I grew up in church. If you’re thinking about red carpet, pasty-white Jesus portraits, hymnals, and wooden pews, you’d be spot on. My family went to church on Wednesday nights, Sunday mornings, and Sunday evenings. In the summer, we had VBS (that’s Vacation Bible School), mission trips, and camp. We learned all about heaven and hell, the ten commandments, loving thy neighbor, the terrifying book of Revelation, demons and angels, and the holy trinity. I wore a golden crucifix necklace for years, a gift from my parents.
I have many fond memories of potlucks, car washes, and youth group events. Church had a positive influence on me in many ways. Though there were seasons I doubted my faith, there were more seasons in which my faith sustained me through difficulties like the death of a friend and breast cancer. I was taught that homosexuality, abortion, divorce, premarital sex, and adultery are sins, and though not explicitly conveyed, true Christians vote for Republicans who would uphold our conservative values. As an adult, my husband and I are still church-going Christians, and we are voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
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When I became an adult, finished college, and got married, my view of Christianity got bigger. I only knew what I knew, until I learned differently. My husband and I joined a Methodist church, one that leaned left. We began to see that liberals weren’t nearly as sinful and terrifying as we had been lead to believe.
With each election over the past seventeen years since my wedding day, I’ve wondered, who gets to decide what’s right?The first election, I straight-ticket voted Republican, because I knew that “good Christians” voted pro-life no matter what. Embarrassingly, I didn’t do any research on whom I was voting for, much less any other issue or candidate. I figured God was proud of me for standing up for the unborn and that was that.
Each passing year, as my husband and I grew our family and expanded our circle of friends, we realized that voting is not only a privilege and an honor, but is also a test of our faith. What did we really believe? What is being pro-life? Is it standing outside abortion clinics with signs? Is it donating money to crisis pregnancy centers that promote adoption over abortion? Or, is it something much, much different? What if Christians have had the pro-life definition all wrong?
When we look at the current election, I’m without a doubt voting for Biden and Harris. The Trump administration brags on their stance on “the sanctity of human life,” a very evangelical phrase I’ve heard my entire life, yet they don’t value Black people, including my own four children. He refuses to denounce white supremacy, and has called supremacists “very fine people.” When asked at the first presidential debate if he would command supremacists to cease, he told them to “stand back” and “stand by.”
Trump has shown that he couldn’t care less about the 212,000 Americans that have died from the coronavirus pandemic–because science isn’t real and he has access to the best healthcare options. He also refuses to help lower insulin prices for everyone, instead focusing only a select few, knowing that without insulin, many people, myself included, will die. He has called Mexicans rapists. He mocked a disabled reporter. He threw paper towels at hurricane victims. He separated families at the border, placing some in cages. He openly berated Greta Thunberg — yes, a child — on social media. There are hundreds more of Trump’s anti-life examples where he demonstrates that he believes only certain humans have value, while others are less-than.
Do you notice the theme? He is not pro-life. Pro-life means “for life.” If God is pro-life, then how does it make any sense that Christians vote for Trump? His record is loud and clear, many of his anti-life stances caught on video. The only life he is for is that of the white male who worships and pledges allegiance to him, not God.
Trump is the antithesis of what I was raised to be. He’s a liar, an adulterer, and he doesn’t follow the ultimate commandment: to love God, love yourself, and love your neighbor. Trump only loves one, and it’s not God or the American people he has sworn to lead. His record and his words teach us that he is not pro-life. Furthermore, I would be absolutely mortified if my children did anything Trump has done, none of which is a reflection of the God we know.
Christians are commanded in the Bible to be the “salt and light” and “the hands and feet of Jesus” during their lifetime. We are supposed to be discerning, forgiving, kind, and patient. We are supposed to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. I don’t see how I can do these things if I fill in a bubble on my ballot that encourages and supports hatred for the vast majority of Americans: women, people of color, those with disabilities, the non-wealthy. How is that pro-life?
I believe that God created and loves every person in every stage. This is my definition of pro-life. I also don’t believe I’m a bad Christian or that God is smacking his forehead because I’m voting for Democrats. If I take everything I believe to be true about my faith, I know, without a shadow of a doubt, whom I should vote for.
This doesn’t mean that any candidate is perfect or that I think any person can be the superhero of the situation we’re in. My faith tells me that Jesus is the savior, not a politician. But I do believe that it’s my sacred duty to be part of change that reflects what being pro-life really means. I hope my fellow Christians wake up and choose to do the same, because the sanctity of human life is extensive and critically important.