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Evangelical magazine editorial calls for Trump’s removal from office

Free Press wire report | 12/27/2019, 6 a.m.
A major evangelical Christian magazine founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham has called for President Trump’s removal from office.
President Trump

NEW YORK

A major evangelical Christian magazine founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham has called for President Trump’s removal from office.

An editorial published Dec. 19 in Christianity Today — coming one day after the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives made President Trump the third president in American history to be impeached — raised fresh questions about the durability of his support among the conservative evangelicals who have proven to be a critical component of his political base.

The magazine’s editorial, written by editor-in-chief Mark Galli, envisions a message to those evangelical Christians who have remained stalwart Trump backers “in spite of his blackened moral record.”

“Remember who you are and whom you serve,” Mr. Galli’s editorial stated. “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.”

At the core of its indictment of President Trump is what Mr. Galli described as the “profoundly immoral” act of seeking the assistance of the Ukrainian government in a bid “to harass and discredit” a Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Despite the criticism, some evangelicals are circling the wagons around President Trump, who blasted the magazine in a response on social media.

President Trump tweeted Dec. 20 that Christianity Today “would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President.”

While he wrote that the magazine “has been doing poorly and hasn’t been involved with the Billy Graham family for many years,” some of his strongest evangelical supporters — including Rev. Graham’s son — rallied to his side.

Their pushback underscored the political value of President Trump’s hold on the evangelical Christian voting bloc that helped propel him into office and suggested the editorial would likely do little to shake that group’s loyalty.

The Rev. Franklin Graham, who now leads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and prayed at President Trump’s inauguration, tweeted that his late father would be “disappointed” in the magazine, adding that he “felt it necessary” following the editorial to share that his father, who died last year after counseling several past presidents, had voted for President Trump.

Christianity Today “represents what I would call the leftist elite within the evangelical community. They certainly don’t represent the Bible-believing segment of the evangelical community,” Rev. Graham told The Associated Press in an interview. He wrote on Facebook: “Is President Trump guilty of sin? Of course he is, as were all past presidents and as each one of us are, including myself.”

The magazine’s circulation is estimated at 130,000.

The schism among Christians about whether and how strongly to support President Trump dates back to before his election. Prominent Southern Baptist Russell Moore warned that President Trump “incites division” in a 2015 op-ed that cited the Bible in asking fellow Christians to “count the cost of following” him, later earning a tweeted lashing from then-candidate Trump.