Carol Swain Commentary: Mark Galli’s Unchristian Attack on President Trump from an Evangelical Perspective

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by Carol M. Swain

 

I first learned about Mark Galli’s Christianity Today editorial “Trump Should Be Removed from Office” from a text message sent by a former student of mine I’ll call Jared, a native New Yorker. He asked, What do you think of this article?

Galli argues that the grounds for impeachment are unambiguous. He says President Trump is morally unfit to hold public office because of the content of his tweets and his immoral behavior. His evangelical supporters, Galli proclaims, risk their Christian witness by standing behind a flawed and immoral man. However, he misinterprets the concluded impeachment hearings, omits the biblical requirements for political leadership, and ignores the interpretation of the Gospel that affords grace and forgiveness to every human being. That includes Donald Trump.

Here is Galli on impeachment:

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.

What is shocking about Galli’s assertion, designed to persuade Christians to abandon the President, is the smugness of the unsupported assertions.

. . . 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. . . None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.

Galli’s arguments and tortured reasoning make one wonder whether he watched the hearings or bothered to read the short transcript of President Trump’s telephone call to the Ukrainian leader this past July.

In the article, Galli becomes the accuser of the brethren. His goal is to shame the evangelical supporters of the President by questioning their faith. He writes:

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?

Galli’s attacks on Trump-loving evangelicals has made him the darling of the liberal Left. That is not a compliment. Galli invokes the stated goals of Christianity Today’s founding documents to help evangelical Christians “interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith.” Yet, the article does not offer its Christian readers the scriptures or biblically-based guidance from which to evaluate the impeachment of the President or his moral failings. Instead, Galli just ‘wings it.’

A number of excellent responses to Galli’s article have been written, including from the likes of historian Jim Garlow, Franklin Graham, Pastor Jentezen Franklin, Everett Piper, Edward Bauer, and Dr. James Dobson. There is more to be said, though. Without repeating the main points of those respondents, I add a few scriptures and my take of the situation, which follow.

What do Evangelical Christians Believe?

Evangelical Christians believe the Judeo-Christian Bible is the inspired word of God and that it offers guidance for every situation facing mankind. In 2 Timothy 3:16, we read: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (KJV). They also believe in forgiveness for sins (Luke 7:47-50), the need for a savior (Romans 3:20-28), and a responsibility to share the good news of the Gospel. The good news is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the past, present, and future sins of those who receive him as Lord and savior (John 3:16-18). Christians are admonished to share the good news (Matthew 28: 19-20).

If we examine the entire Bible as God’s history of dealing with mankind, we should be astonished by God’s use of flawed human beings.

In Daniel 2:20-21, we read that God is behind the rise and fall of world leaders – even the evil ones. “He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others.” In Isaiah 45, God raised-up Cyrus the Great, a pagan leader he referred to as his servant. Cyrus made possible the return of the exiles to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple. Romans 13:1-6 makes clear that God establishes governments and expects his servants to be submitted to their leaders. He also expects his people to pray for those who have authority over them (1 Timothy 2:1-2) and for the well-being of the nation (Jeremiah 29:7).

Throughout the Bible, God has never chosen the kinds of leaders or servants many modern-day purists would find acceptable as leaders. God choses nobodies to become somebodies. God used flawed human beings such as Abraham, who became the father of the Jewish nation. Abraham lied more than once about his wife being his sister, and he even allowed her to be taken into the home of another man to become that man’s wife. His son, Isaac, told the same lie about his wife. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. Nevertheless, God in his mercy found redeeming qualifications in each of these Old Testament people, including Rahab, the prostitute, who is in the direct lineage leading to Christ.

Christians who point to Trump’s marriages and divorces, private locker room conversations about women, his business dealings and Twitter feeds are on shaky biblical ground. Unlike the governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, Donald Trump did not run for office expressly as a Christian candidate. He never presented himself as a choirboy.

God has never required perfection from any human being. When He reaches down and saves any one of us, he uses our personalities and our wiring to achieve His purposes. None of us is in a position to judge President Trump’s faith. Only God knows President Trump’s heart and the depth of his commitment to faith.

As the website MAGAPill documents, the President has a solid record of achievement despite the unprecedented opposition he has experienced. Some of the more admirable things about him are his patriotism, his promises to defend and protect the lives of the unborn, his support for the military, and his fondness for regular Americans. He has reached out to racial and ethnic minorities, and many blacks have begun to see the Republican Party as a viable alternative to the Democrats.

Galli seems dedicated to encouraging Christians to abandon the President by calling into question their Christianity. By doing this, he joins the ranks of the accusers of the brethren. His short-sighted approach overlooks the plight of Christians who were essentially ridiculed and disparaged during the years of the Barack Obama presidency. Many Bible-believing Christians were crying out for relief because of persecution and the downward spiraling of our culture. For many of us, a measure of relief came in the form of Donald J. Trump.

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Carol M. Swain is a former tenured professor at Vanderbilt and Princeton universities. Her Be The People News blog and podcast empower individuals to think independently, understand their responsibility, and make a difference in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

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34 Thoughts to “Carol Swain Commentary: Mark Galli’s Unchristian Attack on President Trump from an Evangelical Perspective”

  1. Ronnie

    Thank goodness that Saul was not at the mercy of Mark Galli

    1. Carla McCombs

      Or King David-

  2. Gary Colvard

    This response about Trump is so ridiculous I wouldn’t even know where to begin he is a Despicable hateful selfish self-centered dangerous human being he has done so many things bad for our country and the world he has cut air quality, quality of water, pollution politics nepotism continuously uses vulgar language he doesn’t care if children are watching TV because he doesn’t care about anybody more than he does himself and the sad thing is that these people who support Trump cannot admit they made a bad decision rather than admitting that to themselves and if they were wrong they’d rather defend they’re understandable position of support for him it’s just disgusting and depressing..and his.. language there are just too many things he cut gay rights today to he took stamps away from the disadvantaged he put people in cages children separated the babies from the parents these are human beings they have feelings just like we all do and people sit around and think it’s right because it’s easy for them to accept because it’s not their child people are hypocritical and prejudiced and I am so disappointed and Americans and the way they treat each other now-a-days and then they put some article out like this is somebody writes and tries to make everything sound Rosie and Justified it is never Rosie and Justified to treat people like Trump has and the laws he passes and stacking the courts with prejudice judges it should be laws for everyone to good of everyone and it shouldn’t be a president determining and making that decision when they themselves are hypocritical hateful person.

    1. Ronnie

      Just how big is that log in your eye?

  3. Hazel

    I often wish President Trump would take a second look at his tweets before sending them out to be misread, misinterpreted, misunderstood and misused. I wonder why he said what he said and why he said it in the way he said it and then I’m reminded of the night of his election and how I sensed that this was something bigger than anything I had ever seen or heard. But the one thing so many seem to never mention is this “Who would you have voted for?” There was no one else that a true patriot of this country could have voted for! There was NO OTHER candidate a thinking man or woman could have voted for! For the first time in my life I voted AGAINST someone instead of voting FOR someone. And I would do it again.

    1. Robert W Morgenroth

      EXACTLY right, very wise insigtful comment. It is not about how much of a saint, or how Christian, Donald Trump is, and it never was. It is about how nearly pure evil rose to hissing, screeching power and very narrowly avoided winning the ability to sink the United States much earlier than the rest of the world at the Beginning of the End. I am not a hysterical end times babbler, nor am I a presumptious fool that believes that Man has control of his destiny. I do not defend President Trump’s prior sins nor call him any saint now. But I will always proclaim as much of the Truth as I can see from a Godly perspective, and that includes that Donald Trump is doing what God would have him do far more than any other current, or 2016 candidate. It neither exonerates nor exemplifies his record of sin as the “way to go”, but it also has NOTHING to do with each of our individual sin records. Hazel is right: most of us knowingly voted against Hilary Clinton as literally the lessor of two evils. Yet President Trump has unswervingly lived up to every hope or expectation I have had for a U.S. President, with the exception of saying or Tweeting inappropriate/harsh/ego driven/foolish things. And I’ll take that foolish speech over watching someone literally shove our country over the falls with their actions, ANY DAY. I woiuld not be at all surprised to find out that it has been a successful tactic of his, all his life: to play the fool, to act like the clown and laugh like the donkey, all while drawing his flies into the flycatcher and winning the day. Very Biblical to let the men and women who, like Pharisees, pride themselves on their human wisdom and high intelligence while showing themselves to be true fools and paying for their condescending attitudes with their eternal lives. And they would never listen to that type of talk to learn from what they themselves are proclaiming. So incredibly ironic, and not at all unlike the Pharisees criticizing Jesus for not being religious enough, not correct enough, nor righteous enough, as they are, to see the “error of His ways.” And just like the Pharisees, they will continue to not see it until it is well past the time where it is terribly too late.

  4. Harriet

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to that article. The judgment and hatred directed towards President Trump and especially his Evangelical supporters is antithetical to Biblical teaching. If the haters would look to the fruit being produced by this man, or even the Biblical commandment to serve one another in love, perhaps they would grow in the fruits of the Spirit. Blessings and Merry Christmas!

  5. William

    Proverbs 21 King James Version (KJV)
    The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
    ….
    10 The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.

    If God can control the king’s heart than how much more can he control the heart of an elected President. I used to think God would want Romney in the White House but then Hurricane Sandy showed me otherwise, ….. Trumps election was as or more miraculous ….. with faith it is possible to see that God is in control of a people that still pray. I hope all can continue in faith and stop trying to undo the will of God an speak for him as if they know his will….. His will , is sometimes a strange thing to us….. Lets have faith.

  6. Everyone God has used from the very beginning of time to this very hour have been sinners in need of being cleaned up. This includes all the famous evangelists, pastors and missionaries of history. Everyone God has used. Why would it be any different for President Trump? I know that God uses those He chooses to use regardless who they are.

    I hope we can put our trust in God and vote for the person we honestly believe is the right person to represent us and our God given country. We need to stop finding fault, love each other and move in the direction of faith in Christ. Jesus taught us how to live. We just need to put it into action and live it. It’s all in the Bible.

    President Trump is doing all he can do to save this country from tyranny. If we can’t see that, then we don’t want to see it and rather judge the man than stand behind him as long as he is fighting for us. If God can’t use a man who has sin, then who will he use?

  7. Terrence

    This ‘article’ is so very well thought out and written. Every word is exactly what it needs to be. Truth is a precious thing and it is here.

  8. Judy Resnick

    I’m strictly Orthodox Jewish, but I wanted to add to the discussion. Our Sages once mentioned a list of those people who “never sinned.” What’s interesting is that the people on that list never accomplished anything important or significant in their lives. There’s another list of the seven greatest figures in Jewish-Biblical history, people who are traditionally “invited” to our Sukkahs (booths) during the Festival of Tabernacles. None of the seven people on the list of “Seven Greatest Figures in Jewish-Biblical History” make it onto the list of “People Who Never Sinned.” The “accomplishers” include: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and King David. The “never sinned” list includes: Kilav (a little-known son of King David who refused the kingship); Jesse (father of King David); and a few other individuals who despite their piety are not well known today. The point is that “accomplishing” and “leadership” do not necessarily require sainthood. Some of America’s greatest leaders (think Thomas Jefferson or Dwight David Eisenhower) had moral flaws. Human beings are far from being perfect, and a strong and effective leader may well have erred in his lifetime. Lyndon Baines Johnson, whose domestic policies such as Medicaid and Medicare helped millions of Americans, used his power every day, in ways that his biographers have documented, to get things done. However, that’s only deemed an “impeachable offense” when a Republican President tries to do this.

    1. Tom

      Very good words. Thank you for sharing this information from your faith based perspective.

    2. Robert W Morgenroth

      Very well put, Judy. Excellent commentary.

  9. My Bible says that Gods children know His voice. I do not doubt the authors abilities to write, but I do doubt their ability to hear God. As Christians we need to speak out that we have heard that Trump is Gods choice and stand with him.

  10. Betty

    I assume that anyone who refers to Dr. Swain as a semi-literate adult has never met the lady and never had a conversation with her. She is, in fact, a highly intelligent, well informed, honorable person. Regarding the CT article, I agree with Bob Russell, the founding pastor of Southeast Christian Church when he says, “When facing a serious operation, I’d rather have a proven surgeon with a terrible bedside manner than a compassionate quack. I prefer an imperfect president who initiates the right policies to one who claims to be a Christian but endorses anti-Biblical positions.” Galli writes as if he believes God had nothing to do with raising up Donald Trump to this position of leadership, that alone is counter to scripture. Many of us do not defend President Trumps behavior, but we are grateful for what he has accomplished regarding religious freedom, restrictions on government funding of abortion, standing with Israel rather than supporting terrorist states, judicial appointments, choosing Mike Pence, etc. Galli planned to retire shortly after publishing his opinion, what cowardly, divisive behavior from a man taking on the role of judge of the behavior of the President and Christians who support the President.

    1. Glenn

      Great response to Carol’s response. I might add this as well. Me. Galli claims to follow Jesus. All well and good. Mr. Galli gave his opinion. Again all well and good. What troubles me to no end is the “moral judgment” (his words) regarding his view of the President’s moral character.

      In one sense, it makes no difference whether our President is a Christian. We did not hire him to be our moral leader. We hired him to be the President. End of statement.

      With that said, our President’s policies that he has actually implemented -and as we all are aware – and those he has stood against speak much louder than any “need” a president has to be moral who lives up to a so-called moral presidential criteria – whatever that is. Me. Galli has actually accused those who support our President are actually disloyal to “the creator of the 10 Commandmrnts”.

      Lastly, his outstanding, consistent pro-life commitment will be a huge part of his presidential legacy, as will be his commitment to Israel. What other presidents have merely talked about, President Trump has done (I THINK I remember something about actions speaking louder than words).

  11. Ron Welch

    As I heard Louisiana Senator, John Kennedy, comment last night, “I have enough trouble paddling my own canoe.”

  12. […] Carol M. Swain and Dr. James Dobson write eloquently against Galli’s cheap editorial against Trump in CT Magazine. […]

  13. Donna

    Thank you for the courage to write this commentary. I am thankful for those who are standing up against the attack against christians who hold a different point of view from the editorial article written by Mr. Galli. My concern is that the enemy is strategically working to fracture the evangelicals of this great nation and distract us from presenting the gospel message. My prayer is that christians with differing opinions can have open dialogue in such a way as to not compromise our christian witness and at the end of the day maintain unity in the body of Christ.

  14. Michael

    “None of us is in a position to judge President Trump’s faith. Only God knows President Trump’s heart and the depth of his commitment to faith.”

    And yet President Obama’s Christian faith was questioned every single day by those on the right.

    Might I suggest Matthew 7:3-5?

    1. Greg

      BHO spoke of his Christian faith on many occasions for western audiences. He was corrected by George Stephanopoulus on camera after BHO spoke of his Muslim faith and George said “you mean your Christian faith.” Words have been and will always be less convincing than actions. What the world observed for 8 years was crafted rhetoric that lead to decision after decision to destroy our country from within. Never has one man been more effective at fraying the fabric of this nation.

    2. Carter Burger

      And we were told repeatedly by the left and their minions in the media to shut up, he’s a Christian and that’s all you need to know. Although his actions spoke otherwise.

      FYI, that scripture you just googled and posted works both ways, brother.

    3. Stuart

      I think it’s a little different–if Trump was known to be a believer it would make sense to question his spiritual standing. O claimed to be, and had a long standing history in a church, so it should make sense to question if something didn’t seem consistent with that.

  15. Lexi

    Bless her heart. I guess MAGAPill just isn’t good enough for Kara.

    Here’s another website that lists President Trump’s accomplishments.

    Maybe she’s heard of it.

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/trump-administration-accomplishments/

  16. Kara Cargen

    “ As the website MAGAPill documents” … well, folks, I think that pretty much tells us everything we need to know about “Professor” Swain. Any semi-literate adult who unironically uses a website called MAGAPill as a source is unequivocally demanding that we immediately disregard any and all forthcoming opinions. If she actually did serve in any sort of professorial role at either VU or Princeton then what an absolutely astounding indictment of both of those institutions. Unbelievable.

    1. I suppose you had no problem with Galli’s unsupported assertions. Have you looked at the rPresident’s list of accomplishments? He has been getting things done.

    2. look how intelligent you are for basing your opinion on a “name” – that’s all you got – no content, typical and sad

    3. Carla McCombs

      Ad hominem attacks tell us that you struggle with civil discourse based on facts. Two, you might want to compare your own academic achievements to Professor Swain’s before making uniformed, ignorant statements. And by the way, perhaps read the commentary again- she never demands we immediately do anything, including disregard anyone’s opinion. Your inability to comprehend is problematic. Professor Swain earned a magna cum laude B.A. in criminal justice from Roanoke College and a master’s degree in political science from Virginia Tech. While an undergraduate at Roanoke College, she organized a scholarship fund for black students that by 2002 had an endowment of $350,000. She finished a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1989. In 2000, she earned a Master of Legal Studies from Yale Law School. She received tenure as an associate professor of politics and public policy at Princeton University. From 1999 to 2017, she taught political science and law at Vanderbilt University. She retired from her post at Vanderbilt in 2017.
      Her first academic book, Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress, was published by Harvard University Press in 1993. The book was cited by Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor, two Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. It was the recipient of the D.B. Hardeman Prize as well as the American Political Science Association’s Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award.

  17. Thank you, Carol! I’m blessed to call you friend and sister. God bless you for your rebuttal against the words of a misguided individual who was used by Satan.

    1. C C

      George Soros just bought into that publication, that’s all you know.

      1. CC

        That’s all you need to know.

  18. Reginald Gabel

    If they are going to call for the abandonment of Trump because of his “lack of Christianity” then they must do the same for all politicians on both sides and do it publicly.

    1. Byron

      Exactly!! You know it’s funny what people call immoral now. I guess president Obama was not immoral for legalizing same sex marriage. I mean I don’t recall to many Christian leaders or people in general saying anything about that. They looked the other way or called it a victory

  19. An excellent rebuttal to a questionable article.

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