Christianity Today Impeaches Its Credibility
Thursday, Mark Galli, the outgoing editor-in-chief of Christianity Today published a scathing editorial calling for President Trump to be removed from office. Within hours, the article went viral as the mainstream media rushed to capitalize on what they believed was an opportunity to exploit a divide in President Trump’s evangelical supporters. The article was shared on social media so many times that CT’s website temporarily crashed and throughout much of Friday “Christianity Today,” “evangelical,” and “Billy Graham” while maybe not the best indicator of interest, those terms were ranked higher on Twitter’s list of trending stories than last night’s Democratic debate.
But anyone following Christianity Today shouldn’t be surprised by the magazine’s public backing of impeachment. In 2016, CT’s executive editor denigrated Christians who supported then-candidate Trump weeks before the general election, writing: “Enthusiasm for a candidate like Trump gives our neighbors ample reason to doubt that we believe Jesus is Lord.” Dismissing the genuine concerns of millions of evangelicals and publicly questioning their commitment to Christ signaled an out-of-touch, ivory-tower elitism completely out of step with Jesus’ own command to love one another (John 13:34).
Fast forward to today, and clearly, the effort to prop up Galli’s editorial comes from the fact that Christianity Today was founded by the late evangelist Billy Graham, one of the most well-known and respected Christians in history. Galli wastes no time invoking Graham’s name, mentioning him in the article’s first line.
The rush to invoke Graham’s name for the sake of garnering evangelical credibility earned a stern rebuke from Franklin Graham, the evangelist’s eldest son and successor at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. In a lengthy post on Facebook, Franklin Graham wrote, “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.” Graham went on to disclose for the first time that his father voted for Donald Trump in 2016, explaining, “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.”
Turning to the content of the editorial, it is important to note that Christians are not well-served by a biased article that paints a narrow picture of this week’s impeachment proceedings which it somehow claims are unbiased enough for Christians to take their cues from. In the article Galli says: “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.”
While Galli is entitled to his own opinion, he is not entitled to his own facts. And any honest observer will admit that Galli is merely asserting his own opinion when he claims it is “absolutely clear” the president “betrayed his constitutional oath.” In fact, a fair analysis of the impeachment inquiry and the hearings held by the House Judiciary Committee shows there was nothing fair about the partisan way the proceedings were conducted. In fact, as House Republican Whip Steve Scalise noted on the House Floor, Democrats even violated House rules by denying Republicans the ability to call witnesses to testify during at least one day of the hearing. Furthermore, the articles of impeachment were written based on a report that relied on cherry-picked witnesses and lacked any input from the minority or president.
Incredibly, even though Galli admits that “Mr. Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment,” he somehow insists the president violated the constitution. However, Galli fails to mention that the first Article of Impeachment, “Abuse of Power,” does not cite any actual crimes or facts about improper actions taken by President Trump. He also fails to mention the fact that the second Article of Impeachment for “Obstruction of Congress,” ignores longstanding constitutional privileges exercised by presidents of both parties. Notably, the Democrats were in such a rush to impeach the president that they did not even bother going to court to subpoena witnesses they claimed were important to the investigation.
All of this demonstrates the highly partisan nature of this week’s impeachment proceedings. That’s why it was no surprise that not a single Republican lawmaker voted to impeach President Trump. This includes over two dozen Republicans who are retiring from Congress and likely feel more freedom to vote their convictions. Some of these Congressmen, including Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), have criticized the president before on other matters. Yet even Hurd argued there was not enough evidence to proceed with impeachment. This points to the unprecedented partisanship exhibited by Democrats this week. In fact, Albert Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, highlighted Democrat partisanship on Wednesday, noting, “It goes down as the historic failure of the Democratic majority in the House to convince even one or two Republicans to vote against the president.”
Worth noting is that as recently as March of this year, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ruled out impeachment, arguing, “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.”
This backstory of Pelosi going back on her word and overseeing the most partisan impeachment process in American history, makes Mark Galli’s decision to throw CT’s weight behind the impeachment sham even more confusing. But especially galling is when Galli argues: “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.”
By invoking the Ten Commandments and implying that Christians must support the impeachment charade or else they are not loyal to God crosses the line. Who would he have Christians to support? Those who want to open the flood gates of taxpayer-funded abortion, including up to the day of birth? Thou shall not kill? The God of the Bible is a God of truth and justice. But at this point the President of the United States has simply not been subjected to a fair or just process.
However, Galli does not stop there. He goes on to say, “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.”
Putting aside Galli’s holier-than-thou patronization, the underdeveloped political theology advanced here represents a failure to look at Trump’s record and the growing contrast between the two parties on life, family, and religious liberty. Although Galli recognizes Trump’s accomplishments in these areas, Galli goes on to say these positives do not compensate for Trump’s failings in other areas. And while President Trump is certainly not perfect, it is totally unfair to imply that support for Trump jeopardizes Christian witness to Christ when many Christians support the president because of his commitment to policies that are grounded in a biblical worldview. Not only is it unfair, but it betrays the prudence and measured judgment that Christians ought to be bringing to a broken world, and a political system which is not perfect but requires us to apply our faith in the best way we can.
Although neither political party perfectly represents evangelical Christians, party platforms do allow us to make considered judgments for who to support at election time. Political scientists have shown that legislators have voted in line with their party’s platform nearly 80 percent of the time over the last thirty years. Thus, a party platform is a good indicator for how politicians from that party will vote. And increasingly, party platforms and the political parties they represent show that Republicans and Democrats are divided on the great moral issues facing our nation, particularly abortion and religious liberty. For example, whereas Republicans support the rights of unborn children, Democrats this year denied over 80 requests from Republicans to vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, legislation that would provide protection from infants who survive botched abortions. This is the reason many Christians support President Trump and his party, and for Galli to insinuate that such support is a betrayal of biblical values is wrong.
There is least a basis for supporting President Trump and the Republican Party, even if Galli doesn’t agree. For him to claim a Christian is required to take a position which will in effect aid Democrats’ efforts to further gruesome, late-term abortion and other anti-biblical policies, hardly seems like the biblical thing to do at all.
Originally published here.
Federal Funding Finally Comes Together
Earlier this year, it only took the new Democrat majority in the House of Representatives one day into the 116th Congress before they began to pick a fight over longstanding pro-life and pro-family policies in the annual appropriations process. In a move to reopen the government after a 35-day partial shutdown, Appropriations Chairwomen Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) introduced a funding bill with language to repeal President Trump’s Mexico City Policy, which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion providers overseas. This move was just the beginning of a year-long battle to maintain what are known as values provisions (defending life, family, and religious liberty) in the funding bills under the new divided government.
The Trump administration foresaw this impending battle. With the support of 169 House members and 49 senators, President Trump issued a letter to Speaker Pelosi threatening to veto any funding bill that would weaken his current pro-life policy. But even with this strong warning from the president, when the time came to begin working on 2020 appropriations bills, House Democrats did not delay in directly attacking pro-life and pro-family policies. The House-passed versions of the many appropriations bills included radical provisions to allow funding for abortions in D.C., provide illegal immigrants a loophole to escape lawful deportation by claiming to be to lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and prohibit the government from enforcing federal law in states that have legalized marijuana. House Democrats cannot stand the great work of the Trump administration on the values issues – they even added language to block implementation of the new Title X family Planning Rule, the Conscience Protection Rule, and the president’s new military transgender policy.
While most of our work defending values issues was confined to the House, there were some issues that needed to be addressed in the Senate. Even an agreement last summer between leaders of both parties to not include “poison pill” policy changes in this year’s appropriations bills did not preclude Democrats from trying to subvert protections for life and religious freedom. Shortly thereafter, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) was able to sneak language into the State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill that would increase funding for organizations that promote abortion overseas and codify an Obama-era religious freedom-violating SOGI policy in an effort to exclude faith based organizations from contracting with the United States abroad. The “Shaheen Amendment” became quite a controversy over the past several months, and because the Democrats cannot help but push harmful, ideological policies, it threatened to derail the entire process and potentially lead to another government shutdown.
Fortunately, during the final negotiations between the House and Senate, Leader McConnell and McCarthy as well as Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and House Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-Texas) used their leverage to ensure that the values provisions were protected in the final appropriations bills Congress passed this week. But this would not have been possible without the tireless work by many staffers from the pro-life caucuses and the Values Action Team, along with other values issues allies, to alert members of Congress and senators to the numerous issues littered throughout the appropriations bills. Throughout it all, the White House and Office of Management and Budget continued to hold the line to ensure that pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom polices were not sacrificed for other Republican priorities in these bills during negotiations.
This year’s appropriations process shows that even in a divided Congress, a unified voice on values issues can effectively protect these priorities in the legislative process. All who took part in this coalition and the political leaders who took up the cause deserve to hear: Job well done!
As we move into the next year, let us continue to push for further advancement of the pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom policies that we all care about.
Originally published here.
Mark Meadows: A Statesman of Character
Among the many things I’ve observed in my nearly two decades here in D.C. is that criticism flows freely while words of affirmation are usually reserved for funerals. We have tried to buck that trend at FRC by recognizing those who serve well. We honor them at events and express appreciation to leaders who do the right thing.
Several good men and women have announced their retirements from Congress at the end of this term. Many of them I know well and honor them for their selfless service to their constituents and country. One such leader who announced his retirement this week is among my closest friends in Congress – Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). Mark, along with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), helped move the ideological dial of the GOP to the right on Capitol Hill by leading the House Freedom Caucus.
I’ve known Mark and his wife Debbie since arriving at Family Research Council, as they were supporters of FRC and quickly became close friends. I have had the privilege of watching and walking alongside Mark in what has been an impactful and God-honoring journey. Many of Mark’s accomplishments are well known, but much of what he has done has been unseen – which speaks to his character as a statesman.
Mark has become one of the most influential leaders in Washington, and it is a sign of his character and conviction that he can walk away from influence and power, knowing that we are only temporary stewards of it for the greater good.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.