December 20, 2019

I'm not sure I can actually describe what an earthquake Christianity Today's editor Mark Galli caused with his op-ed calling for Trump's removal from office by impeachment or election, but for perspective, the last time that publication made a statement in national politics was 21 years ago when they declared Bill Clinton morally unfit for office.

Christianity Today was founded by Billy Graham. It is widely respected throughout the evangelical community as a publication which transcends politics and focuses on theology. You may not agree with that theology, but their influence is largely apolitical.

This is why Franklin Graham is throwing a tantrum on Facebook about it. He understands exactly how much impact an op-ed has on the only solid constituency Trump has right now: evangelicals.

Here's just a snippet, where he desperately tries to reclaim his father's name in the name of his god Trump:

Christianity Today released an editorial stating that President Trump should be removed from office—and they invoked my father’s name (I suppose to try to bring legitimacy to their statements), so I feel it is important for me to respond. Yes, my father Billy Graham founded Christianity Today; but no, he would not agree with their opinion piece. In fact, he would be very disappointed. I have 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.

Donald Trump turned to Twitter, desperate to discredit Christianity Today:

From this reading, one can really grasp this fact: Donald Trump doesn't have the first clue what evangelicals like Mark Galli believe.

As a reminder, this is what Galli wrote, which should matter to Christians:

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?

It is no surprise, therefore, that Galli was not in the least fazed by Trump's rage-tweets shot off while he was in the middle of a CNN interview (above).

"Naturally, I disagree with him on seven or eight different levels," Galli told John Berman. "His characterization of us as being far left is far from accurate. We consider ourselves and most people consider us a pretty centrist magazine in the evangelical world. It's factually inaccurate we're far left."

It's honestly hard to imagine what a "far left" evangelical publication would even be. One which champions Jesus' call to care for the poor and needy? One that is predicated on the notion that we're all called to love one another? The whole effort to use a left-right epithet is laughable on its face.

And there's also this, as Galli goes on to say in defense. This is a publication which does not regularly comment on politics at all, and only does so when it rises to a level they feel is important. They've written editorials about Clinton and Nixon, and now Trump.

It's easy for those outside the evangelical community to discount this as just something that will be ignored. But this publication carries enormous weight still inside certain circles and will have influence, whether Franklin Graham or Donald Trump like it or not.

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