Why I Am Not Voting for Trump or Biden
Part Three: The Case Against Biden
Yesterday, I concluded that we should measure candidates based upon their demonstration of the fruits of the spirit both within their policy positions and their personal character traits. I briefly mentioned that I had determined that I cannot vote for Joe Biden because he utterly fails to meet even a minimum threshold for character based on that first component, his policy positions. Today, I will take a deeper dive into that statement (and bear with me because… this is going to take a while).
In Part One of this series, I referenced David Platt’s new book, Before You Vote: Seven Questions Every Christian Should Ask. In the fifth chapter of the book, David Platt suggests two factors Christians might use to weight the various political issues in evaluating candidates for office: (1) biblical clarity, and (2) practical consequences.
With respect to biblical clarity, Platt says, “As we look at political issues, we want to determine how direct the line is from God’s Word to those issues. In our decision-making, we are to give greater weight to issues where the line is clear and direct, and lesser weight to issues where the line is less clear and more indirect.” With respect to practical consequences, Platt says, “As we make political calculations, we measure the weight of practical good or harm that might come to people based upon our decisions.”
OnTheIssues.org is a great resource to review the policy positions of political candidates. It provides a great summary of candidates’ previous public statements and votes on key issues. Their profile for Joe Biden tracks his record on 24 separate issues under 4 different broad categories: International Issues, Domestic Issues, Economic Issues, and Social Issues. I am not going to go into an in-depth analysis of all of those policy positions, but will highlight here Joe Biden’s positions on issues for which I believe biblical clarity and/or practical consequences are the highest.
I believe that the Bible (not to mention science) makes clear that human life begins in the womb at the moment of conception (Psalm 139:13, Jeremiah 1:5, Job 31:15). And, the Bible makes very clear that murder, the intentional killing of another human being absent proper authority delegated by God, is of the gravest of sins (Genesis 4:8-16, Genesis 9:6, Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 19:1-13, Deuteronomy 21:1-9). In terms of the fruit of the spirit, abortion is a supremely self-centered act (even if not consciously so… and please know that if you are reading this and you or someone you are close to has had an abortion, I am not saying this from a spirit of judgment. While I believe abortion to be a sin, I do not believe it is any worse than my own sin, nor do I believe anyone who has or performs an abortion is beyond the reach of God’s grace to forgive and redeem). The “pro-choice” movement is intrinsically linked to our modern culture’s promotion of sexual immorality, moral impurity, and promiscuity. Therefore, biblical clarity on the issue of abortion is incredibly high. We must seek to make them as rare as possible.
In terms of practical consequences, the CDC reports that 623,471 abortions were reported to them in the year 2016. And that is just the legal abortions voluntarily reported. California, Maryland, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia did not report abortion statistics that year. The Guttmacher Institute, with a more robust study based on surveys of abortion providers, estimates that approximately 862,320 abortions were performed in 2017. That’s a LOT of lives at stake. So, obviously, the practical consequences of the issue itself are high.
We also must ask not just the practical consequences of abortion law generally, but with respect to our Presidential vote, the practical consequences of the President’s position on the issue. And, again, this is actually an issue on which the President’s position is more meaningful for several reasons. First of all, as we have seen very publicly over the last four years, the President can have considerable impact on the makeup of the Supreme Court of the United States through his power to nominate judges. And, this issue in particular is one that the Supreme Court has had particular influence in since 1973 and its companion decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. Additionally, the number of abortions in a given year is impacted not just by the legal barriers put in the way of obtaining abortion, but also by other economic factors and, I would add, a cultural value respecting the dignity of life which influences the decisions of individual mothers. That cultural value respecting the dignity of life falls within the scope of shared values that the President should remind us of and reinforce with his power to lead us with his voice and vision (as I discussed yesterday).
That’s why I believe a Presidential candidate’s position on abortion should weigh so heavily in the decision-making process for a Christian considering his vote. Now, we must be careful not to make it the ONLY issue because there are limits when it comes to practical consequences of a President’s position on abortion. As I pointed out yesterday, the President is not a dictator and he does not unilaterally set abortion policy for the nation. After all, even if Roe v. Wade were overturned and abortion was left up to the states, a significant number of states (particularly those where abortions are most common) would continue to permit abortions (more on some of these limitations on the President’s power to reduce the number of abortions in a separate post to come). But, there can be no biblically sound argument that abortion is not an incredibly important policy position to consider for any Christian in every Presidential election.
And in this consideration, Vice President Biden fails spectacularly by joining with his party which has lost all dignity on this issue. Despite a political career in which he was personally more moderate on the issue, Joe Biden has fallen into lockstep with the modern Democratic party which has, quite frankly, radicalized on the issue. Long gone are the days of “safe, legal, and rare.” Dr. Mohler aptly summarizes the Democrats’ modern position:
“The Democratic Party is now so pro-abortion (and yes, that is the right term) that it has declared opposition to any restriction on abortion and demands tax-payer funding for abortion. Led by Democratic governors, states such as New York and Illinois have adopted new abortion legislation that effectively allows for abortion right up to the moment of birth. . . . [T]he easily confirmed truth is that the Democratic Party is opposed to any restriction on abortion, up until the moment of birth. The party's dogma would allow for unrestricted abortion in the case of Down syndrome diagnosis, for reasons of sex-selection, or for any other reason, or for no stated reason at all. The Democratic Party is linked hand-in-hand with Planned Parenthood, which is not only the nation's largest abortion provider, but is also the engine for the Culture of Death, unmasked for having targeted unborn babies for the strategic removal of specific organs and tissues.”
Given the opportunity to separate himself from the party and take a more moderate position during the primary, Joe Biden did the opposite. He came out against the Hyde Amendment, advocating not just for the legal accessibility of abortion, but for taxpayer-funded abortion so that no woman would be left “without access to the care they need and the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right” to kill unborn children. A study conducted by the Lozier Institute estimates that the Hyde Amendment alone has saved the lives of 2,409,311 unborn children since 1976 by preventing the federal government from funding their killing. Joe Biden now stands against that.
In the general election, Joe Biden has doubled down on this pro-abortion push by selecting Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. Harris has a perfect rating from NARAL (a pro-choice lobbying group which pushes to expand access to abortion) and Planned Parenthood has an entire page on their web site devoted to “9 Reasons to Love Kamala Harris”. Without question, the Biden-Harris ticket represents the most pro-abortion ticket ever nominated by either major party, and it is not particularly close.
I am persuaded that Vice President Biden’s position on abortion is singularly disqualifying for the Presidency. No man is fit to lead our nation, to hold a position responsible for voicing our values, who cannot articulate the value of life. I could stop here, but there is more to unpack in Vice President Biden’s policy positions.
In one sense, biblical clarity is pretty low with respect to the economy. Jesus didn’t exactly give any macroeconomic lectures, at least not any that are recorded in scripture. There are, however, some clues in scripture that point us in the right direction. What is absolutely clear in scripture, however, is that ensuring the economic welfare of others is a high priority for God. All throughout the Bible, in the Old Testament and the New Testament alike, one of God’s most consistent refrains is that if we truly want to honor Him, we should help the poor.
In Leviticus, God instructed the Israelites to leave the edges of their land unharvested for the poor and the foreigners without their own land to harvest (Leviticus 19:9-10). God went on to instruct the Israelites to help foreigners, strangers, and the poor among them, treating them with dignity and respect, lending to them freely without interest, and not depriving them of justice (Leviticus 19:15, Leviticus 25:35-36, Deuteronomy 15:7-11, Proverbs 22:22-23). In fact, God repeatedly says that to not care for the poor is an insult to Him and renders any other offerings you make to Him worthless (Proverbs 14:31, Proverbs 17:5, Proverbs 21:13, Isaiah 58:6-10) and Jesus went on to say that how you treat the “least of these” is how you treat Him (Matthew 25:40). Jesus went out of his way to focus His ministry on the poor, calling us to the same (Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:14-30, Luke 14:12-14), a message that was clearly picked up by his early followers (Acts 4:32-35, James 2:2-4, 1 John 3:17-18).
And, in terms of practical consequences, there can be little doubt that the President in office helps to shape economic policy which will substantially impact the economic welfare of people across the country. The President’s economic plan sets the stage for Congressional action on taxes, government spending on many programs which impact the economic wellbeing of everybody, and regulations which impact the availability and the quality of jobs. In addition, this year presents a complicating factor of how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic which we have obviously seen can have tremendous consequences for the economy.
But, what we must realize is that the question with economic policy is not whether or not to help the poor. The question is how do we do that? What is the economic policy that will generate the most, best-paying jobs, and provide for the best life for the most people?
Joe Biden and the Democratic Party would suggest, and I believe they are genuine in their belief, that the free market system and capitalism, without appropriate government regulation and oversight, favors big business over the poor. However, I am far more persuaded by the data that repeatedly shows that “[n]othing has done more to lift humanity out of poverty than the market economy.” (Check out this great article from the Foundation for Economic Education).
Moreover, I believe scripture supports this view. Now, as I stated before, there are no macroeconomic lectures found within the pages of the Bible. The biblical clarity as to how to run the economy to best help the poor is far lower than the fact that helping the poor should be a priority. Nevertheless, I believe there are principles found within scripture that apply to the discussion.
First of all, in 1 Timothy 5:3-16, Paul warned that, though the church should care for the widows among them, there need to be some limitations on this. He said that any widow who has children or grandchildren should first turn to family for support and that family should provide that support so that the church is not unduly burdened, “so that it can help widows in genuine need.” That is because the widow who is “truly in need” and “all alone” has “put her hope in God and continues night and day in her petitions and prayers.” Also, support was only to be provided to the widow over the age of sixty. Younger widows were not to be supported in part because they “learn to be idle, going from house to house; . . . gossips and busybodies, saying things they shouldn’t say.” Essentially, if the widow was able to work and support herself, she should.
Paul walked the walk here. He was a tentmaker (Acts 18:1-3) who worked with his hands to reduce his burden on the church as a missionary and improve his ministry by reducing his dependence on those he was preaching to for financial support (1 Corinthians 4:12, 1 Corinthians 9:12-18, 2 Corinthians 11:7-9).
It is true that descriptions of the early church often sound like a socialist commune. Acts says that the early church was “of one heart and mind” and that “no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common” (Acts 4:32). There were no poor among the church because those who were wealthy sold their land and their houses, contributed the proceeds to the church, and it was distributed to each person as they had need (Acts 4:34-35). Indeed, when Ananias and Sapphira withheld a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their land, God struck them dead on the spot for “testing the Spirit of the Lord” (Acts 5:1-11).
But there is no direct line from how the early church operated with respect to financial support of the poor and economic policy for a government. The financial assistance provided by the early church was no hand-out. It was always accompanied by preaching of the Gospel. It was part of being in a community that worshiped together, encouraged one another, and held each other accountable (Galatians 6:1-5, James 5:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 10:24-25). That is because, as I said in part one of this series, the goal is not to rid the world of the poor and fix the broken world, it is to save the poor in spirit from this broken world. That requires far more than a hand-out and no government program can ever replace that. If we rid the world of poverty, but save no souls, we have accomplished nothing (much like giving away all of our possessions and giving our body in order to boast, but without love as in 1 Corinthians 13:3).
Unfortunately, the church has largely abdicated its rightful position on the front lines of ministering to the poor. The government is simply filling in the gaps, offering false hope and trapping people in a cycle of poverty and a vain existence where the church should be pointing people to the love and saving grace of Christ. Essentially, the government is setting up shop across the street from the church with a bright neon sign promising to meet the needs the church has failed to meet, but failing to deliver anything of substance.
This tendency to look to government to fill the role that was meant for God to fulfill through His people is not new. Look at 1 Samuel 8 where the Israelites called out for a king to rule over them “like all the other nations” rather than God himself through prophets and judges. They wanted someone who would go before them and “fight [their] battles.” Samuel, upon God’s instruction, warned the Israelites that the ruler they were asking for, that they thought would solve their problems, would take their children, their property, and their wealth, and that eventually he could make them his servants. But they did not listen. God consoled Samuel by telling him, “They have not rejected you; they have rejected me as their king.” And, the Bible also points to the fact that those who hold power in this sinful world will inevitably oppress the poor, pervert justice, and take the profit of the land (Ecclesiastes 5:8-9).
The Bible gives us no reason to place faith in our government to solve the problems of the poor. The government cannot share the Gospel. It cannot make the assessment Paul mentioned of identifying those who are truly in need in order to prevent undue burden being placed on everybody else. It cannot provide personal ministry with encouragement and accountability that is almost always necessary to truly pull some one out of poverty. Instead, it creates a handout often at the expense of burdening the economy, ultimately harming the very people it meant to help by reducing economic opportunities and undermining their ability to become productive. This is not ministry to the poor. It is a vain exercise in futility.
But, as we look at Joe Biden’s plan for the economy, we see a vision of a government that is intimately involved in managing our economy, seeking to “help” the poor and middle class. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Joe Biden’s campaign proposals would, over the next ten years, include $2.7 trillion in increased government spending on child care and education, $2.05 trillion on health care and long-term care, $1.15 trillion on Social Security, SSI, and Retirement, and $4.45 trillion on infrastructure and other domestic spending. That is a total price tag of $10.35 trillion. He plans to pay for that by cutting $0.75 trillion from national security and immigration spending, increasing taxes by $4.3 trillion and adding $5.6 trillion to the national debt. These costs have a very real effect on our economy. And, regardless of who technically pays the taxes, it is ALWAYS the working class that bears the brunt of it. The wealthy can always pass the cost along to those they employ.
Additionally, Joe Biden has said he is in favor of increasing the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour nationwide. Economists have repeatedly found that raising the minimum wage actually reduces employment for the least-skilled and least-experienced employees. In fact, one study found that each ten percent increase in the minimum wage has reduced employment levels for less-educated young adults by as much as 2.3 percent. This effect is increased in markets where the unemployment level is already high. When you consider that Joe Biden is proposing not a ten percent increase in the minimum wage but a DOUBLING (one hundred percent increase) of the minimum wage for much of the country while unemployment rates remain substantially higher than normal as a result of the pandemic, this proposal could be disastrous for those seeking entry-level employment (like those living in poverty).
Speaking of the pandemic, while I believe the current administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been disastrous, I am concerned that Joe Biden’s approach may go too far in the other direction. Vice President Biden, in an effort to contrast himself with President Trump’s lax approach, seems to go out of his way to suggest that the government should shut down the economy again. While I do not necessarily think that another shutdown should be completely off-limits, combining a shutdown with the completely unbridled spending and increased taxation (not to mention over-regulation and pushing the economy away from coal and toward clean energy alternatives before they are economically viable) Vice President Biden is proposing is a recipe for economic depression, and yet again the poorest among us would face the brunt of it.
So, at the end of the day, I believe the Bible is absolutely clear that addressing the needs of the poor is near to the heart of God and should be a very high priority for us in our voting decision. But, while Vice President Biden and the Democratic Party appear to intend to help the poor through their policies, I do not believe that the practical consequences of their plan and proposals would actually achieve that. Quite the opposite, I believe that, put into effect, they would be disastrous for the poor in this country. Admittedly, this conclusion is based on reasoning that is largely derived from economic research in the absence of biblical clarity on macroeconomic policy, but I believe it is consistent with several principles found throughout scripture as outlined above.
I know that I have already gone on too long with this post, so rather than take up too much more of your time on this topic here, I will refer back to my references with respect to priority the Bible places on caring for the poor above and simply say that the same holds true for the sick. Biblically, we absolutely should prioritize a healthcare system that cares for the poor and the wealthy alike. Also like I referenced with respect to the economy, there is not exactly a whole lot of biblical clarity as to what that healthcare system should look like in order to accomplish that goal.
But I will say that I do not believe Vice President Biden’s health care plan, primarily the addition of a so-called “public option,” would accomplish that goal. I am compelled by the argument presented in this article from the Pacific Research Institute that it would ultimately wreck the private insurance market, leaving everyone to depend on the government for their healthcare and, ultimately, the quality of the healthcare system, overall, would suffer as a result.
Homosexuality, Gender, and Religious Liberty
Again, for the sake of brevity, I will not belabor this point too much because I believe it is fairly self-explanatory, but the Democratic Party stands in stark opposition to clear biblical truth on many issues which might be wrapped up under the label “culture wars.” There is a great article written by Ryan T. Anderson on “Proxy Wars over Religious Liberty” that addresses much of this far better than I ever could, so I will point you to it. While the practical consequences of many of this may seem small at first glance, they grow as you dig into all that Vice President Biden has indicated he supports.
Specifically, his support of the so-called “Equality Act” and promise to pass it within the first 100 days of office constitutes a complete rejection of biblical truth. This article from Rod Dreher does a great job of outlining just how significant the consequences of that act becoming law truly would be.
It is not simply a matter of disagreement with Vice President Biden on political issues that disqualifies him from holding the office of President. It is the fact that on many of the most significant issues of the day, as viewed through the lens of biblical clarity and practical consequences, I believe his policies are in stark contrast with the character of God as expressed in scripture. He supports government funding and increased availability of abortion on demand. He supports economic policy that expands the role of government in performing functions the church was meant to fill in a way that ultimately hurts the poor, the very people it is meant to help. He would, quite frankly, likely lead us into economic depression. I am persuaded that his healthcare plan would devastate our nation’s healthcare system and reduce the quality of healthcare for rich and poor alike. And, I believe the values that he projects and supports on issues such as homosexuality, gender, and religious liberty are antithetical to biblical truth. Ultimately, he will lead our nation further down the road of rejecting moral and natural law in our system of governance and deprive people of their religious liberty to make biblically-based objections to compelled complicity in sinful behavior.
I cannot vote for this. I cannot support it. Maybe you can. If so, please know that I am not questioning your faith or your intelligence. Maybe I’m wrong. I just cannot find biblical support for this platform which I believe fails to reflect the character of God and, if put into effect, would not serve my neighbor well.