The 2020 Presidential Election: Assessing the options for Christian voters

(COMMENTARY) As the 2020 U.S. presidential elections get into full swing, the Democrats hoping to replace President Donald Trump have to address a series of controversial issues that divide Americans. Their various positions have already provoked Twitter wars and Facebook reactions. For Christians, this election puts them in the middle of it all, holding dear to Leonard Cohen’s words of wisdom, “There is no decent place to stand in a massacre.”

Trump has sparked controversy and demonstrations due to his “locker room talk” and tweets. Since Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, there have been hundreds of protests against him. Christians and non-Christians alike have shared their disapproval of the president’s sometimes-crude behavior toward foreign leaders and fellow elected officials.

As 2020 approaches, two key issues morally bind Christian voters: abortion and immigration. Any voter — secular or spiritual — should shed themselves of political jargon and focus on the platform of the Republican and Democratic candidates. Distraught Christians now weigh their options as they turn to Romans 13 for guidance: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

As the Democratic primary revs up, Christians may look at Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Bernie, or Mayor Pete Buttigieg for hope. However, Christians should not drown in the shallowness of a reputation. Within scripture, it is the Pharisees who are the most respected in society. Yet they do not uphold the law of God.

On January 22, 2019, New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act. The law, which unleashed lots of fallout from conservative circles, outlines that reproductive health is part of an individual’s right to privacy, equality and health. The law says that when a woman becomes pregnant, she has the right to abort the child or give birth. The bill’s passage was celebrated — with even One World Trade adorned in a pink light.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City echoed the concerns of Catholic clergymen in the days that followed.

“It shocks the conscience to see such evil legislation greeted with raucous cheers and standing ovations,” he said. 

In a radio interview earlier this year, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam illustrated this process.

“So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother,” he said. 

Currently, the leading Democratic candidates all endorse what they call the expansion of these rights. Buttigieg, who is the most outspoken about his Christian faith among the candidates, put it this way: “These questions ought to be resolved by women in consultation with their doctors.” 

Buttigieg interprets Christ’s teachings as caring for “the least among us.” His outward appearance replicates a Pharisee, educated, articulate, and faithful. His inward appearance replicates that same Pharisee, someone who twists the words of God to command his own comfort and status.

Meanwhile, the current chaos surrounding illegal immigration has split congregations in their attempts to wrestle with the laws of Leviticus. Christians should keep in mind that the value of human life stems from our creation. We are all made in the image of God and, as a result, have dignity. Allowing sanctuary cities and states hinders the dignity of illegal immigrants and citizens. No politician should support a system that encourages an individual to evade the law. No politician should glorify a culture that chooses when to enforce their laws.

In recent years, Christians have felt that their faith contradicted their political beliefs. The decay of civil discourse, the spread of secularism and the recent attacks on the Catholic Church have left a discouraging bitterness in the hearts of many. As Christians, we have a scriptural obligation to look after the poor. As Christians, we also have an obligation to preserve life, even from the moment of conception.

The 2020 election will no doubt prove to be divisive. However, it is safe to say that there is no ideal Christian candidate. Christians should demand more than the shallow reputation of Pharisees, and only settle for morally righteous platforms.

Nicholas Bruno is a student at The King’s College in New York City.