Message from the Senior Editor: A Note on the Democratic Debates

(June 28, 2019) — Round one of the Democratic primary debates is over (and if, like me, you’re on the East Coast and stayed up late two nights in a row to watch, an extra coffee is certainly in order today). One debate down, eleven to go! Yes, the past two nights in Miami count as one debate, with two more rounds of back-to-back debates scheduled for July 30/31 in Detroit and September 12/13, location to be announced. If you’re doing the math, we’ll be three down, nine to go at that point. (Sidenote: that’s a lot of extra coffee.)

Immigration was a central topic in the first round of debates, with many candidates conveying deep anguish and anger over the Trump administration’s policy of separating asylum-seeking families at the southern border. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, noting that the Republican Party likes to “cloak itself in the language of religion,” said:

For a party that associates itself with Christianity to say that it is OK to suggest that God would smile on the division of families at the hands of federal agents, that God would condone putting children in cages has lost all claim to ever use religious language again.

First, both parties use and misuse religious language to promote their positions. Second, this idea that the policies and behavior of the GOP and President Trump are far from reflective of Christian values misses the point we humanists argue and demonstrate again and again: one need not be a Christian in any way, shape, or form to demonstrate compassion for others. Buttigieg prefaced his knock on Republican’s mix of cruelty and Christianity by stating that “Democrats don’t do that much, largely for a very good reason… the commitment to the separation of church and state. And we stand for people of any religion and people of no religion, but…” With all due respect, Mr. Mayor, there should be no but.

Jennifer Bardi
Senior Editor