Yesterday, Christianity Today, an evangelical magazine founded by North Carolinian Billy Graham, came out in support of Donald Trump’s removal from office, calling his behavior “profoundly immoral.” Editor-in-chief Mark Galli sharply criticized Democrats for the impeachment process but came to the indisputable conclusion that “President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath…None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.”
The article is remarkable and courageous because evangelical Christians are among Trump’s most loyal defenders. It makes a clear case for supporting the president’s removal and strips away the rationales that too many Christians use for defending Trump’s noxious behavior. Galli must know that the op-ed will probably cost him readership. He also knows that the people who leave will put Trump before both country and God.
That’s the most disturbing aspect of the Trump’s rise. His followers willingly abandon the principles they claim to hold dear to defend a man who clearly believes in little besides his own success. Evangelicals will embrace or excuse behavior they’ve long claimed to abhor. Fiscal hawks will support budget busting tax cuts that explode the national debt. Free market adherents cheer trade wars and tariffs. And law and order Republicans defend the lawlessness of an administration gone rogue.
Trump has stripped away the veneer and laid bare the core of the GOP. It’s not a party of conservativism or morality. It’s a party based on very narrow interests, primarily abortion, taxes, guns and white nationalism. It’s a small tent party of single-issue voters who are so passionate about their particular issue that they’ll accept lies, deception, dishonesty and abuse of power to further their agenda.
Trump understands the modern GOP better than the Republicans who’ve been running the party for decades. When he said he could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and not lose any support, nobody knew he was talking about Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy. But Trump did. There’s nothing he could do wrong that will make Republicans hold him accountable. It’s a sad and scary place for the country.
That’s why Christianity Today’s editorial is so important. The magazine is showing that a strain of evangelical Christians will hold fast to their faith and their values even if others are turning away. They are putting larger principles before smaller victories. It’s analogous to what our country as a whole needs right now.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >