Pro-life evangelical scholar Richard Mouw led a fellowship of pro-life Christians who loudly and proudly endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 election. That group, Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden, this week got a lot of attention when they revealed their shock and dismay that pro-abortion President Biden betrayed their movement and was endorsing the use of federal tax dollars to pay for abortions.
Mouw, the president emeritus of Fuller Seminary in California who is realizing too late that there are no take-backsies in real life, told the Christian Post on Tuesday that if he had it to do over, he would not offer his public support for Biden's election. But he would still vote for the Democratic nominee.
What did he say?
After the Biden-backed COVID relief bill passed the U.S. Senate over the weekend without the Hyde Amendment, which prevents tax money from being used to fund abortion, Mouw's group wrote an open letter expressing their disappointment. The members said they felt "used and betrayed" by the administration — an administration that literally campaigned on repealing the Hyde Amendment.
Mouw claimed to the Christian Post that he and other members of the pro-life, pro-Biden group were aware that Biden had been "shifting" his stance on the Hyde Amendment when they issued their statement in October publicly urging fellow pro-lifers to give the pro-choice president their vote.
Biden's campaign site made it clear that Biden "supports repealing the Hyde Amendment" and said so since at least July 2020 — three months before Mouw's group issued its statement — according to the Wayback Machine internet archive.
But according to Mouw, his group felt reassured by conversations they had with Biden campaign officials.
"We made ... clear that we would offer support with the understanding that they would urge the White House to have serious conversations with Catholics and evangelicals who are right-to-life people," he told the Christian Post. "The problem is that we haven't had those conversations, and leaving the Hyde Amendment out of this particular package, this latest COVID package, is a signal that ... there really ... is no room for that kind of conversation."
The outlet asked Mouw if he wold still vote for and publicly support Biden if he had it to do over again and knew Biden would push a relief package that excluded Hyde Amendment language.
Mouw told the Christian Post that he would "vote the same way" but added, "I would not give my public support."
Yet he still defended his group's support of Biden. From the Christian Post:
Acknowledging that he received "a lot of angry messages from right-to-life people," some of whom called him "naive" due to his support for Biden and subsequent feelings of betrayal, Mouw still defended the object of his previous remarks in support of Biden. He said they would be necessary to provide reassurance to the "many younger evangelicals who are not happy about ... the way in which their parents and grandparents have endorsed and defended the Trump administration."
"We ... don't want to lose them to evangelicalism because of what is perceived as a mean-spirited, highly partisan commitment on the part of the older generation of evangelicals who voted 81% ... in the presidential election before this last one for Mr. Trump," he said.
"We thought it was important to hold up the right to life position and at the same time, say it's OK to be concerned about a broader range of issues such as global warming and children at the border separated from their parents and those kinds of questions. And so, we wanted to use our own access through the Biden campaign people to at least get them to stay in conversation with people like us."
Mouw admitted that he was "less optimistic" about the chance that Biden's Democratic Party would ever be able to build a "bigger tent" to include pro-lifers.