Another Christian Publication Editor Decides to Quit Rather Than Stop Writing Anti-Trump Zingers for a Living

 President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks at his Black Voices for Trump rally Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

 

As I’ve noted before, the election of Donald Trump has had a salutatory effect on conservatism. In the past, there have been obvious factions within conservatism, for instance, social conservatives and fiscal conservatives, but, by and large, we’ve always been able to put our differences aside and work for the common good. Part of this was made possible by elected conservatives forgetting who put them in office the moment they took the oath of office and falling in lockstep with whatever the Chamber of Commerce was pushing that week. By being relentlessly sold out, conservatives of all stripes were united in electing more of the same kind of people on the theory that given a critical mass of losers in Congress we would succeed. This was the era of Failure Theater, where easy-to-do stuff, like choking off the supply of federal money to Planned Parenthood, was shelved, in part, because our elected officials found fundraising off the outrage more appealing and less work and, in part, because many of the “pro-life” Republicans were more interested in being called “thoughtful” and “pragmatic” by the media than in stopping an ongoing national shame.

Trump changed that. Being a salesman, he understood the importance of delivering for the people who voted for him…’dancin’ with them what brung ya,’ if you will. This easy-to-understand political philosophy has racked up some impressive gains but it has also revealed the degree to which a lot of Conservative Inc. and people who travel in that circle were driven by an intense dislike of Trump and now spend more of their time maligning the President and the people who are supporting him than they are doing anything conservative.

The same fault line has been exposed within the ranks of what used to be the reliable foot soldiers of the GOP, Evangelical Christians. Here, too, you find a non-trivial number of people who claim to be ‘thought leaders’ for Evangelicals calling into question the actual state of the soul of other Evangelicals who support Trump. Last week, the editor of Christianity Today ran a scathing op-ed calling out Christians who might pull the lever for Trump in 2020 as little more than apostates. The argument, so far as I understand it, is that is more Christian to enable the election of a party which has as its stated goal to limit your ability to live your faith to the time you spend in church and maybe at home if no one there objects.

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

The management of Christianity Today published a repudiation of his op-ed and he resigned. I expect him to appear over at the The Bulwark declaring what kind of dicks the owners are.

The smoke had barely cleared from that kerfuffle when another one broke out. The owners the Christian Post responded to the Christianity Today op-ed. It is something that you really should read as its target is the “Christian elitism” now in vogue with NeverTrumpers

These words are chillingly similar to former President Barack Obama’s description of rural voters who “cling to their guns and Bibles,” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s characterization of Trump supporters as “deplorables,” and most recently, Beto O’Rourke’s smug threats against biblically orthodox churches and citizens who own a certain type of rifle. These are the words of elitists who look down upon opponents as inferior human beings who need to be controlled, not debated.

That is the toxic emotional and spiritual stew in which the attitude animating Galli’s editorial festered into life.

This attitude is distinctly unbiblical. In Philippians, the Apostle Paul describes Jesus —the only one who rightly deserves elite status — as one who, “though in the form of God, did not count equality with God as a thing to be grasped, but humbled himself.” Instead, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, fellowshipped with sinners, tax collectors and the racially “unclean,” and was the first to champion equality for women, slaves, and even lepers.

Mr. Galli asks evangelicals supporting Trump to consider how continued support for the president will impede and compromise evangelical witness for Jesus to an unbelieving world. One might well ask Mr. Galli how his obvious elitist disdain and corrosive condescension for fellow Christians with whom he disagrees, as ignorant, uneducated, “aliens in our midst” might well damage evangelical witness to an unbelieving world. Unbelievers might well conclude, “These Christian preach love for neighbor, but they certainly don’t seem to practice what they preach!”

You may think Trump is a narcissistic, morally challenged, belligerent cad who has no business being president — except for the pesky constitutional fact that over 60 million American voters elected him to it. You may see Trump as a modern day Cyrus, the Persian king who did God’s bidding in assisting in the restoration of Jerusalem. You may think Trump is a Samson-like hero called to realign the Supreme Court, to redirect the economy toward the American worker, and/or to tear down the pillars of Deep State corruption in modern Washington. But whatever you think — and however you vote — America will certainly survive and is, in significant ways, thriving under a Trump presidency — even if it lasts another four years.

However, our religious and other freedoms will not long survive a government of elites so convinced of their superiority that they are willing to compromise constitutional due process, after illegally manipulating the nation’s national security and law enforcement apparatus behind the scenes, to depose a duly-elected sitting president — all the while declaring arrogantly to the American people that it is for their own good.

These are the fellow travelers that Christianity Today is clearly aligning itself with at this critical juncture in our nation’s history. CT’s op-ed does not represent evangelical Christianity today, yesterday or in the future. After all, a majority of Trump’s evangelical support has been triggered by his opponents’ advocating policies that make him appear to be, at the very least, the lesser of two evils in a binary contest.

CT’s disdainful, dismissive, elitist posture toward their fellow Christians may well do far more long-term damage to American Christianity and its witness than any current prudential support for President Trump will ever cause.

On Christmas Eve, the editor of the Christian Post resigned because his finely developed aesthetic simply could not stand it.

I find this kind of self-serving smugness to be grating. In my experience, when people leave a publication and feel the urge to publicly insult their former employers and imply that their former colleagues are soulless cretins with no morality it is more of an insight into their own character than it is into the character of the people who did not walk out. The childish immaturity of anyone in a management or leadership position who thinks they have a right to get their way and that the folks signing the payroll checks should just shut up never ceases to leave me breathless.

Earlier today, Nazworth was on CNN, naturally, to throw shade at his former employer and call them conspiracy theorists.

I’m not an Evangelical and I try not to get involved in their intramural skirmishes…Heaven knows, as a Catholic we have plenty of our own and I really resent non-Catholics mucking about in them. But this essentially declaring Trump supporters anathema is not only un-Scriptual, it is arrogant and divisive and does much more damage to the ability of Christians to work together than anything Donald Trump Will ever do.

It is un-Scriptural because nowhere does Scripture tell us we can only vote for people who act a certain way. You won’t find it. While I find the propensity of some small number of folks to declare Trump as divinely chosen or guided or something to be unsettling, I find the much larger number of people who will take their cues from Charlie Sykes, a guy who has been married the same number of times as Joe Scarborough and deserted a similar number of families and topped it off by refusing to pay child support, and condemn Trump’s character and declare those character deficiencies make him singularly unsuited to hold office. We don’t vote for Popes. We don’t vote for spiritual leaders. At last I don’t. I vote for the guy who is going to do more of what I want than the other guy. If the candidates are pretty even, sure character is a critical factor. But when the other candidate supports nothing that I believe in and is actively hostile to that which I hold dear, it really isn’t a close call.

Calling out people as not Christian because they support Trump is supremely and stupidly arrogant. None of us gets to decide the state of another’s Christian witness so long as the other person isn’t actively in opposition to Christian beliefs. There are candidates out there who fit that bill, Donald Trump is not one of them.

It is also divisive. Not divisive in a “I’m miffed” kind of way. It is divisive in a “FOAD, don’t ever talk to me again” kind of way. There are things you say that you can’t take back. Calling into question the actual Christian faith of people you don’t know because your panties are wadded because you don’t like Trump is one of those things. I know there are people whom I used to hold in some regard, but who could now be on fire and I couldn’t muster enough energy to urinate on them. I suspect that this propensity to cast aspersions on the faith of others simply because they made a prudential decision that Trump is superior to any Democrat will, as the Man said, divide father and son, etc.

But just like it is with the conservative movement, this kind of behavior is cleansing and liberating. Now people know who their friends are and who are the fake friends who are trying to bully them into a political choice using Christianity as a cudgel.

streiff
Managing Editor at RedState
Former infantry officer, CGSC grad and Army Operations Center alumnus.
RedState member since 2004.
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