Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI
Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI

Washington — US President Donald Trump lashed out on Friday at a leading evangelical Christian publication that called him “morally lost and confused” and said he should be removed from office.

Trump, in a series of tweets, accused Christianity Today magazine of being “very far left” and claimed he had done more for evangelicals than other presidents.

“No President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close,” Trump tweeted. He said Christianity Today “would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President.”

In an editorial on Thursday, Christianity Today said that while it generally steers clear of politics “we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear”.

“The facts in this instance are unambiguous,” it said. “The president of the US 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.”

Christianity Today was founded by Billy Graham, a prominent Christian evangelist who died last year, but the Graham family is no longer associated with the publication. Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son, is also an influential Christian evangelical leader and a staunch Trump supporter. His ministry publishes its own magazine, Decision.

‘Broken character’

Christianity Today, which has a circulation of about 130,000, said Trump had “dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration”.

“He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationships with women, about which he remains proud,” it said. “His Twitter feed alone — with its habitual string of mischaracterisations, lies, and slanders — is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”

Christianity Today said the congressional hearings that led to Trump’s impeachment by the House of Representatives on Wednesday “have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see ... Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his supreme court nominees, his defence 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 ... that president Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath.”

“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?” the magazine asked.

“Whether Mr Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election — that is a matter of prudential judgment.”

Trump enjoys solid support among white evangelical Christians although a Fox News poll in October found that those backing him had slipped from 81% in the 2016 election to about 70% now.