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Deep Divide Revealed Among Evangelicals Over Trump Impeachment

Deep Divide Revealed Among Evangelicals Over Trump Impeachment
CT editorial rattles evangelicals as hope and anger stir America's largest political tribe

NEWS ANALYSIS

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
December 24, 2019

Who woulda thunk it? American evangelicals who voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump at the last election now appear not to be as united as first thought, with many believing the pendulum has now swung in the opposite direction.

An editorial in the conservative magazine Christianity Today calling for the removal of President Trump from the presidency, revealed a deep fissure among evangelicals. This created a firestorm of approval and disapproval the like of which we have not seen since Billy Graham announced his break from fundamentalism and committed himself to cooperative evangelism in 1956.

The rage across the blogosphere is so divisive that lifetime friendships have been severed, families torn apart with the political divide so deep that millions of Christians will go unreconciled to their graves.

The writer of the CT editorial Mark Galli is a member of the Anglican Church in North America, a tribe to which I belong. ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach told VOL, "Yes, he attends an ACNA congregation. We are a politically diverse group of people trying to follow Jesus, and stay true to the teaching of the Bible!"

The firestorm can best be captured by two opposing voices.

The first is by the Rev. Dr. Robert Gagnon who wrote this; "Is there anything more delusional than the belief of Mark Galli of Christianity Today that the Left will take more seriously Evangelical positions on abortion, "LGBTQ" coercion, and the curtailment of free speech and the free exercise of religion if only we support Trump's removal from office? The Left hates us *precisely because* we oppose these things. Their visceral hatred of Trump stems first and foremost from his failure to advance wholeheartedly their most cherished and defining agendas. Does Mark Galli honestly think that the Democratic Party will be amenable to putting restrictions on abortion and cease pushing for the most draconian "Equality" Act that they can pass to impose the homosexualist and transgender agenda if only we back their efforts to remove Trump from office?"

The other viewpoint comes from the editorial itself. "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." There you have it.

One can't imagine that Galli and Gagnon will be sipping lattes at Starbucks together any time soon. If ever.

Churches are a place where people can disagree on politics and still be friends, says my wife. I'll believe that when they find the body of Jimmy Hoffa and prove who really killed him.

A number of facts, less well known, have emerged highlighting the enormous gulf.

1. CT editor in chief Timothy Dalrymple naturally defended Galli and said that despite the large number of subscribers who signed off of CT, three times as many new subscribers signed up. I'm not sure who they are, but it says something.

2. Franklin Graham revealed that his father voted for Trump, but he personally would never have told us that. Graham (the father) made one political mistake in his life, revealing what he and Harry Truman talked about, a betrayal that took 17 years to fix before Truman died. Billy never revealed again what he and presidents spoke about and never told us how he voted. Barack Obama visited Graham just before he died which speaks volumes. Franklin has publicly jumped into political bed with Trump, thereby putting the BGEA at risk. It even prompted an evangelical Church of England bishop telling his people to not support Franklin when he came to England for an evangelistic crusade because of the divisions it might cause.

3. The 81% of evangelicals who allegedly voted for Trump is an exaggerated figure. The Pew Research Center found in June 2016 that while 78 percent of self-identified white evangelical voters planned to vote for Trump, 45 percent were mainly voting against Hillary Clinton and only 30 percent were voting for Trump himself. Well-respected evangelical missiologist Ed Stetzer, of Wheaton, IL says many voters chose to look past a candidate as an individual to vote for a specific issue, platform, or party that they represent, seeing the candidates more like objects of representation than as individuals whose values and ideals fit theirs. A majority of evangelicals by belief (59%) agreed that their political support should be tied more to praising or criticizing specific issues, rather than individual political leaders.

The long and short of it is that only 58% of evangelicals voted for Trump and 36% voted for Hilary Clinton.

4. It is clear that Trump will survive this impeachment despite the public humiliation. The raw truth will only come out when American evangelicals go into the voting booth next year. Then we will no longer see through a glass darkly.

For another perspective click here: https://julieroys.com/the-selective-outrage-of-mark-galli-christianity-today/?fbclid=IwAR2vg7FMK1zR-ooOXoBwGrRMKhNZdoI5Cl-PTkkk0_AwKc7aWknMYz7cOKA

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