PODCAST: Christianity Today Editor Says Trump Should be Removed (UCN 12.22.19)

According to Religion News Service, Mark Galli, the editor-in-chief of the influential evangelical magazine Christianity Today, says that President Donald Trump should be removed from office. In an editorial on Trump’s impeachment published Thursday (Dec. 19), Galli argued that even though Democrats have “had it out” for Trump since his election, the case for the president’s impeachment — which the House of Representatives voted to approve to Wednesday — was convincing. Trump, he said, was morally unable to lead. “The facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents,” he wrote. “That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.” He noted that Christianity Today also spoke out when Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were facing impeachment. And Galli made it clear that he believes Trump lacks the morality to lead the country. “The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals,” he wrote. “He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone — with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders — is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.” In an interview with Religion News Service on Thursday, Galli explained that he decided to publish the piece in part because of the magazine’s history of speaking out during previous impeachment cases and in part because of Trump’s actions. “It’s just an unambiguous moment in which it is absolutely clear that there’s just no question what (Trump) was trying to do,” he said. Galli, who will retire in January, said the topic of Trump’s behavior was one he has thought about “for months, if not years.” In his editorial, Galli said that Trump’s removal may have to wait till the 2020 election. But either by impeachment or election, Galli said, Trump should leave office. “Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election — that is a matter of prudential judgment. That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments,” he wrote. Galli said he doesn’t expect his editorial to change many minds and doesn’t believe many hard-line evangelical Trump supporters subscribe to his magazine. He added that he doesn’t belong to either major political party, and voted third party in the last election.

According to Christian Headlines, A 73-year-old man who knows the painful chill of a Christmas without heat has paid off 36 families’ overdue utility bills. Mike Esmond, a resident of Pensacola, Florida, remembers a Christmas 36 years ago when he and his three daughters celebrated the holiday without heat and power, according to the Pensacola News Journal. “That year, we didn’t have any heat and it was the coldest recorded temperature [in December] Pensacola has ever had,” Esmond said. “We had icicles hanging off our windows.” Temperatures dipped to a chilling 9 degrees in the tropical state. But he found success later in life with his pool company, Gulf Breeze Pools and Spa. This year, when he saw that his utility bill would be due on Dec. 26, he was transported back to that cold day and decided to help other residents facing a similar situation. He asked the city of Gulf Breeze for a list of all the households with utility accounts that were past due and at risk of having their power and heat turned off. The city produced a list of 36 families, totaling approximately $4,600 in overdue bills. “I wanted to do something that I felt would really help people at Christmas time who are trying to decide between paying bills and maybe having something cut off, or buying presents for their family,” he said. The city wanted to reward the man’s act of kindness and sent out Christmas cards to the lucky 36 families, telling them of his gift. “It is our honor and privilege to inform you that your past due utility bill has been paid by Gulf Breeze Pools and Spas,” the card said. “You can rest easier this holiday season knowing you have one less bill to pay.”

According to Patch.com, A New Jersey community was grief-stricken on Saturday after three young women were killed when their car crashed underneath a tractor-trailer on a New Jersey highway overnight, police said. Linda Powell, who said she doesn’t post much that personal, felt the need to let people know her daughter, Michaela, 23, was one of three who died after their 2012 Nissan Altima crashed at 11:50 on Friday on Route 1 northbound, police said. “I do not post much that is personal but do not have current emails for many friends & family so am posting this sad news,” she said. Another friend provided their pictures with a message: “FRANKLIN LOST 3 beautiful ladies. R.I.P. Condolences to their family. Please, Franklin, I beg you to not drink and drive.” Franklin township’s mayor Phil Kramer and a state Assemblyman also felt compelled to address the incident, express sorrow, provide assistance, and ask for prayers. The driver of the sedan was identified as 23-year-old Brianna Martinez, and the two other victims were Michaela, who was the front-seat passenger, and 24-year-old Uchechukw Chukwuma, police said. All three were from Somerset and graduated from Somerset’s Franklin High School in 2014. Chukwuma graduated from Syracuse University and was a legal intern, according to her Instagram bio. Police responded to the crash that happened near Fords Avenue and found the trapped occupants inside a car. The vehicle had crashed into the back of the truck at the Fords Avenue traffic light just after it turned green, police said. It was trapped underneath the tractor-trailer when police arrived. Emergency personnel worked to extricate the occupants. The driver, Brianna Martinez, was transported to Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center and was later pronounced dead. The other two victims were pronounced dead the scene. An investigation into the ‘tragic accident’ remains ongoing.

According to NBC New York, One person has been arrested and charged after a woman was found dead and an infant was found safe at a Houston-area home, Austin police announced Friday morning. According to police, the suspect has been charged with two counts of kidnapping and tampering with a corpse. Police have not identified the suspect or the two victims in the case as they await DNA testing for confirmation, but Tammy Broussard says police told her that a body found in a trunk in Jersey Village Thursday night was likely that of her missing daughter, 33-year-old Heidi Broussard, the report said, and her 3-week-old granddaughter Margot Carey was found safe in a home. The baby found is “healthy” and is currently with Child Protective Services, police said. KPRC reported the Harris County Medical Examiner’s office was seen at the home. The FBI also confirmed it was at the site to investigate, but no further details were released.

According to The Sacramento Bee, Tragedy has struck the family of 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard, hours before Saturday’s final regular-season home game. Beathard’s younger brother, Clayton, died after being stabbed in the side during a fight outside a Nashville bar early Saturday, according to a news release issued by police. He was 22. The team said C.J. would miss the game against the Los Angeles Rams to be with his family. Another victim, Paul Trapeni III, 21, also died from stab wounds, police said. Authorities say the stabbings stemmed from an argument over a woman inside the Dogwood bar that spilled outside. Multiple people were involved in the fight. Beathard and Trapeni were pronounced dead after being transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. A third stabbing victim, who was identified as a 21-year-old male, was treated and released, police in Tennessee said. Clayton Beathard played football as a quarterback at Long Island University, where he was in his junior year as a sports management major. The Beathard family released a statement to the Tennessean newspaper thanking people for the support they’ve received and detailing Clayton’s life and passions. “Clay was an amazing, big and soft-hearted human being with an undeniable love for the Lord,” the statement read in part. “He had his family’s, friends’ and teammates’ backs even to a fault. I wish he would have been more inclined to take the high road but he hated ‘wrong.’”

Tucker Beathard’s Brother Killed in Bar Stabbing

According to Baptist Press, Filmmaker Jarod O’Flaherty didn’t intend to produce a television series for streaming on Amazon Prime. O’Flaherty, who wrote, directed and produced the award-winning faith-based 2013 film “My Son” with the talented congregation of Retta Baptist Church in Burleson, Texas, planned to use funds designated for video and film ministry left from “My Son” DVD and ticket sales to create a short film for the festival circuit. O’Flaherty did that, writing, directing and producing a film using as many professional actors and crew members as possible, supplementing the budget with private donations. Michael Dennis, a minister then on staff at Retta, served as a co-producer. “We wanted to take the production quality of My Son up a notch, enter the short in festivals and see what God would do with it,” O’Flaherty told the TEXAN in a recent interview. The result, a 26-minute film called “Vindication,” was accepted into a dozen secular and faith-based film festivals across the country, garnering nominations and awards, including best short film of the 2017 Christian Worldview Film Festival. With the film’s success, the distribution company Vision Video reached out to O’Flaherty and Dennis, who had planned simply to post the video on YouTube and end the project. Distributors asked about the film’s main character, Gary Travis, a police detective in the fictional town of East Bank, Texas. They wondered if he might have more cases. With the demand in place, O’Flaherty and colleagues started creating new cases for detective Travis, played by Dallas actor Todd Terry, an alum of “Breaking Bad.” They scraped together funds to shoot another episode. The production quality, acting and writing convinced additional donors to come aboard, and financing for a full 10-episode season was arranged, although O’Flaherty admitted that the budget per episode was a “fraction” of what Hollywood would spend on a similar show. The 10-episode series is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

According to The Christian Post, Greta Gerwig’s new film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women opens with Jo March, the heroine of the story, uncomfortably sitting across from an editor as he critiques her story. After aggressively thumbing through pages, the editor rejects Jo’s story, informing her, “People want to be amused, not preached at. Morals don’t sell nowadays.” For Gerwig, this line, taken directly from Alcott’s wholesome coming-of-age novel, is full of irony and reflects a sentiment still prevalent in the 21st century. “I always thought it was kind of a really monumental moment that Louisa May Alcott is having with us, which is her publisher saying, ‘morals don’t sell,’ and her book proves they very much do sell,” Gerwig told The Christian Post. “It’s interesting because it’s something that’s not edgy, it’s not outrageous. Because it never goes out of style, it seems totally fresh to make something that has goodness and morality and people treating each other well at the center of it,” she continued, adding that today, “everybody’s just trying to shock each other into boredom.” “It’s very exciting to do something that’s about people being good people, and it feels fresh because it’s something that feels like maybe fewer movies have been trying,” Gerwig said. Published in two parts in 1868 and 1869, Little Women follows the March sisters, Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth, their friend Laurie, and their mother, affectionately called Marmee. The March sisters navigate love, friendship, ambition, and heartbreak in Civil War-era Massachusetts. Opening in theaters Dec. 25, “Little Women” features Saoirse Ronan as Jo; Emma Watson as level-headed Meg; Florence Pugh as vain, selfish Amy; and Eliza Scanlen as the delicate, gentle Beth. Their mother, Marmee, is played by award-winning actress Laura Dern, while Laurie is played Timothée Chalamet.

You can read these stories and more at UrbanChristianNews.com.

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!