Finally, the silent wing of evangelical Christianity has a voice.
Perhaps we’re silent because we don’t want to mix politics with our faith, not on a deep level. Perhaps we’re silent because no one on either side – the Democratic left that disdains religion, and the Republican right that claims religion their way is the only correct one – is listening.
Thank you, Christianity Today, for giving us a voice.
And now, my silent evangelical friends, it’s time for us to speak up.
Christianity Today, a conservative Christian magazine written for church leaders and active church members (it’s not intended to be a mainstream publication), wrote an editorial following the impeachment of President Donald Trump. The magazine rarely writes political opinion pieces, but felt an impeached president required comment.
The magazine wrote on President Trump’s morality. Whether he broke legal laws or not is for Congress (and us, as voters) to decide. Morality, however, is a faith issue, which affects our – and his – standing before God.
The reason many are not shocked about this (using his political power to attempt to coerce a foreign power to discredit a political opponent) 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.
This is our leader, who holds the most powerful political office in the entire world.
Republicans cannot, and do not, argue this point. President Trump is a horrible representation of who Christ wants us to be as Christians.
His shocking comments about former U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who served in Washington for 59 years – longer than anyone ever has – followed previous comments criticizing former U.S. Sen. John McCain, a Republican – both after they were dead.
To attempt to disgrace Dingell in a speech in Michigan – where Dingell is still respected, and always will be – shows President Trump’s naivety on how to connect with people. Trump claims Dingell is “looking up from hell.” His widow, Debbie Dingell, who holds the congressional seat previously held by her husband, supported his impeachment. She, of course, was hurt by the president’s comments.
Trump intended to hurt her, as she faces her first Christmas without her husband.
This is the man who holds the highest office in the land.
I’m reading a book about former President Harry S Truman, a Democrat who offered this thought in 1947 to his daughter as she launched a singing career:
Wish I could go along and smooth all the rough spots – but I can’t and in a career you must learn to overcome the obstacles without blowing up. Always be nice to the people who can’t talk back to you. I can’t stand a man or woman who bawls out underlings to satisfy an ego.
Truman, by David McCullough, p. 569
Oh, how far we’ve come, and not in a good way.
To evangelicals who continue to support President Trump, Christianity Today offers this comment:
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.
The magazine was founded by the Rev. Billy Graham, one of the most respected evangelical leaders of the previous century. His own son, Franklin Graham, unwittingly proved the magazine’s point by claiming his father would have defended the president:
Yes, my father Billy Graham founded Christianity Today; but no, he would not agree with their opinion piece. In fact, he would be very disappointed. I have not previously shared who my father voted for in the past election, but because of this article, I feel it is necessary to share it now. My father knew Donald Trump, he believed in Donald Trump, and he voted for Donald Trump. He believed that Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation.
Franklin doesn’t know his own father’s views on politics. I voted for Trump for president too, but as the lesser of two evils, not as our nation’s savior. We don’t know Billy Graham’s reasons for voting for Trump.
Speaking in 1981 about Jerry Falwell and The Moral Majority, which Falwell founded, Billy Graham told Parade magazine this:
I don’t want to see religious bigotry in any form. It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.
Billy Graham saw this happening almost 40 years ago, and warned against it. Even his own son has forgotten that.
Many of my Democratic friends mock Christians because so many of them publicly support President Trump, despite his numerous moral failures. But as Billy Graham further states in the article by patheos.com, not all Christians support the hard right.
And as Christianity Today makes clear, President Trump and his evangelical supporters are ruining the Bible’s central message, that faith in Christ is necessary for every man, woman and child.
The hard right cannot pick and choose the parts of Trump they support and brush off the rest, any more than we can pick out Bible verses we like and ignore all the others.
Yes, we’re all sinners, as Trump is. But Trump is an unrepentant sinner, and this mocks the very faith we claim.
That is why I no longer can support the president of the United States.
Christianity Today concluded its editorial this way:
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.
A good friend of mine supports the president because he is pro-life. She claims he has taken the strongest anti-abortion stand of any president in history.
But once a child is born, then what? If he or she wasn’t born here, President Trump doesn’t want them here. If, as adults, they oppose him politically, he fires them or ridicules them. President Trump is not pro-life at all. He is pro-Trump, and nothing else.
(When a woman is considering abortion, it’s already too late. What led her to consider an abortion in the first place? Let’s tackle root causes, not the result. The hard right is picking the wrong battle anyway.)
President Trump is using evangelicals to further his political agenda, nothing more.
I wish the Republican Party would find a different candidate for the 2020 election this fall. I’m serious when I say that. The party could find someone who not only talks the talk of Christian values, but who also makes some effort to live by them.
The living God is the ultimate judge of every one of us. Until then, we have to make judgments sometimes here on Earth, and we don’t always do a good job of that.
President Trump mocks the faith he claims. Billy Graham had it right.
Perhaps our national politicians should focus on the debt, infrastructure, a hand up (not a hand out) for the poor, national defense and getting our education system functional again. Back off of divisive social issues. Let’s find common ground on issues that government officials must agree on.
Removing President Trump from office, and finding someone who can reach consensus, would be a good start.