Topline: Christianity Today (CT), a leading evangelical magazine launched by televangelist Billy Graham, has called for a “morally lost and confused” President Donald Trump to be removed from office. The remarks were made in a damning editorial that further sets the religious publication apart from one of Trump’s most staunch supporter bases: white evangelical Christians.
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- The editorial, published by editor-in-chief Mark Galli, came a day after Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. House Democrats voted to charge him with abuse of power and obstruction of congress.
- The scathing article largely attacked Trump for his “immorality.” Galli wrote: “None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.”
- It continued: “The facts in this instance are unambiguous: 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. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”
- Galli acknowledged evangelical Christians who have lent support to Trump over “his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy,” to consider how their backing “influences your witness to your Lord and Saviour.”
- But the editorial, published on Thursday, echoes the tone shared by CT in 1998, during the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Galli shared some of the remarks made by the publication 20 years ago: “Unsavory dealings and immoral acts by the President and those close to him have rendered this administration morally unable to lead.”
Galli wrote: “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.”
Christianity Today appeals more to centrist and liberal readers, than a staunchly conservative base. But the magazine, with its 80,000 print subscribers, has largely stayed out of discussing political issues. Impeachment, however, appears to have split its leadership. Before Galli’s editorial was published (and subsequently led to the site crashing), board member Reverend Samuel Rodriguez published his opposition to impeachment.
The 2016 presidential race split white Christians between Republican candidates, with a majority in the red states backing Texas Senator Ted Cruz. But they have since rallied round Trump, with 72% of Republicans preferring him as their candidate for 2020, according to the Atlantic. In 2016, 81% of white evangelical voters voted for Trump.