By Wayne Besen
Hallelujah and praise the Lord. An evangelical publication finally found its moral compass and stopped bowing down to the golden calf with the golden toilet seat. Christianity Today, the magazine founded by the late Billy Graham, wrote a scathing editorial titled “Trump should be removed from office.”
The editorial was devastating. It said that Trump’s actions in Ukraine were “profoundly immoral” and that he is “a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”
It deftly brushed off evangelical Trump supporters by saying, “none of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.”
The magazine’s editorial staff wrote, “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.”
I’m just scratching the surface. You’ll have to read the entire editorial for yourself to capture how unforgiving and brutal it was. It’s clear that this moment represents the opening of a potential seismic fault in the Cult of Trump. Christianity Today was the first to put down the Kool Aid to tell the truth. Will others follow?
This does not bode well for Trump. Fifty-one years ago, Lyndon Johnson knew his position on the Vietnam War was toast after CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite delivered a scathing on-air editorial. When the broadcast ended, LBJ famously said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” A few weeks after Cronkite’s remarks, Johnson announced that he would not seek re-election.
We might one day look back and say, when Trump lost Christianity Today, he lost middle-of-the-road evangelicals, his Teflon wore off and the dude he shot at on Fifth Avenue, pulled out a gun and shot back.
I can understand your skepticism. More than eighty-percent of white evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump and remain his fervent base. And, it’s true that most people in this demographic are so in the tank that they would vote for Trump over Jesus Christ. This was evident during the impeachment hearings when Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) actually compared Trump’s alleged persecution and fate to that of Jesus Christ.
But you have to remember how vulnerable Trump actually is. He overwhelmingly lost the popular vote by three million. Of the more than 120 million votes cast in the 2016 election, 107,000 votes in three states decided the outcome. Even if a mere five or ten percent of evangelicals find the strength to choose their morality over this monster, it could be enough to destroy Trump’s chances at reelection.
You have to assume that many evangelicals quietly share the concerns so eloquently expressed by Christianity Today. They were too scared, however, to voice their opinions. It’s difficult to oppose this vicious and vindictive president who attacks his foes. It’s not easy to disagree with the tribe and face losing friends or even banishment from your social circle. But, the courage displayed by this magazine offers fresh cover and may embolden others to speak out and vote against the moral heathen and ethical harlot that stains the Oval Office.
Most importantly, Christianity today makes a compelling case. The magazine powerfully and persuasively writes, “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.” The editors go onto write, “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?”
This is true. I’m an LGBT activist. My response to evangelicals when they condemn gay marriage is, “ha, ha ha.” You pathetic phonies and hypocrites support a president who is on his third wife, pays off porn stars, has lied more than 15,000 times, brags about sexually assaulting women and tried to strip millions of Americans of their healthcare. Even worse, you got behind Judge Roy Moore for U.S. Senate in Alabama, who allegedly cruised a local mall looking for teenage girls to date. Yet, you frauds have the nerve to comment on our marriages? I would say, “go to Hell,” but it looks like you won’t need my help to get there.
Consider this: Trump has the most right wing religious administration in history. Trump has elevated Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos and many others, to what ends? The great paradox is that these religious zealots have produced the most dishonest, craven, mean-spirited, corrupt and least respected administration in our nation’s history. They are a joke and an affront to real Christians like Jimmy Carter, Bishop Gene Robinson or Rev. William Barber. They think they won, but ironically they’ve lost, because they have become the epitome of the world they supposedly disdain.
Donald Trump responded to the editorial with a tantrum and Tweeted, “I won’t be reading ET again!” Dude, it’s, CT, not ET, that’s the Stephen Spielberg alien. And I guess that gives the President more time to read Two Corinthians.
Don’t dismiss the importance of this editorial by Christianity Today. If even a few white evangelicals start remembering that they are actually Christians, Trump will get crucified in the 2020 election.