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Christianity Today, The Christian Post, and President Trump
By Gary F. Zeolla
On December 19, 2019, Christianity Today (CT) magazine editor Mark Galli published an editorial saying President Trump should be removed from office. A couple of days later, The Christian Post (CP) published a rebuttal to the CT editorial. Then a couple of days after that, CT published another editorial, this time by Timothy Dalrymple, in defense of Galli and in response to the CP.
After I saw the initial CT editorial, I wrote my own response. Then after the next two editorials, I added to my response. In this Part One of this three-part article, I will present quotes from the first editorial and my comments that mostly focus on the ongoing impeachment debacle. Then in Parts Two and Three, to be published in the next two issues of DTL Newsletter, I will present quotes from the latter two editorials with my responses. They will focus more on Trump’s character in general.
These issues are important for Christians to consider, as the claim by CT is that evangelicals are hurting their witness for Christ by defending Trump, while CP claims that to not defend him would hurt our witness. My comments will show there is much at stake for Christians in this whole debate. But first, some background.
Trump and Evangelicals
For those who don’t know, Christianity Today (CT) was started by the Reverend Billy Graham. But it is doubtful Graham would support this stance of CT. In fact, his son, Franklin Graham just revealed that his father voted for Donald Trump in 2016.
“Yes, my father Billy Graham founded Christianity Today; but no, he would not agree with their opinion piece. In fact, he would be very disappointed. I have not previously shared who my father voted for in the past election, but because of this article, I feel it is necessary to share it now. 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” (Christian Post).
Christianity Today, a prominent evangelical magazine, called for Mr. Trump to be removed from office in a blistering editorial — the most notable example of dissent among the religious conservative base. But Franklin Graham, a Trump supporter and the son of the magazine’s founder, Billy Graham, said the editorial was “not going to change anybody’s mind about Trump” (NYT. Impeachment Briefing).
Franklin is probably right that no one’s mind is going to be changed by CT's editorial, especially given the following:
Opposition to Mr. Trump among white evangelicals remains exceedingly rare, especially in heated moments. Nearly all — 99 percent — of Republican white evangelical Protestants said they opposed Mr. Trump’s impeachment in a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute (NYT. Prominent).
First, note “Mr. Trump” not “President Trump” in the second quote. That shows how little respect the New York Times (NYT) has for the President. That will be important in a moment. But first, I have been asked many times how I, as a conservative Christian, can support such a “crude” person as President Trump. I have already answered that question in the next to last chapter of my two-volume set God’s Sex Plan. But now that the question has been raised again by CT in response to Trump’s impeachment by the US House of Representatives, I will respond once again by way of reviewing its editorial. In doing so, I will be referring to the book I am now working on about this whole impeachment fiasco, to be titled Dems Cannot Beat Trump, So They Impeach Trump: From 2016 to 2020, Dems have Been Trying to Remove President Trump from Office and Failing.
Galli writes in his CT editorial:
Let’s grant this to the president: The Democrats have had it out for him from day one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan suspicion. This has led many to suspect not only motives but facts in these recent impeachment hearings. And, no, Mr. Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment.
First, note again, “Mr. Trump” not “President Trump.” Like the NYT, the disrespect Galli has for the President is clear from the start. But then Galli has never been a supporter of Trump, but has been dissing him for years. But what he says in this paragraph otherwise is true, but he fails to realize the implications because he ignores the Bible.
A verse I will be quoting several times in my Impeach book is Proverbs 18:17. I quote it from several different versions, as it is worded a bit differently in each, but the meaning is clear however it is worded. Here, I will quote it from the NKJV, “The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him.”
This verse is clearly saying you need to hear both sides before making a decision on an issue. Other versions word this verse as specifically referring to a court case. But CT has ignored this injunction. It freely admits “Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment.” Yet, Galli still thinks it is okay for him to make a judgment on the case, even though the “defense” did not have a fair opportunity to offer its case. That defies this Biblical injection.
But 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.
The problem with this paragraph is these are not “facts,” and they are not in any way “unambiguous.” They are in fact opinions, and wrong opinions at that. This is why making a judgment without first hearing both sides is so wrong. But here, I will give the “other side” that CT apparently has not heard.
First, as I will document in my Impeach book, President Trump did not “coerce” Zelensky, no matter how many times the mainstream media (MSM) and Dems claim he did. Zelensky himself has declared on several occasions there was “No pressure. No pushing. No coercion.” And Dems have not been able to produce any eyewitness to disprove this assertion.
Second, the reason for wanting Joe Biden investigated was not because he was “one of the president’s political opponents.” Again, no matter how many times the MSM or Dems repeat that lie, it does not make it true. The reason Trump wanted Joe Biden investigated was because Joe allegedly committed illegal or corrupt acts as Vice President (VP). That Joe is now running for President should not mean he now gets a “Get out of jail free” card for alleged crimes committed prior to running for President.
In other words, what CT has done is to swallow every Dem talking point, none of which have any evidence supporting them, then base its “evangelical” opinion on those talking points. CT should instead be looking at the Bible and its requirement:
One witness will not remain [fig., stand] to testify against a person for any iniquity or for any fault or for any sin which he may commit. By [the] mouth of two witnesses or by [the] mouth of three witnesses shall every word [or, matter] be established (Deuteronomy 19:15; ALT).
To date, Dems have produced just one witness who spoke directly to the President, European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland. But Sondland testified repeatedly that the President never told him that the military aid to Ukraine was conditioned on Ukraine investigating Joe Biden. In many other ways, Sondland’ s testimony does not support the Dems’ narrative, no matter how much they claim it does.
And that is it. None of the other witnesses Dems have had testify have any firsthand knowledge of what the President said or wanted. As such, their testimony does not fit the bare requirements of this and other Bible verses that could be quoted.
I quote all the Bible has to say on the rule of law in my book Tearing the USA Apart, along with all that the Constitution has to say, showing the latter is based on the former. But Dems have not followed these basic standards in their proceedings in the House. They most especially have not proven beyond a reasonable doubt Trump is guilty of anything.
That is why Dems came up with the nebulous first article of impeachment of “Abuse of Power.” There is no such statute. No such law. It is just a catch-all phrase that can mean anything the Dems want it to mean. But they used such a vague term, as they could not prove quid pro quo or bribery. All of this will be documented in my forthcoming book.
And note, yes, the Constitution does require that the President be guilty of an actual crime in order to be impeached and removed from office, no matter how many times you might have heard otherwise:
The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors (Article I, Section 4, of The Constitution of the United States).
“Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” are actual crimes. But “abuse of power” is not. Dems wanted to charge Trump with bribery, but they did not have the evidence to prove such, so that crime was not included in the articles of impeachment.
The second article of impeachment is even sillier. “Obstruction of Congress” is not a crime. “Obstruction of Justice” would be, but Trump has not obstructed justice. What he has done is to challenge the Dems’ subpoenas in court. That is not a crime. That is his legal right as an American, and even more so given executive privilege. All the Dems needed to do was to wait until the courts ruled. And if the courts ruled in their favor, then they would have gotten the witnesses and documents they subpoenaed. Only if the President refused to comply with the court’s ruling would he have committed a crime, that of Obstruction of Justice. But Dems were in too much of a rush to impeach Trump to wait for the courts to rule. They knew they had to impeach Trump before 2020, or people would rightly ask, “Why not just wait for the election?”
But now that they got their impeachment to put a black eye on the President for the 2020 election, Nancy Pelosi is refusing to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate. By this move, after the very unfair process in the House, where Republicans were not allowed to call their witnesses, Nancy is keeping the Senate from holding a trial where those witnesses would be called, and Trump would be exonerated.
I will be providing additional details on this point and the Dems gamesmanship in my book, along with chronicling how it all plays out. But here, I will say, it is all political gamesmanship, with no regard for the Constitution or the rule of law, no matter how much Dems might claim that it is. And CT has fallen for these games with its editorial.
CT continues its attack on the President by repeating additional lies of the MSM and of Dems:
The reason many are not shocked about this 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 comment, first, the fact that some former Trump associates are now in prison might reflect on his poor judgment of people’s character, but it is not a reflection on him. One person is not responsible for the actions of another. The Bible is clear on that, and CT should know that (Deut 24:16). Moreover, some of the convictions of these “criminals” are now being called into question by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) with its various reports, as will be detailed in my Impeach book.
Second, Trump has not “admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women.” He consistently denies all such allegations. In regard to “women,” I address such claims in my God’s Sex Plan set. In it, I state that if Trump is guilty of what has been alleged in this regard, then yes, he needs to repent. But I also expose most of the charges as without basis, or at least, unproven. The only thing we know for sure is he has been divorced twice. Yes, that is wrong and a sin. But I wonder if CT condemns everyone who has been divorced?
Moreover, all of his alleged sexual sins occurred over a decade ago, and no further such allegations have come forth more recently, including while he has been in office. Thus, if he was guilty of those sins, apparently, he has repented and turned from those sins. In that case, Christians should be applauding the change in behavior and not still be condemning him for now forsaken behavior.
In regard to his business dealings, in a debate I had with a liberal about Trump, when he tried to bring up alleged misdoings by Trump in his previous career as a businessman, I told him that if he has actual evidence Trump engaged in criminal behavior, then he should take it to the Southern District of New York, who is currently investigating Trump for anything and everything they can think of. But to date, they have not been able to prove anything. As such, by repeating these allegations, CT is just spreading rumors, something the Bible condemns (Lev 19:16; Prov 11:13; 18:8; 20:19; 26:20; 26:22).
As I state many times in my Tearing Apart book and will in my Impeach book, a person in America is innocent until proven guilty, and Trump has not been proven guilty of any of these alleged sexual or business sins or crimes. For CT to assume they are true is unbiblical and unconstitutional.
In addition, ever since the Kavanaugh confirmation debacle (which I discuss in detail in my Tearing Apart book), I have a new rule—if an alleged misdeed by someone occurred over a decade ago, I couldn’t care less about it.
Let make two qualifications to that statement that I have already alluded to but bear repeating. First, if the alleged misdeed is an actual crime for which the statute of limitations has not expired, then the evidence needs to be presented to the appropriate authorities. Second, I am assuming the behavior is in the past and does not continue to the present.
But with those two qualifications, I truly do not care what someone did a decade or more ago. The reason is simple, as a Christian I believe in forgiveness and giving people a second chance. That used to the norm in America. In fact, we celebrated the comeback story. But now, people are vilified with no chance for redemption for words and actions from decades ago. Such simply is not a Christian attitude. People can and do change, especially if in the interim they have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.
11And these some [of] you* were! [or, And such were some of you*!] But you* yourselves were washed [fig., purified], but you* were sanctified, but you* were justified [or, declared righteous] in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [or, by] the Spirit of our God! (1Cor 6:11; ALT3).
As for saying Trump “remains proud” of such alleged sins, that is simply not true. I would challenge CT to produce its evidence in that regard, unless they are referring to the Access Hollywood recording that came out shortly prior to the 2016 election. If so, then I address Trump’s crude comments in that recording in my Sex Plan books. But also again, that was from over a decade ago.
Now, it is true that as President, Trump has said and tweeted some things I would he rather he not have said. And when he does, I will take him to task for doing so. You will see that in the chapters in my Impeach book where I overview his speeches at his rallies. For the most part, those rallies are great, and all that he says is very true. But he always seems to slip in some foul or crude language that I will call him out on.
As for “Trump lies,” I will also address those claims in my Impeach book and already have in my Tearing Apart book. Here, I will say, what the media calls “lies” is generally Trump using hyperbole or generalizations. But such are not lies, as Jesus even used such. Take the following for instance; Jesus is using hyperbole when He declares, “Blind guides! The ones straining out the gnat but swallowing the camel!” (Matthew 23:24; ALT3). The MSM would call that a lie, as no one has ever swallowed a camel. But Jesus is exaggerating to make a point, just as Trump often does. But when Trump does it, the MSM counts it as a lie.
But it is true Trump is often imprecise in his language, and that has left him open to such charges. As a writer who tries to be as precise as possible in my words, I find that frustrating. But still, being imprecise is not lying.
The Alternative to Trump
Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. 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.
Those “among other things” are vast. I present lists and discussions of Trump’s many accomplishments on my politics website, in my Tearing Apart book, and will do so again in my Impeach book. Think what you want about Trump personally, the fact is, he has governed as a conservative, and those conservative polices have benefited millions of Americans. They have also stood as a bulwark against an encroaching liberalism that would destroy all that Christians and conservative Americans hold dear.
Take for instance the call on the left for churches to lose their tax-exempt status if they refuse to conduct wedding ceremonies for homosexuals. Once that happens, such churches could then be sued out of existence. Yes, that is a very real possibility if one of the Dem’s leftist presidential candidates were to get elected. In fact, we could already be experiencing that horror show if Hillary Clinton had won in 2016.
The point is, it is the conservative federal judges Trump has appointed that stands between such goals of the left and their implementation. And note, it is not just the two Supreme Court Justices Trump has appointed. It is the now 187 federal judges that Trump appointed and have been confirmed by the Senate. In fact, fully, one-quarter of all federal judges are now Trump appointees.
If Hillary had won, all of those judges and both of those Supreme Court Justices would be liberals, and the many cases over the past three years that have gone to the favor of conservative polices would have gone against them. In that case, we would be living in a very different America today.
The point is, what CT needs to do is to compare Trump to the alternative. That alternative is not some mythological perfect evangelical candidate. It is the very real far-left presidential candidates Dems have put forth. One of them will become President if Trump does not win reelection. Is CT ready to defend their socialistic and ungodly polices?
That is the comparison that needs to be made. Not Trump vs. the perfect evangelical candidate but Trump versus his real world potential political opponents. Whose polices will do more good for more people? That is the question evangelicals need to ask. Trump has proven his policies help all Americans, while the policies being advocated by his socialistic opponents have been proven to be highly detrimental to all people who have ever been subjected to them.
To Be Continued ...
Part Two of this three-part article will be posted on this website after it is published in the next issue of Darkness to Light Newsletter. In the meantime, for further details about my forthcoming Impeach book and my basic arguments about impeachment, see the two-part article I recently posted on my politics website titled Senator Johnson Destroys Dem Impeachment Arguments and Buttresses Repub Arguments.
Rather than running Parts Two and Three of this article on this website, I will be incorporating that material as a chapter in Volume One of my forthcoming three-volume set Dems Cannot Beat Trump, So They Impeach Trump. Those parts further defend Trump against the impeachment and other charges leveled against him. As such, it is best to read them in the context of my trilogy. But for as follow-up article to this article, see No Viable Evangelical Alternatives to President Trump.
ALT: Analytical-Literal Translation of the Old Testament: Volume I: The Torah. Copyright © 2012 by Gary F. Zeolla (www.Zeolla.org).
ALT3: Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament: Third Edition. Copyright © 2012 by Gary F. Zeolla (www.Zeolla.org). Previously copyrighted © 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007 by Gary F. Zeolla.
Quote from the US Constitution from: Roosevelt, Franklin. 15 Documents and Speeches That Built America (Unique Classics) (Declaration of Independence, US Constitution and Amendments, Articles of Confederation, Magna Carta, Gettysburg Address, Four Freedoms) (Kindle edition).
Biz Fluent. Can Nonprofit Organizations Discriminate?
Christianity Today. Trump Should Be Removed from Office.
NKJV. The New King James Version (NKJV). Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.
New York Times. Impeachment Briefing email, 12/20/19.
New York Times. Evangelical Magazine Christianity Today Calls for Trump’s Removal.
Trib Live. Evangelical magazine Christianity Today: Trump must go.
Christianity Today, The Christian Post, and President Trump. Copyright © 2020 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry (www.zeolla.org/christian).
The above article originally appeared in Darkness to Light
It was posted on this website in January 1, 2020.
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