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The AND Campaign - Wolf in Sheep's Clothing


During the extremely contentious 2020 election, many Christians were looking for an alternative to the crazy. For many Christians, it felt like neither of the two main candidates came across as a truly Christian option. One was brash, rude, and even crass at times. The other appeared sweet and grandfatherly but stood for things biblical Christians could never support. Against that backdrop, the AND Campaign emerged as a major influence in progressive Christian circles when it came to thinking through political issues. However, they also made significant inroads among conservative Christians. Their website declares that their purpose is to foster, “A gospel-centered worldview committed to compassion (&) conviction.” They point out that neither party truly embodies the Christian worldview. They talk about being “politically homeless,” which seems to appeal to many who would just like to see the cultural temperature lowered a bit. 


The AND Campaign has attempted to brand itself as an organization that gives the biblical position on issues regardless of which party that helps or hurts. They also want you to believe that they are quick to criticize either party when it is not supporting biblical values. As I began to dig into their approach during the 2020 election, I became concerned that while their message appealed to many Christians, they were not actually taking a biblical approach and could be assisting the decline of our culture. It began to feel like they were wolves in sheep’s clothing. Here are some of the issues I have with the AND Campaign becoming the “Christian” voice on political issues:


  • Abortion: While they say they oppose abortion, there are some issues with their approach. They talk constantly about a “whole life” approach to the abortion issue. Very seldom would you hear them just say, “Let’s start with outlawing abortion.” Instead, they seem to believe that when Christians start caring about taking care of the moms and the babies “womb to tomb” the abortion issue will no longer be a problem. But in the public policy realm, this just boils down to more government programs that have not shown that they do much to raise people out of generational poverty. On many issues, they approach things with a very unrealistic definition of what it would mean to be loving and caring. When it comes to their “whole life" approach, they act as if Christians aren’t doing anything to help mothers who are in situations where a pregnancy could be a hardship. Of course, Christian parents are a major force in adoption. Christians give the most to charitable organizations that assist people in need.1 Christians run and fund abortion alternative clinics that not only let the mom see the baby on ultrasound but also help her find a job, provide baby supplies, and teach parenting classes (In addition to addressing the greatest need - the spiritual). We certainly should care about moms and babies throughout their lives, but we can't take the attitude that caring for "whole life" issues will just take care of the problem with no urgency to end the slaughter of children. Also, it should be obvious that more government programs with little accountability are not an effective approach. Taking this approach allows the AND Campaign (their leaders are Democrats) to support a party that openly supports abortion, but constantly talks about helping people with social programs. 

  • Socialism: Along those same lines, the AND Campaign promotes policies such as “free healthcare” and a “livable wage.” While they do mention “dignity of work,” they still seem to feel that it is the government’s job to provide what people need or force employers to pay a higher minimum wage. They must believe this is more compassionate. They brand this kind of government interference as more loving. It sounds nice. Let’s just give things away and pay people more! But it is a simple-minded fix that always backfires. First, solutions like these will increase inflation, likely offsetting the potential benefits or even possibly making problems worse. We act like the very people we are trying to help don’t have to buy things from these businesses that just had to double what they are paying their employees. Second, businesses will cut jobs to pay higher wages to fewer employees, or some will simply go out of business. That means fewer non-minimum wage management jobs for the community. Third, socialistic policies stifle economic growth which limits employment opportunities. As prices increase, employers won’t be expanding and hiring.  When jobs are allowed to be paid at market value, businesses can grow and create more high-paying opportunities. The phrase “livable wage” implies that every job should be able to support a family. But is that true? Many jobs are designed for High School and College students. If all jobs should be paid enough to support a family, where will the students get their first work experiences? If I own a fast food restaurant and I can either hire a 16-year-old or a 30-year-old with a family for the same pay, I’m probably not hiring a 16-year-old. Some people will say that 30-year-olds with families are having to work those types of jobs, so we have to do something. I would say the more Christian approach would be to help them get the skills they need to move ahead. Also, the more we can encourage and incentivize businesses, the more we will create great jobs and grow the economy without inflation. They seem to be unaware that they are defining “compassion” as being a party that talks about people’s struggles the most and throws money at programs that have historically locked people into poverty. They also seem to view the Republican party as the party that never wants to help those who are struggling, simply because they would like accountability for money spent or would like to see long-term results to justify the money that is spent. I’m not aware of any Republicans who are suggesting that we cut aid to people who actually need it. I have heard the media many times say that Republicans want to take food out of the mouths of children, but it’s often because they don’t want to increase a budget by as much as others want to, so it is labeled as “cutting” aid. 

  • Not bipartisan: I’m not here to defend the Republican Party. I'm first and foremost a Christ-follower. I disagree with many things the Republican party does or does not do. But the AND Campaign forces you to defend Republicans because while they say they have problems with both sides, it seems that they never consider the Republican position to be valid but often consider the Democrat position to be valid. If you watch Allie Beth Stuckey’s interview with Justin Giboney2, you will see that trend. For us to believe that he is truly politically homeless, we would need to see him walk away from the Democrat party and remain independent. Criticizing both parties while remaining in one party tells you all you need to know. When he says that he is trying to reframe how Christians think about politics, what he means is he would like them to consider voting for Democrats or at least stop supporting the Republican party. But Christians didn’t end up voting the way we vote by accident. We have little choice. One party supports abortion up to birth. One party supports transing children. One party supports an open border that encourages drug trafficking and human trafficking. So our choice is either to vote for a third party which is a waste of our vote, or support a party that actually has a chance to keep those ideas out of office. To me, it feels like Giboney usually misapplies Christian compassion to encourage us to stop supporting the party that can push back against the party that he clearly (check his resume) supports.


  • Immigration: As you can see from their 2020 Presidential Election Statement, they blame President Trump for the inhumane conditions at the border, ignoring the fact that those policies were put in place under President Obama (whose campaign Giboney was a part of). They also misuse the Old Testament verses about sojourners. A quick overview of the passages that refer to sojourners will reveal some things that the AND Campaign would not likely support. Those passages talk about welcoming them in but also say that they should abide by all Israel’s laws, they should follow Israel’s customs, they should worship Israel’s God, and should be punished if they blaspheme Him. Why? Because God understood that bringing in people from other places who do not respect your culture will cause the breakdown of society.  The AND Campaign’s statement on immigration is high on grace and low on truth. We need both. I definitely want people treated humanely. I definitely want a smooth legal immigration system. I'm all for taking in those who are being persecuted in their home country. But as a Christian, I am not required to support an open border that has led to more Americans dying from drug overdoses and more children being trafficked. Those things are evil. These are not issues that the AND Campaign is concerned about. 

  • Reparations: The AND Campaign is very clear that they believe that reparations should be paid to minorities. They use the passage most often quoted by supporters of reparations - the story of Zacchaeus. There are a couple of issues with using this passage and with the concept in general. First, we are now 50 years from the Civil Rights Act. I do acknowledge that if my father had been denied a home loan in the 60s, it could still affect my family today. However, we are reaching the outer limits of how much lives today are still affected by discrimination 50 years ago. We have also spent billions in social programs to help anyone who is poor catch up, and those programs do not seem to have helped.  The problem with using Zacchaeus is that he personally went to the people that he defrauded and made it right. If he had never accepted Jesus but his great-grandkids did, would they have sought out all the descendants of the people their great-grandfather swindled and paid them? Making restitution is a biblical principle that applies to personal responsibility. That doesn’t mean a society can’t address ways that an entire group of people has been mistreated, but there is no biblical principle for this scenario. At this point, it would seem to make more sense to help economically depressed areas by making sure that crime is low and businesses are given incentives to create jobs there. 


  • LGBT rights: While they do say that they believe in a “historic Christian sexual ethic,” they also promote “civil rights” for the LGBT community. Once again they are misapplying Christian compassion. Yes, everyone needs to be treated with respect. No one should be mistreated. They say that religious freedom and LGBT rights don’t have to be at odds. However, when you make this a civil rights issue, you have automatically limited religious freedom. Once you have declared something a civil right, it is enforceable. That means that the photographer or baker who doesn’t want to participate in a gay wedding will be violating someone’s civil rights. Churches would be in trouble if they let an employee go who began to live one of the LGBT lifestyles. They mention that people should not lose their housing because of being LGBT, but we already have laws that cover why you could be denied housing or evicted. Again the AND Campaign is not living in reality. The LGBT agenda is dead set on making everyone support their views. We already see where this leads in Canada. Pastors have been locked up for teaching what the Bible says on these issues. Never has a sexual preference, lifestyle, or action been a protected civil right. 

The AND Campaign approaches most issues by reasoning from general principles such as “justice” or “caring for your neighbor” - things we all agree with. But then applies those concepts in an unbiblical manner, void of personal accountability or proof that the solutions they want to pursue help instead of hurt. They also make the false assumption that the people who talk the most about injustice and inequities are the people who care the most and can be trusted by Christians, missing the idea that they may be the very group that doesn’t want to solve those issues and lose one of their most popular planks in their platform. The very cities where those policies have been implemented the most are where poverty and crime are out of control. The AND Campaign also appears to come at everything from the perspective of Critical Race Theory. All disparities come down to race. Minorities are told they are oppressed and can’t move forward. Non-minorities are told they are oppressors no matter how kind and generous they are. All our systems are racist because we were founded on racism. There is no Christian redemption in those concepts. There is no “we are all one in Christ.” Paul says that in Christ there is no longer Jew and Gentile, slave and free. Unity comes when we all stop hiding behind our labels. True unity comes when our primary label becomes “Christ.” 




 

Below I have included their 2020 Presidential Election Statement. I felt it would be good for you to see their own words.


 

2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION STATEMENT PREAMBLE (From the AND Campaign website in 2020)


The upcoming presidential election marks a significant decision point for our nation. This moral moment requires principled conviction from politicians, but even more so from the American people. Christians have a particular obligation to provide this moral leadership. No candidate will be perfect, but Christians can hold both parties accountable to a vision for the common good that is not fully represented in either party platform. 


While a misappropriation of the separation between Church and State has sometimes been used to suggest people of faith are the only people who can’t consider their values when participating in politics, we know that both our faith and the demands of citizenship require that we bring our full selves to the project of self-governance. 


Our Christian faith’s call to recognize the image of God in every person and to love our neighbor as ourselves compels us to speak into the public square to promote social justice and moral order. We have a spiritual responsibility as followers of Jesus to seek common ground and the common good. We are obligated to protect the vulnerable and defend human dignity even of those with whom we disagree. 


At its best, the church should be a beacon of light to our nation, illuminating the systemic and institutional injustices that must be removed for our Union to thrive, while also modeling the possibility of a more just way. It should also be a moral anchor that refuses to sacrifice virtue and righteousness at the altar of political expediency. We have seen this in our past: When the mechanisms of government failed to disassemble slavery and later Jim Crow, church-led movements shocked and recalibrated the conscience of a derelict nation. Conversely, when the church has failed to act or has imposed its own injustices, the nation and the promise of democracy suffered dearly. 


We assert the following convictions to the candidates seeking the presidential nominations of their political party, so that they know what we believe to be some of the primary issues facing our country and that they might respond to these concerns. And we state these convictions to our fellow Christians—indeed, all Americans—so that they might inform the way we advocate and vote in the upcoming election. 


THE HEALTH OF OUR DEMOCRACY 

By disregarding standards of decency and good faith, the current administration has significantly lowered our nation’s discourse and endangered the political process. This president’s callousness—especially toward non-white Americans and vulnerable citizens—his fomenting of chaos as Commander-in-Chief, and his cavalier attitude toward rule of law and basic norms of civility all undermine social cohesion, civic trust, and our very democracy. 


RACE AND VOTER RIGHTS 

America was built by enslaved people and immigrant workers who brought the country closer to its founding ideals through their sacrifices and protests. And yet racial discrimination has pervaded American public policy and the law since our nation’s inception, and its effects continue today. People of color still haven’t fully recovered from the War on Drugs and a myriad of other government sanctioned efforts that devastated communities and weakened families. We must address racial disparities in education, poverty levels, healthcare, environmental quality, and the criminal justice system head on. Central to that effort must be the vigilant protection of voting rights. Voting should be fair, accessible, and convenient for all eligible American citizens, and enfranchisement should extend to former felons who have paid their debt to society. 


THE POOR AND PRO-FAMILY ECONOMIC POLICIES 

America can’t disregard poor people in policymaking. We need creative anti-poverty policies that work in tandem with, not in opposition to, other institutions, including the family and the church. We believe in the dignity of work, and that workers should receive a livable wage. Education should be accessible and equitable for all children. Paid family leave and enhanced child tax credits are both family-oriented policies that relieve the burden on hard working parents and create opportunities for them to invest more time and resources into their children and loved ones. In order for families—and indeed, the nation—to thrive, women must be free from discrimination, harassment and abuse. 


RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND LGBTQ RIGHTS 

All attempts to remove more traditional religious beliefs from the public square should be opposed. We, like many other Americans, affirm the historic Christian sexual ethic, and we also believe that religious freedom and LGBTQ civil rights are not necessarily in irreconcilable conflict. Faith-based charities, hospitals and colleges should not have to choose between surrendering their convictions and closing their doors. At the same time, LGBTQ people should not lose jobs and housing because of how they identify. We must pursue ways to disagree and live together without bullying or compromising our conscience. Towards that end, we encourage all 2020 candidates to support the Fairness for All Act, which will grant basic civil rights for LGBTQ people while also protecting religious freedom for all faiths. 


IMMIGRATION

The Trump administration has failed to treat undocumented immigrants with dignity and care, especially at the U.S.-Mexico border. In light of God’s special concern for the immigrant and the sojourner, we are deeply dissatisfied with the federal government’s continued negligence when it comes to passing comprehensive immigration reform. The current administration’s willingness to use draconian, manipulative measures to stoke fear in immigrant communities and pit family members against one another is reprehensible. Our government must seek to be both just and compassionate regarding immigration policy, especially in protecting Dreamers and upholding longstanding laws regarding refugees fleeing violence, lawlessness and oppression. 


HEALTHCARE AND ABORTION 

We believe in building a society that respects human dignity at all stages of life, including the unborn. This includes accessible and affordable health care for everyone. Americans should not go bankrupt because they get sick or die because their medication is exorbitantly expensive. This includes policies that support maternal health and address our nation’s high rate of maternal mortality, especially among Black and Native American women. It includes vigilant prosecution of pregnancy discrimination in education and the workplace. It is essential that the sanctity of human life at every stage, in particular in the womb, is defended vigorously. Abortion is a tragedy, not a social good, that should be vehemently discouraged rather than promoted.


CONCLUSION

Our nation desperately needs Christians to live out their faith in this political sphere for the good of all Americans, and the 2020 presidential candidates need to hear, respond to, and respect our voice and earn our vote. Through advocacy and protest, we are committed to supporting candidates, no matter their political affiliation, when they promote civility and human dignity, and we will actively oppose politicians, policies, and parties when they undermine these values. 





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