This Christmas, the Christianity Today Editorial Was a Ray of Light | Opinion

After reading the Christianity Today editorial calling for Trump's removal from office, as an Evangelical Christian, I felt compelled to offer a simple response: Thank you.

I grew up on the far right side of Evangelical. My family was so conservative we thought Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham, the founder of Christianity Today and the father of Trump-acolyte Franklin Graham, were too liberal. My life has been a long spiritual migration into a broader, deeper, and more generous faith. But I still cherish many gifts from my Evangelical upbringing. At the top of my gratitude list: a deep love for Jesus, a deep engagement with the Bible, and a belief that character counts.

That's why, like many other Christians, I have felt particularly betrayed by Evangelical support for Donald Trump and his allies. Trump is, you could say, the anti-Jesus—living for pride, power, pleasure, and wealth rather than faith, hope, love, and wisdom. His policies can only be squared with Scripture through the most agonized contortions and intentional ignorance. And as for character—where to begin? Maybe his 15,000-plus lie-count, his bragging about sexual assault and covering up of a payoff to a porn-star he ostensibly had an extramarital affair with, his general viciousness and self-aggrandizement, and his tendency to be an apologist for white supremacists and dictators.

Many who decry Trump probably wish that Christianity Today had spoken up sooner. (They did, in fact, at the last minute before Election Day in 2016).In the deliberation process that went to Thursday's editorial, they no doubt weighed the costs they would incur for publishing it, which will, I imagine, be high. Thankfully, they counted the cost of not speaking up to be even higher.

The courage Christianity Today's editors demonstrated now invites an even more powerful expression of courage: courage among faithful Evangelical church members all around the country to speak out.

Back in 2008, when I spoke out in favor of Barack Obama on social media, I received a steady stream of emails from Evangelical, Mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic acquaintances telling me that my going public with my support for a candidate most of the Christian conservative establishment opposed inspired them to do the same. Nobody, it seems, wants to go first. But once someone does, it's a little easier for the next person to step up.

In 2018, I teamed up with an organization called Vote Common Good, a progressive Evangelical group working to mobilize faith voters and train Democratic candidates on how to communicate effectively to them. At every stop on Vote Common Good's nationwide bus tour we heard the same message: fear about stepping out of formation first, and relief that some of us were speaking up and standing up to lead the way.

That's what needs to happen now. If you're an Evangelical, Mainline Protestant, or Roman Catholic Christian, it's time to follow CT's lead. Be the first in your congregation. Once you do, others will follow.

And, no doubt, some will criticize. But I've learned through experience that every criticism is an opportunity to clarify your message and make it more effective the next time.

Christianity Today stuck its neck out and demonstrated the moral courage our country so desperately needs right now. It's time for the rest of us in the Christian community to step up and do the same.

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.