Pete Buttigieg: Outrage over anti-gay protestors dressed as 2020 candidate 'whipping Jesus on a cross'

Chris Riotta

Pete Buttigieg has been confronted by anti-gay hecklers along the campaign trail this week, with demonstrations taking a bizarre turn at an Iowa rally.

A notorious anti-abortion activist dressed as the Indiana mayor began whipping a man wearing a costume of Jesus Christ near a Marshalltown campaign stop Wednesday morning, a day after that same protestor attempted to interrupt another event held by Mr Buttigieg.

That man, Randall Terry, can be seen in a video captured by freelance Getty Images video producer Marcus DiPaola donning a “Mayor Pete” sign around his neck as he whips the other demonstrator, who is holding a cross on his back.

A third protestor dressed as the devil can be heard shouting on a loudspeaker, “Yes, more blood, Peter!” and “Every vote is a lash on the back of Christ.”

Mr Buttigieg has remained notably calm throughout each of the heckling attempts, receiving attention for his thoughtful responses to the issue of his sexuality and how it plays into voters opinions of him. His audiences have also typically kicked in with support, drowning out the noise with chants and cheers.

When Mr Terry began shouting at the mayor's Des Moines rally Tuesday night, Mr Buttigieg responded, “The good news is, the condition of my soul is in the hands of God."

“But the Iowa caucuses are up to you,” he added, pointing to the crowd.

The mayor also harkened back to his own religious views during a separate heckling event at another Tuesday rally.

As a heckler shouted claims about Mr Buttigieg supporting “the murder of unborn babies,” the 2020 candidate joked that “coffee after church gets a little rowdy sometimes.”

“That gentleman believes that what he is doing is in line with the will of the creator,” Mr Buttigieg said, as the man was escorted out of the room by security. “I view it differently. We ought to be able to view it differently.”

Mr Terry is a controversial figure, described as an “attention seeker” who travels cross country to participate in spectacles like the Wednesday morning demonstration.

The anti-abortion group he previously founded, called Operation Rescue, reportedly cut all ties with him nearly 18 years ago and considers him too radical to have any sort of relationship.