(JTA) — Pete Buttigieg will no longer use the word “Pharisee” to refer to those he deems religious hypocrites, a campaign official said.
Buttigieg, a Democratic presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, had called Vice President Mike Pence a Pharisee on multiple occasions because he claimed Pence was subverting his Christianity by serving under Donald Trump. The New Testament Gospels say the Pharisees “do not practice what they preach.”
Jewish scholars had taken offense to the term because the Pharisees were one of several Jewish sects during the first century, the time of Jesus. They also include the rabbis of the Talmud and the creators of Rabbinic Judaism, the ideological ancestor of mainstream Jewish practice today.
But on Tuesday, Lis Smith, a communications adviser to Buttigieg, tweeted that following the criticism, Buttigieg would no longer use the term. Her tweet comes days after the Jewish Telegraphic Agency asked his campaign about the issue.
“We appreciate the people who have reached out to educate us on this,” Smith tweeted. “While intended to highlight political hypocrisy, we listened and learned and won’t be using it going forward.”