More than 350 pastors and other faith leaders are coming together to openly support Democrat Joe Biden for president, according to Religion News Service. Many of them are first time endorsers (which may be surprising to some, considering how high the stakes were for the last presidential election).
Still, these progressive religious leaders are making the case that voting for a Democrat doesn’t have to violate your religious beliefs, an argument that some right-wing Republicans have been making. Many conservative pastors, like Robert Jeffress, have been shouting repeatedly about how evangelicals who back Biden must be “weak” in their faith. They imply that abortion is the only issue that matters, and that caring about anything else happening right now would be upsetting to God.
The Rev. Fred Davie, a Presbyterian minister and executive vice president of Union Theological Seminary in New York, was the chief organizer of the endorsements. “Our country is at an historic inflection point and in desperate need of moral leadership,” he said in a statement to RNS. “This election presents a stark moral contrast between the common good values of the Biden-Harris agenda and the divisiveness of the current administration.”
Several of the leaders, such as [Nadia] Bolz-Weber, are endorsing a candidate for the first time.
She also argued that Christians like herself — who she said differ greatly from the religious right — are rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with.
“I think progressive Christianity is a sleeping giant,” she said.
[David] Gushee is also a first-time endorser. He had previously avoided explicitly backing a candidate because he “always drew the line at endorsement as a Christian ethicist,” but he said this year’s election “requires a different response.”
It’s true that the Religious Left is (and has been) a growing force in American politics. What remains to be seen is whether they can outnumber and outvote the Religious Right.
Still, I’m glad that these people are speaking up. I just wonder where they hell they were back in 2016, or even 2018. While white evangelicals overwhelmingly backed Trump in 2016, 58% of Protestants overall did the same. Would the endorsements of these more liberal leaders have encouraged a few more voters in swing states to vote for Hillary Clinton, even if they had to do it reluctantly? We’ll never know.
But if they’re finally coming to their senses now, then so be it. Good for them. Keep it going. Biden needs support wherever he can get it, and the consequences of four more years under Trump are too great for anyone who cares about democracy, the environment, the Supreme Court, the rule of law, and basic human decency.
(Image via Shutterstock)