Christianity Today Calls for Trump to Be Removed from Office; Fireworks Ensue

Yesterday afternoon, Christianity Today‘s Mark Galli wrote an editorial calling for the removal of Donald Trump from office. Since then, Christianity Today has trended nearly non-stop on Twitter and Trump has rage tweeted several times with attacks on the publication. Trump’s court evangelicals are up in arms and have commented with the aim of minimizing the damage.

Mark Galli placed CT’s position in the context of the magazine’s stance on Bill Clinton when he faced impeachment. CT advocated for impeachment then and Galli and the magazine’s editorial board now believe Trump’s conduct in office, most recently during the Ukraine scandal, is of similar bad character.

Of course, Galli and his board are correct. If the Constitution means anything and the oath taken by our legislators means anything, they must convict Trump. It is refreshing to see it print in a magazine I came to respect as an undergraduate.

Immediately, the objections come. He’s done good things. He is pro-life (unless of course you ask the Kurds, Yemeni children and their families, and Ukrainian soldiers on the Russian front). The Judges. The economy.

My reaction to those objections is one name: Mike Pence.

Convicting Donald Trump does not undo the 2016 election. Mike Pence would become president. While Pence has his own issues, there is little chance he would be investigated for them prior to the 2020 election. The people who are all in for Trump must really dislike Mike Pence. Pence would be the GOP standard bearer in 2020 and continue many of the same policies appreciated by evangelicals.

Let me continue with that thought. Removing Trump from office now does not force a choice for a liberal Democrat. Some commenters have thoughtfully suggested removing Trump leaves us with a liberal Democrat as the only alternative. However, acting on principle right now does not present that choice. There is a clear choice right now: take a stand for the rule of law, separation of powers, and an executive who is not above the law or allow the executive branch to function without accountability to anyone, not just now but in future administrations.

To make it personal, the choice right now is between Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

The CT editorial calls Congress to do the right thing. It calls Christians to do the right thing and let God handle the rest. There was a time when walking by faith and not by sight was considered a good thing. Now according to the Christian leaders among us, we need a king. We need a man who decrees this:

According to Trump, CT wants someone to “guard their religion.” He has it all wrong. If Christianity needs a president or any political power to guard our religion, then it is no religion at all. Donald Trump wants us to believe that James Madison was wrong when he said “a dependence on the powers of this world” was “a contradiction to the Christian Religion itself.” Today’s evangelicals appear to believe Trump is necessary for our religion to survive. As indicated by his tweet above, Trump sure believes it.

To me, Galli’s editorial is important because he goes beyond a political opinion and lays out what is at stake by partnering with deception and immorality to attain policy goals.

 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?

Personally, I think the horse is out of the barn for many people outside of the evangelical world. However, it is never too late to do the right thing. Here’s hoping Mr. Galli’s editorial helps that happen a little more each day.

20 thoughts on “Christianity Today Calls for Trump to Be Removed from Office; Fireworks Ensue”

  1. I see that some Evangelical leaders have published a letter defending CT in this matter:

    A few names of influence (Richard Foster, Rich Mouw, Ron Sider), but it’s a little disappointing that they only got 15 signers compared to the 200 or so Court Evangelicals who signed the pro-Trump letter. I had hoped to see some more influential names that I’m pretty sure are opposed to the Court Evangelicals, like Tim Keller or Scot McKnight or Beth Moore or Phillip Yancey or Boz Tchividjian.

  2. I imagine that many Evangelicals think Pence wimped out after the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed when the the RFRA-Fix was passed (6 less Republicans than the RFRA) and Pence signed it. Advance America and the AFA more or less said the RFRA had been destroyed.

    When I look at Pence I see a milk-toast, wimpy yes-man for Trump’s lies and he manages to get in a few of his own. How these Christians ever think they’ll get to see their god is beyond my ken.

  3. Convicting Donald Trump does not undo the 2016 election. Mike Pence would become president.

    Thing is, white evangelicals don’t want Pence, they want Trump. Pence is seen as part of the political establishment they hate, and they love the way Trump continually attacks that establishment. And while Pence would almost certainly be a reliable ally of the evangelicals, and in many ways he’d be far more effective than Trump because of his strong ideological bent, they simply don’t trust him to “stick it to the man” like they believe Trump is doing.

  4. Finally someone mentions Mike Pence. So many on the GOP side have been going on and on about how the impeachment is a “coup” or it’s “undoing the election” etc., etc. I was beginning to think that everyone was under the impression that Hillary Clinton would become president if Trump was impeached…

      1. Perhaps, Trump strikes me as a more dangerous version but I am trying look at this from the perspective of a Trump supporter. When they say the choice is Trump v. liberal Dem, I counter that is not true. It is Trump v. Pence.

        1. I agree, Trump much more dangerous for his lack of self control. Pence though, is a political animal who follows the scent of success for himself at all cost, even fealty to a clearly immoral leader. So, should he become President, the dangers he presents would be his aberant view of Christian faith’s place in American society and how low he would sink to keep his new position. The Pences of this world are the kind of people the Trumps of this world use to gain power & wealth. We can hope for the best and pray he (Pence) would rise to be a better leader than his past.

  5. Being a Christian who is definitely “left” politically, I find the criticisms by the deej and his Court Evangelicals to be belly laugh inducing.

  6. Protecting or guarding Christianity in favor of another religion, or sect of that religion is not a constitutional function of government- or a legal action of any elected official.

  7. Good for Christianity Today, I guess; but what took them so long? It has been obvious for every minute of every day since he came down the elevator and announced his run for president that he was a lying, cheating, womanizing, increasingly demented, sorry excuse for a Chief Executive. He was elected anyway, with considerable help from Vladimir Putin and a Republican Party apparently willing to accept everything he did, without demur. Also, why has the editorial board of Christianity Today chosen to publish their denunciation of Trump right after Trump’s impeachment, when his cult members can declare that they’re “hitting Trump while he’s down” or “piling on”? I hope the editorial will change some minds; but the Trump cult is so all in on Trump, despite his behavior and incompetence, that I doubt it will make much difference.

    1. Because publishing after the impeachment but before the senate trial sends a message to the repubs in the senate that support for trump isn’t as strong as they may think. There was no need to send a message to the house, because it was clear that they were going to impeach. Just as it seems clear the senate won’t vote to remove him from office.

      Articles like this one (esp. if it prompts more like it, like Warren’s), could influence enough in the senate to have a real trial on the issues rather than just a quick vote not to remove from office. Further, spreading the message among christians that the choice isn’t between Trump and Sanders/Warren/Biden, but between Trump and Pence can also have an impact on christians’ stance on the issue.

      I think now is the right time for the CT article.

  8. Sign #742 that Donald Trump is clueless about Christianity (Evangelical or otherwise):
    When he calls Christianity Today “far left”.

  9. For fun context: In 1998 The Christian Century’s editor called the Clinton impeachment “little more than a witch-hunt in the worst Puritan tradition.” It reads like a Court Evangelical’s defense of Trump — the man isn’t perfect but he’s been through enough with the humiliating hearing by a partisan congress. Privately he says he’s growing and he’s got pastors with him. The polls don’t show strong support. The media’s out to get him…besides did he really commit something so bad he deserves all of this?

    FWIW, I’m not playing “whataboutisms” or anything like that, mostly just went looking for historical reasons. It’s like the polarities have reversed and nothing else has changed. Wait another 20 years it may be true again.

    That said, advantage CT and Galli for sticking their necks out when others in this situation didn’t bother. They’ve had a bit of a reputation for trying to stay right down the middle (although more than a few pieces critical of Trump and/or Trumpism) but this is one heck of a way for Galli to go out.

    1. Whatever ChrisCen’s stance on the current President’s impeachment is, you have to give CT this much – they (FINALLY) called evangelicals on their hypocrisy. If there was enough cause to impeach Clinton, there is many times more cause to impeach the current POTUS.

  10. no matter what one’s thoughts or opinions on impeachment, it should be noted that the EIC of Christianity Today is leaving his post in less than two weeks to concentrate on his own personal newsletter.

    it may be said that the timing of his editorial has something to do with gaining a bit of notoriety for himself prior to leaving.

    1. One’s thoughts or opinions on impeachment do matter.. The motive isn’t important, only the truth of his article and one’s understanding of it. Attacking his motive is disingenuous.

      1. When half of the populace leans one way and another third the other way, the perspective of truth can be elusive. There appears to be no bipartisan support for impeachment, which many would take to indicate it is not as cut and dry as you would think

        You may call me disingenuous, I hardly think it was an attack. More like a question.

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