President Joe Biden is off to a diligent start in his first 100 days in office, much of which is doing damage control to harmful policies initiated by his predecessor. Contrary to what people like James Dobson of Focus on the Family want you to believe, Biden’s priorities aren’t about persecuting Christians or stealing Christmas. In fact, much of his plans align quite well with causes that evangelicals already support.
Jonathan Merritt writes for Religion News Service:
On Wednesday (Jan. 20), before the scattered chairs on the National Mall had even been collected, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, ominously warned his conservative Christian followers that President Joe Biden and his Democratic cronies would lead America to “new levels of radicalism” in which Christians would be persecuted and liberals would be “canceling anyone who disagrees.”
“President Biden is adamant that the hallmark of his administration will be tearing down thousands of years of human history, morality, science, and gender norms,” Perkins wrote.
One might almost want to congratulate the supposed author of this mayhem for his sheer ambition, were it not that Biden’s agenda for his first 100 days largely eschews culture war issues in favor of concerns that he shares with many white evangelicals. With a few exceptions, the president’s list of priorities matches up nicely with, if not Perkins, [Robert] Jeffress and [Franklin] Graham’s, then perfectly orthodox organizations such as World Relief and the National Association of Evangelicals.
Those exceptions would include Biden’s plan to expand anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, not punish nongovernmental groups that assist women with abortions by withholding federal funding, and let openly transgender people serve in the military.
While conservative Christians may disagree with those measures, they’re missing the bigger picture. Policies that keep people free from harassment or wrongful termination, allow immigrants to pursue legal citizenship (something that more than half of evangelicals actually support), and make healthcare more affordable (making women more likely to keep their pregnancies!) make America better for everyone.
Because the majority of evangelicals have still hitched their wagon to Trump, they may be unwilling to examine legitimate critiques against their hero. They also won’t allow Biden the chance to prove himself more aligned with their standards than they think.
The question is whether those Christians will ever allow themselves to admit that a Democratic president is actually doing more for their supposed causes than the Republican Party ever did. Biden isn’t on their side in the culture wars. But he’s right there with them when it comes to helping the poor and caring for our neighbors.
Those pastors should really be thanking him.
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