you the--you know, that old thing about, why didn't you save me?” said Tapper.

“Exactly,” said Buttigieg.

Buttigieg, who was baptized a Catholic and attended a Catholic high school, is now a member of the Episcopalian church. He and his husband, Chasten, were married in the Episcopal Church.

Here is the transcript of the exchange about God and vaccination between Buttigieg and Tapper:

Jake Tapper: “A recent poll showed that almost three in 10 white evangelical Christians said they will definitely not get vaccinated. That's the second highest group in the country refusing to get vaccinated, behind Republicans.

You have been outspoken on issues of your personal faith. Otherwise, I normally wouldn't bring this up, but why do you think it is that so many of your fellow white evangelical Christians are reluctant to be vaccinated? And what's your message to them?

Pete Buttiieg: “You know, sometimes, I have heard people, people I care about, saying, if I'm faithful, God's going to take care of me.

And I guess what I would hope they might consider is that maybe a vaccine is part of God's plan for how you're going to take care of yourself.

In the end, I have to admit that it's unlikely that an official like me is going to be persuasive to somebody who maybe doesn't feel like Washington has been speaking to them for a long time. But this is where faith leaders can make such a difference.

Pastors -- I mean, the very word pastor, the idea of pastoral care is about supporting those who look to you for guidance. And, usually, we think of that in a spiritual sense, but, sometimes, that could also just be true for health.

And so I hope anybody who is looking after a community of people, including a faith community, will consider ways to help guide them towards steps that can protect them and protect those around them.

Tapper: Yes, it reminds me of that old joke about God saying, I sent you the boat, I sent you the -- you know, that old thing about, why didn't you save me?

Buttigieg: Exactly.

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