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177 US evangelical leaders complain about Christian magazine's editorial against Trump

by Cara Bentley

After Christianity Today's editorial that said Trump should be removed from office, many preachers said they disagree.

Mark Galli's editorial started: "It’s time to say what we said 20 years ago when a president’s character was revealed for what it was."

The editor of Christianity Today, a popular US site, went on to say that the website usually stays 'above the fray' but that they felt it necessary from time to time to make their opinions known, as it did when President Clinton was in office.

Mr Galli was writing as Mr Trump was being accused of obstructing Congress and misconduct in public for allegedly asking Ukraine's Prime Minister to dig up dirt on his political rival Joe Biden.

Mr Galli wrote that Mr Trump: "has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration", "has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud" and "His Twitter feed alone - with its habitual string of mischaracterisations, lies, and slanders - is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused."

He also issued a warning to evangelical Christians, saying: "Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Saviour."

In response, Mr Trump called the magazine, which was founded by Billy Graham, "far left" and wrote on Twitter: "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."

The op-ed frequently referenced Billy Graham, suggesting he would have approved of a gracious criticism of a public figure when needed.

However, Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son, criticised the editorial, saying his father "believed in Donald Trump, and he voted for Donald Trump."

Mr Graham added: "Christianity Today has moved to the left and is representing the elitist liberal wing of evangelicalism."

Now, 177 leaders in American evangelicalism have joined Mr Graham and signed a letter, calling Mr Galli's comments "astonishing" and saying they are not "far-right."

They wrote to the president of Christianity Today, saying: "We are Bible-believing Christians and patriotic Americans who are simply grateful that our President has sought our advice as his administration has advanced policies that protect the unborn, promote religious freedom, reform our criminal justice system, contribute to strong working families through paid family leave, protect the freedom of conscience, prioritise parental rights, and ensure that our foreign policy aligns with our values while making our world safer, including through our support of the State of Israel."

The letter is signed by, among others, Chuck Allen from Sugar Hill Church; Paula White Cain; Jerry Falwell Jr., President of Liberty University and Greg Laurie from Harvest Christian Fellowship.

It continued: "Your editorial offensively questioned the spiritual integrity and Christian witness of tens-of-millions of believers who take seriously their civic and moral obligations.

"It not only targeted our President; it also targeted those of us who support him, and have supported you."

Signatories also include Billy Graham's granddaughter Cissie Graham Lynch from Samaritans Purse and Brian and Jenn Johnson from Bethel Music.





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