During the fifteen years I've been blogging away here at the Church of the Churchless, I've mentioned the evangelical magazine Christianity Today twice in my posts -- here and here.
Not surprisingly, in both cases I disagreed with what Christianity Today had to say.
But yesterday Christianity Today published an opinion piece whose conclusions I heartily agree with. Namely, that President Donald Trump deserves to be impeached and removed from office for his immoral behavior.
Way to go! It's great to see an evangelical standing up for what most Christians supposedly believe in: honesty, respect, truthfulness, selfless service, dedication to a cause greater than oneself.
Trump, of course, embraces none of those qualities. For him it's all about me, me, me.
Unfortunately, quite a few religious leaders also fail to live up to the standards of their chosen religion. Yet when their misdeeds come to light, often there are attempts to either cover up their bad behavior or excuse it through some shaky rationale.
I've boldfaced parts of the opinion piece that appealed to me the most and reflected larger themes about how members of a religion should view those who fail to live up to the moral code of their faith.
Trump Should Be Removed from Office
It’s time to say what we said 20 years ago when a president’s character was revealed for what it was.
In our founding documents, Billy Graham explains that Christianity Today will help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith. The impeachment of Donald Trump is a significant event in the story of our republic. It requires comment.
The typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square, to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat their political opposition as charitably as possible. We want CT to be a place that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum, and reminds everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being. We take pride in the fact, for instance, that politics does not dominate our homepage.
That said, we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear—always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love. We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray for leaders (as well as ordinary citizens) on both sides of the political aisle.
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.
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 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.
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. 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. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.
This concern for the character of our national leader is not new in CT. In 1998, we wrote this:
The President's failure to tell the truth—even when cornered—rips at the fabric of the nation. This is not a private affair. For above all, social intercourse is built on a presumption of trust: trust that the milk your grocer sells you is wholesome and pure; trust that the money you put in your bank can be taken out of the bank; trust that your babysitter, firefighters, clergy, and ambulance drivers will all do their best. And while politicians are notorious for breaking campaign promises, while in office they have a fundamental obligation to uphold our trust in them and to live by the law.
Unsavory dealings and immoral acts by the President and those close to him have rendered this administration morally unable to lead.
Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr. Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president. Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment. That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.
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. 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? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?
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. So we have done our best to give evangelical Trump supporters their due, to try to understand their point of view, to see the prudential nature of so many political decisions they have made regarding Mr. Trump.
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. And just when we think it’s time to push all our chips to the center of the table, that’s when the whole game will come crashing down. It will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel. And it will come crashing down on a nation of men and women whose welfare is also our concern.
Mark Galli is editor in chief of Christianity Today
"removed from office for his immoral behavior."
Creating global instability and destroying economies everywhere because the media is doing a soft coup using fake moral outrage sounds like the epitome of foolish ideas to me. One of the best examples of "be careful what you wish for" that I have ever come across. Reminds me of how ISIS was initially welcomed by all the people who later suffered under ISIS.
We should end democracy in USA and make Trump king. I predict it would be better for humanity than the wars that will come after his enemies gain outright power. But then again, I should be careful what I wish for too.
Posted by: Jesse | December 20, 2019 at 09:34 PM
GSD is considered GIHF by followers. He has much lower morals than Trump.
stealing poor farmers land. commiting fraud. lots of evidence.
yet his followers still follow like sheep.
Posted by: Time To Leave | December 21, 2019 at 02:06 AM
Many world leaders are being called out for being dishonest, dishonest in the way they wilfully misinterpret, bully, attack, cheat and generally hold themselves in high regard and above reproach. Its probably not a recent phenomena. - as history shows.
People in quite a few countries today seem to be 'pulling up the drawbridge' with regard to what is seen as self-protectionism. In the West, we have had a good few years of being relatively quite comfortable but lately, with desperate people arriving on our shores and the ever present scramble for more of the worlds dwindling resources and a continuing share of prosperity, world-wide competition is getting dirty.
So I wonder if there is any truth of the old adage 'We get the leaders we deserve'. Perhaps people like Trump and Johnson emerge as leaders as they are seen be able to match the aggressiveness of despotic leadership and we see in them as some sort of anti-hero who will help secure our scramble to maintain our way of life – in a time of dwindling resources and global threat. After all, the world is generally incapable of adopting a united front (as the climate change issue shows).
The pessimist would say the human race is doomed, after all, we have only recently been around on the planet - and we are probably not a permanent fixture.
Posted by: Turan | December 21, 2019 at 08:10 AM
Trump has focused on and tried his best to keep
his word for what he promised his electorate.
Posted by: La Madrugada | December 21, 2019 at 08:48 AM
Trump doesn't bother me at all. I have been watching him closely since he began his bid for the presidency in 2015 or so. I have read the transcript and watched the proceedings pretty closely (when not asleep like Nadler). I hear Fox news. I hear MSNBC and CNN (both stunning in their distortions and dishonesty). I read editorials pro and con. No evidence of criminality. The whole thing is total BS. I think he is the best president of my lifetime. He's keeping his promises and more despite overwhelming sold-out media opposition and near religious partisanship and group-think. Wake up people! They own you.
Posted by: tucson | December 21, 2019 at 02:27 PM
Can't agree more @Tucson. Best thing that's happened to the nation in a long long time.
Though waiting for the Pope to be removed from his office for tolerating immorality right under his nose.
Posted by: Steve | December 21, 2019 at 08:40 PM
Well... politics has gotten to be more a much more sensitive issue than even religion in many homes and communities these days. I don’t think there’s any way Trump will get voted out by the House but I’m very impressed with Pelossi and how she’s handling things.
Posted by: Sonia | December 22, 2019 at 01:45 AM
What I also find interesting when it comes to our leaders – whether they are religious leaders, business leaders, political leaders and so on is that they are said to emerge in response to the current situation of the time. Although we believe that we choose and elect our leaders, history shows that they emerge from the morass of fear and anxiety, from the confusion, distrust and insecurities of their time. Churchill, Stalin, Saddam, Gadafi, Ghandi (etc.) and now Trump in the US and Johnson in the UK. were (are) men of their time.
Both Trump and Johnson came to power at a time of fear and anxiety in their respective countries. They were not 'chosen' by the people, in reality they emerged, much in the same way as an insect emerges from its host – the host being the prevailing social, moral, economical (also religious and political) conditions of the time that produce the collective anxiety and fear.
In time, inevitably, our leaders do not deliver the goods - or perhaps mind-sets change. After a term or two they are replaced. Perhaps religious authorities/teachings linger much longer as the fear, anxiety and confusion in the matter of life and death are forged by often hard to disprove beliefs and are psychologically harder to shake off.
Posted by: Turan | December 22, 2019 at 06:46 AM
I'm totally for removing President Trump from office. I'm totally for removing any U.S. president from office.
The way to do it is by holding an election.
The way not to do it is by floating endless conspiracy theories that a president has somehow caused a "clear and present danger" to American security by delaying military aid (that the former president refused to give at all) to a tiny country on the other side of the world that is embroiled in a tiff with a powerless Russia.
I can understand how people can find fault with gurus, for after all a guru has absolute power over the lives of his followers, and he serves for life without any checks and balances from his followers. But President Trump isn't a guru. He was fairly voted into office. He hasn't committed any crimes. And he's term is up in less than a year from now. If the majority of Americans believe Trump is manifestly evil and want him gone, then we can confidently expect that the next election will be fait accompli.
I think the rage against Trump is that his detractors actually have very little faith he's going to be voted out of office, and therefore argue that he should be summarily removed, American democracy is damned.
I don't believe in Trump. I believe in American democracy, which is why though I loathed Presidents Bush and Obama, I wasn't arguing for 16 years that they should be "removed" because I didn't approve of the results of America's democratic process. Nor did I ever stoop to denigrating everyone who voted for these characters as enemies of the Republic.
Posted by: j | December 22, 2019 at 08:55 AM
My takeaway from the opinion piece is that the editors reserved judgment as long as they could but concluded on ethics. Christians should be ashamed of Trump, because his immorality reflects badly on Christianity and the USA. He damages any claim to "justice and righteousness" by either. Therefore, his removal, whether by Senate vote or election ballot, is appropriate as a matter of conscience. "Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior."
Posted by: anami | December 22, 2019 at 10:33 AM
Not my place to say, but he’ll be a 2-term president and agree with Tucson that the impeachment is unmerited. He was voted in, deal with it.
Certain things are not v presidential like his talk over ‘wall-building’ and ‘vajazzle-grabbing’, but he has huge appeal to many, precisely because he shoots from the hip. He’s got a huge ego and a huge mouth, but I just find him v v amusing (like that other great George Dubya). They are exactly who most would think shouldn’t be president - I luv it.
Also, you got to give it to him, he’s done great things with the US economy and he nearly single-handedly brokered peace with N Korea (even they don’t know if he’s unstable enough to nuke them or not).
It’s all a cosmic joke. Who cares. He’s not polpot or Mussolini. US got such strong democratic system with all its checks and balances, what can trumpy do anyway?
Posted by: Georgy Porgy | December 22, 2019 at 12:24 PM
For some reason I thought you were British and dealing with Boris... are you American?
Posted by: Sonia | December 22, 2019 at 01:45 PM
Neither - but have lived with the pompoms for many years , now that is a v funny country. I mean at least trump made something of himself before becoming president, Bojo is a compete and utter nutjob - he thinks it’s all a big game I’m convinced.
Show how useless politicians and politics really are - what difference does it make who you got in charge if the institutions of the country are so solid anyway. UK and US politics isn’t exactly life or death stuff imo - and of a few characters are appointed, so what.
Posted by: Georgy Porgy | December 22, 2019 at 02:25 PM
Seeeee, this is the state of politics today—bipartisanship verging on civil war or just plain old apathy... resignation.
Well, at least Nancy won’t get a lump of coal in her stocking.
Posted by: Sonia | December 22, 2019 at 04:09 PM
This whole impeachment charade is an attempt to damage the reputation of the President and undermine the voice of 63 million Americans that voted him into office. There has been no clear evidence presented to warrant an impeachment. But, he has been impeached none the less. Not moving the articles of Impeachment to the Senate is unconstitutional and an attempt to place condemnation on Trump without a Senate trial. Where is there any semblance of justice or due process to the President in this case if a trial is not conducted in the Senate?
According to Professor of Law Emeritus, Alan Dershowitz, "President Trump would stand accused of two articles of impeachment without having an opportunity to be acquitted by the institution selected by the Framers to try all cases of impeachment. It would be as if a prosecutor deliberately decided to indict a criminal defendant but not to put him on trial."
This whole mess should put through the shredder and never heard from again! BTW, I used to be an loyal Democrat! But, the party has changed so much over the last decade or so that I had to pack my bags and say adios!
Posted by: Bob | December 25, 2019 at 10:03 PM
Get trump to release his tax returns. Why hide of you are so great lol.
The issue is America is sliding and not many can see it and you guys dont have politicians who are decent to get you out. Democrats nor Republicans. You have a divisive leader and it was right he should be impeached! Sorry we over the pond here cant stand him.
Posted by: Arjuna | December 26, 2019 at 05:03 AM
The impeachment of Bill Clinton was no less political. It was a Republican controlled House led by Speaker Newt Gingrich. "...the House Judiciary Committee conducted no investigations of its own into Clinton's alleged wrongdoing and held no serious impeachment-related hearings before the 1998 midterm elections. Impeachment was one of the major issues in those elections."
Gingrich gamed the whole thing, sure that R's would pick up an additional 30 House seats, and when D's gained 5 seats instead, he resigned. Clinton was also impeached over less--personal misconduct rather than official--and R's happily dredged it all back up it to smear Hillary in her Presidential bid.
So get off your high horse. Boo hoo on Trump, politics is political. How many Republicans cried unconstitional over Bill Clinton's impeachment? If Republicans were privileged to weaponize Clinton's stupidity, Democrats have every right to weaponize Trump's.
Posted by: anami | December 26, 2019 at 08:29 AM
Correct- Trump has to go. Let me list his achievements
1. North Korea failure
2. Huge tax cuts for the mega rich
4. Middle east - he has no clue
5. The rust built of Christian farmers . These people are racist and these dumb people are now divided over the Trump impeachment issue. Lol.
6. China. Trump never released that these are OLD people old race. They will outdo trump.
7. Iran - well lol. The same point these are old people and have seen it all before.
8 Nato. He may have a point here in that other countries must spend more. I'll give him.that
9 food stamp reductions in the USA for the very poor.
10. Massive debt ceiling - who is paying for this in the future yes that's right you Americans!
11. His tax returns??? What he hiding
Sick and tired of strong men leaders and spiritual leaders . We need to get along all of is together
Posted by: Arjuna | December 26, 2019 at 09:44 AM
Arjuna - you say that Trump should be impeached. OK, then show the evidence. Just because you dislike Trump or disagree with him doesn't warrant an impeachment. BTW, Trump is not required to release his tax returns. If that's a big issue for someone, then they are free to vote against Trump in the next election. Regarding Trump dividing the country - he has to a certain extent because of his conservative leanings. Yet, a 2018 pole showed that 64% of Americans believed that the media has done more to divide our nation.
Posted by: Bob | December 30, 2019 at 08:49 AM
Yes he should be impeached. I take it you are a MAGA??? So I'm wasting my time ....
If you need to me to provide evidence you really ain't getting what he did with Ukraine. What else is he doing? The 64 % you mention will be paying for his policies in the future . You want evidence just watch and wait.
This is the issue with people like you and the rest in the uk and us - seek leaders who do good for all mate
Posted by: Arjuna | December 30, 2019 at 10:42 AM
You say you used to be a Democrat but left because the party changed so much over the last decade.
1) How so?
2) What did Democrats stand for then that Trump stands for now?
Posted by: anami | December 30, 2019 at 11:08 AM
Try getting your information somewhere other than Fox News. Trump is the same as GSD. If we’re lucky, in 2020 both will be removed.
Posted by: Sonia | December 30, 2019 at 11:17 AM
You need someone who is rational and wise and not trump. His North Korea adventures are about to back fire. They are an old race and will not bend. Trump knows this. Did he really think he could do better than any other president.
So yes bob he needs to go for all our sakes. And stop quoting polls . Use your own mind!!!!
Posted by: Arjuna | December 30, 2019 at 01:36 PM
What YOU need to do is watch all the network news AND Fox news. Compare, but you must give each one a fair shake. You will see patterns of bias everywhere but IMO Fox does it less and are more responsible. Of course the Left will disagree.. Fox is the devil to them. MSNBC and CNN are the worst.. but are gods to the far left. Their distortions, bias and outright lies about Trump are stunning, and they get away with it. How do I know? I see the actual events, documents, speeches, press conferences, activities, legislation, hearings and THEN I see the reportage by the networks. Journalism is flat out dead when it comes to MSNBC/CNN and hardly any better at NBC. ABC and CBS do a smidgeon better but still are in the brainwashed group think tank. There are no standards at all at MSNBC/CNN. No one to answer to. Do not trust them. Garbage networks. ABC, CBS deceive mainly by omission. NY Times and Washington Post? They distort and flat out lie.
The impeachment is a scam.
Trump will be re-elected in 2020 because the majority of Americans know this. They see right through it.
Wake up!! Don't be a low information sound byte voter. You'll get mislead easily.
Posted by: tucson | December 30, 2019 at 02:26 PM
Trump wont be elected - 2020 US financial crash. Even GSD said when he was challenged that the USA and UK will be third world countries.
Watch this space . Ps the impeachment is not a scam. I'm not even in the US and can tell how guillable you please are sorry mate you are backing the wrong horses
Posted by: Arjuna | December 30, 2019 at 03:52 PM
"Even GSD said when he was challenged that the USA and UK will be third world countries."
About third world countries, has anyone here watched "HUMAN" on youtube? Its a huge wakeup call. I can only watch in short bursts. We don't know how lucky we are.
Posted by: Jen | December 30, 2019 at 05:35 PM
My top 10 favorite Trump fuck ups that have established his character and credibility:
—“Russia are you listening?”
—“Build that Wall!“ (wtf) He used the National Emergencies Act to appropriate funds for a policy priority after Congress specifically refused to do so legislatively.
—He gave Turkey a green light to invade Syria and attack our Kurdish allies.
— He asked the president of Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden
—His warped obsession with the size of his inaugural crowd.
—He invited the Taliban to Camp David.
— His policy to separate migrant children from their families at the southern border was an avoidable tragedy.
—When he said, “Laziness is a trait in blacks”
One of my Republican colleagues is a high ranking government official who left the White House at the beginning of the year due to Trump’s 🦇 💩 decision making incompetency.
I’m a registered Republican as well. I’m a conservative liberal and a liberal conservative. I try to be bipartisan as much possible. But Trump is a clown.
Posted by: Sonia | December 30, 2019 at 07:21 PM
I think the financial crash which GSD predicts is his own from the looks of things.
To folks in general and none in particular...
There are no journalistic standards anymore. The media is corrupt and run by people with agendas that are not in the best interest of the everyday person trying to raise a family and make ends meet. Reporters and columnists are paid to do the bidding of these power elites. It's a sad and dangerous state of affairs. You have to dig deep, compare, verify and investigate with effort to find the truth, to get unbiased analysis, and to be correctly informed concerning many issues. Few have the time or willingness to do that. Yet, despite not doing so, many people bray like jackasses succeeding only in displaying their ignorance.
Posted by: tucson | December 30, 2019 at 08:33 PM