Christianity Today's editorial has sparked a family fight about Billy Graham and Trump

Billy Graham.
(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

As Christianity Today editor Mark Galli mentioned Thursday in his editorial calling for President Trump's removal from office, the evangelical magazine was founded by Billy Graham. One of his children, Franklin Graham, is among the president's evangelical abettors, and his response insisted the late evangelist was pro-Trump.

Billy Graham "would be very disappointed," Franklin wrote on Facebook. "My father knew Donald Trump, he believed in Donald Trump, and he voted for Donald Trump. He believed that Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation."

Another Graham family member disagreed: "A heavy hearted bravo to CT!" tweeted Boz Tchividjian, a grandson of Billy Graham who runs an organization which helps churches prevent and confront sexual abuse. "Well said on so many levels. I believe my grandfather would have had a similar perspective."

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Graham served as an adviser to presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush. But after the scandals of the Nixon administration, he took a step back from politics, cautioning evangelicals against being "closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle, to preach to all the people, right and left," Graham said in 1981. "I haven't been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will in the future."

In 2016, a Trump surrogate claimed Graham "prophesied" over Trump, but Graham's office denied the account, saying he simply signed a Bible with a generic greeting.

This is not Christianity Today's first critique of the Trump administration, its policies, or associated public figures, as Andrew Lewis, a University of Cincinnati professor who studies the Christian right in America, documented in a lengthy Twitter thread. But despite the magazine's willingness to buck Republican orthodoxy, it is hardly the "far left" or "liberal" institution Trump, Franklin Graham, and Liberty University's Jerry Fallwell, Jr. have claimed since the editorial dropped.

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