A professor at Virginia Wesleyan University has resigned after he argued on social media that people who voted for Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election are “anti-Christian” and “anti-American.”
In a statement Monday, the Norfolk-based liberal arts school historically affiliated with the United Methodist Church announced that Paul Ewell resigned last week as dean of the VWU Global Campus. On Monday, the institution accepted his resignation as professor of management, business and economics.
Ewell made headlines last week after he took to Facebook to urge friends who voted for Biden to unfriend him on the platform and asserted that Biden voters are “ignorant, anti-American and anti-Christian.”
"If you were ignorant anti-American, and anti-Christian enough to vote for Biden, I really don't want to be your social friend on social media," the professor was quoted as writing in the now-deleted Facebook post.
A news article on Ewell’s post was event retweeted by President Donald Trump. The president’s retweet drew thousands of comments and retweets.
In response, angered alumni threatened to stop donations and parents of prospective students have said they will reevaluate sending their children to the university, according to the Associated Press.
The school has just under 1,300 undergraduates enrolled, according to College Board.
Ewell had told local news station WAVY that he authored the post in anger and expressed regret. He acknowledged that the post sets a “poor example” of “what a Christian should be.”
"I have many Democrat friends, and I want to apologize for saying that I didn't want to be friends with them and for calling them names," Ewell was quoted as saying. "I am genuinely sorry for letting my anger get the best of me."
The university first acknowledged the social media post in a Nov. 6 statement that explained that the “views and opinions are expressly the individual’s own.”
“Civic engagement and religious freedom are at the core of the University’s values, and we remain an inclusive and caring community that empowers meaningful relationships through listening, understanding and communication,” the university said.
Earlier this year, respected pastor and author Tim Keller spoke out against the idea that Christians must vote for Trump or Biden. Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, argued in a series of tweets that Christians have a “liberty of conscience.”
“The Bible binds my conscience to care for the poor, but it does not tell me the best practical way to do it,” he tweeted in September. “Any particular strategy (high taxes and government services vs low taxes and private charity) may be good and wise …”
“[It] may even be somewhat inferred from other things the Bible teaches, but they are not directly commanded and therefore we cannot insist that all Christians, as a matter of conscience, follow one or the other.”
Keller stressed that Democrats and Republicans offer “a potpourri of different positions” on many topics that the Bible does not speak to directly.
“Christians cannot say to other Christians ‘no Christian can vote for…’ or ‘every Christian must vote for […’] unless you can find a Biblical command to that effect,” Keller explained.
Some conservative Christians have argued that Christians should not vote for Biden (or Hillary Clinton in 2016) because of the Democratic Party’s stance on abortion.
“This is [a] man running on a vision, not only of abortion-on-demand but abortion right up until — and perhaps after — birth,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins in a July op-ed regarding Biden. “To cap it off, for those Americans who do have a biblical or moral objection to abortion, he says they should still have to pay for them with their tax dollars. How does he square ‘authentic’ faith with those radical positions?”
One effort was the June release of a book featuring 30 evangelical Christians of different political and professional stripes that called on white evangelicals to rethink their vote for Trump in 2020.
“But if we are going to be biblical in our politics, we need to go back and ask: ‘What is it that God cares about?’” Ron Sider, the founder of Evangelicals for Social Action and editor of the book, told The Christian Post in June. “God cares about the sanctity of human life and justice for the poor. God cares about marriage and racial justice. God cares about sexual integrity and cares for creation and peacemaking and freedom. It is simply fundamentally mistaken to think that one issue overrides all others.”