For the past three years, Americans have had a president who has affirmed life, upheld religious liberty and fought to fill the courts with constitutionalist judges. In short, he has sought to keep his promises to conservatives and evangelicals.
With the 2020 presidential election looming, a liberal-progressive victory in November could almost instantly wipe away many of those gains on key moral and social issues by executive order, while ushering in a host of new threats, especially pertaining to constitutional religious liberty.
“In the last couple of decades it seems like each election we hear, ‘This is the most important election of our lifetime,’” Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, told Decision. “It’s true. In a nation with such diametrically opposed views on life, marriage and religious freedom, each successive election grows in importance.”
The extreme social policies proposed by the two remaining viable Democratic candidates—Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders—pose a dangerous threat, particularly to evangelical Christians.
Ideally, when electing a candidate, Bible-believing Christians should look for someone who embodies Exodus 18:21—“men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain”—said Michael Brown, host of the syndicated “Line of Fire” radio program and president of the FIRE School of Ministry in Concord, North Carolina.
Biden and Sanders have made it clear that they hold little regard for Biblical values, say Brown and Perkins.
“With few exceptions, the candidates have taken the policy positions of a party already leaning hard to the left and pushed it to the fringe,” adds Perkins.
Former vice president and Democratic front-runner Joe Biden is on his third presidential bid at age 77. The six-term Delaware senator unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination in 1988 and 2008 but then went on to serve as vice president under Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017.
A Democrat for more than 50 years, Biden is trying to rally the support of Democrat voters as a string of primary victories have given him, as of press time, 1,165 of the 1,991 delegates needed to win the nomination.
A Biden presidency, Brown said, likely would bring a systematic push for abortion and the subtle undermining of religious liberties.
Although Biden has been touted as the “moderate” choice among Democratic candidates, he has begun to woo the left wing of his party in the aftermath of his recent victories. The Wall Street Journal quoted his campaign’s policy director, Stef Feldman, as saying that Biden is proposing “the most progressive agenda since the Great Society,” adding that many of his proposals “are dramatically to the left of traditional Democratic policy platforms.”
As vice president, Biden fought to pass the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. Health care remains a top priority for him; he says he plans to build upon the ACA’s foundation. However, he has also signaled that the so-called Equality Act, an effort to get LGBTQ identity codified into the federal Civil Rights Act, will be a key priority of his legislative agenda if elected president.
“It will be the first thing I ask to be done,” Biden said back in June during a keynote address at a gala in Ohio sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, the world’s largest LGBTQ lobbying group. “It’s wrong and it is immoral what they’re doing,” Biden said of the Trump administration, which has prioritized conscience protections for sincerely held religious beliefs in federal government entities.
“I will provide moral leadership to champion equality for all LGBTQ Americans and fight to ensure our laws and institutions protect and enforce their rights,” he said in a 2020 presidential questionnaire from the HRC. Biden, who as vice president was credited with convincing Obama to publicly endorse same-sex marriage, has also said he will nominate and appoint federal officials and judges who are committed to his view of equality, including LGBTQ people. And, he will work to give transgender individuals access to identification documents that validate their gender identity preference and will support state and federal efforts on this.
Regarding protections for individuals and organizations to exercise religion and to freely speak about their beliefs, Biden told the HRC: “We need to root out discrimination in our laws, institutions and public spaces. Religion should not be used as license to discriminate, and as president I will oppose legislation to deny LGBTQ equal treatment in public places.”
When it comes to Biden’s views on abortion, he now supports abortion rights but hasn’t always done so, due to his Catholic faith. Yet the Bible clearly teaches that life begins in the womb: “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:15-16).
But that has not stopped Biden from becoming an abortion advocate. According to The New York Times, “When he became a senator in 1973, he argued that the Supreme Court had gone ‘too far’ in its Roe v. Wade ruling. Later, he shifted to say that abortion should be legal but the government shouldn’t fund it.” However, this has changed during his 2020 campaign.
For decades, Biden supported the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortions. But after intense criticism and pressure for being the only candidate in the 2020 Democratic field to support the amendment, he reversed his position last year.
“The one-time defender of the Hyde Amendment traded his 40 years of integrity for the support of groups like Planned Parenthood last year—ending any veneer of rationality,” Perkins said. “From there, he swore to appoint only rabid abortion activists to the bench and bulldoze every state pro-life law.”
Biden told the HRC: “I will reverse the Trump Administration’s efforts to undermine access to abortion care, and I will support the work of Planned Parenthood clinics. I support protecting and expanding federal funding for Planned Parenthood and other health care clinics that provide abortion care and other critical services.”
Speaking of abortion in general, Biden says: “It’s a woman’s right to do that. Period.”
Biden has been endorsed by former candidates Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang and Beto O’Rourke, all of whom dropped out of the race before Super Tuesday. Michael Bloomberg, who dropped out of the race after Super Tuesday, also endorsed Biden.
Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders has been a politician for nearly 40 years—almost half his life. Although an Independent in the U.S. Senate, Sanders has run as a Democrat in his two bids for president.
As of press time, Sanders was trailing Biden with 880 delegates, and he was reportedly considering whether or not he would remain in the race.
A self-described democratic socialist, Sanders is on the leftward fringe of the American electorate. He is best-known for making Medicare for All and tuition-free college top campaign priorities, capturing the votes of countless millennials faced with the weight of student debt. The problem: He has yet to fully explain where the money will come from to fulfill what seem like far-fetched promises.
Many Americans consider abortion a deciding factor when choosing a candidate, yet Sanders recently came under fire for suggesting that all Democrats must be pro-choice. And in one CNN Town Hall event, he equated abortion with population control. If elected, Sanders has vowed to repeal the Hyde Amendment so that federal funds can be used to pay for abortions, and he has promised to fully fund Planned Parenthood and Title X. Additionally, he has put his support behind the misleadingly named Women’s Health Protection Act, which, if passed, would override state regulations on abortion and encourage abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy.
“Until America comes into alignment with God on the fact that each human being is created in the image of God and therefore has intrinsic value and should be welcomed into the world and protected under our laws, abortion will be a hot-button issue,” Perkins said.
Sanders, who classifies himself as a cultural Jew but “not particularly religious,” has said that as president, he would strongly oppose any legislation to protect religious liberty if it contradicts the LGBTQ agenda. Clearly, Sanders does not place any importance on the Bible’s teaching that marriage is to be between a man and a woman: “Haven’t you read,” [Jesus] replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’”? (Matthew 19:4-5).
He also says he will work to ensure all government-issued documents include a third-gender category and that his Medicare for All plan covers any gender-affirming surgeries.
Sanders is a proponent of the Equality Act, which would codify sexual orientation and gender identity into the same protected class as religion, age or race, and would threaten the freedom of institutions and individuals to exercise their religious beliefs and conscience rights when they conflict with LGBTQ interests.
“The deceptively named Equality Act would be a dagger in the heart of religious freedom in America, and it is a very real probability if followers of Jesus do not vote,” Perkins said.
Sanders’ hard-left platform has not made him popular within the Democratic establishment. But his views have made him especially popular with young people.
On Jan. 24, President Trump made history by becoming the first sitting president to attend the National March for Life in Washington, D.C.
“Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House,” he told the tens of thousands of pro-life advocates on the National Mall.
And while some may say actions speak louder than words—President Trump’s words and actions in his first term have reflected his administration’s stated commitment to protect the unborn.
Shortly after taking office, he reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, blocking federal funding for international organizations that participate in abortion services or abortion referrals.
As of press time, President Trump had appointed 193 federal judges, fulfilling his promise to religious conservatives to appoint constitutionalist judges to the courts—leaving a legacy far beyond his time in office.
And while facing unprecedented opposition from the Left throughout his presidency, Trump was willing to reach across the aisle to accomplish The First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform law. The law seeks more common-sense sentencing related to the crimes committed, and greater emphasis on helping inmates become productive citizens once released.
President Trump has also proven to be a staunch defender of religious liberty. His administration has implemented an annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom summit, inviting global leaders to address issues relating to religious freedom. And in November, Trump became the first U.S. president to host a meeting on religious freedom at the United Nations.
“We ask the governments of the world to honor the eternal right of every person to follow their conscience, live by their faith and give glory to God,” he urged world leaders.
On multiple issues, the Trump administration has kept its promises to champion the moral concerns of religious conservatives and especially evangelical Christians.
As the long list of Democratic presidential candidates has dwindled down to two viable challengers to President Donald Trump, the November election is a crucial opportunity for Christians to vote their values. With sanctity of life, human sexuality and religious liberty up for debate again this November, now more than ever before, Christians must stand up for Biblical truth and pray for the nation.
“We live in a very dangerous world, and there are those who want to take advantage of our freedoms in order to do harm to our nation,” Perkins said. “We need to pray for God’s protection over America and that as a nation we would return to God, so that we might be a nation that honors Him and is worthy of the blessing we seek from Him.”
“You could say that Sanders is the more dangerous candidate because of his socialism and the strength of his radically left convictions,” Brown said. On the other hand, Biden is hardly a centrist, and he moved even further to the left regarding abortion in recent months.”
Regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination—or the presidency—the church has the vital responsibility of being salt and light to a world mired in sin.
“I’m praying first and foremost for revival in the church. It is only as we come alive that awakening can come to the nation,” Brown noted. “As I’ve said for years, I’m not as much concerned with the presence of darkness as I am with the absence of light.”
The Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version.