While many conservative evangelicals respect Christianity Today, it is read by a small slice of them, and is unlikely to make any significant dent in the president’s remarkable popularity. As even Mr. Galli conceded to The Atlantic’s Emma Green, “We speak for moderate, center-right, and center-left evangelicals. The far right — they don’t read us.”
The “far right” to which Mr. Galli referred is actually the dominant force in American evangelicalism, and it is stubbornly in Mr. Trump’s corner. It did not take long after the editorial was published for the president’s staunchest evangelical defenders, including Billy Graham’s son, Franklin, to react.
Writing on Facebook, Mr. Graham reproached the magazine for invoking his father’s name to support its position, maintaining that his father, who died in 2018, had supported Mr. Trump as “the man for this hour in history for our nation.” He even accused the magazine of being “used by the left for their political agenda,” and representing “the elitist liberal wing of evangelicalism” — a smear taken up, not surprisingly, by the president himself in a tweet.
As I reported the same day the editorial was published, Mr. Trump’s evangelical supporters have built a powerful network of political organizations, prayer warriors, televangelists, religious media, mega-churches and voter identification and mobilization efforts — a sprawling spiritual army with multifaceted battalions — that is defending him in the face of impeachment.
In this insular ecosystem, the president is seen as a divinely anointed leader, sent by God to save America at a critical moment in history, when, supporters claim, their religious freedom is under attack by secularists. For these evangelicals, the facts that Mr. Galli pleaded with them to assess are “fake news” planted by “deep state,” and even satanic enemies of the anointed president.