The open rift between some "never-Trump" evangelical leaders and the broad rank-and-file of the president's evangelical supporters continues to bleed out to the public.
On Monday, National Public Radio's "On Point" program invited just-retired Christianity Today editor-in-chief Mark Galli (pictured at right during CNN appearance) to air the grievances he wrote about in a controversial editorial just before Christmas. In that parting op-ed, Galli wrote President Donald Trump's "blackened moral record" makes him unfit for office and, for that reason, he should be removed.
Galli argued on NPR that the damage to evangelicalism from support of the president is already done. "I think the word 'evangelical' – which is a very good word in terms of its richness, its theological richness – that word is shot now. It is merely a synonym for conservative religious politics," said the journalist.
NPR host Meghna Chakrabarti asked Galli if perhaps evangelicals thought of the president as a protector of their religious freedoms.
"Let's say we have people on the left and the right [who] are fearful about what might happen or what is happening. That's fine. I get that that's part of the motivation," he responded, "but it doesn't then take us anywhere. … Is the fear rational? Is it not rational?"
For a counterpoint, the NPR program asked for comment from Southern Evangelical Seminary president Dr. Richard Land, who answered Chakrabarti's question directly.
"Many of us feel like our ability to live our lives and to live out our faith is under assault, and that there are people who would seek to weaponize our own government against us – and we take that seriously," said the seminary leader.
Land further pushed back on the notion that evangelicalism has been harmed by support of who he calls "the most pro-life, pro-evangelical president" in history.
"The idea that evangelicals have gone deaf, dumb, and blind to Mr. Trump's faults, I think is overplayed and false," Land clarified.
At the end of December, nearly 200 evangelical leaders signed an open letter to the president of Christianity Today, defending their support of Donald Trump as president of the United States. That letter to Timothy Dalrymple stated that Galli's op-ed "not only targeted our president; it also targeted those of us who support him and have supported you."