When 350 Faith Leaders Endorsed Candidate Joe Biden to ‘Restore the Soul’ of the Nation
On August 28, 2020, A Fox News headline announced, “Hundreds of faith leaders endorse Biden to ‘restore the soul’ of US.” A headline on The Hill proclaimed, “More than 350 faith leaders endorse Biden, citing ‘need of moral leadership.’” I wonder how those leaders are feeling right about now?
To be sure, a number of these leaders lean far left, so they would certainly approve of some of President Biden’s actions, including taking Texas to court over the recent pro-life, heartbeat bill and pushing the Equality Act.
But among the other endorsers were some noted evangelical leaders. How’s that working out?
How Easily We Are Misled
I’ve addressed this a number of times regarding “pro-life evangelicals” who voted for Biden (see here and here and here and here). But when I recently spotted these August 2020 headlines in one of my files, I was struck once again by how easily we can be misled, putting our trust in very flawed political leaders to bring some kind of moral stability to the country.
With the rarest of exceptions, that is not going to happen.
Have those of us who voted for Trump come to terms with what he could and could not do? Will those of us who voted for Biden wake up to reality?
During the 2016 Republican primaries when I strongly opposed candidate Trump, I said this in an open letter to Jerry Falwell, Jr., taking issue with his enthusiastic endorsement of Trump: “Donald Trump is hardly the man to address America’s moral demise!”
Of course, Falwell was viewing things in a very pragmatic way, seeing Trump’s business and leadership skills and viewing him as just what we needed at the moment. And it’s clear in hindsight that some of my biggest concerns about Trump were misguided. He did keep his word and he did accomplish many great and important things.
In that regard, Falwell was a better judge of Trump’s character than I was.
But I also wrote this in terms of our emphasis: “. . . if we put the kingdom of God first (by which, of course, I do not mean trying to impose a theocracy but rather putting biblical values first), we can also rebuild the economy, address the immigration issue, and strengthen our national defense.
“But if we put nationalism first, the most pressing issues will be relegated to second place, and it will be a distant second place at that. And like Israel of old, we will look for a king to make us great rather than looking to the Lord.”
And look for a king we did, to our own spiritual hurt and confusion. (Again, I write this as a two-time Trump voter, addressing our veneration of him, not our voting for him.)
Joe Biden? “Moral Clarity”? Really?!
Ironically, some of the same “progressive” thinkers who ridiculed Christian conservatives for putting their trust in Trump turned around and put their trust in Biden. When will we learn?
As the opening lines of the Fox News article from last year read, “A coalition of more than 350 faith leaders endorsed Joe Biden for president this week, citing a need for ‘moral clarity’ to ‘restore the soul of this nation.’
“‘Faith 2020 is raising awareness, mobilizing faith-rooted voters to get out the vote and doing our part to restore the soul of the nation,’ the group wrote on its website. ‘We’re a group of progressives, independents and conservatives seeking change.’”
This is a news item that has not aged well.
Yet somehow, these faith leaders truly believed that Biden could bring “moral clarity” or help “restore the soul of this nation.” Really?
It’s one thing to point out the deeply divisive nature of the Trump presidency – not so much because of his policies but because of his personality – and to hope that the Biden presidency would not be so volatile. But to think that Joe Biden could bring moral clarity or restore our nation’s soul? Seriously?
The article on The Hill cited Frederick A. Davie, the chair of the board for the coalition, who said: “This election presents a stark moral contrast between the common good values of the Biden-Harris agenda and the divisiveness of the current administration. I hope you will join us in putting principle over partnership as we support a better way forward.”
This quote has not aged well either, and “principle” is hardly the word of the hour. And could anyone with a straight face tell me that our president has actually unified the country?
2024 on the Horizon
Before we know it, though, 2024 will be here, and once again, we’ll be looking to one particular candidate to save our nation from destruction and make us whole.
But just as Biden cannot do that and Trump did not do that (although, to repeat, many of his policies and appointees were excellent) — or Obama before Trump, or Bush before Obama, etc. — it is highly unlikely that any future candidate will do what we often look to them to do.
So, let’s vote for political leaders to be political leaders while still holding them to moral accountability in the process, recognizing that they do have much influence for good or for bad. But let’s not expect them to restore our nation’s soul.
That’s the job of pastors and preachers and followers of Jesus and committed believers. Keeping that in mind will save us from a lot of disappointment and misplaced hope.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Revival Or We Die: A Great Awakening Is Our Only Hope. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.