Reverend Al Sharpton Says Evangelical Trump Supporters 'Would Sell Jesus Out' After 'Christianity Today' Controversy

Reverend Al Sharpton slammed Evangelical Christian supporters of President Donald Trump on Monday, suggesting they would even turn on Jesus based on the reaction to a controversial Christianity Today editorial calling for the president's removal from office.

Mark Galli, the editor-in-chief of the prominent Evangelical magazine, published the editorial on Thursday supporting the removal of Trump from office, whether it be through a Senate trial or in the 2020 election. The article described Trump as a "near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused," noting that the magazine had also written in support of the impeachments of former Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

But many Evangelical leaders, who have been among Trump's staunchest supporters, harshly criticized the magazine's decision. Additionally, 177 leaders from the Christian community signed a letter condemning the editorial.

"We had the editor of Christianity Today on PoliticsNation last night and he made it very clear, this is not a political position, it's a moral one," Sharpton, a prominent civil rights leader who hosts PoliticsNation on MSNBC, said during a Monday segment of MSNBC's Morning Joe.

Sharpton noted that Galli had specifically stated that he generally agrees with many of the president's political positions, particularly on abortion and conservative judicial nominees. However, the Evangelical editor has argued this is a moral issue, not a political one.

"He not only exposes the president, but he exposes a lot of the Evangelical leaders," the reverend told Morning Joe.

Al Sharpton
Reverend Al Sharpton celebrates his 65th birthday at New York Public Library on October 3 in New York City Johnny Nunez/WireImage/Getty

"He says, but you can't get away from his immorality, you can't get away from his divisiveness, his lying, his race baiting," Sharpton continued. "He laid it out. I think there's a scripture that said what profits a man to gain the world and lose his own soul, he's actually challenging them that, are you bargaining and selling your soul for some judicial appointments and some other things that the right wants but you've given up the soul of the church? What do we stand for?"

The civil rights leader argued that the author of the Christianity Today editorial was "exposing" that Evangelical leaders would "take the shameless conman [Trump] over the principles that they're preaching in the holy season as we celebrate Jesus." He argued that the Christian leaders "would sell Jesus out if they felt they could get something from it, is the inference he's saying from his editorial. And that's sad on many levels."

In the letter opposing the editorial, Evangelical leaders argued that it disregarded the fact that the impeachment process was "partisan" in nature.

"The editorial you published, without any meaningful and immediate regard for dissenting points of view, not only supported the entirely-partisan, legally-dubious, and politically-motivated impeachment," the letter read, "but went even further, calling for Donald Trump not to be elected again in 2020 when he certainly survives impeachment."

"Your editorial offensively questioned the spiritual integrity and Christian witness of tens-of-millions of believers who take seriously their civic and moral obligations," it continued.

On Friday morning after the article published, Franklin Graham, the son of the magazine's founder Billy Graham, posted to Facebook to write that the magazine's decision was "unfathomable."

"Why would Christianity Today choose to take the side of the Democrat left whose only goal is to discredit and smear the name of a sitting president?" Graham, who also signed the letter with other Evangelical leaders, wrote in the post. "It's obvious that Christianity Today has moved to the left and is representing the elitist liberal wing of evangelicalism."

Trump also took aim at the magazine in a Friday tweet.

"I guess the magazine, 'Christianity Today,' is looking for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or those of the socialist/communist bent, to guard their religion," the president wrote. "How about Sleepy Joe? The fact is, no President has ever done what I have done for Evangelicals, or religion itself!"

Donald Trump and Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham talks with President Donald Trump during a ceremony as the late evangelist Billy Graham lies in repose at the U.S. Capitol, on February 28, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty

Galli has made several television appearances over the past few days, during which he has defended the magazine's decision. He repeatedly argued that it was in line with how the publication had responded to past impeachments, although it generally attempts to remain "above the fray."

"We're not making a political judgment about him because that's not our expertise at Christianity Today. But I am making a moral judgement that he's morally unfit, or more precisely it's his public morality that makes him unfit," the editor said Sunday during an interview with CBS News' Face the Nation.

White Evangelical Christians have been an important base of support for Trump since his 2016 presidential campaign. Just over 80 percent of the religious community voted for Trump in the election, and a poll released by the Religion Research Institute in October showed that 99 percent of Evangelical Republicans opposed the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry against the president.