Every four years, citizens of this nation face a massive decision and vote to elect a president of the United States. The framers of the Constitution understood that the presidency itself was both revolutionary and unprecedented. The role was outlined in the Constitution, but it was made real in the person of George Washington—the only man the founders could envision as the nation’s first chief executive.
In war and in peace, in prosperity and in pandemic, Americans have exercised the vote because we understand that this is the most important role we play in deciding the future of the nation, the shape of its laws and the character of its government.
Every four years, we are told that this election is the most important vote of our lifetime. In a very real sense, it is. The reason is now clear—the issues that loom before this nation and its voters are growing more urgent, and the divides between the two major political parties grow only wider. In 2020, America’s Christians must realize that our two political parties represent two radically different visions of the nation and its future, two different understandings of the role of government, two very different ways of reading the U.S. Constitution and even two different moralities.
So much is at stake, and Christian voters must think clearly, carefully and Biblically about the choice before us. Just consider some of the issues directly involved in this election.
ABORTION AND THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE
Abortion is a great moral scar on the modern age, and it is to the great shame of the United States. Since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, more than 61 million human lives have been extinguished in American wombs. This is only possible because of the subversion of human dignity and the denial of the sanctity of human life. Biblically minded Christians understand that all human life is sacred because God makes every single human being in His image.
Protecting and respecting human life is the baseline responsibility of any government, but our two parties represent two diametrically opposed worldviews when it comes to human life and abortion. One party is committed to respect and defend life in the womb. The other is determined to support and defend abortion as an unconditional right—even to coerce American taxpayers to pay for abortions against their conscience by repealing the Hyde Amendment. The platform of the Democratic Party opposes all restrictions on abortion, effectively supporting it up to the moment of birth. In truth, we are a nation confronting the reality of legal infanticide. The logic denying human dignity at the beginning of life will lead to the undermining of dignity at every stage of life. The sanctity of human life is at stake in this election.
The natural family—starting with the husband and wife and their children—is the most basic unit of human society. The responsibility of government is to respect marriage and the family, which existed before the government.This means respecting marriage as the union of a man and a woman and respecting parents as those who are entrusted with the raising of their children. This nation is divided between those who honor this limited and respectful role of government and those who see the state—the government and its regime of “experts”—as the ultimate authority, even in matters God has delegated to the family.
Every society orders itself by its vision of the family, and we now see what happens when the Biblical understanding of the family is rejected by a society that claims to know better. Just consider the hostility directed toward homeschooling families and parents who resist in any way the demands of the cultural elites. One side in our great divide resists this hostility toward the family. The other side wants to “liberate” humanity from the constraints of the natural family. From tax policy to educational regulations to challenges to parental rights, the future of the family is at stake in this election.
HUMAN SEXUALITY AND GENDER
We are witnessing a revolution in morality that is nothing less than a revolt against human nature. The LGBTQ revolution is like a tsunami, reshaping the entire society. Marriage has been redefined, morality has been revolutionized and the ordering of human relations has been turned upside down. The most radical front of this revolution—the transgender movement—has now demanded the rejection of the “gender binary” and the embrace of a totally fluid concept of human gender and personal identity. We are becoming a society of total confusion about what it means to be human, male and female.
The movement to deny biology and human nature is progressing with unbelievable speed. A society that, for example, allows biological males claiming to be female to compete in athletics against biological women is a society that is embracing a confusion that would be fatal to any human society. We all know that the revolutionaries are demanding much more than boys competing in girls’ athletics. One side in our political divide is enthusiastic about pushing this revolution and using the coercive power of government to advance it. The other side will resist it. This divide is at stake in this election.
The dangers to religious liberty we see today would shock the framers of our Constitution. We now see an ardent and aggressive hostility to religious freedom and any substantial religious belief. A rapidly secularizing culture presents entirely new challenges to religious liberty. Will Christian schools have the right to operate on Christian principles? Must a Christian wedding photographer, cake designer or florist be compelled to celebrate same-sex marriage? Will the Christian Gospel and the preaching of the Bible be classified as hate speech?
These are not hypothetical questions. Every one of these issues has been in the headlines in recent years. The political divide in the nation extends to these headlines. By its own acknowledgment, the Democratic Party has drawn the support of more secular Americans. The Republican Party has drawn great support from America’s evangelical Christians. Given the leftward shift in the larger culture, this pattern will grow more acute election by election. America’s cherished First Freedom is at stake in this election.
This nation’s founders would be shocked beyond belief to be told that the federal courts have become a major issue at stake in a national election. Alexander Hamilton famously described the courts as “the least dangerous branch” of government. No longer. For the last several decades, the federal courts have usurped the democratic process. Moral and political progressives, frustrated at their inability to win in the legislative process, decided to transform the courts into engines of moral and cultural revolution. Advocates of a “living Constitution” invented new “rights” like abortion and same-sex marriage and facilitated a massive expansion of government. As Americans, we do not elect federal judges, but we do elect a president, who has the sole power of judicial nomination, all the way to the Supreme Court. State by state, we also elect the United States Senate, which must confirm judicial appointments. Thus, the future of the federal courts is at stake in this election.
Christian voters must understand that every vote matters—all the way from the county commission to the Oval Office. Every vote is a decision about the future of our society. Each election serves to define us as a people. Character matters, personality matters, history matters and issues beyond those considered here matter. National elections involve foreign policy, party politics, economic plans and current developments, like the coronavirus pandemic. But Christians must know that the issues discussed here are genuinely and urgently important. And every one of these issues is at stake in America’s election of 2020. Make sure your vote counts. ©2020 R. Albert Mohler Jr.
R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He hosts two programs, “The Briefing” and “Thinking in Public,” and he writes a popular blog at AlbertMohler.com. His most recent book, “The Gathering Storm: Secularism, Culture and the Church,” deals with many of the issues facing our nation in this election.