More than 1,600 clergy members, religious scholars and other faith-focused officials and activists are endorsing Joseph R. Biden Jr., the largest group of faith leaders to back a Democratic presidential candidate in modern times, organizers of the initiative said.
The endorsement, announced on Friday, was organized by Vote Common Good, a progressive organization that opposes President Trump and is focused on engaging Christian voters.
The endorsements represent a range of major religions in the United States but come largely from Catholic, evangelical and mainline Protestant Americans, organizers said. Majorities of white voters from those religious traditions supported Mr. Trump in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center, and while have stayed with him — white evangelicals are among the president’s most loyal supporters — the Biden campaign is hoping to cut into Mr. Trump’s 2016 base.
Doug Pagitt, a pastor and the executive director of Vote Common Good, summed up the attitude among some endorsers as, “‘I don’t know that I’ll ever do this again, I haven’t done it in the past, but I need to be clear about this moment that we’re sitting in.’”
Certainly, the list includes people who are hardly strangers to politics, including former Obama administration officials, members of the Democratic National Committee, and others involved in local or state Democratic parties.
But there are also many people who have not been involved in actively endorsing before, Mr. Pagitt said. The list has plenty of representation from battleground states: a church deacon in Parma, Ohio; ministers from Milwaukee; activists with the group Pittsburgh Catholics4Biden; and church elders across the country.
“We hope this show of support will encourage other voters of faith to make their values, not party affiliation, their primary voting criteria this year,” Josh Dickson, the national faith engagement director on Mr. Biden’s campaign, said in a statement.
Mr. Biden aims to be the nation’s second Catholic president, after John F. Kennedy. He is a regular churchgoer and is in direct competition with Mr. Trump for the support of persuadable white and Hispanic Catholic voters in the industrial Midwest and the Sun Belt.