Pray for President Elect Biden
I am grateful for the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in the early days of this dangerous post-election period. On November 7, Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the USCCB, congratulated President Elect Biden and Vice President Elect Harris on their election. His statement began: “We thank God for the blessings of liberty. The American people have spoken in this election. Now is the time for our leaders to come together in a spirit of national unity and to commit themselves to dialogue and compromise for the common good.”
Pope Francis spoke with President-Elect Biden by phone yesterday; they talked about peace, poverty, climate change, and immigration. But it may be just as important that the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops invited prayers for President-Elect Biden, since nearly half of the white Catholics in the country voted for President Trump.
On November 11, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) issued a similar statement: “We commit to pray for President-Elect Joe Biden, current President Donald Trump, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris and current Vice President Mike Pence; for cooperation during the transition period; and for a peaceful transfer of power. We pray that our leaders will listen and speak to all Americans, including those who feel that they have been left out or unheard. We pray that they will help Americans come together, heal and serve the common good.”
The NAE’s strong statement is especially important, since more than three-fourths of white Evangelicals reportedly voted for President Trump.
The National Council of Churches (NCC) is on the verge of issuing a similar statement. The USCCB, NAE, and NCC together include churches with nearly 100 million members. Some leaders of church bodies and other religious groups have also made statements along the same lines.
Meanwhile, the National African American Clergy Network and Sojourners are working with others to secure a free and fair run-off election for Georgia’s two Senate seats on January 5. They recruited 1,000 clergy to be present at 60 polling places in nine states on November 3. That helped to maintain peace and protect the right of African-Americans to vote. Sojourners is providing an ongoing stream of information about transition risks and what we can do about them. You can sign up here.
President Trump and some of his allies are doing everything they can, by hook or by crook, to discredit the election. Election authorities across the country and the courts have found no serious irregularities, but Trump and some of his supporters seem likely to continue propagating their dangerous story. It might help them justify some interference in the transition process and, in any case, will stir up resentment among some voters for years to come.
As churches, synagogues, and mosques gather (for the most part digitally) during this time of transition, I hope they will pray for President-Elect Biden and all our elected leaders in this unsettled time. People across the political spectrum are anxious, and it will do us all good to entrust the future to our loving God. Families will gather or at least touch base on Thanksgiving, and many families include both liberal and conservative people. We’ll do a service to the nation if we can articulate prayers for our leaders that are grounded in reality and make it possible for everybody to say amen.