In a pretty provocative op/ed published yesterday on the day of Alabama’s much-anticipated senatorial special election (which saw Doug Jones defeat the gun-toting, horse-riding accused child predator Roy Moore), the editor-in-chief of Christianity Today railed against the recent hypocrisy and blind right-wing support of those of the Christian faith.
“Christianity’s integrity is severely tarnished,” he writes, and we tend to agree.
Mark Galli believes the problem “has been festering for a year and a half,” going back to the point when conservative Christians began to support and cheer for Donald Trump without reservation — a man who stands accused by 19 women of sexual assault, has admitted such abuse on-camera and has proven his moral character to be lacking over and over again. Yet many who call themselves “Christians” have thrown their undying support behind him.
“The Christian leaders who have excused, ignored or justified his unscrupulous behavior and his indecent rhetoric have only given credence to their critics who accuse them of hypocrisy,” Galli writes.
But Galli also doesn’t see this as a one-sided issue for the Christian church. He notes that “progressive Christians” are at fault as well, for “[casting] aspersions on their conservative brothers and sisters.” Ultimately he’d love to see all Christians come together, and he thinks the message of Christ can do that.
In his editorial, the Christianity Today editor calls out hypocrisy on both sides — the right and the left — though we’re particularly in awe of his harsh words against his own.
“To justify or ignore the moral failings of a politician because he champions your favored policies,” he says, “well, that is to step onto the path of self-deception and hypocrisy, which according to Jesus, leads to no less place than hell (Matt. 23:15).”
And there you have it.
Galli also cites a poll from 2011 in which only 30% of white evangelicals believed “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.” Basically, no second chances for the morally impure.
But as of late 2016, with Donald Trump on the Republican ticket, the number of white evangelicals who believed moral failings could be overlooked rose to 72% — “the biggest shift of any U.S. religious group,” Galli points out.
When allegations of Roy Moore’s repeated child sex abuse were made, 37% of evangelicals told The Washington Post they were more likely to vote for him! The point Galli is attempting to make is that at some point, opting for unethical candidates to avoid political slippage — or the believing of bullshit conspiracy theories that confirm one’s worldview — is damaging to all of Christianity.
“When a public Christian is accused of some immorality, the honorable and moral thing to do has been to take a leave of absence until the matter of settled,” Galli says, noting Moore refused to do as much, instead doubling-down on his political efforts.
This Christianity Today op/ed is most definitely worth a read, particularly by those who personally struggle with issues of hypocrisy as they relate to the religious right.