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"

Go deeper

In photos: Authorities issue warning as Americans venture out for Memorial Day weekend

Ocean City in New Jersey on May 25. Photo: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images

Authorities urged Americans to maintain social distancing and wear masks to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus amid reports of packed beaches and bars during the Memorial Day weekend.

Details: Law enforcement stepped up beach patrols, and there were crowded scenes in several places, notably at Lake of the Ozarks bars in Missouri and at Daytona Beach and on the Gulf Coast in Florida, per AP. Police dispersed crowds in some places, ABC notes. But many Americans did take precautions against COVID-19 as they ventured outside for the long weekend, some three months after the pandemic began in the U.S.

Coronavirus stay-at-home orders crater voter registration efforts

A volunteer looks for persons wanting to register to vote on July 4, 2019 in Santa Fe, N.M. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is scuppering usual "get out the vote" efforts, leading to fears that large swaths of Americans could miss out on this year's elections.

What’s happening: Advocacy groups typically target college campuses, churches, festivals, fairs and other gatherings to seek out people who have yet to register, but many of those places are now closed. Voter registration efforts have largely moved to the internet, but advocates question whether that will be as effective as the person-to-person pitch.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,471,768 — Total deaths: 344,911 — Total recoveries — 2,223,523Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,660,072 — Total deaths: 98,184 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy