The Rapidian

Ethics and Religion Talk: Is “Election Fraud” God’s Will?

Dan M. asks, “Should Christians just accept the election outcome as God's will and ignore all the evidence of fraudulent voting, or would doing so be irresponsible acquiescence and failure to hold leaders accountable?”

What is Ethics and Religion Talk?

“Ethics and Religion Talk,” answers questions of ethics or religion from a multi-faith perspective. Each post contains three or four responses to a reader question from a panel of nine diverse clergy from different religious perspectives, all based in the Grand Rapids area. It is the only column of its kind. No other news site, religious or otherwise, publishes a similar column.

The first five years of columns, published in the Grand Rapids Press and MLive, are archived at More recent columns can be found on by searching for the tag “ethics and religion talk.”

We’d love to hear about the ordinary ethical questions that come up on the course of your day as well as any questions of religion that you’ve wondered about. Tell us how you resolved an ethical dilemma and see how members of the Ethics and Religion Talk panel would have handled the same situation. Please send your questions to [email protected].

The Reverend Colleen Squires, minister at All Souls Community Church of West Michigan, a Unitarian Universalist Congregation, responds:

“The truth does not support this statement, ‘pretty strong evidence there was significant election fraud.’ Over 62 court filings proved these claims to be without merit. But moving beyond that fact, if in every election in the past one has accepted the results as God’s will then why is this one election so different? If you have lived your life believing in God’s will and having complete faith in God, why are you questioning God now. If you have a strong faith in God, and you believe God is all powerful then it would seem that God’s desire is to have President Biden in office now.”

Father Kevin Niehoff, O.P., a Dominican priest who serves as Judicial Vicar, Diocese of Grand Rapids, responds:

“Christians are bound by the Ten Commandments. The eighth commandment of the Decalogue states, ‘thou shalt not bear false witness.’ Christ teaches us that offenses against the truth include, ‘false witness and perjury, and rash judgment, detraction, and calumny’ because all degrade the ‘respect for the reputation of others’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 594).

“Privacy is no longer offered by our present culture. The Roman Catholic Church decrees in its law that everyone has the right to a good name and the defense of that good name. This same value is present in our society, but the lines are blurred. Let us never forget that ‘no one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who does not have the right to know it’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 596).

“I am going out on a limb here, but it is where I believe I must go. Out of respect for those who assert grave voter fraud in the 2020 election, I have looked high and low to find it. I have yet to see any credible proof of fraud at a level that would invalidate any election.

“Respect for truth requires Christians to act with charity. Until there is objective proof of election fraud, Christians need to respect the process in place and to honor the results.”

Rev. Ray Lanning, a retired minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, responds:

“There is no need for such debates among Christians. There is no one ‘correct Christian response’ to the matters under discussion. Each of us must make up his or her own mind, and leave others to do the same. We have far more important matters to discuss, things that pertain to salvation and eternal life. That said, some general observations are in order. 

“Citizens who have evidence of a serious crime, such as voter fraud, should present it to the proper authorities of the state for investigation and redress. Few Christians are in a position to judge the truth or factuality of mere allegations, and most of us have no authority to investigate, confirm, or act on them. The 100 or so lawsuits brought to the courts of our land were dismissed, in large part for lack of evidence to substantiate the allegations of massive voter fraud. When challenged and examined in particular states, the vote counts were confirmed by the proper authorities. It is rather late in the day for anyone to harbor doubts or suspicions in regard to the general election of 2020.

“Presbyterianism teaches that ‘raising false rumors’ and ‘receiving and countenancing evil reports’ are sins forbidden by the Ninth Commandment, ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness’ (Exodus 20:16; see Larger Catechism, Q. 145). To credit unsubstantiated rumors picked up from ‘social media’ is to ‘receive and countenance evil reports,’ the more so if these reports have been duly examined and discredited by authorities of the state, as stewards of the public trust.”

My response:

Dan, every locality and state certified their vote count and there was no evidence of widespread or significant voter fraud in the past presidential election. Your question is based on a false premise (that there is voter fraud). Nonetheless, the principle of your question is worth taking seriously.

Yes, we need to hold our leaders accountable. The words and actions of our leaders are important. In fact, their significant is magnified because they have a pipeline to the public beyond that which the average citizen enjoys. Whether it is a series of press conferences picked up by the media or a string of tweets, we pay more attention to the words or thoughts or actions of our leaders. Many types of media repeat them and analyzes them. They can, intentionally or not, affect tourism, worldwide financial markets, relations between countries, and fire or or calm down regional hotspots. When our leaders, by word, action, or inaction, do damage, they should be held responsible. That is our job as voters, as well as the job of leadership bodies of all levels; of congress, state legislators, and local commissions.


This column answers questions of Ethics and Religion by submitting them to a multi-faith panel of spiritual leaders in the Grand Rapids area. We’d love to hear about the ordinary ethical questions that come up in the course of your day as well as any questions of religion that you’ve wondered about. Tell us how you resolved an ethical dilemma and see how members of the Ethics and Religion Talk panel would have handled the same situation. Please send your questions to [email protected].

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