Christianity Today, the evangelical Christian magazine founded by televangelist Billy Graham, called for Donald Trump’s removal from office following the president’s impeachment, marking a significant split from what has typically been Trump’s staunch base.
The editor-in-chief, Mark Galli, wrote: “The facts in this instance are unambiguous: the president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents.
“That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral,” he wrote.
“We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath,” Galli continued. “The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people.”
Late on Wednesday, Trump became the third president in US history to be impeached when the House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Trump won the 2016 election with 81% of the white Christian evangelical vote, and support of evangelicals like Jerry Falwell Jr, president of Liberty University.
Galli raised questions about that moral compromise, writing: “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,” Galli wrote. “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.”
Galli noted that Christianity Today typically does not weigh in on politics, but that the magazine wrote a similar editorial in 1998, when Bill Clinton was impeached. “Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president,” he wrote.
“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,” Galli wrote. “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?”