Southern Baptist Statesman Richard Land Condemns Anti-Trump Evangelical Elitism

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Austin, Texas, U.S., August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

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Firing back at a scathing editorial “Trump Should Be Removed From Office” by the retiring editor of Christianity Today, Richard Land, a Southern Baptist statesman, called Mark Galli a “useful idiot,” used by liberals to write the “stink bomb” on his way out the door.

Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, N.C., said Galli was used by liberals to attack President Trump a day after the House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against him.

“It is a classic example of the evangelical elitism that is destroying segments of evangelicalism in this country. It is a wrong-headed editorial from beginning to end,” Land said on the Todd Starnes Show. “I was appalled.”

Starnes described Christianity Today as a publication in decline – founded by Billy Graham – whose name Galli used to awaken mainstream reporters who would otherwise have been oblivious to its existence. Graham’s name was used intentionally to given an impression the evangelical community is split or non-supportive of the president.

Land agreed, noting Galli’s jaw-dropping editorial was written within two weeks of his Jan. 3 retirement, when he likely walked out the door and said, “Why don’t I just leave a stink bomb.”

While Southern Baptist Convention president J.D. Greear has not weighed in on the issue, Land noted several former president and Southern Baptist leaders have said they disagree with the editorial, among them Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas.

Calling President Trump the “most pro-life president in the modern era,” Land said it takes him about “one nanosecond” to know what his moral responsibility is, “it is to vote to defend the unborn.” Land is the longtime former president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

“Galli’s editorial is the fruit of the poisonous tree that is his elitism. He’s written an article in which he says that evangelicals that disagree with him haven’t finished college, they don’t have jobs, they are blue collar workers at entry level, they don’t write books and give speeches, they don’t attend conferences,” Land said.

Galli’s editorial had a whiff of former President Obama’s “clinging to their guns and religion” and Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” narrative.

“It’s a mindset of, ‘If you don’t agree with me, you’re ignorant and stupid,’” Land said of Galli’s piece.

Dr. Jack Graham, on the Todd Starnes Show Dec. 20, 2019, the day after the editorial was released, called it a “partisan political hit job,” not only on the president, but on those in the evangelical community who support the president.

“Even though some of those guys would like to see themselves above the fray and self righteously judge those who are in it,” Graham said President Trump has “come through big time for Christians” in pro-life, pro-family, pro-Israel issues, and more.

“’Christianity Today’ is ‘Christianity astray’ because it has moved left, left, left, over the years and it is barely recognizable,” said Graham, lamenting the once powerful publication has moved far from when it was founded by Billy Graham as a magazine representative of thoughts of evangelical conservative theology and biblical truth.

Calling the editorial “disappointing,” Graham predicted it won’t have a bearing outside of the 12-15 percent of evangelicals who already “don’t like the president.” Franklin Graham, he said, has made it know his father, the evangelist Billy Graham who founded CT, voted for Donald Trump in 2016.

“He would be very disappointed in this opinion piece.”

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