- Evangelical leaders have expressed outrage after the indictment of former President Donald Trump on Thursday.
- Trump has called the grand jury’s investigation a witch-hunt and a “political persecution,” with some Evangelical leaders agreeing with him.
- Several leaders, including Paula White-Cain, Franklin Graham and Mark Burns, have taken to Twitter to express their disapproval of the indictment.
- Some Christian voters are beginning to abandon their support for Trump as he runs for his third presidential campaign.
Several Evangelical leaders have taken to Twitter to express their outrage at the indictment of former President Donald Trump.
On Thursday, Trump became the first president in U.S. history to face criminal charges after a grand jury in Manhattan indicted him with approximately 30 charges in relation to an alleged hush money payment Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Daniels alleged that in 2006 she had an affair with the former president, which he denies. Trump continues to deny any wrongdoing in the case and is expected to enter a not guilty plea at his arraignment, which could be as soon as next Tuesday.
The former president has called the grand jury’s investigation a witch-hunt and a “political persecution” against him, according to a press release from his 2024 campaign. Meanwhile, some Evangelical leaders agreed with Trump and demeaned the process in their social media outcries.
Evangelist Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, was among the leaders who were appalled at the indictment. Graham called for God’s intervention in the indictment.
“It’s a shameful day for America as former President @realDonaldTrump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury,” Graham tweeted on Friday. “The Democrats have weaponized the legal system for their political gain while ignoring the current Administration’s faults and deficiencies.”
He added: “There’s only One who can save this country, and that is God and God alone. Why should He even hear our prayers when we have turned our back on Him? But I’m going to keep praying that God will intervene and save this nation so we will continue to be that beacon of hope for this very dark world.”
Reverend Nathan Empsall, the executive director of Faithful America—a nonprofit organization composed of Catholics and Protestants and others not affiliated with any church or denomination—told Newsweek on Friday that Graham betrays the Christian faith by supporting Trump.
“Despite his assertion that ‘God alone’ can save, Franklin Graham betrays our shared faith by remaining so hellbent on standing with a corrupt strongman who puts his ego ahead of the people and once blasphemously claimed ‘I alone can fix it,'” Empsall said in an email statement.
Empsall went on to say Good Friday, which is next week, should remind Christians of the “danger that comes when religious leaders abandon justice and the common good to pursue a relationship with those in power—whether that’s with Pontius Pilate or with MAGA Republicans.”
“In this modern day and age, answering Luke’s Gospel’s call to tear down the mighty and lift up the lowly means defending American democracy, demanding that Donald Trump and other authoritarian politicians who abuse their power finally stand trial, and working together to build an inclusive and just country where no one is above the law and all of us benefit from equality, dignity, and accountability—not just a wealthy few,” he added.
Faithful America has frequently spoken out against Trump, and recently launched a petition calling for Trump’s YouTube ban to be reinstated.
Evangelists played an important role in Trump’s presidential election in 2016, however Christian voters are beginning to speak out against the former president. An article published by HuffPost last November referenced several Evangelists and former Trump supporters, some who served as advisers to him during his 2016 campaign, were moving away from the former president because of controversial things he had said.
However, some Evangelists remain steadfast supporters of Trump. Televangelist Paula White-Cain referenced the “weaponization of the judicial system” in a tweet on Thursday.
“Today I am asking for prayer for our nation, President Trump, and his family. All of us—regardless of party—should be appalled by the weaponization of the judicial system against someone they disagree with. (Deuteronomy 16:18-20),” White-Cain wrote.
Evangelical pastor Mark Burns posted a video to his Twitter page on Thursday where he said the indictment would only lead to left, right and independent voters to prefer Trump in the 2024 election.
“They have made a huge mistake,” Burns said in his video.
Christian singer Sean Feucht had a similar stance.
“They are going to wish they never did this to Trump,” he tweeted Thursday night before tweeting again on Friday morning.
“Seriously, what’s next? They will do ANYTHING to stop him,” he tweeted.
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