Christianity Today editor says many evangelicals ignorant of ‘the gravity of Trump’s moral failings’

Christianity Today editor-in-chief Mark Galli says in a new interview that he was shocked by the reaction to the magazine’s recent editorial calling for President Trump’s removal from office, saying anger at the piece demonstrates “widespread ignorance” of “Trump’s moral failings.”

The prominent evangelical magazine published an editorial last month sharply criticizing Trump and accusing him of “profoundly immoral” actions that violate the Constitution. Galli revealed in a Thursday interview with The New York Times that the now-viral piece crashed the magazine’s website and phones in its office rang all day with both criticism and support from evangelicals. 

“I’ve been surprised by the ethical naïveté of the response I’m receiving to the editorial. There does seem to be widespread ignorance — that is the best word I can come up with — of the gravity of Trump’s moral failings. Some evangelicals will acknowledge he had a problem with adultery, but now they consider that a thing of the past. They bring up King David, but the difference is King David repented! Donald Trump has not done that,” Galli said.

“Some evangelicals say he is prideful, abrasive and arrogant — which are all the qualities that Christians decry — but they don’t seem to grasp how serious it is for a head of state to talk like that and it does make me wonder what’s going on there,” he continued. 

Trump, who is rallying evangelical supporters on Friday evening in the aftermath of the piece, lashed out after it was published, calling Christianity Today a “far left magazine” and saying that “no President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close.”

Galli said some critics used the president’s language after the editorial was published, “taking their cues” from Trump and saying “That’s Christianity Yesterday” or “You’re a dying magazine.”

Franklin Graham, the son of magazine founder Billy Graham, also criticized the editorial, saying, “My father knew Donald Trump, he believed in Donald Trump, and he voted for Donald Trump. He believed that Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation.”

But Galli also said he received a positive response from some evangelicals who agreed.

“People wrote to me and said they had felt all alone and were waiting for someone in the evangelical leadership to say what the editorial said. I wish I could tell you that I had noticed that and wanted to respond to it, but I didn’t see that. There were a lot of people who were feeling alone and they’re not feeling that way now,” he told the Times.

Galli said he voted for neither Trump nor Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. He said his work since Trump was elected has been to “get evangelicals on the left, center and right to have a reasonable conversation” but that “something in me clicked” recently regarding Trump’s actions in Ukraine, which led to House Democrats voting to impeach him. 

“Given what we now know about what the president has done, we need to speak out more directly about this,” Galli said.   

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