Biden can't 'hurt God' but he can help religion - Albuquerque Journal

Biden can’t ‘hurt God’ but he can help religion

WASHINGTON – Never has a politician accorded his opponent so much power. President Trump said that if former vice president Joe Biden won the White House, he would “hurt God.”

Wow! What supernatural chops! Trump did not specify how exactly a mere mortal could “hurt” the Almighty, but he warns Biden would create a world of “no religion, no anything.”

“He’s against God, he’s against guns, he’s against energy, our kind of energy,” said Trump. Yes, energy sources are now polarized between red and blue, and the Supreme Being is part of it. Trump, of course, has little understanding of religion, or much of a connection with faith.

With no offense intended to elementary school students, Trump has a crude, fifth-grade understanding of the words and phrases that spur white, socially conservative voters to turn out for him, own the liberals and push back against the dreaded secularists and atheists.

The dispiriting part is that this paint-by-the-numbers approach has worked for Trump. He continues to fare better among white evangelicals than in any other definable group in the electorate.

Here’s the good news: Trump’s truly idiotic language and Biden’s own faith open new opportunities to push back against forms of religious warfare that have done grave damage both to religion and to our politics. Trump’s theology-free theology and his reduction of God to a political consultant’s role offer Biden, and progressives more generally, a large opening for reconciliation. Think of it as a Providential moment.

Biden’s initial response to Trump’s bizarre salvo was promising. He issued a statement declaring that faith is the “bedrock foundation of my life” and declared that Trump’s “decision today to profane God and to smear my faith in a political attack is a stark reminder of what the stakes of this fight truly are.”

You might think Biden’s response was a no-brainer, but Democrats have been increasingly reluctant to talk about faith because religion presents the party with an enormous coalition management problem.

Fully 65% of Republicans are white Christians (49% Protestant and 16% Catholic), according to surveys by Public Religion Research Institute, but white Christians account for only 37% of Democrats. And fully 25% of Democrats are religiously unaffiliated. The movement away from religion is especially pronounced among younger Americans, with 40% or more declaring themselves unaffiliated.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s campaign was divided over how she should approach religion. Strategists feared that if she spoke too much about her Methodist faith, she might turn off the younger and intensely secular voters she needed to get to the polls.

The tragedy is that Clinton, a candidate whose “authenticity” was always being questioned, was at her authentic best when she was talking about how faith influenced her life and moved her toward more progressive political views, particularly on civil rights. The one time she truly let loose her inner preacher was during the South Carolina primary when she was inspired by her many visits to Black churches.

Her experience speaks to a vicious cycle: The more religion is associated with right-wing politics, the more alienated from religion progressives become and the more inclined they are to dismiss religious people. But the more progressives do this, the easier they make it for right-wing politicians to cast liberals as hostile to faith – and, reductio ad absurdum, as eager to “hurt God.”

The price for religion is just as high. Those who insist that faith requires supporting Trump and opposing LGBTQ rights are closing off large categories of their fellow citizens to the possibility of dialogue and, yes, conversion.

By devoting effort to ending the Catch-22 around religion, Biden would do more than prove he has no interest in hurting God. He could also help create a politics more worthy of a faith that sees the ability to love each other as central to salvation.

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » Biden can’t ‘hurt God’ but he can help religion

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

Vomiting causes can be elusive
ABQnews Seeker
It’s nobody’s favorite pastime. Sadly, some ... It’s nobody’s favorite pastime. Sadly, some cats retch intermittently throughout their lives
Tears of joy fill Isotopes' locker room after Bernard ...
ABQnews Seeker
After more than 1,000 games and ... After more than 1,000 games and a decade in the minors, Wynton Bernard gets his Major League call up to the Colorado Rockies.
The end of the race -- Florida shelter for ...
'Back in the early 90s, we ... 'Back in the early 90s, we made a promise to all those greyhounds that had no place to go'
‘Stray’: How a virtual orange tabby is helping real ...
Livestreaming game play for charity isn't ... Livestreaming game play for charity isn't new, but the resonance "Stray" quickly found from cat lovers is unusual.
Editorial: PED’s ‘restorative’ discipline should not forget victims
The New Mexico Public Education Department's ... The New Mexico Public Education Department's heart is in the right place with a new discipline ...
As lawmakers eye changes, NM gets low marks for ...
ABQnews Seeker
Legislature looking to retool structure amid ... Legislature looking to retool structure amid ongoing revenue boom
Republicans open Hispanic community center in ABQ
ABQnews Seeker
GOP aims to attract groups who ... GOP aims to attract groups who typically vote Democrat
Forensics return from ‘Rust’ set
ABQnews Seeker
Sheriff's Office says agency still needs ... Sheriff's Office says agency still needs to review Alec Baldwin's phone records
Fishing Line for Aug. 11, 2022
Fishing Line