This is a comment I made on Instapundit and thought should be posted more broadly.
More on point, he didn’t say that salvation depends on being ‘useful’.
What he actually said is much worse– a charitable* reading of the ‘useful’ thing is that he’s promoting following the quote famously (and falsely–and ironically, but not a bad point) attributed to Saint Francis about “preach always, when needed, use words.”
It’s the thing that he thinks needs to be preached that’s the issue.
“I care about this because my faith teaches me that salvation has to do with how I make myself useful to those who have been excluded, marginalized, and cast aside and oppressed in society.”
This is a frank perversion of Christianity, although in line with the Christian heresy of socialism.
I can see how it would be offensive to him, though– Leviticus 19. DO NOT PEVERT JUSTICE.
Here’s a big chunk of context.
11 “‘Do not steal.
“‘Do not lie.
“‘Do not deceive one another.
12 “‘Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.
13 “‘Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.
“‘Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.
14 “‘Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.
15 “‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.
16 “‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people.
“‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.
17 “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.
18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
Theology geekery, a lot of the other stuff in 19 that don’t make sense in modern terms had meaning beyond the obvious. It’s very rewarding to dig into, for those who get curious.
Still, this point is repeated elsewhere:
1“Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.
2 “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, 3 and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit.
4 “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. 5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.
6 “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. 7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.
8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.
9 “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.
* Gosh, charitas in discussing Christianity, what will they think of next….
via Mayor Pete Buttigieg Says Christian ‘Salvation’ Is About Being ‘Useful’