Christianity Today, a magazine that caters to the evangelical community, published an editorial by Mark Galli, its editor in chief, on December 19 calling on the evangelical community to remove Donald J. Trump from office. Why are we reporting on this in CleanTechnica? Because Trump and his acolytes are a clear and present danger to the United States and the world due to their mulish refusal to take any steps to address an overheating environment in any way.
Earlier this month, they embarrassed every American by doing everything they could to torpedo the COP25 climate talks in Madrid. This week, they made it clear that any extension of the investment tax credit for renewable energy or any plan to broaden the federal tax credit for electric cars would guarantee a presidential veto.
This maladministration proposes to allow trucks and automobiles to emit more carbon dioxide, not less; to allow coal-fired generating stations to spew more mercury into the atmosphere; dismantle rules intended to reduce methane emissions; and allow more oil and gas drilling off America’s coast and in precious national parks. In short, under Trump, the environment is under assault as never before by special interests who care nothing for human life but only for corporate profits. His consistent failure to be a leader for all Americans and not just a select few is a direct affront to the fundamental principles of democracy.
You can read the editorial in its entirety, including the parts that lambaste Democrats for not allowing Trump to tell his side of the story in the impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives — even though Trump specifically forbade members of his administration to testify. But Galli’s words are so measured, powerful, and persuasive they deserve a wider audience. He begins by paying homage to Billy Graham, the founder of Christianity Today.
In our founding documents, Billy Graham explains that Christianity Today will help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith. The impeachment of Donald Trump is a significant event in the story of our republic. It requires comment.
Galli then goes on to detail the case against Donald Trump in the most scathing terms imaginable:
But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.
The reason many are not shocked about this 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.
Self Dealing & Moral Deficiencies
We at CleanTechnica have frequently accused the alleged president of benefiting only himself and his closest associates, not the citizens of America. Galli agrees.
Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. 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. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.
An Analogy To The Clinton Impeachment
This concern for the character of our national leader is not new in CT. In 1998, we wrote this:
The President’s failure to tell the truth—even when cornered—rips at the fabric of the nation. This is not a private affair. For above all, social intercourse is built on a presumption of trust: trust that the milk your grocer sells you is wholesome and pure; trust that the money you put in your bank can be taken out of the bank; trust that your babysitter, firefighters, clergy, and ambulance drivers will all do their best.
And while politicians are notorious for breaking campaign promises, while in office they have a fundamental obligation to uphold our trust in them and to live by the law. Unsavory dealings and immoral acts by the President and those close to him have rendered this administration morally unable to lead.
Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr. Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president. Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election — 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.
A Call To Evangelicals To Remember Their Core Principles
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. 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? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?
Enough Is Enough
We have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years now. Some have criticized us for our reserve. But when it comes to condemning the behavior of another, patient charity must come first. So we have done our best to give evangelical Trump supporters their due, to try to understand their point of view, to see the prudential nature of so many political decisions they have made regarding Mr. Trump.
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.
Wow! What Mr. Galli is saying in so many words is that by blindly following a charlatan who is giving them much of what they want politically, they risk the destruction of the entire evangelical movement. We might add that Republicans, by marching in lockstep to the tune called by the so-called president, risk destroying their own party.
They are playing a high stakes game of poker believing that God favors their chances. But there are no guarantees in such contests. Someone is going to walk away from the table having lost everything. Mark Galli is saying he is very concerned the losers will be the evangelical community. The destruction of the environment concerns us all and we must all work together to hold back the sources of pollution that threaten the global community.
For years, evangelicals have been happy to support politicians who promise them what they want. But as the old expression goes, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” The message to all evangelicals is that those who work to protect and preserve the Earth for future generations welcome you to join our cause. We are all in this together and it is past time for all to work together for the common good.
If we said what Mark Galli said, we would be pilloried as godless, anti-Christians. Let’s hope hearing it from one of their own will help promote a re-examination of the evangelical support for those who would destroy the Earth rather than preserve it. Jesus of Nazareth wouldn’t have it any other way.