Friday, December 20, 2019


On Jan. 18, 2016, Jerry Falwell Jr. welcomed Donald Trump to Liberty University to endorse his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. As the evangelical college president who wrote the “this is not a daycare” article that received so much national attention, I received a call from the media the next day. I was asked, “Would I be next?” Was I going to follow suit and invite Mr. Trump to my university to speak in our chapel? Would I be giving Donald Trump my endorsement? 

My answer on Fox News, and other media outlets, was, “No.” “Frankly, Donald Trump simply doesn’t represent my school’s behavioral, theological, moral, or political ideals,” I said. “Anyone who has been on the cover of Playboy, anyone who brags of his sexual history with multiple women, and anyone who owns strip clubs in his casinos” is not someone I can or will endorse. “No, Donald Trump will not be speaking at my university.

On Dec. 14, 2019, Christianity Today published an editorial essentially saying the same thing that I said three years ago. Commenting on the present impeachment debate, the Christianity Today editor in chief, Mark Galli, called for the immediate removal of Donald Trump as our nation’s president.   

President Trump is “a near-perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused,” Mr. Galli said. He then went on to state that none of the president’s positive qualities outweigh the “moral and political danger” America now faces under his leadership. Mr. Galli concluded: “We call for the many evangelicals who support the president to remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness …” 

What Christianity Today said and what I said three years ago is, by and large, the same thing. Mark Galli is stiffening his back, as I did three years ago, and boldly asserting that in the present political climate, the church’s summum bonum — its highest good — is to assure the defeat of Donald Trump. Why? Because the president has demonstrated himself to be a man prone to unbiblical behavior and voting for him is akin to “sacrificing our prophetic voice” in the public square. 

I was wrong then, and Mark Galli is wrong now.    

How so? 

Mr. Galli apparently believes Christians who argue that the preservation of religious freedom and the protection of human life are a higher priority than our president’s ambiguous phone calls, disturbing tweets and past sexual indiscretions are somehow guilty of “sacrificing our prophetic voice.”  

This is terrible exegesis as well as every bad logic. I was guilty of it in 2016, and Mr. Galli is guilty of it today.  

Consider just a few questions by way of making this point. 

Would Christianity Today have used the same failed application of Scripture in confronting William Wilberforce because he made his battle against the British slave trade his top priority? Would they have accused him of “sacrificing his prophetic voice” because he thought freedom for black men, women, and children was more important than the moral indiscretions of his political peers?  

Would Mr. Galli have accused Martin Luther King Jr. of “sacrificing his prophetic voice” when he made his fight for the dignity of all men, not because of the color of their skin but because of the content of their character, his highest political good? 

Would the editors of Christianity Today have accused the churches of the Underground Railroad of “sacrificing their prophetic voice” when they declared emancipation to be more important than the moral peccadillos of supportive politicians? 

How about 4th century Christians? Would Mark Galli and Christianity Today have condemned their brothers and sisters in Christ who thanked God for Constantine? Would they have told the church it was wrong to “get in bed with Caesar?” Would they have encouraged the believers who were waiting to be burned on pikes and crucified on crosses to not endorse such a compromised man and pagan? Would they have told the early Christians who were rescuing infants from the garbage dumps of Diocletian that they should stay out of “partisan politics?”   

Mark Galli’s editorial is one that smacks of being oblivious of his own politics while he accuses others of being too political. But the fact is he and Christianity Today are no less “in bed with Caesar” than any of those that they presume to lecture. 

I was wrong in 2016, and Mr. Galli is wrong today. And the lives of our youngest infants, the souls of our cherished children and the freedom all of us have to worship God and not government depends on us admitting it.  

At the end of the day, I’m personally very grateful for “Constantine,” and I am not hesitant today to say so. Better him than an emperor with no clothes (as was literally the case with Bill Clinton) or even worse a Caesar who shrugs off the Muslim persecution of Christians, as was true with Barack Obama. Better Donald Trump than anyone from a political party of narcissists who seem hell-bent on worshiping the god they see in the mirror rather than the God they see in the Bible.  

Shame on Christianity Today for suggesting otherwise.  

• Everett Piper, former president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, is a columnist for The Washington Times and author of “Not A Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery 2017).

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