Trump attacks Christianity Today after evangelical outlet calls for him to be removed from office

Christianity Today, an evangelical publication based in Carol Stream, said in an editorial that the president’s impeachment “is a significant event in the story of our republic. It requires comment.”

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President Trump delivers remarks at White House Mental Health Summit on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019.

President Donald Trump exits after speaking at a White House Mental Health Summit at the White House on Thursday.

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WASHINGTON — An editorial in Christianity Today, an evangelical publication based in Carol Stream, said President Donald Trump should be removed from office, triggering a vicious attack from the president Friday because the white evangelical vote is a crucial part of his base.

By end of the Friday, the blast grew more fierce, including a broadside from the Trump-Pence reelection campaign, denouncing the respected suburban Chicago magazine.

Trump, in an afternoon tweet, said “guess the magazine, “Christianity Today,” is looking for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or those of the socialist/communist bent, to guard their religion. How about Sleepy Joe? The fact is, no President has ever done what I have done for Evangelicals, or religion itself!”

Christianity Today Editor-in-Chief Mark Galli sparked Trump’s ire when he wrote in a Thursday editorial — the day after the House voted to impeach Trump — “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, a former Presbyterian minister, lives in Glen Ellyn, near Wheaton College, one of the most prominent evangelical institutions in the U.S. A famous Wheaton graduate is Billy Graham, the late evangelist who founded Christianity Today.

“In our founding documents,” Galli writes in his Trump piece, “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.”

Later on Friday the Trump-Pence campaign released a statement from Cissie Graham Lynch, daughter of Franklin Graham and Billy Graham’s granddaughter:

“The media bias that has been apparent for the past three years has taken a dramatic turn to be even more divisive. I was outraged when I saw that Christianity Today — a publication that my grandfather founded — used his name to support their personal political agenda.”

Whether the reaction Galli’s editorial sparked is the beginning of a change in white evangelical support for Trump remains to be seen.

What this editorial accomplishes is the start of a conversation among well-intended people — and Trump, with his insatiable appetite for venomous confrontation.

Galli’s perspective is valuable for all faith-driven people struggling to balance Trump policies they favor with Trump conduct that does not reflect all their values.

The Galli editorial is headlined: “Trump Should Be Removed from Office. It’s time to say what we said 20 years ago when a president’s character was revealed for what it was.”

In 1998, Galli writes, Christianity Today said President Bill Clinton was “morally unable to lead.”

“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.”

Directly addressing Trump’s impeachment, Galli writes, “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 had a message to the evangelicals who have stuck with Trump.

“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?”

Trump launched his blasts against Christianity Today Friday morning:

A far left magazine, or very ‘progressive,’ as some would call it, which has been doing poorly and hasn’t been involved with the Billy Graham family for many years, Christianity Today, knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call and would rather ... have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President. No President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close. You’ll not get anything from those Dems on stage. I won’t be reading ET again!.

Perhaps he really meant CT.

Trump also retweeted a story about Franklin Graham, saying his father voted for Trump in 2016 — as if everything that happened since then does not count.

Christianity Today Editorial Director Ted Olsen asked for prayers in a tweet Friday.

Wrote Olsen, “Friends: In truth and seriousness I am asking for your prayers for some of the folks who wrote letters in response to yesterday’s editorial. Reading them this morning has been brutal.”

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