Are Evangelicals Turning Against Trump?

The magazine Christianity Today was founded by the late Reverend Billy Graham in 1956, and today has a readership of about 260,000.  It is an evangelical Christian periodical often referred to as “evangelicalism’s flagship magazine”.  When Graham founded the magazine, he said he wanted to “plant the evangelical flag in the middle-of-the-road, taking the conservative theological position but a definite liberal approach to social problems”.

Yesterday, Mark Galli, editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, published an editorial about Donald Trump titled Trump Should Be Removed From Office, and I’d like to share a portion of that piece.

Mark-GalliThe 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.

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.

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.

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.

To 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?

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.

I don’t profess to know whether Mr. Galli’s words can be taken as an indicator that the evangelical community is losing some degree of their admiration for Trump or not, but one can only hope.  Those evangelicals who have slavishly supported Trump, came quickly to his defense once the editorial was published.  Billy Graham’s son, Franklin, about whom I’ve written before, claimed that …

“He [Billy Graham] would’ve been very embarrassed that the magazine he started would call for something like this when there are no crimes committed. It’s a totally different magazine than what he started. For Christianity Today to side with the Democrat Party in a totally partisan attack on the President of the United States is unfathomable.”

And, of course Trump had to tweet his rambling, ranting and irrelevant two-cents worth …

“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!”

In a conversation with Mr. Galli this morning, he told The Washington Post that the email response to his editorial had been overwhelmingly positive, though he had received at least one threat.  Threats are, after all, the favoured tool of Trump and his faithful followers.

It is my hope that this is a sign that Trump is falling out of favour with at least some of the evangelicals, but I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch on this one.

38 thoughts on “Are Evangelicals Turning Against Trump?

  1. Pingback: Just Two Snippets Of Snark … | Filosofa's Word

  2. I’m wondering how often Trump has read CT magazine or any magazine for that matter. He even got the name wrong. I don’t think ET ever had a magazine. I doubt Trump reads much of anything. He might have heard about it by watching TV. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unfortunately, I don’t think any can do that. The evangelicals seem to have a completely different view of what the world should be than the rest of us do. To them, it needs to be white, women need to be kept in their place, and everybody must follow the Christian religion. Not my cup of tea.

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    • True … humans seem capable of hope even when things seem the bleakest. No, I don’t expect a lot of the evangelicals to jump ship, but perhaps a few will, and maybe they will convince a few more. Sigh. It is beyond my ability to figure out how they reconcile Trump’s behaviour with their supposed beliefs.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, nicely done. We are have like minds today, but your post is more complete. Here are a couple comments:
    – I view Christianity Today’s stance as the ice beginning to crack on Trump’s base.
    – I agree with Bee, as does retired religious writer Ken Garfield of The Charlotte Observer? who interviewed Billy Graham many times. Billy would not condone many of Trump’s behaviors or actions, especially after being burned by Nixon. He would also not condone some of Franklin’s bigoted remarks.
    – finally, Trump denigrated deceased and respected Congressman John Dingell referencing he may be looking up from hell. This got audible gasps even in a pro-Trump crowd and condemnation from a few GOP legislators. Conservative pundit called Trump’s remarks “repulsive” and has consistently said Trump is “lacking in decency.” This person is Franklin Graham’s exemplar for Christians?

    Christianity Today got it right. They should be commended for their conviction.

    Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Keith!!! I hadn’t seen yours yet, but will head over there in just a minute! Like you, I see it as a sign that the ice is beginning to crack, that there are those who are starting to compare Trump’s actions to their own values, and find Trump lacking. I, too, agree with Bee and others about Billy Graham, for I always respected him, thought he tried to “practice what he preached”. His son is nothing like him. The editorial may just cause a few more to stop and ponder … I hope so, anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill, you can find this quote online, but after being burned by Nixon’s tapes, Billy Graham said something like religious people need to be wary of political parties. Franklin did not get the message.

        True story, I wrote a letter to the editor after one of Franklin’s bigoted rants. It basically said Franklin does harm to all the good Samaritan’s Purse does when he says bigoted things. I got a phone call that day and the man included a minister I did not mention as if I was condemning all religious leaders. When I told him I personally knew that minister and he was a great example of Christian outreach, the phone went click, dial tone.

        It reminded me that people read with biased eyes, so my comment about Franklin was broadened. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jill, here is the fact-checked quote from Billy Graham which I referenced (per Snopes);

          “The evangelical leader said in a 1981 profile that people in his position ‘can’t be closely identified with any particular party or person.’”

          This is why the father would not be too keen on the son’s alignment with any politician. Keith

          Liked by 2 people

          • Thanks for digging that up! Yes, Billy Graham was one, I think, who lived his beliefs. Franklin is definitely not. I was reading last night that Franklin Graham said his father “loved” Donald Trump, voted for Trump in 2016, and was proud of what Trump had done before he (Billy) died. I somehow doubt the veracity of that.

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        • No, Franklin is definitely NOT his father’s son in spirit or temperament.

          Wow! What sort of a dolt would assume that you meant “all religious leaders” by calling out one? A cowardly one, obviously, since he hung up rather than apologize for his mistake. Yes, I think there are times when we all read something with biased eyes, but most of us stop and think it through before we pick up the phone and harass somebody.

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  4. I am so glad about this article, whether it will do much good remains to be seen, but as I say one can always HOPE! The thing though that it does do is show that not ALL Christians are for Trump!! I have always had the utmost respect for Billy Graham and he would definitely not be backing Trump, like his son is doing, its so beyond SAD how evangelicals have backed Trump! The article said it well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like to think it is a sign that at least some evangelicals are beginning to compare Trump’s actions to their own beliefs and find him lacking … severely! Although I am not Christian, I recall having a great deal of respect for Billy Graham … I believe he tried to do good in the world. But I have ZERO respect for his son.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It wont matter to his cult base, but I strongly suspect there are thinkers among the evangelicals, some who might be having the same thoughts as Mr. Galli, wondering if it isn’t time to stop supporting a ‘man’ whose lack of values is like a slap in the face to them. Maybe.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Well of course he calls the magazine ‘far left.’ Would we expect anything else from him Jill? I’m thinking this one stung the orange villain a bit. I hope….god do I hope this is the shape things to come. I’m not optimistic, however. I’ve been waiting for someone from that community to call him out. Finally, some truth. His cult will shrug it off of course…..

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It was good to see Christianity Today take a moral stand.

    It is too early to see whether evangelicals are turning against Trump. But, at this stage, I am not expecting much to change. They have clearly shown that they are a cult. They may call themselves “Christian”, but there isn’t much that is Christian that I can see.

    For what shall it profit an evangelical if he gain the White House, but lose his own soul?

    As far as I can tell evangelicals have taken the Faustian bargain. They have sold their souls for a little temporary political power. (And no, I am not actually a dualist).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Like you, I don’t expect much to change, however I do think that some of the more moderate, the thinkers among the evangelicals, may at least start thinking about what Mr. Galli said. And, if Mr. Galli is thinking along these lines, I suspect that some others may be too. Perhaps for some at least, he has finally crossed a line. Time will tell.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I have been reading some of Billy Graham’s work in my born again Christian days and I somehow doubt his son characterizes him in the right way… but who knows. The tide has to turn eventually even though I fear we have to go through a fully blown biblical flood until that happens…. sorry for lack of my usual optimism… 🙈🙋‍♀️🐝

    Liked by 2 people

    • I fully agree with you. Though I am not Christian, I recall having a great deal of respect for Billy Graham … for his son, I have NONE. ‘Tis okay, dear Bee … I fully understand. Tough times and sometimes it’s hard to feel very hopeful for things to change, at least in our lifetimes. You, especially, have reason to feel down. Will a hug help? 🤗

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