More than 5,000 “pro-life evangelicals” have signed an online letter noting their opposition to abortion but the necessity of voting for Joe Biden in this year’s presidential contest.
“As pro-life evangelicals, we disagree with Vice President Biden and the Democratic platform on the issue of abortion. But we believe a biblically shaped commitment to the sanctity of human life compels us to a consistent ethic of life that affirms the sanctity of human life from beginning to end,” the statement begins.
“A biblically shaped commitment to the sanctity of human life compels us to a consistent ethic of life that affirms the sanctity of human life from beginning to end.”
It continues: “Many things that good political decisions could change destroy persons created in the image of God and violate the sanctity of human life. Poverty kills millions every year. So does lack of health care and smoking. Racism kills. Unless we quickly make major changes, devastating climate change will kill tens of millions. Poverty, lack of accessible health care services, smoking, racism and climate change are all pro-life issues.
The statement cites a National Association of Evangelicals’ policy document titled “For the Health of the Nation,” that says: “Faithful evangelical civic engagement and witness must champion a biblically balanced agenda.“
Therefore, the signers concur, “we oppose ‘one issue’ political thinking because it lacks biblical balance.”
Despite disagreements with the Democratic platform, the signers note that “a number of Democratic proposals” would address root causes of abortion, such as financial insecurity, access to health care, affordable child care and “a minimum wage that lifts workers out of poverty.”
“For these reasons, we believe that on balance, Joe Biden’s policies are more consistent with the biblically shaped ethic of life than those of Donald Trump,” it concludes. “Therefore, even as we continue to urge different policies on abortion, we urge evangelicals to elect Joe Biden as president.”
Prominent signers of the letter include Richard Mouw, president emeritus of Fuller Seminary; Ron Sider, president emeritus of Evangelicals for Social Action; John Huffman, board chair emeritus of Christianity Today; Roberta Hestens and David Black, both presidents emeritus of Eastern University; Dennis Hollinger, president emeritus of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary; Robert Fryling, former publisher at InterVarsity Press; and Ray Bakke, global missions researcher and educator.
This evangelicals for Biden group comes in addition to other evangelical and Catholic groups that have popped up this summer and fall to endorse Biden — a first for many of the pastors and faith leaders stepping out to oppose President Donald Trump on moral grounds.
Sider told The Guardian: “I urge everyone, especially evangelicals, to support Joe Biden as president. Poverty, racism, lack of health care and climate change are all ‘pro-life’ issues. On those and many other issues, Biden is much closer than Trump to what biblical values demand.”
Dobson rallies the other side
On the other hand, a legendary figure in American evangelicalism sent out a letter to 800,000 of his followers rallying the troops to oppose Biden, but not calling him by name.
James Dobson, founder and president of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute and host of the daily radio program “Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk,” carries as much influence with conservative evangelicals as any other living person. He has been a vocal Trump supporter.
“Many political commentators have stated that this election is the most significant since 1864, when Abraham Lincoln vied for a second term against Democratic nominee, George McClellan,” Dobson writes. “The future of our beloved nation hung in the balance that year. If Lincoln had lost, the Civil War would have ended precipitously and the wretched evils of slavery would have remained legal in the Confederate States, and perhaps even in the North. Had Lincoln been defeated, the Union would have been torn asunder. Thank God Mr. Lincoln won, even though it cost him his life!”
This year is like that, he says. “Newt Gingrich said that what we are facing now might bring an end to civilization as we have known it.”
Dobson encourages his readers not to vote for president based “solely on a candidate’s rhetoric, tone, style or likeability.” He then quotes an email his wife just handed him from an anonymous author that he says sums up his own feelings: “This is not a junior high or high school popularity/personality contest. I’m not voting for the person — I’m voting for the platform!
“I’m voting for the Second Amendment. I’m voting for the next Supreme Court justice. I’m voting for the Electoral College. I’m voting for the republic in which we live. I’m voting for the police and law and order. I’m voting for the military and the veterans who fought and died for this country. I’m voting for the flag that is often missing from public events. I’m voting for the right to speak my opinion and not be censored for it. I’m voting for secure borders. I’m voting for the right to praise God without fear. I’m voting for every unborn soul that is at risk of being aborted. I’m voting for freedom and the American dream. I’m voting for good and against evil. I’m not just voting for one person.”
“I’m voting for the right to praise God without fear. I’m voting for every unborn soul that is at risk of being aborted.”
To that long list of qualifications, Dobson then adds his own additional thoughts: “I’m also voting for candidates who will exercise sound leadership internationally. I’m voting for those who will support Israel. I’m voting for those who will protect children from leftist curricula. I’m voting for the nation’s fiscal integrity. I’m voting for parental rights. I’m voting for school choice and home education. I’m voting for freedom in the suburbs. I’m voting for Little Sisters of the Poor and other Christian organizations. I’m voting for racial unity. I am voting to support ‘In God we trust’ and school prayer. I’m voting for freedom of conscience for physicians and other professionals. I am voting for marriage. I am voting for life in all its dimensions. I am voting against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. I’m voting for wisdom in handling the pandemic. I am voting for protection for the church from oppressive politicians.”
Dobson declares that this election “is for all the marbles . . . the presidency, the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Supreme Court. Together, they set the agenda for this country.”
The Lincoln Project has gained a reputation for its pointed ads against Trump, written and supported mainly by Republicans who oppose him. Its mission is “to defeat Donald Trump and those candidates who have abandoned their constitutional oaths, regardless of party.”
Now that group has released a video ad titled “MAGA Church” that it says highlights “the hypocrisy of those who claim the mantle of Jesus while supporting or ignoring President Donald Trump’s immoral acts.”
The video contrasts adoring declarations about Trump by including members of his Evangelical Advisory Board with clips of Trump’s own boasts, bullying and cursing. Among those supporters featured are Paula White, Robert Jeffress, Franklin Graham, Michele Bachmann and Jerry Falwell Jr.
The Lincoln Project site quotes its own Jennifer Horn to explain why the video was necessary: “Donald Trump has hijacked the GOP, the conservative movement and now, with the help of these charlatans, one of the largest faith communities in America. … President Trump’s corruption and dishonesty destroys every person and institution he touches. But with faith leaders like these, who spin vices as virtues, the president believes he is exempt from the wages of sin as long as he delivers power to those Evangelical leaders who so clearly crave it.”