As a follower of Jesus, my faith informs my values, and my values inform my politics— which is why I work for Joe Biden. As the National Faith Engagement Director for the Biden Campaign, I spend my days talking to people of faith about why I believe Joe is the clear moral choice in this election. But I haven’t always been a Democrat.
Like many Christians, I grew up Republican. I remember celebrating George H.W. Bush’s presidential victory when I was four and, in college, casting my first presidential vote for his son. If you are a Christian, I was told that you simply vote Republican.
As the son, grandson, and great-grandson of Moody Bible graduates, I was also raised in the church. Through Awana, youth group, and Cru in college, I was taught to share my faith in an active way and that we follow Jesus through our words and our deeds. As a kid, ministry was volunteering at soup kitchens, service projects at senior centers, hunger walks, and mission trips. We literally put hands and feet to our faith.
From a young age, I was also taught to use the opportunities given to me to create opportunities for others, especially the marginalized. Jesus speaks to this in Matthew 25, calling us to care for the hungry, the stranger, the sick, the prisoner, and anyone in need. This is why, after college, my faith led me to teach in a low-income school on the South Side of Chicago.
And that’s where my world changed.
The students I taught were bright and capable with boundless potential. But, based on their zip code, their odds of getting a college degree were less than 10%. As I got to know their families, I saw devoted, hard-working people doing the most with what little opportunity they had. I saw real lives that matter to God denied the fullness of the hope and a future they rightly deserve, simply because of their geography, income, and race. I saw systemic injustice, firsthand, and the deep and dire consequences our public policies have on children and families who, in the most resourced country in the world, deserve so much more.
Witnessing the impacts of systemic brokenness on my students and their families showed me why, as Christians, the application of our faith must apply to addressing injustices at both the personal and systemic levels because our policies have real implications for so many— especially the most marginalized. The Bible calls us many times over to serve the poor and vulnerable, fight injustice and oppression, and love our neighbors as ourselves. My time as a teacher taught me why we must pursue these values in our personal and public lives and, rather than pledging blind allegiance to one political party, interrogate our electoral choices with the teachings of Jesus in mind.
Today, some approach politics asking “what can this candidate do for me?” For me, the teachings of Jesus beget different questions: what will this candidate do for the most marginalized (Matthew 25)? What will this candidate do to combat oppression and injustice (Luke 4)? How will this candidate seek to serve, rather than be served (Mark 10)? How will this candidate reflect Christian values not just in their words, but also their deeds (James 2)?
The answers to these questions are why I believe Joe Biden is the best choice for Christians in this election. I’m voting for Joe because I believe his values and agenda comport most with the teachings of Jesus— in word and in deed.
In stark contrast to what we see from the Trump administration, Joe’s agenda is rooted in the Biblical ideals of loving our neighbors as ourselves, caring for the poor and vulnerable, welcoming the stranger, fighting injustice in all its forms, and ensuring that everyone has the chance to reach their fullest God-given potential. He has concrete plans for beating COVID-19, which disproportionately impacts marginalized communities; explicitly addressing the systemic racism that denies the human dignity of too many of our brothers and sisters of color; attacking the root causes of poverty head-on; and building an immigration system that treats people with dignity and respect. He’s also worked with, and deeply values, faith leaders, congregations, and communities, as evidenced by his support of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships as Vice President.
On top of this, Joe Biden is someone who doesn’t just hear the Bible— he does what it says. He’s a regular church-goer whose efforts to alleviate suffering come from the tragic personal experience of losing his first wife and daughter, and later his oldest son. These trials have only made Joe’s faith stronger. He often quotes Søren Kierkegaard, saying “Faith sees best in the dark.”
With this background, it’s no surprise that Joe has forged strong relationships with many elected officials in the opposing party. He listens; he empathizes; he extends grace. He looks for connections to transcend our divisions. In the end, we cannot foster justice if we cannot work together.
As a teacher, my students and their families showed me how much elections matter. This election is perhaps the most consequential of our lives— because this time, it’s not just about the policies and peccadilloes of individual candidates. It’s not just about ideological views of government. It’s not just about competence.
It’s about the very nature of what we want our country and politics to be. Do we value service and justice for the marginalized, as Scripture demands? Or will we become an increasingly cruel and divided nation?
There’s room for disagreement over which policies are best to carry out justice. But at the very least, we must protect and nurture the commitment to achieving it. If we lose our foundation, any policy victory that either party attains in the years to come will be fleeting.
At this critical time, we need a leader who shares our values in both word and deed. As you head into the voting booth, I encourage you to do so with this and the teachings of Jesus in mind. And, as fellow Christians, I hope you’ll join me in supporting Joe Biden— because of our faith, not in spite of it.