President Donald Trump and Franklin Graham, along with their ardent followers, are firing back at yesterday’s surprising editorial by evangelical publication Christianity Today, which called for Trump to be removed from office.
Written by Christianity Today editor Mark Galli, the editorial asserted that Trump had not only violated the Constitution by using the office to his personal benefit in pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden, but that doing such was “profoundly immoral.”
Galli acknowledged that Trump has furthered the evangelical agenda by restricting reproductive rights, appointing conservative judges, and the like, but wrote that this is not enough to “balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.”
“That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”
People across the political spectrum were stunned. Though it has confounded many—given Trump’s admissions of grabbing women’s genitals without consent, numerous associations with convicted criminals, and accusations of infidelity with a porn star—the president enjoys strong support with evangelicals, a predominantly white minority of Christians with more hard-line beliefs than the mainstream.
Some believe it is a sign of Trump losing the faith of the faithful. After all, Christianity Today was founded by the late evangelical powerhouse preacher Billy Graham.
Others weren’t convinced.
Honestly this made me cry tears of . . . relief? I'm not quite sure why, I just know people like my dad will read this and I hope it means something to them. And I'm grateful to CT for publishing it. https://t.co/LBxAdnaabi— D.L. Mayfield (@d_l_mayfield) December 19, 2019
Trump never had 100% of white evangelicals. The CT editorial isn't going to change the minds of the well over 70% that are all-in for him. https://t.co/l3iH7WF1BC— Chrissy in the Dumbest Dystopia (@C_Stroop) December 20, 2019
Last night, Billy Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, released a scathing statement on Facebook about the editorial. He wrote that his father wouldn’t have agreed with the piece, that he would’ve been disappointed by it because he “believed in Donald Trump, and he voted for Donald Trump.”
“Christianity Today said it’s time to call a spade a spade,” Graham wrote. “The spade is this—Christianity Today has been used by the left for their political agenda. It’s obvious that Christianity Today has moved to the left and is representing the elitist liberal wing of evangelicalism.”
This morning, Trump echoed Graham’s sentiments in a pair of tweets.
“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 [sic] again!”
….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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2019
Even as “Evangelical Today” and “Entertainment Tonight” trended due to people mocking Trump’s mistake with the publication’s name, Graham and Trump’s followers took their cues and went on the attack.
They were met by an impassioned resistance from the president’s many critics.
So many people have become so ill informed. Many Trump supporters honestly don’t believe Trump was impeached. Fox is calling it a fake impeachment. Yes, his followers can’t see in the dark they’re surrounded in, but because Fox turned out their lights— Ken Conway (@Buster_Junk) December 20, 2019
For any Christian the VOTE FOR A PRO-LIFE CANDIDATE should be clear! (not unkept promises)— Elizabeth For TRUMP! (@Eliz_Hightower) December 20, 2019
PRESIDENT TRUMP IS CHOOSING PRO-LIFE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES!
Unless this country repents in murdering over 60+ million innocent babies, AMERICA IS DOOMED! pic.twitter.com/alXibuEmwR
Yes, that was a desperation tweet at its finest. Since my daddy is no longer here to defend himself, I can say whatever I want and my subjects will believe me!— Carla J ❤️ (@carlajevers) December 20, 2019
I like the part of the bible where Lisa gets to decide who the real Christians are and how they will vote.— Conman Tweety (@PeevishMcGee) December 20, 2019
Lmao… do you really think we believe you read Evangelical Today?? Gtfoh pic.twitter.com/sGMCKSwKMr— Tgkasick (@tgkasick) December 20, 2019
Although social media continued celebrating Christianity Today’s editorial as a harbinger of evangelicals abandoning Trump, some urged caution.
Prominent exvangelical Chrissy Stroop told the Daily Dot via messenger that Trump has never had support from 100 percent of white evangelicals, and that it’s “highly unlikely” this editorial will change that.
“The way the punditocracy has played it up as some kind of momentous milestone is not just wrong, but also wildly irresponsible,” Stroop wrote. “It’s wrong to give people false hope, and we cannot afford complacency ahead of the 2020 election.”