Scott Martelle of the Los Angeles Times wrote a solid op-ed for the well known Los Angeles newspaper recently that dealt with President Trump attacking Christianity Today. I wanted to preserve the article especially as I will write a couple of posts about the firestorm in the next couple of days.
“Men rise from one ambition to another: first, they seek to secure themselves against attack, and then they attack others.“
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—
Psalm 103:1-2 NIV
United States Capitol
I have been reading and following the Christianity Today story. As the week has gone on I have been stunned by the response. Last week I thought the story of the year was the Harvest Bible Chapel implosion. At the end of this week if you were to ask me what the evangelical story of the year is, I would say its the Christianity Today controversy. This blog is going to dive in and compose a couple of articles about the controversy. What I am going to do is sit down and write a narrative of the events for the past week. While I plan on working that issue I read the following op-ed in the Los Angeles Times this evening. Its by Scott Martelle who writes heavily for the Los Angeles newspaper. The name of the op-ed is called, “Opinion: Trump insults rather than rebuts Christianity Today. His outrage act is getting old.” I am going to have the article below in case you cannot read it.
A leading evangelical Christian magazine, Christianity Today, founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham, on Thursday called for President Trump to be removed from office, essentially aligning itself with the Democrats who have found Trump’s behavior with regard to Ukraine to be beyond the pale.
This is notable because Trump’s core support includes a lot of evangelical Christians who have been willing to overlook his obvious lapses. (Paying off a porn star to cover up an affair? Surely evangelicals don’t like that.) They’ve done so because he is fulfilling his promise to load the federal judiciary with conservative judges and to focus on religious freedom issues.
Quite the devil’s bargain.
Christianity Today framed the impeachment as a partisan move by the Democrats, but also pointed out that “the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States 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.”
Then the piece got to the core issue, one that should resonate across the political spectrum — but which so many Republicans haven’t been able to bring themselves to acknowledge.
“The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration,” the paper wrote. “He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone — with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders — is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”
So what was Trump’s response? The usual bombast and insults (and an inability, it appears, to handle a simple acronym).
This is getting so old.
If the president had a cogent counter argument to make against the indictment by Christianity Today, one hopes he’d make it. But he’s incapable of offering a reasoned rebuttal to criticism. Instead, he flails.
Time was, when Trump attacked someone it was noteworthy. But as his war against his critics expands — as do the ranks of his critics — bombast has remained at a fever pitch.
In fact, his responses have become not only predictable — insult, brag about some achievement (real or imagined) unrelated to the issue at hand, pronounce the other side to be something just short of evil incarnate — but irrelevant.
His drumbeat of insults, attacks and invented grievances have become just part of the background noise.
Oddly, that’s also what the this spotlight-hogging president seems to fear the most — not getting removed from office so much as becoming irrelevant.
And it can’t happen soon enough.