“President Trump Should be Removed from Office,” says Christianity Today, the magazine founded by Billy Graham as a centrepiece of his formation of America’s postwar evangelical movement.
A day after the US House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump, America’s premier evangelical journal has declared the President should go – though not necessarily by impeachment. But Christianity Today’s call is based on the same events that led to the House vote.
“The President of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents,” Mark Galli, Christianity Today‘s editor, writes in an editorial.
“That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”
Galli was referring to President Trump’s attempt to pressure Ukraine into investigating a political opponent – Joe Biden, the former vice-president who is seeking to be the Democrat presidential nominee for the 2020 elections.
“The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone – with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders – is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”
Galli addresses the elephant in the room. Polls show that white Evangelicals still support the President in nearly the same numbers that voted for his election – 81 per cent, according to some polls. In a brave move, Galli has taken the magazine founded by the central figure in American evangelicalism and challenged the politics many of of them have adopted.
“None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.”
“Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.”
The subhead in Christianity Today is revealing: “It’s time to say what we said 20 years ago when a president’s character was revealed for what it was.” That president was Bill Clinton and evangelicals were quick to condemn him for his moral failings.
Back then, Christianity Today wrote: “Unsavory dealings and immoral acts by the President and those close to him have rendered this administration morally unable to lead.”
Galli is calling evangelicals to be consistent.
“Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr. Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president. Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election – that is a matter of prudential judgment. That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”
UPDATE: Franklin Graham, Billy’s son and a strong supporter of President Trump has responded
“Christianity Today released an editorial stating that President Trump should be removed from office—and they invoked my father’s name (I suppose to try to bring legitimacy to their statements), so I feel it is important for me to respond. Yes, my father Billy Graham founded Christianity Today; but no, he would not agree with their opinion piece. In fact, he would be very disappointed. I have not previously shared who my father voted for in the past election, but because of this article, I feel it is necessary to share it now. My father knew Donald Trump, he believed in Donald Trump, and he voted for Donald Trump. He believed that Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation.
“For Christianity Today to side with the Democrat Party in a totally partisan attack on the President of the United States is unfathomable. Christianity Today failed to acknowledge that not one single Republican voted with the Democrats to impeach the President. I know a number of Republicans in Congress, and many of them are strong Christians. If the President were guilty of what the Democrats claimed, these Republicans would have joined with the Democrats to impeach him. But the Democrats were not even unanimous—two voted against impeachment and one voted present. This impeachment was politically motivated, 100% partisan. Why would Christianity Today choose to take the side of the Democrat left whose only goal is to discredit and smear the name of a sitting president? They want readers to believe the Democrat leadership rather than believe the President of the United States.
“Look at all the President has accomplished in a very short time. The economy of our nation is the strongest it has been in 50 years, ISIS & the caliphate have been defeated, and the President has renegotiated trade deals to benefit all Americans. The list of accomplishments is long, but for me as a Christian, the fact that he is the most pro-life president in modern history is extremely important—and Christianity Today wants us ignore that, to say it doesn’t count? The President has been a staunch defender of religious freedom at home and around the world—and Christianity Today wants us to ignore that? Also the President has appointed conservative judges in record number—and Christianity today wants us to ignore that? Christianity Today feels he should be removed from office because of false accusations that the President emphatically denies.
“Christianity Today said it’s time to call a spade a spade. The spade is this—Christianity Today has been used by the left for their political agenda. It’s obvious that Christianity Today has moved to the left and is representing the elitist liberal wing of evangelicalism.
“Is President Trump guilty of sin? Of course he is, as were all past presidents and as each one of us are, including myself. Therefore, let’s pray for the President as he continues to lead the affairs of our nation.”