In a scathing op-ed published on Thursday, Christianity Today, a prominent evangelical magazine, called for President Donald Trump to be removed from office. Describing Trump’s actions in Ukraine as “profoundly immoral” and blasting the commander-in-chief as “morally lost and confused,” the publication urged evangelical Christians across the United States to cast aside the president’s perceived accomplishments in terms of the economy and Supreme Court nominees.
The editorial has since gone viral, prompting reactions from across the political spectrum and provoking the president himself to respond. According to former Republican Rick Wilson, however, the apparent success and popularity of the piece will not change much. Speaking with MSNBC on Friday, Wilson said that evangelicals have already made a “deal with the devil,” reports Raw Story.
“I’ve been sort of a skeptic about the impact of this editorial,” Wilson began, “because I think evangelicals have entered a phase of their political behavior where they seek the political worldly ends through whatever modality we can get them and they’ve made their deal with the devil in the form of Donald Trump.”
“I don’t think they’re going to abandon Trump over this article, although I think the article speaks eloquently and powerfully to a lot of his deficiencies from the perspective of believers.”
Wilson explained that he believes evangelicals understand that Trump is probably not very religious, but nevertheless support him because they think he can deliver on his campaign promises. According to Wilson, Trump is the “avatar” of the evangelical community’s anger, which is one of the reasons he enjoys its support.
The former Republican concluded that evangelical Christians will continue to support Trump — who won 81 percent of the evangelical vote in the 2016 presidential election — suggesting that they knew who Trump was in 2015, which did not stop them from choosing him over then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Prominent evangelical leaders have already pushed back against Christianity Today’s editorial, with pastor Franklin Graham saying that his father Billy — who founded the publication — would not agree with the magazine’s characterization of Trump. Televangelist Jerry Falwell also weighed in on the issue, suggesting that the outlet is now officially part of the liberal evangelical movement.
Trump responded to the editorial as well, calling Christianity Today a “far-left” publication and vowing to never read it again. In an interview with CNN, the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Mark Galli responded to the president’s attacks, arguing that it is “factually inaccurate we’re far left” and explaining that his publication — which rarely comments on politics — felt compelled to condemn Trump’s behavior.
Drawing a parallel between Trump and former President Bill Clinton, Galli concluded that the commander-in-chief is morally unfit to lead the United States.