An editorial published Thursday in Christianity Today, a leading Evangelical publication, has endorsed the impeachment and removal of Donald Trump from the office of the Presidency, arguing that the impeachment hearings have shown that his conduct both violated the Constitution and was “profoundly immoral.”
Editor-in-Chief Mark Galli also noted that while the publication has previously reserved judgment on Trump’s presidency, “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.”
Galli, who announced earlier this fall that he stepping down in January, also pointed to the President’s Twitter account, noting that “with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”
Trump’s support among Evangelicals has been widely credited with helping to boost him to the Presidency, but many critics have argued that the community’s willingness to overlook what many consider his blatant violation of moral principles that conservative Christians hold dear — including infamous affairs and repeated divorces — is a sign that they are increasingly willing to compromise ethical principles to gain a political advantage.
But in the editorial published less than 24 hours after Trump’s impeachment, Christianity Today — which was founded by the Evangelical icon Billy Graham — argued that this position is no longer acceptable.
It criticized other Evangelicals who are willing to overlook his failings in the name of political goals, arguing the need to remove him from office “is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments” and that giving Trump’s conduct a pass could fundamentally wound Evangelical Christianity. Many Evangelicals have long supported the President. As of March, about 69% of white evangelical Protestants said that they approve of Trump’s handling of the Presidency; about 81% of white Evangelicals voted for the President in 2016, according to Pew.
“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?” the editorial said.
The publication acknowledged that while Democrats’ motives for impeachment are suspect because they have “had it out” for the President from the beginning, the evidence is “unambiguous” that Trump “abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath.”
While the editorial further noted that the publication previously reserved judgement on Trump because “patient charity must come first,” it said that it has come time to take action because the situation is about to “crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel.” It noted that it had previously endorsed the impeachment of President Bill Clinton after finding that he had been “morally unable to lead.”
“Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr. Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president.”