Meet Mark Galli, editor of an evangelical magazine that called for Trump’s impeachment

Mark Galli made the news last week with his op-ed in Christianity Today calling for the impeachment of President Trump on moral grounds.

This is not the first time that the editor of Evangelical magazine has questioned Trump’s leadership and morality.

For memory :

8:11 p.m. on December 22, 2019An earlier version of this article indicated that Galli in 2016 pleaded with readers not to remain silent about Donald Trump’s “flagrant immorality”. Specifically, he endorsed an editorial that year that implored readers not to remain silent about Trump.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Galli endorsed an op-ed that implored readers “not to remain silent about the blatant immorality of Donald Trump,” writing that the candidate was “the very embodiment of what the Bible call a fool ”.

In April 2017, just months after the start of the Trump presidency, Galli wrote another op-ed, “What to do with the soul of Donald Trump.” There he writes: “The gospel of Jesus Christ casts Trump’s behavior into a transcendent light, and that light appears to us as darkness.”

But last week, Galli called for Trump’s impeachment on the grounds that he is immoral and that the character of the country’s leader is vital to the well-being of the nation.

The message sparked debate inside and outside the evangelical community. On a typical day, the magazine’s website has 300 to 500 readers at a time. During peak hours after the editorial published Thursday, there were 15,000 to 17,000 readers on the site, Galli said in an interview with The Times on Sunday.

As of Friday night, the magazine had lost 600 of its roughly 80,000 subscribers and received countless messages from Trump supporters lambasting the article, he said. But Galli said he had also done a dozen media interviews, received more encouraging ratings than not, and the magazine gained 1,800 new subscribers, he said.

“I was not aware of the deeply felt need … for a leading evangelical institution to speak out” publicly and clearly about the president’s “public moral character,” Galli said.

The 67-year-old California native was editor-in-chief of the Illinois-based magazine for seven years and worked for the magazine for about two decades in total. He wrote the op-ed to seize the opportunity of the impeachment vote, just weeks before he retired as editor.

The timing is a coincidence, he said. While the findings of the Mueller inquiry appeared murky and still shrouded in fog and confusion, the findings of the impeachment hearing were clearer for Galli.

“For me, the question of clarification was the business of the President of the United States using his power to manipulate heads of foreign governments to essentially harass and harangue one of his political opponents,” Galli said.

On Sunday, Timothy Dalrymple, President and CEO of Christianity Today, posted an article addressing the controversy over Galli’s editorial and supporting the editor without endorsing his writings.

“Galli has defended the men and women of faith in the trenches for more than three decades. He was an exceptional editor. While he does not speak for everyone in the ministry – our board and staff have diverse opinions – he is the editorial voice of the magazine, ”said Dalrymple. “We support CT’s editorial independence and believe it is vital to our mission that the editor speaks out on the issues of the day. “

Galli was born in San Francisco and raised in Santa Cruz – liberal hot spots and somewhat unlikely cities in which to develop strong evangelical influences. And yet, Galli has spent much of his career in Christianity today, which Billy Graham founded in the 1950s.

“When I was a teenager… my mom had a conversion experience watching Billy Graham on TV,” said Galli.

During a difficult emotional time, Galli’s mother knelt in their house, in front of the television, and accepted Jesus Christ, he said. A few months later, on December 19, 1965 – 54 years to the day before Galli published this editorial – he too accepted Christ in an altar call in church.

Galli’s education in California, his college years at UC Santa Cruz, and his pastoral service at a church in Sacramento that “was much more liberal than I” all prepared him for instances where his religious views. and policies don’t line up with the majority, he said.

“It’s been my whole education and the way I approach things,” he said. “With the people that I strongly disagree with… the first thing I try to do is understand them charitably: Why do they believe what they believe, how did they come to this conclusion? I really like the conversations we have.

The language of the editorial is harsher than a conversation it would have in real life, he said, but the feelings remain the same.

He doesn’t think he will necessarily change his mind. In fact, “not a single person said that” that he changed his mind about his support for Trump, he said. But he considers it his duty as an editor to say “the truest and honest thing” that he can do during important moments in history, and to do so without any animosity towards him. Trump or the more conservative evangelicals.

Like those evangelicals who support Trump, Galli shares their anti-abortion stance and their support for religious freedom. But he said he didn’t understand why Trump supporters seemed to pick on them when they stood up for what he sees as the president’s immoral behavior.

“It’s something a lot deeper and a lot more visceral and, I’ll be honest with you,” said Galli, “I’m not quite sure what’s going on.”

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