Christianity Today, a magazine founded in 1956 by Billy Graham to serve evangelical Christians, called for the removal of President Trump from office in a commentary on Thursday.
Within hours, Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, publicly slammed the magazine for using his father’s name to promote a partisan attack on the president:
Since “they invoked my father’s name (I suppose to try to bring legitimacy to their statements),” Rev. Graham wrote, “I feel it is important for me to respond.”
“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,” Graham said, noting that the misappropriation of his father’s name is what moved him to reveal whom his father voted for in 2016.
Rev. Graham then proceeded to offer his own searing indictment of the behavior of House Democrats in their “politically motivated, 100% partisan” impeachment of the president.
Friday morning, President Trump tweeted that Christianity Today is “a far left magazine.”
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…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2019
Later Friday morning, Mark Galli, the Christianity Today editor who penned the commentary, appeared on CNN and claimed the president’s assertion was “factually inaccurate.”
“His characterization of us as being far left is far from accurate,” Galli told CNN host John Berman. He added:
We consider ourselves and most people consider us a pretty centrist magazine in the evangelical world… It’s factually inaccurate we’re far left. We rarely comment on Politics unless we feel it rises to the level of some national or concern that is really important.
A 2015 Christianity Today commentary penned by Gallie and published at the magazine titled, “Amnesty is Not a Dirty Word,” appears to support the president’s assertion the magazine is “far left.”
“Before President Obama announced his executive order this fall to integrate some 5 million illegal immigrants into our political life, and before a judge halted the program this week, charges of “Amnesty!” rang loud and clear,” Galli began:
The word has been so toxic, pro-reform groups like the Evangelical Immigration Table (a Christian coalition that includes World Vision, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities) avoids it like the Ebola virus. Even the President distanced himself from it, saying that giving legal status and work permits to nearly 5 million immigrants is “certainly not amnesty, no matter how often critics say it.”
“Why are so many of us frightened of amnesty—defined as “a general pardon for offenses, especially political offenses, against a government”—for illegal immigrants?” Galli continued in his pro-illegal alien amnesty 2015 commentary:
Whether it was politically expedient or effective for President Obama to issue his latest executive order; whether and how much should be expected of illegal immigrants on the way to citizenship; how and where to control borders—all of these detailed political questions need to be worked through with care by legislators and concerned citizens. But the one thing we Christians especially should not run from is any action accused of offering “amnesty.”
How can we, of all people, insist on something as unbending as “the rule of law” when, in fact, we bear daily the guilt of breaking the most unbending and righteous of all laws? How can we, of all people, object to reconciling illegal immigrants with our political and social order when we, illegal before God, have been granted amnesty from sin in a free act of grace—no strings attached? How can we, of all people, refuse a preferential option for amnesty, given that “[God] forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:13–14)?
Galli is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz and Fuller Theological Seminary.