Despite What 'Christianity Today' Says I Really Doubt Christian Witness or the Gospels Will Be Damaged If President Trump Is Not Removed From Office

Great.

It’s Christmas and people left and right are weighing it to tell everyone who supports President Trump, either enthusiastically or reluctantly, that they are very, very bad people and not even Christians, and will quite possibly be joining John Dingell in Hell because of that support.

Yesterday, Fredo was talking to Representative Sean Duffy and the subject of Donald Trump’s mockery of Nancy Pelosi and his horrendous insult to the memory of the sainted John Dingell (just joking) came up. It took a rather predictable turn

Cuomo then parroted what’s become a left-wing default: Christianity.

“Remind me, Sean, are you a Christian?” Cuomo asked Duffy, to which the former congressman answered affirmatively.

“Your party basically wants to make Christianity the religion of this country, but certainly the guiding light of its party,” the host continued.

But Duffy pushed back, saying the GOP wants “freedom of religion” and “the freedom to practice whatever religion you choose.”

To which Cuomo replied, “Which often gets translated into the ability to discriminate against others” — and dropped the Big One.

“If you want to hold yourself as a Christian, you can’t make any of the arguments you’re making right now,” Cuomo told Duffy.

The whole interview is idiocy. Shame on Duffy for debasing himself by appearing on Fredo’s show. And the idea that Cuomo and his ilk calling President Trump a traitor and all manner of other things for three years is fine but now claiming that if you laugh about Trump dunking on Nancy for losing her teeth and you’re suddenly consorting with Satan is ridiculous in the extreme.

Yesterday, we had all kinds of people on the right finding President Trump’s joke about John Dingell being in Hell a offense against Christianity, this is one of the milder examples.

https://twitter.com/EWErickson/status/1207810090037907456

I find it hard to believe that the idea of a vicious pro-abort like Dingell being in Hell is all that farfetched or that what the media approves of in the way of humor has very much to do with Christianity.

To make the entire spectacle complete, today, the magazine Christianity Today joined the fray with an opinion piece by its editor that has rapidly acquired the status of Scripture in NeverTrump circles. Let me say up front, I’m not an evangelical. I don’t read Christianity Today because I don’t care what they have to say. I don’t know their politics for the same reason.

(By the way, the number of slobbering liberals who are assuring me that this guy is not a lefty pretty well assures me that he is.)

I try not to criticize the inner workings of other denominations or get involved in their intramural debates because I am not one of them. I’m interested in this only because today it is being used as a cudgel with which to try to browbeat Christians who consider themselves Evangelicals, and all Christians by extension, into supporting impeachment because #OrangeManBad.

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.

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.

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?

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.

It did not go unnoticed.

This whole argument just makes my ass tired.

First and foremost, Galli, who apparently is some sort of an evangelical bigwig, falls into the sin that we Catholics call calumny. His assertion, without evidence, of Trump’s guilt is, in fact an offense against the Decalogue prohibition against bearing false witness. What he is demanding is that we take at face value the claims made by Adam Schiff and ignore the entire context of the affair. To date not a whit of evidence has been shown that the claim he makes about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine have been demonstrated to be true.

Even IF the assertion is true, it is an offense against the President’s oath of office to ignore what certainly looks like a pay-to-play scheme involving Hunter Biden and possibly Joe Biden simply because of Hunter Biden’s family connections. Unless I missed a codicil to the Ten Commandments that proscribes theft “unless your Daddy is considering a run for president of the United States as a Democrat.” I think this Galli’s attack on Trump puts him squarely in defense of graft and corruption so long at the right sort of Democrat commits it.

He also insists that his views on are, dare I say it, infallible. I’d think any alleged Protestant theologian or cleric would have just a few qualms in asserting that his perceptions are so keen that disagreement will, inevitably, damage not only Christianity and the national character  but put souls in jeopardy. Hell, there was a rather lengthy European war fought over just that issue.

At a minimum the Christian virtues of Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, and Humility are gravely offended by this article.

The grave error Galli falls into, though, is idolatry. He’s forgotten the admonition that we are in the world, not of the world. He’s made his own god of partisan politics, or more accurately Trump hatred. His god is a doubly false god. Because not only is he asserting, without evidence, that a minor political squabble has theological import, he is also asserting that there are actually candidates out there who, if you support them, will give Christian witness. To assert that the world’s understanding of the Gospel hinges upon disavowing Trump is simply lunacy. What makes it all so sad and hilarious is that he doesn’t see that while he’s roundly accusing fellow Christians of corrupting religion by their personal political choices, he’s the one actually conflating the divine and the profane.

The article clearly implies, to the extent that it doesn’t outright state it, that the author finds President Trump’s aesthetic so offensive that it allows him to prefer, as was the case in 2016, a president who supports all manner of intrinsic evil, so long as they are the approved of by the right people, over a man who has already done more to restrict abortion and enhance religious freedom than George Bush did in eight years.

Once you star scraping away at the surface of this very superficial argument you don’t find very much there.

What kind of Christian witness is exhibited by taking at face value uncorroborated accusations by political enemies (this theme should be familiar to anyone vaguely familiar with Scripture–and no, this is not a reference to Trump as Christ)? What kind of Christian witness is given by presuming to make a pronouncement upon the state of a brother’s soul simply because of that person’s own prudential judgement that he really doesn’t give a fat rat’s patootie if President Trump mocks Pelosi or a dead pro-abort Democrat? There is the bad faith argument that approving of Trump’s political acts while disagreeing with some of his personality traits is impossible…it isn’t. There is the false equivalence of  Trump’s bombastic and abrasive persona with his policies which are protecting religious liberty, defending the sanctity of life, and allowing millions of Americans to live better and more productive lives. There is the bizarre notion that being rude and prone to exaggeration will crush Christianity but promoting abortion and mainstreaming sexual perversion is okay as long as it is done by someone who knows which fork to use.

And one can’t help but notice Malli’s absence from the field of battle for eight long years as about 10 million babies were murdered in utero, and never once was this kind of anathema pronounced upon people who voted for Obama.

The greatest fallacy is that just like many get the relationship between Faith and Reason all wrong, I don’t think Malli has a very strong understanding of how Faith and Politics interact.

The purpose of our political life as Christians is to promote Christian values to the maximum extent possible and to create an environment where it is possible for people of faith to practice that faith openly and without penalty. It is not to deify politicians. At best any politician is a very imperfect vessel and, to a great extent, supping with the devil. This is how the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, in the document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, sees the issue:

34. Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who favors a policy promoting an intrinsically evil act, such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, deliberately subjecting workers or the poor to subhuman living conditions, redefining marriage in ways that violate its essential meaning, or racist behavior, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases, a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.

35. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position even on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may reasonably decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.

36. When all candidates hold a position that promotes an intrinsically evil act, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods.

As citizens were are forever choosing between lesser evils–evils as we perceive them–in politics. Every candidate has trade offs. There are red lines that we, as Christians, should not cross. Making mean jokes is not one of them. Disapprove of Trump’s personality and some of his past actions to your heart’s content, but don’t try to tell me that those are critical issues to consider because they aren’t.

If you think the reputation of your church is tied up in this impeachment vote or the 2020 election, you don’t belong to church to begin with. If you think you think the fate of the nation teeters in the balance based on President Trump’s Twitter account, you’re an idiot who should be shunned. If you think the Gospel that survived Borgia Popes will be jeopardized by one man’s personal shortcomings, you are spouting heretical nonsense. And if you think that the souls of your brothers are in jeopardy because they don’t do what you tell them to do, you are a self-righteous hypocrite who is in need of a serious log-removal session…or a log-insertion…session.