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The Galli-"Christianity Today" Controversy

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Christianity Today Editor-In-Chief: Trump's Character Is Troublesome | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC Christianity Today's editor-in-chief Mark Galli discussed his article in support of removing President Trump from office and called the president's character ...
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"Either this nation will kill racism, or racism will kill this nation." (S. Jonas, August, 2018)

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A recent editorial by the retiring Editor-in-Chief of the Right-Wing Evangelical journal Christianity Today, Mark Galli has caused quite an uproar, both among the Evangelical Right and some liberal commentators as well.

Before dealing with that controversy, let's briefly take a look at "Evangelical Christianity." It is a movement within Protestantism that is trans-denominational, encompassing, among others, Methodism, Baptism, Pentecostalism, and several different independent branches of Evangelicalism itself. In the United States, about a quarter of the population consider themselves Evangelicals. Not all of them adhere to the Evangelical Right, which is the noisy branch. In fact they are so noisy, and presently so intimately connected to the Trumpites and the Trumpublican(©) Party, there is no way of knowing just how many Evangelicals are Rightists.

n any case, common to the Evangelical doctrine is the concept of salvation by grace, the importance of the processes of conversion/being "born again," and the importance of the (English) Bible as representing the "inerrant word of God." Now the latter would be of only theological significance if Right Evangelism in particular did not want to use their interpretation of what that "Word" is to determine major elements of the law that apply to all of us, as for example, in the matters of abortion rights and the civil rights of the LGBTQ community.

Dealing with this subject for the moment, it is my understanding that not all elements of Evangelicalism refer to the same Bible as the one that is "inerrant" (and that understanding, if true, certainly undermines the concept of "inerrancy:" which one, exactly, is it[?]). But the common one bearing that appellation is the King James version.

It was created at the behest of the English ruling class upon the accession of James VI of Scotland, I of England, to the English throne, upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I. It was to become the version for the Church of England, of which the King happened to be the head. (Where that leaves Evangelicals who speak another language and a Bible in it, not English, is another question.) Now the King James version was actually created by a group of 52 theologians and academics, selected by both religious and political authorities, to do the job. For it to be the "inerrant word of God," they all would have to have been simultaneously inspired, and those authorities would have had to have known that.

A further aspect of modern U.S. Evangelical Rightism is the concept of Dominionism, that is that "God," (whoever he, she, it, or they is/are) stands above the Constitution. Mike Pence is a Dominionist and so is former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Be that as it may, we now have a powerful and loud Evangelical Right that is determined to drive its own political agenda of control, by the use of the civil and criminal law, of the thoughts and behaviors of everyone in the society, regardless of the own version of belief in "God" or non-belief entirely. Number one in their strategy is being tied as closely as possible to Trump.

But then along comes Mr. Galli, condemning Trump for the liar he is, for "hiring people who are now convicted criminals," and for the bribery/extortion plot against Ukraine. (At the same time, Galli says that the President did not get a fair shot in the House. Of course, we all know that he was asked numerous times to forward documents, send people, even himself, over, all refused but all part of the Trump/Trumpublican© charade, now being repeated in the Senate.)

And next came the uproar, led by Franklin Graham. That uproar basically comes down to "how dare you say such not nice things about OUR President, who has delivered so much to us" (in terms of their legal/legislative program. But what they hey. Many folk on the liberal side have praised Mr. Galli for speaking out. (I have not followed the Left response, if there was any.)

But further, and to me this is the important point, in his editorial Mr. Galli does not disassociate himself in any way from the political agenda of the Evangelical Right and the Republican Religious Right generally, e.g.: criminalizing abortion, sanctioning public and governmental discrimination against the LGBTQ community, teaching religion (their sort) in the public schools (and going further, if they can, to allow governmental support for religious education), allowing religious monuments (their sort) in public places, sanctioning prayer (their sort) before public events, and, of course, eventually establishing a Dominionist, rather than a Constitutional (as we know it), United Sates, that is thoroughly destroying the Separation if Church and State.

So please, let us not go overboard in our praise for Mr. Galli. He is simply a Religious Rightist who apparently thinks that Trump's tone, his dishonesty, his corruption, his personal immorality, and etc. hurt the cause of the Evangelical Right. He does not for one instant say that he and his magazine do not fully endorse and support their agenda. And it is most important for those of us who believe in U.S. Constitutional Democracy (for better or for worse, and right now there is no feasible alternative to it for protecting the civil and criminal rights of all of us) to understand that what is coming down the pike with Trumpublicanism©, frank, 21st Century Trumpite Fascism. That's the true danger of Trump. And that's where Mr. Galli does not go. For, if he were at the same time rejecting the Trumpite/Evangelical Rightist agenda as well as Trump's personal immorality, wouldn't he have said so?

(Article changed on December 27, 2019 at 03:54)

 

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a "Trusted Author," he is a Senior Editor, (more...)
 
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Robert Gormley

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I applaud Galli's remarks. One of the few evangelicals

that gets it.

Submitted on Friday, Dec 27, 2019 at 11:35:32 PM

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