Donald Trump, Franklin Graham, other leading evangelicals react to Christianity Today's call to remove president

Donald Trump is shown in this file photo.Reuters

President Donald Trump and Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, have slammed evangelical magazine Christianity Today [not to be confused with this publication, Christian Today] after Mark Galli, the publication's editor-in-chief, called for the president's removal from office.

"A far left magazine, or very 'progressive,' as some would call it, which has been doing poorly and hasn't been involved with the Billy Graham family for many years, Christianity Today, knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call and would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President," Trump wrote in a series of tweets Friday.

"No President has done more for the evangelical community, and it's not even close. You'll not get anything from those Dems on stage. I won't be reading [CT] again!" he ended.

On Thursday, Galli wrote in the magazine founded by Franklin Graham's father, evangelical icon Billy Graham, that Trump has to be removed from office because he violated the Constitution and is "profoundly immoral."

"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," Galli wrote a day after Trump became the third president in history to beimpeached by the House of Representatives.

President Donald Trump honors the late Reverend Billy Graham on March 2, 2018.White House Photo/Shealah Craighead

"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," Galli asserted.

In his response to the magazine his father founded, Graham revealed that despite the president's shortcomings, his father voted for him and would not be in support of Galli's opinion.

"Christianity Today released an editorial stating that President Trump should be removed from office—and they invoked my father's name (I suppose to try to bring legitimacy to their statements), so I feel it is important for me to respond," Graham began.

"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. 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," he continued before accusing CT of wanting their readers to believe "the Democratic leadership" rather than Trump.

"For Christianity Today to side with the Democrat Party in a totally partisan attack on the President of the United States is unfathomable. Christianity Today failed to acknowledge that not one single Republican voted with the Democrats to impeach the President. I know a number of Republicans in Congress, and many of them are strong Christians. If the President were guilty of what the Democrats claimed, these Republicans would have joined with the Democrats to impeach him. But the Democrats were not even unanimous—two voted against impeachment and one voted present. This impeachment was politically motivated, 100% partisan," Graham wrote.

"Why would Christianity Today choose to take the side of the Democrat left whose only goal is to discredit and smear the name of a sitting president? They want readers to believe the Democrat leadership rather than believe the President of the United States," he added.

Last year, Galli wrote a piece criticizing the 76% of white self-identified evangelical voters who voted for President Trump in 2016, saying:

" ... most evangelical Christians like me exclaimed, 'who are these people? I know hardly anyone, let alone any evangelical Christian who voted for Trump. I describe evangelicals like me as 'elite' evangelicals ... and this class of evangelicals has discovered that we have family members so different they seem like aliens in our midst. These other evangelicals often haven't finished college, and if they have jobs (and apparently a lot of them don't), they are blue-collar jobs or entry level work. They don't write books or give speeches; they don't attend conferences of evangelicals for social justice or evangelicals for immigration reform. They are deeply suspicious of mainstream media. A lot of them voted for Donald Trump."

Despite Galli's call for Trump's removal, a report in The New York Times says the magazine is not united behind the man whose retirement becomes effective Jan. 3, 2020.

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, a member of the publication's board of directors who opposes the impeachment, told the Times: "Christianity Today is very apolitical. We don't do politics, we don't even bring up politics in a board meeting."

Here are some other reactions to CT's editorial calling for President Trump's removal from office.

Pastor Mark Burns of Harvest Praise and Worship Center in Easley, South Carolina: "Libs have infiltrated some elements of Evangelicals, which Christian Today, a Magazine founded by Billy Graham clearly showed with the request for Trump's removal from office. But I agree with Franklin Graham, when he said his father would be embarrassed by Christianity Today."

Eric Metaxas, author of Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World and host of "The Eric Metaxas Show": "What makes the @CTmagazine editorial odd (if not preposterous) is that it implies those like Biden or Pelosi, who use the power of their offices to promote the murder of the unborn & the demonization of a biblical sexual ethic, less "morally troubling" than Trump & his tweets."

Dana Loesch, nationally syndicated conservative talk radio host, television personality, and best-selling author wrote in part: "Some have said we shouldn't overstate the importance of this Christianity Today editorial from an outgoing editor, which would be well received if it wasn't widely used as a cudgel by godless media looking for a "rejected by Christians" narrative. And yes, CT doesn't represent all Christians and Christians aren't a monolith — but within the cited editorial they most certainly are questioning the discipleship of those who plan to vote for Trump in 2020 or at the very least suggesting that support for Trump is somehow incompatible with faith. If it was unintentional it doesn't seem like much of an effort was made to avoid the confusion."

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr: "Less than 20% of evangelicals supported @HillaryClinton in 2016 but now @CTmagazine has removed any doubt that they are part of the same 17% or so of liberal evangelicals who have preached social gospel for decades! CT unmasked!"

Jack Graham, senior pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist multi-site megachurch in Plano, Texas: "The magazine Billy Graham helped to start over 60 years ago in no way resembles its founders vision. It is increasingly liberal and out of step and out of touch with conservative Christians and churches."

First Baptist Church of Dallas Senior Pastor Robert Jeffress: ".@CTmagazine is a dying magazine that has been "Never Trump" from the beginning. They are going against 99% of evangelical Republicans who oppose impeachment. President @realDonaldTrump is the most pro-life, pro-religious liberty, pro-Israel President in history!"