Dozens of evangelical leaders on Sunday condemned Christianity Today’s editor, Mark Galli, for his recent editorial urging President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
In a letter to Timothy Dalrymple, the president of the evangelical magazine, the faith leaders criticized Galli for his dismissive attitude toward the millions of members of their movement who support Trump.
“Your editorial offensively questioned the spiritual integrity and Christian witness of tens-of-millions of believers who take seriously their civic and moral obligations,” they wrote in the letter, published in full by the Christian Post.
The leaders also denounced Galli, who wrote Thursday’s headline-making editorial, for elsewhere making disparaging comments about evangelical Trump supporters. They pointed to a CNN interview Friday in which Galili suggested such people are “far right.”
“Christianity Today is not read by the people, Christians on the far right, by evangelicals on the far right,” they quoted Galli saying. “So they’re going to be as dismissive of the magazine as President Trump has shown to be.”
To bolster their case against Galli, the leaders referenced his contribution to a book published last year, “Still Evangelical.” In the essay, Galli referred disparagingly to the 76 percent of white self-identified evangelical voters who helped elect Trump in 2016.
“These other evangelicals [who] often haven’t finished college, and if they have jobs, and apparently most of them don’t, they are blue-collar jobs or entry level work,” he wrote, even as he referred to himself as an “elite evangelical.”
Mark Galli gets holy hell
The letter came after Trump on Friday blasted Christianity Today in a series of tweets Friday, calling it a failing “far left magazine.”
….have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President. No President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close. You’ll not get anything from those Dems on stage. I won’t be reading ET again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2019
The magazine has a circulation of 130,000 along with 4.3 million monthly website views.
On Monday, Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of the late Christianity Today founder Rev. Franklin Graham, sided with Trump in an appearance on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.” He slammed the editorial and called the magazine “way off target.”
“They are a very liberal left-wing magazine now,” he said. “But it does not speak for these evangelical Christians.”
Graham also said that his father had believed in and voted for Trump, an endorsement that other family members dispute.
However, Christianity Today’s leadership stood by its criticism of the president.
On Sunday, Galli defended his editorial in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He said Trump’s support of causes important to the evangelical community can no longer excuse his actions in other areas and called the president is “morally unfit” to occupy the Oval Office.
“Rampant immorality, greed, and corruption”
In a second editorial, published Sunday, Dalrymple, the magazine’s president, praised the Trump administration’s judicial appointments, “advocacy of life, family, and religious liberty.” But he said, “It is one thing to praise his accomplishments; it is another to excuse and deny his obvious misuses of power.”
He said evangelicals’ embrace of Trump means being tied to his “rampant immorality, greed, and corruption; his divisiveness and race-baiting; his cruelty and hostility to immigrants and refugees.”
“With profound love and respect, we ask our brothers and sisters in Christ to consider whether they have given to Caesar what belongs only to God: their unconditional loyalty,” he said.
Dalrymple pledged to open up a “serious discussion about how our activity as Christians shapes our activity as citizens” in 2020. He declined to be interviewed until after the Christmas holiday.
Evangelical Christians make up about 25 percent of the U.S. population. According to a Pew Research poll from last January, 69 percent of white evangelicals approved of the job Trump is doing, compared with 48% of white mainline Protestants and 12% of black Protestants.
On Jan. 3, Trump will hold an “Evangelicals for Trump coalition launch” in Miami.
Christianity Today was founded in 1956, and its current impact in the evangelical community is limited, said Greg Carey, a New Testament professor at Lancaster Seminary in Pennsylvania. “Like other traditional media, their platform has fragmented, so I’m skeptical that they have the real punch to change a movement.”
(Reuters contributed to this report.)