Thus spaketh the holiest man in progressive America, a guy whose shtick all year on the trail has been to try to put religious conservatives on defense by insisting that he’s a better Christian than they are. That’s clever for many reasons, starting with the fact that talking often about his faith is a way for Buttigieg to blunt attacks that a gay man can’t properly govern a Christian country like the United States. It’s also clever in appealing on a gut level to Democrats, who’ve been lectured for decades by the religious right on their moral failings. Now here comes Mayor Pete to assure them that they, not Republicans, are the true followers of Christ’s example. Imagine how gratifying that must be for them.

I mean, I’m not even religious and I find his sanctimony intensely irritating. “Right,” you can hear Democrats saying, “so put yourself in our shoes from 1980 to 2016.”

He’s not going to be the nominee but he might end up carving out a niche as a surrogate next year in which he travels around reminding Democratic audiences that, as it happens, their policy preferences match up letter-perfectly with “true Christianity” the way Jesus wanted people to practice it. (Coincidentally, the climate-change crisis also appears to require solutions that align in every particular with the pre-crisis leftist agenda.) The most obvious obstacle to that claim is abortion, particularly in an era when Democrats long ago traded “safe, legal, and rare” for “whenever a woman g-ddamned well feels like it.” But he’s already anticipating that objection; as you’re about to see, he has it on authority from Scripture that God might be okay not just with abortion but with late-late-late-term abortion.

Again, in exact alignment with the modern Democratic agenda.

Whether and how often the Bible claims that life begins at “breath” is a question above this atheist’s pay grade but it’s curious to me that this supposedly mainstream understanding has escaped the attention of, for instance, the Catholic Church. I expect Buttigieg would say that he’s not claiming that he knows God’s mind on this subject but rather that pro-lifers can’t know it either. Passages of Scripture conflict, you see. And when that happens, the only conscientious thing to do is to interpret the material in the way that’s most supportive of, uh, infanticide.

Seems to me like you might want to default to the Golden Rule when the Bible is hazy on what God wants, but doing that in this case would force Buttigieg to line up with the right on the most sensitive social issue there is. It’s one thing to ask him to kill infants, it’s another thing to ask him to kill his career.