Christianity Today, the influential evangelical magazine founded by televangelist Billy Graham has called for President Trump’s removal from office following his impeachment, marking a significant split from what has typically been Trump’s base. Mark Galli, Editor-in-Chief of the publication, says that despite staying silent on Trump for some time, the outlet needed to reason with their evangelical readers. “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.” According to Galli, the magazine has “done [their] 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.”
On Friday, Trump responded by categorizing Christianity Today as a far-left and progressive magazine that is miles away from its earliest years as an outlet for evangelical preacher Rev. Billy Graham. PRRI CEO and founder Robert P. Jones looked at the conservative history of Christianity Today in a Friday morning Twitter thread. “It’s broadly accepted by be in evangelical mainstream = conservative,” Jones wrote.
In a piece for The New York Times, Elizabeth Dias cites PRRI data which shows that 98% of Republican white evangelical Protestants oppose Trump’s impeachment. “The editorial was a surprising move for a publication that has generally avoided jumping into bitter partisan battles,” Dias notes. In 2018, Jones wrote about evangelicals support for Trump being undeterred by his public persona. “Despite revelations of taped boasts of sexual assault during the 2016 campaign, moral equivocation about white supremacy during his first year as president, and a host of other controversies, white evangelical support for Trump has steadily increased over time.”
Additional PRRI data shows that in 2016, more than seven in ten (72%) white evangelical Protestants said an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically in their professional life, a stunning 42 percentage point jump in their opinion on this issue since 2011.