Guest Writer

by Keith Pavlischek


Guest Writer

Mark Galli

December 20, 2019

Mark Galli and Christianity Today’s New Impeachment Orthodoxy

“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.”
Mark Galli, Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today

We now have it on the authority of the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine founded by Billy Graham and Carl Henry that, if you are a Christian believer, you are disloyal to God, have betrayed the Holy Trinity, and are unfaithful to the Lord Jesus if you (1) oppose the impeachment and removal of President Donald Trump or, if he is not removed by impeachment, you (2) support Trump over whichever Democratic candidate opposes him in the 2020 election.

And they said that Pastor Jerry Falwell and the old Christian Right stepped over the line with voter guides and insistence that Christians must vote for Candidate (fill in the blank)!

Let’s see what this implies, taking the views of a not-so-hypothetical Christian whom Galli tells us is a bad, disloyal, disobedient believer (an anti-Christ, if you will).

Suppose that a Christian believer finds persuasive the anti-impeachment arguments of Constitutional scholars such as Jonathan Turley (a liberal Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton), Alan Dershowitz (a liberal Democrat who voted for Clinton) and Ken Starr (an Evangelical who knows a little bit about constitutional law and impeachment). But, then, out of the blue, comes an obscure editor of a Christian magazine who – as far as readers can tell – has no equivalent expertise, and he tells him that he has a high moral obligation as a Christian believer to support not just impeachment, but removal of Trump from office. This is not a matter of prudence, but moral duty, Galli insists.

Why would any informed Christian layperson, who knows about law, politics and history, take seriously what this guy has to say, rather than the arguments by Turley, Dershowitz and Starr?

A counter-argument could be made to the anti-impeachment arguments of Turley, or Dershowitz or Starr. It could be argued that they are irrational and incoherent arguments, although I don’t find them to be so. Take to the pages of Christianity Today and tell us why Starr, as an Evangelical believer, is being disloyal to the author of the Ten Commandments. Have at it. But Galli doesn’t do that, he simply proclaims from the high perch of the CT editorial desk that that Trump should be removed and that the facts supporting impeachment and removal are “unambiguous.”

Oh, really?

That’s bad enough, but Galli insists that it is a Christian moral imperative that “Trump should be removed from office…by popular vote next election.” Set aside ignorance of how Presidents are elected (not by popular vote but the votes of the Electoral College), Galli has now implicitly endorsed whoever Trump’s Democratic opponent is in 2020. One must not, according to Galli, even prudentially weigh and balance the Democratic alternative to Trump – for to do so would violate the moral imperative that Trump be removed.

In other words, Galli tells those who find Trump preferable to Sanders or Warren that they are not faithful Christians. Sojourners Chief Jim Wallis, I am told, has already carried this to its logical conclusion – removal of Trump, he declares, is a matter of faith not politics. Really? Is there enough time to place that in the Creed? Make it an official confession or statement of faith? Call for the excommunication of those heretics who support Trump’s reelection?

Every Democratic candidate publicly favors the legality of abortion until the moment before birth. Each supports public funding for abortions and the repeal of the Hyde amendment. But I am told – upon pain of being charged with being a bad and unfaithful Christian, by the Editor-in-Chief of Christianity Today – I must not vote for Trump and that I cannot even contemplate doing so.

Good thing Galli is not the pope and that Christianity Today is not the magisterium. This editorial should disabuse those who are inclined to think that ignorant political fundamentalism and self-righteous moralism is the exclusive province of Trump court theologians. Which means faithful Christians of good will may oppose impeachment and may choose to support Trump’s reelection without worry about whether their souls are in danger, despite the posturing from Evangelical “gate-keepers” writing from the lofty heights of the editor’s desk at Christianity Today.

Keith PavlischekKeith Pavlischek is a retired U.S. marine colonel living in Annapolis, Maryland. He was assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Truman State University from 1989 to 1993, then Program Director for the Crossroads Program and the Civitas Program on Faith and Public Life. Later he was a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He is author of John Courtney Murray and the Dilemma of Religious Toleration.


44 Responses to Mark Galli and Christianity Today’s New Impeachment Orthodoxy

  1. Brandon Blake says:

    The Left has told us on the Right that we should not judge “other’s Christianity” or faith commitments because God know’s the person’s heart. That the lines are not always clear cut and defined regarding who’s in and who’s out. That there is good and evil running through all of us. That you don’t have to have “perfect” theology. Now they go about making those same types of moral judgments about those on the Right. Sheesh…

  2. Rebecca says:

    As a subscriber to CT for a number of years, I was dismayed to read these words from Mark Galli … and amazed that it was the impeachment issue that pushed him over the edge, of all things. The impeachment complaint is incredibly weak, and as a moral issue does not begin to compare with abortion and our crumbling Western culture.
    Rational Christians do not necessarily espouse all that the President says and does, but recognize that God sometimes uses what we consider “foolish things to put to shame those that are wise.”
    Mr. Galli is retiring within the month. It is distressing that he is scorching the earth on his way out the door and leaving his colleagues to deal with the fallout. That seems a bit inconsiderate, to say the least.

    • Joan Sibbald says:

      Rebecca said Mr. Galli is retiring in one month. Ah…..!
      Perchance he’s auditioning for a job at CNN. It worked for “Saint” James Comey.

    • David Gingrich says:

      I wish I was surprised by CT’s Galli editorial. I was not. Galli has made it clear over the past couple of years that he hates President Trump. And Dalrymple has now doubled down. Over 90% of Republicans approve of President Trump’s performance. What does that say about CT?

  3. Richard says:

    Mr. Pavlischek – thank you for a what I would say is a very coherent article, quite the opposite from what Mr. Galli has stated.

    Further, my opinion is that what Mr. Galli has written in his capacity as editor-in-chief of Christianity Today is only one more sign of a nation that has lost its way. For instance, unless it was altered in some way, take a look at the swearing in of four House of Representatives witnesses in the impeachment trial as it first started. What I saw was the majority party in the House delete God from the swearing in of those about to testify. When it was pointed out that the phrase under God had not been included, that fact was acknowledged and it was said some witnesses did not want it included. The swearing in was left as originally stated.

    So, is it any wonder that our nation is in a transition away from God and the theology once such a part of our country’s founding. GC-2020 must finally settle controversies related to the secular side of Methodism. We can’t simply continue with this “until just one more conference” and expect answers any more than we can watch the House slowly change to omitting God from the swearing in ceremony of witnesses.

    Than you and God bless.

    • David says:

      “So help me God” is not required for Federal oaths, but merely something added by the person taking the oath. Even the use of the Bible is not required for oaths and at least two Presidents have taken oaths on copies of the Constitution. Actually, people are not required to swear at all and can opt for secular affirmations. I believe one recent Republican President had “So help me God” added to the oath taken for citizenship, though I am not certain that has survived . Other intrusions of religion into government include “In God we trust” carved into the marble above the House Speaker’s chair. This seems to have occured in the last 10-20 years.

    • Joan Sibbald says:

      Richard, America is definitely in transition away from God. As with many Western cultural and religious changes Europe leads the way; we follow.

      I read recently where a doctor in UK was fired for saying he could not call a male patient a woman nor a woman patient a man because of his Christian faith: “From the beginning God made them man and woman.” and Hippocratic Oath: “Do no harm.”

      In denying his claim for reinstatement the U.K High Court decreed, “Biblical teachings are incompatible with humanity.”

  4. senecagriggs says:

    I believe Mark Galli should tender his resignation as editor of C.T. due to his divisive spirit.

  5. Cindy says:

    President Trump has done more for Christians then any President. More worship and bible studies going on in the White House then ever. He is not for abortion. Wake up Mark! Get your facts on what the President is doing. I have not bought your magazine for year because of questionable articles.

    • David says:

      Trump cares nothing about religion or Christian morality. He just uses Evangelicals who blindly follow him. It is an extension of the Republican “southern strategy” where comments are made like “There are good people of both sides” in regard to parading neo-Nazis. He appeals to the worst aspects of America.

  6. Tom says:

    As an evangelical Christian, I haven’t read CT for some time. They are often referred to as “Christianity Astray.”

    The editorial is a monument to credulity and gullibility. If Mr. Galli is reading this, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I”d like to sell him.

  7. Elizabeth J Roby says:

    I also agree that the editor is leaving a mess for his successor. I voted for President Trump based solely on his platform. I carefully read the platforms of the third party candidates because I already knew that I could not morally agree with the Democratic party platform. I wish that the president had a better moral character. I wish that he would stop making off the cuff comments on social media. But I do not believe that he has committed an impeachable offense. I don’t believe that hearsay evidence should be permitted at all.

  8. Ron Spurgeon says:

    Make no mistake. We are under attack by leftist in all forms. Even those who profess Christian principles like CT. Time for us to take action as believers. Volunteer, give financial support, write your representatives, comment to media outlets, and dissociate with publications that are contrary to your own Christian principles.

  9. Shelton Davis says:

    If Galli should serve on the jury in a court trial, he would be aware that hearsay evidence would not be tolerated in the court room but he wants to impeach a president based on hearsay testimony? Where is your mind Mr Galli?

  10. MikeS says:

    He hit the big time! Front page news on the NYT, the ultimate achievement for any social-climbing and respectability-seeking evangelical. Maybe they’ll give him a guest column.

  11. Mike says:

    My subscription to CT lapsed recently; now I know for sure that I won’t be renewing it.

    While President Trump has certainly made mistakes and broken plenty of commandments over the course of his life, I believe that the Presidency is changing him; he takes the office very seriously and it (and those around him, including committed Christians) are shaping him and making him more “presidential”.

    And thank goodness that he’s not afraid to get into the gutter (like Twitter) and fight! If not for that character trait, the media and Democrats would have buried him and stopped him by now. Instead, he is helping change our nation – today and for years to come.

  12. Merry Christmas says:

    CT’s Mark Galli appears burned out and ready for retirement. His ill advised rambling attack lacked Biblical perspective. The Holy Bible is filled with examples of ‘fallen man’ who repents, seeks redemption and is showered with mercy and grace by the Lord. Such is the case with President Trump. Sure Trump’s still a human with flaws (as we all are), but Trump openly seeks Judeo Christian counsel, which is good news.
    Galli invokes the name of Billy Graham in the piece, which is rather cowardly, if not downright dishonest.

  13. RobW says:

    We appear to be heading for a Post-God, Post-Faith, Post-Church, and Pro-Secular, Pro-Idol Worship, and Pro-Anything Goes Nation. The United States of America might someday become the United States of Bael. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bael_(demon)

  14. james north says:

    Those who would sup with the Devil should use a long spoon.

  15. Greg Wright says:

    Amazing that all of the “separation of church and state” idealogues found so much to agree with in Mark Galli’s twisted effort to subvert lawful authority and rebel against God’s ordained leader, Donald J. Trump.
    Please retire Mark, and leave the fight to those of us who believe President Trump has America’s best interest at heart!

  16. Gary Bebop says:

    Mark Galli confuses his evangelical royalty with Incarnational humility. He scolds, hectors, and berates from class privilege. But in doing so, he exhausts his evangelical influence as a shepherd. He exchanges it for the pottage of momentary illuminancy as a progressive seer.

  17. Martin Bauman says:

    This argument misses the point entirely. Galli is not making a legal argument. His argument is a moral one. That the ongoing support for Donald J. Trump by the evangelical community is debasing a believers witness to those one is trying to reach with the good news of the gospel.

    • Rick Plasterer says:

      Mr. Bauman,

      The moral thing to do in World War II was to support Stalin against Hitler. It was Hitler who was waging all-out war to conquer the world and embark on savagery. Stalin may have been savage, but was not waging a shooting and certainly not total war to conquer the world. Today’s Democratic Party wants to require complicity in sin, and thus require sin. It is waging war with all its might against religious freedom, and denying religious freedom is its top priority. There is no moral argument for impeachment from a Christian standpoint.

      As for Christian witness, the liberal/left thinks Christians are hypocrites anyway. Winsomeness doesn’t help.

      Rick

    • David Taylor says:

      When anyone invokes “debasing a believer’s witness” we need to examine the assumptions hidden beneath that conclusion. What’s really in jeopardy here, “our witness” or someone’s reputation with an unbelieving world?

  18. William says:

    All of this reminds me of my years as a Seminarian at Princeton Theological Seminary in the years 1957-1960 when we often heard from our liberal professors, calling Christianity Today as “Yesterday’s Christianity Today”

  19. Richard S Bell says:

    Vote for a qualified person who runs against Donald Trump as nominee of the Republican party in 2020.

  20. Doug says:

    I believe Mr. Pavlischek is ignoring the main points of the editorial (which are valid and therefore difficult to criticize) and instead misrepresenting the editorial as mainly being critical of evangelicals who support Pres. Trump. Galli is simply telling Christians to wake up and see Trump for who he really is before they get labelled as hypocrites. Any Republican would oppose abortion and nominate antiabortion, pro-Christian judges. Let’s get a Republican in there we can be proud of, instead of a rich playboy.

  21. John Schuh says:

    Donald Trump’s behavior is widely different from that of previous presidents. But exactly how does it deviate more from Christians norms that that of someone like the mayor of South Bend, or any number of “Christian” monarchs of the past? To be sure, he is miles away from the Methodist “Sam Grant” whose biggest fault, his drinking, was owing to his greatest virtue, that he was wildly in love with his wife.

  22. Donald says:

    I’m glad you noted the Editor-in-Chief of Sojourners is “Mr. Wallis” not “Reverend Wallis.” From his recent photos it looks like Jimbo hasn’t missed too many meals while jet-setting around the world to hobnob with other Soros-funded leaders of “non-profit” enterprises while lecturing the rest of us on being sensitive to the ‘poor and oppressed.’ Anybody care to look up how much Jimbo makes a year and compare it with your own salary?

  23. Jamie E Reddish says:

    I just came to thank you…thank you…and can’t thank you enough Mark for standing against Trump. He is so vulgar and our youth is in more danger today than ever watching a leader that’s suppose to be a role model (and will be one way or another) have no self control….name call constantly like a child so the youth will think its cool and ok to be rebellious. He is a hazard to our children’s well being. I can’t comprehend anyone backing him…guns seem to be more important than moral values. Im begging you please don’t stop the fight we desperately need people like you to stand against this. And Biden isn’t any better he called a man a d**n liar in a fighting manner with youth sitting laughing right in the very middle of it. They are laughing because they now think it’s cool to fight and Biden said so…..they are laughing because Trump said you can name call…they will be fighting vandalizing breaking the law because the government (Biden and Trump) do it and say its ok and funny and we aren’t doing anything about it.

  24. Bryan says:

    According to Galli’s reasoning, King David should have been ousted after Bathsheba yet God had mercy and he stayed in office as a flawed leader…

  25. Brother Thom says:

    I take anything said by the left, who have fought to put Christianity out of mainstream family life, while supporting, advancing, promoting and giving a free speech pass to those who believe in Islam.

    If I were to complain to management about a coworker saying a Muslim blessing at work, I could be fired or disciplined. But if a Muslim coworker complains about me saying a Christian prayer at work, he will be listened to, I will again be disciplined, and my Muslim coworker will probably get a bonus for being diverse.

    The editor of Christian Today improperly invoked the name of Billy Graham. His son Franklin rightfully so went on national TV to remind America that Christian Today does not speak for his father and that his father “thought Trump was the right person to be president at this time.” So at the end of the day, Christianity Today was pretty … well … UN-Christian.

  26. The entire impeachment circus is just the latest in the Constitutional Republic’s litany of diversions that keep Americans from focusing on the only solution for America’s woes: A return to Yahweh, God of the Bible, as America’s Sovereign, His Son as Savior of the Remnant, and His immutable moral law as the standard for government and society.

    And, let’s not overlook that if not for Article 6’s Christian test ban by which mandatory biblical qualifications for civil leaders were also eliminated, there would be no Trump with which to abuse the power of impeachment.

    What the “Baal priests” do to a fellow “Baal priest” should not concern us so much as what the constitutional framers did when they made it so that America has ended up with nothing but “Baal priests” for her civil leaders in all three branches of the biblically adverse Constitutional Republic.

    For more regarding Article 6’s Christian test ban, see Chapter 9 “Article 6: The Supreme Law of the Land” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective” at https://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/BlvcOnline/biblelaw-constitutionalism-pt9.html

    Then find out how much you *really* know about the Constitution as compared to the Bible. Take our 10-question Constitution Survey in the right-hand sidebar and receive a free copy of the 85-page “Primer” of “BL vs. USC.”

  27. james says:

    Jesus looked up at the woman’s accusers and said, “let him who has not sinned cast the first stone.” Those accusing drifted away. Jesus asked the woman, “where are your accusers. Go, and sin no more……….”

  28. Bob says:

    Galli was right to point out the painful and unexpressed moral inconsistencies in Trump, the new and horribly bent “Defender of the Faith.” Evangelical leaders rightly thumped Clinton and Ted Kennedy for their disastrous public/private moral hypocrisies. Trump gets a wide pass and even active moral defense from many public fundamentalist leaders, which pimps out Nathan’s example of court chaplain courage. That said, it is for voters to decide, for it also is true that in matters of abortion, gay sex and related issues Democratic Party leaders have gone all one way. That said, as retired Navy with lots of years with the USMC, trump’s abysmal leadership style of impulse, bullying, inconsistency and surface whim, combined with resignations of integrity by 2 legends of the Corps …Kelly and Mattis…argue strongly for change at the top.

  29. Search4Truth says:

    One answer is obvious, Mr. Galli cites ten commandments, but believes in no more than nine (if that figure isn’t too high?}. Unless that is that he has written his own list.

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