Friday, December 20, 2019

Mark Galli Is Incorrect and Wrong

            [This post is not about the text of the Gospels.]
            And now for something completely different:  a response to Mark Galli’s recent editorial in Christianity Today in which he stated that loyalty to God requires that Donald Trump be removed from office.
            Mark Galli is wrong.  Galli is also incorrect:  the impeachment hearings have not presented substantial evidence that Trump “abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath.”  That simply has not happened.  What has happened is that presumption has been treated as evidence, and the Democrats’ case (and Galli’s argument) is built on that pretense.  Nothing in the transcript-like record of the President’s phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows that President Trump abused his authority.  Nothing in the transcript-like record of the President’s phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows that President Trump betrayed his constitutional oath.  And the rest of the Democrats’ case amounts to hearsay and presumption, as a brief exchange between Representative Mike Turner and Ambassador Gordon Sondland effectively conveys.  The coercement that Galli refers to as an unambiguous fact exists entirely in the world of Galli’s imagination.  It is Mark Galli’s presumption, not a fact. 
            And who is better situated to gauge whether there was a quid-pro-quo (that is, an arrangement of I’ll-give-you-this-if-you-give-me-that):  Mark Galli or Volodymyr Zelensky?  Zelensky is on record stating that there was no quid-pro-quo. 
            Meanwhile Joe Biden is on record casually describing a quid-pro-quo agreement that cause a Ukrainian prosecutor to be fired; his exact words:  “I’m leaving in six hours.  If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.”  Now, it’s entirely possible that the prosecutor deserved to be fired; my point is that at the time, Christianity Today, as far as I can tell, raised no question about whether Joe Biden had abused his authority for personal gain, and about whether Christians who did not advocate for Biden to be punished were being disloyal to God.
            Has it not occurred to Mark Galli that there was a legitimate reason for the Ukrainian government to look into why Biden arranged for Prosecutor Shokin to be fired?  Does it seem absolutely impossible to Galli that President Trump’s entire phone call was just a routine case of Presidents doing their jobs?  Has Galli dismissed as a lie Rudy Giuliani’s explicit statement, “I was not seeking to investigate Joe Biden”?
            Galli sought to give readers the impression that he is just reacting to a crime committed by President Trump the same way Christianity Today reacted to a crime – perjury – committed by President Clinton.  The difference, however, is that no crime has been shown to have been committed in the case of President Trump.  What Galli calls unambiguous facts, I call Mark Galli’s presumption.  Heads of state can make recommendations to other heads of state a dozen times a day without committing bribery and without abusing their authority for personal gain.  And sharing Mark Galli’s evidence-ignoring presumptions is certainly not a matter of loyalty to God.
            Furthermore, Mark Galli exposed his political bias when describing President Trump’s “blackened moral record.”  He failed to mention Trump’s candid admission and apology, and grossly misrepresented the President’s commitment (during his Presidency) to morality, stating that he “has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration.”  He also overlooked Trump’s policies that favor Christianity (and religious freedom on general) so badly that it seems fair to call this a case of ideological blindness on Galli’s part.
            Cards on the table:  early in the Republican Presidential primaries, Donald Trump was certainly not a likely champion of morality in my book; my favorite candidate was Rick Santorum, and after he dropped out of the race, it was Ted Cruz.  Donald Trump was the candidate of last resort.  But in terms of his policies, the net effect of the Trump Presidency has not fit Galli’s portrayal of him as a “morally lost and confused” person.  As Jim Garlow observed in his own reaction (noting that Galli’s editorial is a case of participation in character assassination), and as Franklin Graham has pointed out in a well-worded rebuttal against Galli, Trump has enacted policies to save the lives of pre-born babies, reduce religious persecution, appoint conservatives to the Supreme Court of the United States, frustrate the efforts of Islamic jihadists and their sympathizers, support Christian education, treat the U.S. border like a border, denounce and discourage racism, and build the American economy.    
            Which does not mean that Donald Trump has been an ideal President.  Far from it!  Just last week for example, President Trump declined an opportunity to acknowledge that the Armenian Genocide was indeed genocide, which saddens and disappoints me.  And earlier this week, when Trump raised the possibility that the deceased Representative John Dingell was “looking up” instead of looking down on events on earth, it was crass, and he should apologize for that.
            But put that on a pile of objectionable actions that Donald Trump has committed since becoming President – and throw all of his Tweets on the pile as well – and the whole thing does not amount to a tenth of the objectionable content that a Hillary Clinton Presidency would have produced.  So Mark Galli doesn’t like Trump’s tweets?  Let him take a tour of the house of abortionist Ulrich Klopfer, in which over 2,200 corpses of human pre-born babies were kept, and then imagine him finding another such house in America every day of the year (implying 803,000 abortions annually), and then let him come back and tell me how horrified he is at Trump’s Tweets and his “bent and broken character.”  This is not a case of moral equivalence, and it is an insult to the intelligence of Galli’s readers for him to pretend that it is.
            Christianity Today’s staff may feel free to make their magazine “a place that welcomes Christians from across political spectrum.”  However, hospitality is no excuse for a kind of density that welcomes wolves in sheep’s clothing as if they are sheep, or for a kind of blindness that treats rudeness and sponsorship of mass murder as if they are the same, and a kind of bias that treats accusations as if they are evidence.  Mark Galli and Christianity Today have done a disservice to the kingdom of God.


Daniel Buck said...

The paypage for renewing my CT subscription is still open on my computer--excuse me . . there, closed it. Whew, that was close.

Timothy Joseph said...

Well written and aptly argued! Indeed, Gallo appears to think Trump has demonstrated amoral behavior, but apparently, Galli doesn’t view being in favor of murdering the unborn as a moral disqualification. As I have stated for years, if a candidate cannot get the life question right how can we trust them with any other matter?
Trump’s past may be troubling, but thank God for Grace!

Mike McCann said...

This is the most balanced analysis of the CT overreach that I’ve come across, James. Thank you.

JGabriel22 said...

I love this blog but I am so completely disappointed you're a trump apologist.