Prominent evangelical magazine calls for "immoral" President Trump to be removed from office

The need to remove Trump is "not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments"

Published December 20, 2019 2:19PM (EST)

US President Donald Trump (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Christianity Today, a leading evangelical magazine founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham, published a scathing editorial Thursday calling for President Donald Trump's removal from office, which described the leader of the free world as a "near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused."

"Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election — that is a matter of prudential judgment," the publication's editor in chief Mark Galli wrote in an op-ed. "That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments."

Galli, who is set to retire from the magazine on Jan. 3 after seven years at its helm, wrote that the facts leading to Wednesday's impeachment of Trump in the House of Representative were "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," Galli wrote. "That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral."

The editorial did not just criticize Trump — it also called out the president's devout Christian base.

"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," Galli wrote. "Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior."

Trump lashed out at Christianity Today in a pair of early-morning tweets Friday, describing the publication as a "far left magazine . . . which has been doing poorly." He added that "no President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it's not even close."

Christianity Today had criticized Trump before on immigration and other issues, but never in such stark terms. Graham, the magazine's founder, provided advice or friendship to presidents across the political spectrum before he died in 2018. Late in his life, he admitted that he wished he had kept his distance from politicians and partisan politics.

Graham's son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, has been an outspoken supporter of Trump and even prayed at his inauguration. Shortly after the editorial was published, he wrote on Facebook that he had "not previously shared who my father voted for in the past election, but because of this article, I feel it is necessary to share it now. My father knew Donald Trump, he believed in Donald Trump and he voted for Donald Trump. He believed that Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation."

He went on to note that the president has delivered many victories to the evangelical community with policy decisions on abortion and religious freedom and accused Christianity Today of turning a blind eye to Trump's accomplishments because of "false accusations that the President emphatically denies."

"It's obvious that Christianity Today has moved to the left and is representing the elitist wing of evangelicalism," he continued. "Is President Trump guilty of sin? Of course he is, as were all past presidents and as each one of us are, including myself. Therefore, let's pray for the President as he continues to lead the affairs of our nation."

In an interview Friday on CNN, Galli said that he does not believe his comments will shake Trump's hold hold on evangelicals.

"Oh, no. I don't have any imaginations that my editorial is going to shift their views on this matter," he said. "The fact of the matter is that Christianity Today is not read by Christians on the far right — by evangelicals — on the far right, so they're going to be as dismissive of the magazine as President Trump has shown to be."

By Shira Tarlo

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