While some evangelicals who endorsed Trump challenged the reports of Biden’s victory, others have emphasized the importance of unity and fairness as the vote counting stretched on.
As the president challenged the tight outcomes in states still counting mail-in ballots, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, spoke out against “making generalized charges of voter fraud without specifics that can be investigated,” saying “that’s quite dangerous to America as a nation.”
After Pennsylvania was called for Biden on Saturday morning, Franklin Graham said his prayer was for Americans to pull together regardless of who is elected president.
Whoever wins this election, whether it is @realDonaldTrump or Joe Biden, it is my prayer that Americans would pull together, no matter how close the final results may be.
An increasingly vocal Christian opposition to Trump joined groups such as Republican Voters Against Trump, Christians Against Trumpism, Evangelicals for Biden, Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden, and the Not Our Faith super PAC.
Biden “is viewed as having an authentic faith,” said Richard Mouw, former president of Fuller Theological Seminary, who joined Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden. “He may not be the conservative Catholic that a lot of evangelicals would like him to be, but when he talks about his faith, it rings true.”
Michael Wear, former Obama White House staffer and senior advisor for Not Our Faith, offered prayers for Biden and vice president elect Kamala Harris on Saturday morning, saying he was “Grateful for them, and their stellar campaign, for running a campaign worthy of the office they sought and won.”
Praying for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Grateful for them, and their stellar campaign, for running a campaign worthy of the office they sought and won.
Evangelicals backing Biden called out what they saw as “toxic rhetoric” from the outgoing president and cited their Christian convictions in favor of Biden’s positions on racism, health care, poverty, immigration, and climate science.
While some did not agree with the Democratic platform on abortion, they spoke about other ways of being pro-life, such as through economic policies that address poverty and programs that provide strong social safety nets.
“President Trump’s immigration policies and the overall tone he set toward immigrants coming through our Southern border played a huge role in my decision for this election,” said Alicia Burton, a Hispanic evangelical voter in Austin, Texas, who belongs to the Christian group Choose Welcome.
Burton is opposed to abortion and voted third-party in 2016, but cast a ballot for Biden this election. “While I think governments have a role in maintaining a border, family separation and the drastic decrease in the number of refugees allowed into America were things I cannot continue to see happen,” she said. Latino evangelical voting patterns vary by state and background, but 61 percent backed Trump this time, per AP VoteCast, boosting his margins in states like Florida.
Biden also relied on the passion and prayers of the black church, with hundreds—mostly black women—joining a prayer call on his behalf the day before the election. “This is our prayer of victory in advance, of faith not fear,” said Democratic National Convention vice-chair Michael Blake, also a lay leader in the African Methodist Episcopal and United Methodist traditions.
Black Protestants were twice as likely as Biden voters overall to say their support was “for Biden” and not “against Trump.” Leading up to the election, LifeWay Research found that African Americans and other non-white evangelicals (by belief) were two to three times more likely to support Biden and Harris, who is the first black and Asian American woman on a presidential ticket.
Throughout Trump’s presidency, Christians of color have criticized his response to racial issues, as white supremacist groups align with him and champion him. The national reckoning on race and police violence this summer further energized the Black Lives Matter movement as well as racial justice efforts in the church, and their concerns don’t go away when Trump leaves the White House.
“Part of what made 2016 so bad was the shock, but I think going into this election, Christians of color were more clear-eyed,” said Kathryn Freeman, former public policy director with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and a seminary student at Baylor University. “Even with a Biden victory, there is still so much work to be done in the church. Christians of color will continue to be vocal about the commitments to justice and peacemaking that are required for a unified and reconciled church.”