WASHINGTON – While Christians celebrate the miracle of Christmas, let’s all think about what the magazine founded by evangelist Billy Graham, Christianity Today, just said about President Trump: “None of the President’s positives can pose the moral and political danger balancing we are confronted with a leader with such a gross immoral character. “
And last but not least.
Only now, almost three years in his presidency, do some in the evangelical Christian community begin to face what should always have been a central issue for anyone trying to live a moral life: what Christianity today, in an editorial advocate for Trump’s resignation , called the “bent and broken” character of the president.
“To the many evangelicals that continue to support Mr. Trump despite his blackened moral record, we could say this: remember who you are and who you serve,” the editors warned. “Consider how your justification from Mr. Trump influences your testimony for your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you use the immoral words and the behavior of Mr. Trump continues to brush away for political opportunity. If we do not change course now, will someone take something that we will say about justice and justice for decades to come? “
The answer is no. Evangelicals cannot have it in either way. They cannot claim to be a resounding voice of Christian values in the public square, while at the same time behaving in politics such as amoral secularists. Why would anyone take them seriously if they talk but don’t walk?
I have to note that we are mainly talking about white evangelicals, which form the core of the loyal basis of Trump. I must also note that today, in response to the Christianity piece, the President and his supporters are panicking.
Trump naturally shouted on Twitter, calling the anti-abortion pro-family magazine “extreme left” and claiming that its editors “would rather have an unbelieving Radical Left who wants to take your religion and your weapons than Donald Trump as your president.” No president has done more for the evangelical community and it doesn’t even come close. “
The Trump campaign scheduled an January 3 event in Miami announced as “Evangelicals for Trump.” Marc Short, chief of staff of Vice President Pence, went on Sunday’s talk shows to trumpet Trump administration policies popular with evangelicals, including non-critical support for Israel. And nearly 200 prominent evangelicals sent a letter to the President of Christianity today, protesting against the editors and confirming their support for Trump.
But all the panting and puffing just focuses more on the main article and the powerful argument. Written by editor-in-chief Mark Galli, the piece begins by endorsing some arguments from Republicans against the trial that led to Trump’s accusation. “The Democrats have had it for him from day one and that’s why almost everything they do is under a cloud of suspicion,” wrote Galli. “And no, Mr. Trump had no serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings.”
But the piece finds it “unambiguous” that Trump “tried to use his political power to force a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the political opponents of the president.” This is “deeply immoral,” the editors say, and Trump must be deposed either by the Senate during his trial or by the voters in November.
Trump does not seem to fear much from the Senate, as majority leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear that the solution is there. However, the election is a different story. About 80 percent of white voters who identified themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians chose Trump instead of Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to exit polls. If that percentage drops in 2020, or if a significant number of evangelicals decide to stay at home on election day, the re-election of Trump is in serious trouble.
The president who “gave in to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, of which he remains proud,” commented Christianity Today – tried to strengthen his relationship with evangelicals by encouraging them to consider themselves besieged. He went so far as to invent an imaginary “war against Christmas,” which he now claims to have won.
His evangelical enablers claim that we are all imperfect, we are all sinners, and just look at all the anti-abortion judges Trump has appointed.
But come on. Can a Christian movement completely ignore morality? Can it pretend he doesn’t know the difference between a leader who strives to be good and someone who doesn’t? Tell me: where is there something in the Bible?
Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.