Why should Christians vote for Joe Biden?

The overwhelming answer is because he’s not Donald Trump. There is a lot of truth in those “Any Functioning Adult” signs. As I make my case for Biden, the reality is my enthusiasm for Biden pales next to my disdain for Trump. The case for Biden is made by Trump.

As a Christian, it matters to me that Biden’s faith matters to him. Here’s an “inside” scoop: my daughter, who has spent the last several years working at a Jesuit school in D.C., knows a Jesuit who has served as Biden’s spiritual director. Only serious believers have spiritual directors. (This is a vastly different thing from “spiritual advisors.”) Biden’s faith is real.

Biden understands loss. He has experienced tremendous personal tragedy, from losing his first wife and infant daughter in a car accident to losing his adult son Beau. To use Frederick Buechner’s term, Biden has become a good steward of his pain. He has been broken, is able to be vulnerable, and radiates empathy and compassion. These are Christian virtues.

There are two things to say about taxes and Biden. First, he pays federal income tax. The recent revelations about Trump’s taxes show he is some combination of 1) a business fraud, 2) a tax cheat, and 3) a criminal. I wish there could be a question on the ballot that said, “Do you agree that Donald Trump should be allowed a $70,000 tax deduction for hair styling?” Would his staunchest supporters give him yet another pass? He is cheating the very country he swore to serve! (Lest you think the revelations about Trump’s taxes are old news, this came out a short while ago, but the daily chaos in Trump-world makes it seem passé. We should be outraged.)

The second thing to say about taxes is that the most significant legislative accomplishment of Trump’s term is the passage of a tax bill that gives 80% of its benefit to the wealthiest 20% of the population. What might the ancient prophets think of those economics? What do you imagine Jesus thinks? Do you hear Jesus saying, “You have heard it said that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom, but now I say that I wasn’t really serious about that and that the point of life is to accumulate wealth”? No, I didn’t think so. Biden’s economic plans start with raising taxes on people making over $400,000 a year. What’s wrong with that?

Then there’s the whole mail-in ballots, fraud, and the post office thing. How did we get here? To quote a point made recently by my brilliant friend Neil Carlson: instead of ranting about election fraud, a real leader would be warning anyone who attempts election fraud that they’ll face the full force of the American legal system. Biden is not seeking to sow chaos into the electoral system.

Biden has worn a mask since the beginning of the pandemic. Need I say more about that?

William Barr won’t be attorney general anymore. Not only him, but a whole slew of Trump acolytes, sycophants, and enablers will not be on the public payroll. Barr is the most egregious, but there are plenty of others.

Now onto the biggie for many Christians: abortion. You’ve read the arguments. The challenge here is to say something that is specific to this election. The arguments most often made would be the same if say, Marco Rubio, or any of the other Republican primary candidates had won in 2016. What’s unique about Biden vs. Trump?

I most often hear people pointing out that either Biden or Trump has flipped his stance on abortion in order to fit their parties. True, but I don’t find anything extraordinary in that. Politicians are notoriously pragmatic—just compare the 2016 versions of Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham to the 2020 versions on Merrick Garland and Amy Coney Barrett. They remind me of Groucho Marx saying, “Gentlemen, these are my principles . . . If you don’t like them, I’ve got others.”

What’s different in this election is not the Democratic stance or the Republican stance or even Biden but simply Trump. Trump’s disdain of life has made “pro-life” outrageous. Trump’s race-baiting, his support of white supremacy, and his signaling to his militia supporters to prepare for civil war is not pro-life. His certainty that he is smarter than the consensus of scientific opinion on climate change and his pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement is not pro-life. Building up defense spending while cutting education and services to the poor cannot be seen as pro-life. Attempting to scrap Obamacare without a plan to replace it in the midst of a global pandemic is not pro-life. Buddying up to the world’s most notorious dictators while alienating America’s allies is not pro-life. Automatically separating families at the border is not pro-life. And then, of course, Trump’s inane bungling of the pandemic and personal endangerment of the Secret Service and White House staff is not just not pro-life, it’s pro-death. (Did anyone really believe Trump’s encounter with COVID-19 would bring either wisdom or humility?)

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” encourages Catholics not to be single issue voters. The Bishops list climate change, racial justice, a culture of violence, immigration and refugees, poverty, health care, and international relations as defining issues for this election, as well as the candidates’ integrity and character. Reformed Christians would also do well to consider that list. On every measure, Biden scores ahead of Trump.

I cast my vote for Biden last week. As always, further down the ballot, I voted for both Republicans and Democrats. I vote for people instead of parties, because neither party represents my Christian faith. My hope is Joe Biden will win and serve in a similar way that Gerald Ford did a few decades ago—restoring a sense of normalcy which helps us heal from the circus of the past four years.

Jeff Munroe

Jeff Munroe is a retired minister in the Reformed Church in America. He resides in Holland, Michigan.

34 Comments

  • Sue Poll says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful article, Jeff. May it be so!

  • mstair says:

    No, no, no,
    This is the same kind of thinking that led to the election of trump in ’16’

    Why would God honor either of these people?

    Trump refuses to deny himself and speak truth (a very big deal in being a person of God)
    And Biden firmly stands on the party platform “ Democrats believe that freedom of religion and the right to believe—or not to
believe—are fundamental human rights.”(2020 Democratic Party Platform)

     “He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, …” (sound familiar? –numerously mentioned in O.T. Books: Kings & Chronicles – remember how well that worked out…?)

    This year, let’s think of our vote as a physical prayer/confession/profession before Our Lord…may we have enough faith to write in “May God’s Will be done”

  • Paul Janssen says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful perspective from one side of the aisle. I’ll await the onslaught of comments from folks on the other side of the aisle. I hope they will be as thoughtful.

  • Jan Koopman says:

    Pray without ceasing. Thank you. The fundamentals of Democracy are at stake

  • Marilyn Norman says:

    Drain the swamp that Trump created. Joe Biden will lead all peoples and parties.

  • Rowland Van Es, Jr. says:

    Thanks Jeff, Only thing I would add is that aside from the Catholic initiative, the National Association of Evangelicals has had a voters guide since 2004 that focuses on 8 issues, only one of which concerns abortion. They renewed their commitment in 2020 at https://www.forthehealth.net/statement

  • Tom Eggebeen says:

    Thanks Jeff … well said.

  • Henry Lise says:

    So glad someone from a reformed perspective is telling like it is.

  • Who placed these two men in the positions they now hold and have held? Some say voters. Some say the big money machines. Some say the little money machines. What about this:

    Westminster Shorter Catechism

    Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?
    A. The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes
    to pass.
    Eph. 1:4,11; Rom. 9:22-23.

    The Belgic Confessions:
    Article 13: The Doctrine of God’s Providence
    We believe that this good God,
    after creating all things,
    did not abandon them to chance or fortune
    but leads and governs them
    according to his holy will,
    in such a way that nothing happens in this world
    without God’s orderly arrangement.
    Yet God is not the author of,
    and cannot be charged with,
    the sin that occurs.
    For God’s power and goodness
    are so great and incomprehensible
    that God arranges and does his works very well and justly
    even when the devils and the wicked act unjustly.
    We do not wish to inquire
    with undue curiosity
    into what God does that surpasses human understanding
    and is beyond our ability to comprehend.
    But in all humility and reverence
    we adore the just judgments of God,
    which are hidden from us,
    being content to be Christ’s disciples,
    so as to learn only what God shows us in the Word,
    without going beyond those limits.
    This doctrine gives us unspeakable comfort
    since it teaches us
    that nothing can happen to us by chance
    but only by the arrangement of our gracious
    heavenly Father,
    who watches over us with fatherly care,
    sustaining all creatures under his lordship,
    so that not one of the hairs on our heads
    (for they are all numbered)
    nor even a little bird
    can fall to the ground
    without the will of our Father.20
    In this thought we rest,
    knowing that God holds in check
    the devils and all our enemies,
    who cannot hurt us
    without divine permission and will.
    For that reason we reject
    the damnable error of the Epicureans,
    who say that God does not get involved in anything
    and leaves everything to chance.
    20 Matt. 10:29

    • RLG says:

      Let me try this again. Thanks, Norm, for drawing our attention to our Reformed confessions and what it means to be Christians of the Reformed persuasion. Reformed folk place an emphasis on both God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. Like you, Norm, I see little emphasis on God’s sovereignty in this article and many others. There is an emphasis on human responsibility, but to the exclusion of divine direction or intervention. As to the presidential candidates, you can paint either one as attractive or unattractive as you please. The various news sources do a pretty good job of that. I’ll just have to vote and hope God can do a good job on his end.

    • Daniel Walcott says:

      We do have a problem here, Romans 13 tells us to pray for our government, ” which God establishes,…” and Revelation 13 tells us the Roman government was put in power by “the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan.” Which is it? The confession tells us God is in control of all things,
      “yet God is not the author of …” So what am I to believe? Is the current president an example of Romans 13 or Revelation 13? Is our current situation as example of “all things” or “YET”? A very clear teaching of Scripture is we don’t know. We cannot put God in a box, read the last chapters of Job, read what Jeremiah learned at the potter’s house; making absolute statements and following them with “yet” is not very helpful.

  • John vanStaalduinen says:

    I’ve heard of the problem of “Trumpism” or a similar term on this site that tries to belittle a president and the party he represents, that has done more for the American people in four Years than the rival candidate has done in his whole political career. This authors attempt to put a favorable spin on a flawed candidate by using false information under the guise Christianity reeks of “Bidenism” or some similar term. All of the candidates are flawed, it’s the party platforms that the individual candidates support that are more important. Recently the Republican Party has lifted up more Americans through great leadership (by a flawed leader) than the Democrat party has. The Bible is full of flawed leaders who led God’s people out of trouble. Is it possible that our current president is doing the same, or is the hatred of the man clouding a persons judgement?

    • KSH says:

      You talk about the party platform being more important than the individual candidate, yet you recognize the great leadership of one of the candidates. So, what’s really more important?

      Also, you speak about the many flawed leaders in the Bible. True, we are all flawed, but I see the Bible not as an account of flawed leaders who saved the day, rather as God’s work and wonderful plan of salvation for flawed humanity – for those who confess their sins, repent, receive forgiveness, and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

      As a flawed leader wrote in Psalm 41:4. “Have mercy on me, Lord; heal me, for I have sinned against you.” Is it possible we need more confessions like this today, and I don’t mean just the leaders?

  • Cal Verduin says:

    As someone who attempt to be on neither “side of the aisle” and who shares the writers opinion of the current POTUS, I had expected more from this publication. It bears a striking resemblance to all the other Political diatribes of the day and suggests that one aspirant’s switch on pro-life justifies the other’s. How about a serious discussion on how we , as Christians can come to grips with “pro-choice”?

  • Anthony (Tony) Diekema says:

    I resonate completely with your assessment in this fine piece, Jeff. It’s sound and solid. “Sing” it from the mountaintops, brother!

  • Carla Capotosto says:

    The differences between the two parties are so great, it’s no longer feasible to vote on personalities/character. No one has the luxury of voting for people instead of parties if you take seriously all the policies each party stands for. https://www.dailywire.com/news/prager-to-all-those-who-vote-for-the-man-not-the-party

  • Gary A VanHouten says:

    Outstanding piece! Thank you Jeff. Regarding our current situation the words of a Pete Seeger song keep coming to mind:

    Well, I’m not going to point any moral,
    I’ll leave that for yourself
    Maybe you’re still walking, you’re still talking
    You’d like to keep your health.
    But every time I read the papers
    That old feeling comes on;
    We’re, waist deep in the Big Muddy
    And the big fool says to push on.

  • James Grayson says:

    It is astounding that we are still having this discussion after 4 years. The choice is between Joe Biden and a “moral degenerate.” Why is there still any kind of debate? Why are evangelicals still supporting the “moral degenerate” by at least 70%? That is the real issue. The “moral degenerate” admits to improper sexual conduct, is uncivil, profane, demonstrates extreme incompetence and lack of leadership which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, and still the evangelicals can’t get enough of him.

    Thank you, Jeff, for a superb article. You thoroughly covered every possible argument, however, you were mostly preaching to the choir. Nevertheless, it can’t be said enough.

  • James Schippers says:

    My heart breaks when i read Jeff’s thoughts along with comments of a few others. Leaving the candidates personality traits aside. Leaving the tax issues pro or con aside. We can all have different views on what is fair or not fair for the citizens of the United States. We can agree to disagree and still be friends and respect each others differing views. We can like or dislike a candidate. We can be embarrassed by a candidate.
    What breaks my heart is there is the issue of murder / abortion / pro-choice. I believe God spoke specifically to that issue in the ten commandments. The Bible is very clear on this. I do not understand how a professing Christian can vote for a candidate or party that promotes and allows for murder / killing of innocent lives. We have a choice >> to obey God’s commands or disobey. Even if a candidate or party had every other great political view that agreed with my views, but was pro-choice i could not vote for that party or candidate. As stated above, my heart is saddened with the knowledge that there are professing Christians that just side step this issue and talk over it.

    • The Bible is clear on murder, but how we interpret this today for myriad issues is not clear. What about the death penalty, pro-life must mean ending the death penalty. What about pro-life for inner city school children? Pro-life for poor who can’t afford health care? Pro-life about environmental pollution, ie the contaminated water supply in Flint MI? Pro-life about health care resources for those in prison? The ten commandments: thou shall not kill. Jesus: I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

  • Conrad VanderWerf says:

    I agree totally with James Schipper’s response to your article, Jeff. I totally disagree with your take. It is apparent that you are biased by choice. I question your objectivity.

  • Kevin Mauer says:

    Jeff
    When you are looking for a surgeon do you check his character or his results? Most of what you noted were character flaws which I believe people on both sides can find in the candidate of the other party. One side can point at legal tax breaks (as they currently stand) while others can wonder how lunch box joe can become a multi millionaire while being in public office. The mud slings both ways.

    Yes you can choose to point to those who choose candidates based on them being pro life and belittle them as single issue voters but when was the last time a VP choice promoted abortion up to 9 months. (It’s up to a woman to make the decision on timing). A baby has 80-90% chance of surviving at 7 months. Jeff what would you give to safe a life of a child? When you can honestly answer that question you can choose to minimize those voters who choose life especially in an election with this much at stake for the unborn child at all ages within the mothers womb.

  • RLG says:

    James and Conrad, as to the issue of abortion, you act as though this is the only issue that matters in choosing who will lead our nation. Please realize that Christians and non Christians make exceptions to the ten commandments, whether it is lying, stealing, coveting, or murder. We make exceptions to the law against murder in cases of self defense, capitol punishment, and war time crimes. So certainly there is room for exception when it comes to some cases regarding abortion. After all, it would seem that God, himself, is responsible for the largest number of abortions, carried out in the form of miscarriages. He must have his reasons for the termination of life in the womb, even as many parents do.

    • Kevin Mauer says:

      John 10:10

      The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly

      I think you are confusing the source of the miscarriage

      • RLG says:

        If God came that they may have life, why then did he choose so few, when he could have chosen so many? So perhaps we cannot blame God for the millions who die of Covid, but certainly he could have prevented them. And the same goes for the termination of life through God ordained miscarriages.

  • Kevin Mauer says:

    RLG

    Difficult questions indeed especially when you have experienced the pain.

    I think you are in very good company with Job. Gods answer to Job was:

    Job 38:1-18

    38Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
    2 ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
    3 Gird up your loins like a man,
       I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

    4 ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
       Tell me, if you have understanding.
    5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
       Or who stretched the line upon it?
    6 On what were its bases sunk,
       or who laid its cornerstone
    7 when the morning stars sang together
       and all the heavenly beings* shouted for joy?

    8 ‘Or who shut in the sea with doors
       when it burst out from the womb?—
    9 when I made the clouds its garment,
       and thick darkness its swaddling band,
    10 and prescribed bounds for it,
       and set bars and doors,
    11 and said, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
       and here shall your proud waves be stopped”?

    12 ‘Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
       and caused the dawn to know its place,
    13 so that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
       and the wicked be shaken out of it?
    14 It is changed like clay under the seal,
       and it is dyed* like a garment.
    15 Light is withheld from the wicked,
       and their uplifted arm is broken.

    16 ‘Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
       or walked in the recesses of the deep?
    17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
       or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
    18 Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
       Declare, if you know all this.

    It’s truly not what we want to hear in times of sorrow and pain, because we feel we can do a better job then God. We would choose a different conclusion, a different list of sins a different way of life but then we are not God. Our knowledge is not His and at times our only comfort can come from knowing we serve a just and loving God.

    • RLG says:

      Thanks, Kevin, for your lack of an answer as to why God could prevent pain and seeming injustice when he in actuality doesn’t. You may be right, who can figure out God? Job, a just man, couldn’t, nor could his friends. I guess we’ll just have to accept the fact that God doesn’t always act fairly or justly, at least according to the standards of common sense. Or maybe deism has it right when such a philosophy suggests that God is not personally involved in the ongoing affairs of humanity. And that is why some people get sick and others don’t, why some people get well and others don’t, why some are born to a life of privilege and others are not, why some live a long life and others don’t, why one town is destroyed by a tornado and the next isn’t, why some people die of Covid and others don’t, why some babies get aborted in the womb through miscarriage and others are born healthy. Maybe it’s just random how much of life transpires with no explanations. But such is life. Who are we to say, God is just or not? I hope common sense prevails when we vote on or before November 3, rather than blame or credit God for the results.

  • Cory Van Sloten says:

    I appreciate and understand your perspective Jeff. However, respectfully, I decided to vote for neither the Republican or Democrat candidate for the second straight presidential election.

  • Kevin Mauer says:

    RLG
    Wow you definitely unloaded with both guns on that one :).

    To accept Jesus as God is to reject deism. To reject a just and loving God is to also choose to reject the God of the Bible.

    One of the saddest verses in the Bible, to me, is Mark 10 17-22. Where the rich young ruler asks God how to inherit eternal life. After Jesus finishes answering the question the young ruler was saddened and walked away. I truly wanted Jesus to run after him say wait let me explain but he doesn’t, he allows the man choice. One of life with Christ, and one without. At the end of the day we all need to come to grasps of who God is and in doing so decide whether to walk away or stay with Christ.

    It is the choice to love that is the most meaningful in life. When people choose to love us it is one of the greatest feelings in life, but with it comes opening ourselves up to rejection and pain. We all must value that love enough to risk it when we choose to do things like be in relationships and have children, so why would we deny that same opportunity of chosen love to God. Of course there is no true choice without allowing the choice of rejection and pain, the choice of siding against God. Here we get back to that verse you didn’t like.

    One persons choice opens us all to that risk of pain. I guess I see God in that same light. Wishing we all would choose love but respecting our choice by allowing us to walk away, just like that ruler.

    RLG I do pray that some day you to will find that place of peace with Christ our Holy Savior.

    • RLG says:

      Thanks, Kevin, for your concern for me. I’m very much at peace in my relationship with God. Just for your own information. Deists recognize God in creation through the use of reason. So those of a Deist bent recognize, not only an incompatibility with Christianity but with all man made religions based on so-called supernatural revelations, which is basically all religions. Like Christianity, all religions claim a divine inspiration, for their holy Scriptures and therefor claim their religion as the one true religion. So, for the same reasons that Christians reject all other religions, those outside of Christianity reject the Christian religion. Common sense dictates that if Christians are correct in rejecting all other religions, then those of other religions are also correct in rejecting Christianity for the same reasons. The only self revelation by God is that of creation and the created order. It based on such revelation by God that people such as Job and David of the Old Testament praised and worshiped God, and found favor with him. The same is true today. Blessings to you, Kevin.

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