Campaign Press Release - ICYMI: Biden for President Featured in Faith News This Week
This week, Biden for President faith outreach and engagement efforts were featured in multiple stories, as momentum for the Biden-Harris ticket grows among people of faith, who see that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the clear moral choice in this election.
Earlier this week, the Biden campaign's robust outreach to Catholic voters, a key constituency in this election, was featured in articles with CNN and AFP. The week also saw articles on the growing support among voters of faith, with the New York Times covering the support for Joe Biden from Latter-day Saints in the key swing state of Arizona, and profiling the granddaughter of the Rev. Billy Graham, Jerushah Duford. Druford endorsed Joe Biden earlier this year and has been encouraging evangelical voters to join her in supporting the Vice President. And the drumbeat of influential faith leaders speaking out in support of Biden-Harris continued, with articles this week on evangelical pastor Joel Hunter and Jim Bennett, son of the late former Utah Senator and LDS community leader Bob Bennett.
With growing support from a diverse coalition of people of faith and just 10 days to go, Believers for Biden is making the case that this election is about both restoring and redeeming the soul of the nation, that the Biden-Harris agenda is deeply aligned with the common good values of people of faith, and that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the clear moral choice in this election.
See below for coverage excerpts:
CNN: Trump and Biden vie for Catholic voters amid Supreme Court battle
[Kate Sullivan, 10/18/20]
Biden's deputy national political director, John McCarthy, told CNN that he believes Biden is "well-poised to make huge inroads and ultimately win the Catholic vote."
The Biden campaign recently announced three new ads focused on Biden's faith and values, one specifically geared towards Catholics, that will be playing on faith-based TV and radio programs in battleground states.
McCarthy said a core message of Biden's campaign is morality, and that faith voters will be looking at the "stark moral contrast between what Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are fighting for and what Donald Trump and his administration have stood for."
Biden frequently frames the November election as a "battle for the soul of our nation," quotes Pope John Paul II in his campaign ads and regularly wears his late son's rosary on his wrist.
"I think Catholic voters are looking for a vision for someone who can ultimately bring people together," McCarthy said. He noted Catholic voters are nuanced and holistic, and are focused on issues like jobs, health care, the economy and the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Biden's national faith engagement director, Josh Dickson, told CNN that Catholic outreach is something that the campaign has poured significant resources into. The campaign recently launched "Catholics for Biden," and there is a concerted effort to engage with Catholic voters in key swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan, Dickson said. Campaign efforts include "listening sessions with Catholic leaders and theologians" and targeting Catholic voters with phone banks.
Mark Shriver, a leader of "Catholics for Biden," said Catholics are "looking for commitment to decency, to humility, to taking care of our common home, the environment, as well as taking care of our fellow human beings."
"I think that is the message that is resonating," Shriver said.
AFP: A practicing Catholic, Biden hopes to peel believers away from Trump
[Elodie Cuzin, 10/18/20]
Asked how damaging the issue could be for Biden, Dickson stressed that "Catholics in the United States are very diverse in terms of their viewpoints, in terms of their backgrounds" and are "multi-issue voters" -- often looking beyond the single issue of abortion.
Dickson said Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris are "the clear moral choice in this election."
Capri Cafaro, a former Ohio officeholder now at American University, agrees that many Catholics will look beyond Biden's position on abortion.
They "can identify with how he tries, the genuine struggle that he has, trying to rectify his own personal faith beliefs with policy decisions," she said.
Outside an ice cream shop in Wilmington's Little Italy neighborhood, 41-year-old property manager Alexandra Johnson has made her choice: "Definitely I'm voting for Biden."
"I don't look at if it's Democrat or Republican," said Johnson, a mother of four who is Catholic. "I look at what's going to better help in the future."
"I think he has a better future for my children in general -- so that's where I'm at."
The New York Times: How Mormons Fed Up With Trump Could Help Lift Biden in Arizona
[Hank Stephenson, 10/18/20]
More recently, the church reiterated that believers should volunteer their time, talents and friendship to refugees immigrating to the country.
Christie Black, a 36-year-old Latter-day Saints church member from Mesa, has taken that call to heart, volunteering with Syrian refugees in Arizona and forming deep relationships with refugee families.
A staunch Republican, she didn't support either party's nominee in 2016. Since then, her political views have shifted and she first became an independent, then joined the Democrats.
Mr. Trump's demagoguery of Muslims and refugees is directly at odds with her faith, she said.
"We're a global church and his kind of isolationism is contrary to who we are as members of the faith," she said.
Bob Worsley, a former Republican state lawmaker and founder of SkyMall magazine, said that although he supports many of Mr. Trump's conservative policies, his religious beliefs prevent him from backing the president's campaign of anger, fear and vitriol.
"That's not what I'm taught in the pews of my church," he said. "Anger and discord is considered to come from another influence, not God."
He and his wife, Christi, will vote for Mr. Biden, the first time either of them has voted for a Democratic presidential candidate.
"For almost four years, we've lived through nothing but drama," Mr. Worsley said. "I'm ready for a no-drama president again, and I really don't care which party he comes from."
The New York Times: Opinion: She's Evangelical, 'Pro-Life' and Voting for Biden
[Nicholas Kristof, 10/21/20]
"A growing number of Christians have realized that their religious beliefs concerning the sanctity of life can be advanced in practical ways other than simply voting for conservative judges to make abortion illegal," said Deborah Fikes, a former evangelical leader in Texas who became so disillusioned by policies of the American Evangelical Church that she left and joined the Methodist Church. Evangelical churches, she said, have mistakenly pursued a harmful "strategy of political gain in Jesus's name."
A similar ferment is apparent among Catholics. "I am voting for Joe Biden because I am pro-life," a Catholic nun, Sister Mary Traupman, wrote to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Describing family separation at the border, environmental degradation, denial of health care to the poor, she added, "These are not pro-life policies."
The Rev. Greg Boyle, who runs programs for gang members in Los Angeles, told me something similar. "I have never endorsed a candidate in any race until now," Father Boyle said, but now he endorses Biden. "This is a vote for the soul of the nation," he added. "I've never seen an existential threat like this in my 66 years of living."
"This is not about partisan politics," he said. "It's about truly choosing life."
Spectrum News: Joel Hunter: "Spiritual Integrity" Inspired Endorsement of Biden
[Pete Reinwald, 10/22/20]
So, this year he's supporting Biden, whom he says has a "great heart" and potentially can build political and social bridges. Hunter had never endorsed a candidate before, he said. Now that he has, he said, he has had speaking engagements withdrawn and received signals, as he put it, that he had crossed the line in the evangelical community.
"I had to do what I could to make the future well-being of all people possible," Hunter said. "I feel like this is an election like we have not seen before. I just felt like, for my own spiritual integrity, no matter how beat up, no matter how ostracized, I just needed to do this. And so that's why I did it."
He said his resolve comes from a spiritual transformation that started during the civil rights movement and continued in recent years, when said he changed his efforts and emphasis from interpreting the Bible to imitating Jesus. That explains what he calls a balanced message that puts as much emphasis on Earth — particularly the struggles of the poor, homeless, and vulnerable — as on Heaven.
The Salt Lake Tribune: Jim Bennett: Bob Bennett would have voted for Biden
[Jim Bennett, 10/16/20]
There are plenty of ideological reasons to vote against Trump, who has transformed the GOP into a party hostile to free trade that has piled up more debt in 3.5 years than Obama did in eight. For many reasons, it's a party Dad would scarcely recognize. But Dad's example reminds me that ideology isn't the only thing on the ballot this time around. It's not even the most important thing.
This year's election is not a choice between two candidates as much as a referendum on basic human decency. That's why I'm casting my vote for Biden/Harris 2020. Because it's what Joe Biden's favorite bishop would have wanted.
Joseph R. Biden, Campaign Press Release - ICYMI: Biden for President Featured in Faith News This Week Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347091