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Monday, December 23, 2019
MEDIA MONDAY / ET TU, CHRISTIANITY TODAY?
Mark Galli is editor in chief of Christianity Today.
The unkindest cut from leading Christianity magazine calls for Trump’s Impeachment.
GUEST BLOG / By Mark Galli, Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today--In our founding documents, Billy Graham
explains that Christianity Today will help evangelical Christians interpret the
news in a manner that reflects their faith. The impeachment of Donald Trump is
a significant event in the story of our republic. It requires comment.
typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with
different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square,
to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat
their political opposition as charitably as possible. We want CT to be a place
that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum, and reminds
everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being. We take pride
in the fact, for instance, that politics does not dominate our homepage.
said, we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on
political matters clear—always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both
conviction and love. We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray
for leaders (as well as ordinary citizens) on both sides of the political
grant this to the president: The Democrats have had it out for him from day
one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan
suspicion. This has led many to suspect not only motives but facts in these
recent impeachment hearings. And, no, Mr. Trump did not have a serious
opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on
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.
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
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.
concern for the character of our national leader is not new in CT. In 1998, we
The President's failure to tell the truth—even when cornered—rips
at the fabric of the nation. This is not a private affair. For above all,
social intercourse is built on a presumption of trust: trust that the milk your
grocer sells you is wholesome and pure; trust that the money you put in your
bank can be taken out of the bank; trust that your babysitter, firefighters,
clergy, and ambulance drivers will all do their best. And while politicians are
notorious for breaking campaign promises, while in office they have a
fundamental obligation to uphold our trust in them and to live by the law.
Unsavory dealings and immoral acts by the President and those
close to him have rendered this administration morally unable to lead.
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.
the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his
blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you
serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to
your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you
continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of
political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything
we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to
come? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot
be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken
character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?
have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years now. Some have criticized us for
our reserve. But when it comes to condemning the behavior of another, patient
charity must come first. So we have done our best to give evangelical Trump
supporters their due, to try to understand their point of view, to see the
prudential nature of so many political decisions they have made regarding Mr.
Trump. To use an old cliché, it’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no
matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with
a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence. And just when we
think it’s time to push all our chips to the center of the table, that’s when
the whole game will come crashing down. It will crash down on the reputation of
evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel. And it
will come crashing down on a nation of men and women whose welfare is also our
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