Christianity Today editorial: Remove Trump from office

Every major paper in America has run an editorial calling for Trump’s impeachment this past week and I don’t think I’ve linked a single one. Why would I? They’re predictable to the point of tedium. We know which way America’s editorial boards lean, we know how they feel about Trump.

Whatever one thinks about the Ukraine matter, knowing that the New York Times is angry about it adds nothing to the assessment. It’s “dog bites (and bites and bites and bites) man.”

This editorial is different.

I confess up front that I know nothing about the political viewpoints of different Christian publications, which ones lean liberal, which conservative, and so on. I also know nothing about the editor of Christianity Today, Mark Galli, the author of this piece. A better informed reader might find it unsurprising coming from him and/or from Christianity Today. But I do know that this is a well-known evangelical magazine with a big readership that was founded by Billy Graham and has been publishing for more than 60 years. That is … not the sort of publication from which one would naturally expect to see an “enough’s enough” editorial about Trump.

Although it should be the sort of publication from which one would naturally expect to see an “enough’s enough” editorial about Trump.

Per Galli, it is today. I’m tempted to call this the most effective anti-Trump editorial of his presidency, a title for which the competition is stiff. There are a lot of anti-Trump polemics out there, after all. This one succeeds because it isn’t polemical: Instead of the usual rhetorical theatrics critics resort to, splattering their contempt for Trump all over the page, Galli’s piece is measured. It’s not even an attempt to persuade, exactly. We all know this isn’t right, he’s saying. We know better. We’re just afraid to say it. It’s also not an argument for removing Trump from office right now, via the Senate; Galli allows that, as a matter of prudence, one might find it better to remove him next fall at the ballot box. But the point is, he’s got to go.

You should read it all, as these more forceful passages don’t quite capture the flavor. Galli strains to remind readers that this sort of editorial isn’t customary for the magazine, that they try to stay away from politics, and that they’ve been mindful of showing Christian charity to the president by giving him time to improve his behavior. But now enough’s enough:

The reason many are not shocked about [the Ukraine allegations] is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused

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?…

To use an old cliché, it’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence. And just when we think it’s time to push all our chips to the center of the table, that’s when the whole game will come crashing down. It will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel. And it will come crashing down on a nation of men and women whose welfare is also our concern.

“None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character,” Galli laments, reminding evangelical readers that they had no difficulty with that sentiment during the Clinton impeachment. Consider him another example of someone who, although disturbed by the Ukraine business, clearly believes that a rebuke is warranted based on the totality of Trump’s behavior, not just this single incident. Although the two are obviously linked: If it’s true that character is destiny then something like the quid pro quo with Zelensky was destined to be repeated if the president wasn’t formally indicted. And maybe destined to be repeated even now that he has been. He’ll be acquitted, after all.

Meanwhile, Galli will surely get more grief for this piece than converts. “If any of this mattered to the Christian ‘values’ voters, it would’ve mattered three years ago,” sniffed Never Trumper Tom Nichols about the editorial.

Here’s Neil Cavuto interviewing Debbie Dingell on this afternoon’s show and saying of Trump’s joke about her late husband last night, “I just thought that was beyond offensive, beyond cruel, beyond mean.” That’s way you’re on in the daytime instead of primetime, buddy.

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David Strom 5:20 PM | April 15, 2024