Dec 19, 2019

Evangelical magazine founded by Billy Graham calls for Trump's removal

Billy Graham in 1955. Photo: Keystone/Getty Images

An editorial published Thursday by Christianity Today, a magazine founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham, called for President Trump's removal from office in the wake of his impeachment, deeming him "grossly immoral."

"We have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years now. Some have criticized us for our reserve. But when it comes to condemning the behavior of another, patient charity must come first. ... To use an old cliché, 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."

Why it matters: Christianity Today is an influential mainstream magazine for evangelicals, with 4.3 million monthly visitors on its site and hundreds of thousands of print subscribers. President Trump won 81% of the evangelical vote in 2016, a group that makes up about 25% of the electorate, according to the Pew Research Center.

  • Billy Graham's son, Franklin, is an ardent supporter of President Trump. He told "Axios on HBO" in November that he supports the president because he "defends the faith."

Highlights: The editorial calls Christianity Today's stance a moral choice — similar to how the magazine reacted when former President Bill Clinton was impeached.

  • "[T]he 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."
  • "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. ... None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character."
  • "That [Trump] should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments."

Go deeper... Josh Harris: Evangelical support for Trump "incredibly damaging to the Gospel"

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President Trump has responded to an influential evangelical magazine's call for his removal from office with a tweet claiming "No President has done more for the Evangelical community."

Why it matters: Christianity Today is an influential mainstream founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham. Trump has had strong support from evangelical Christians, and Graham's son Franklin previously has stood by the the president, saying Trump "defends the faith."

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President Trump is working to strengthen his following among evangelical voters after Christianity Today, a magazine founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham, published an editorial earlier this month calling for his removal in the wake of his impeachment.

Why it matters: About 81% of evangelical Christians — a group that makes up 25% of the electorate — voted for Trump in 2016, according to Pew Research Center.

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