Is Franklin Graham perverting the legacy of his father, Billy Graham? Franklin made this statement today:
Though never partisan in his preaching, Billy Graham is a registered Democrat. His son expressed concern about Obama's views on abortion and gay marriage — an issue Franklin Graham raised in a meeting with the Illinois senator — saying that he and is father are conservatives who believe the Bible speaks clearly on those issues.
"President-elect Obama heard our position," Franklin Graham said. "And I told him that this was very difficult for us and hard for us. It's a moral issue that we just can't back down on."
"But he's our president-elect, and those positions that he holds that are contrary to Biblical teaching, I hope that God will change his heart," said Graham, who now heads the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Billy Graham is a registered Democrat. He said something quite compelling two years ago...
Q: America's evangelical subculture has recently undergone some interesting changes, including the rise of new, more liberal voices whose views on cultural issues stand in sharp contrast to those of the religious right. What do you make of such changes?
A: As an evangelist, my calling has always been to proclaim the central message of the gospel: What Christ did for us by his death and resurrection, and our need to respond to him in repentance and faith. I've always tried to avoid being associated with groups that focus on political issues, either on the right or the left. That isn't my calling.
Sometimes trying to be neutral isn't easy - kind of like the man I heard about in the Civil War who decided to wear a blue coat and gray trousers and got shot at by both sides!
However, I'm very concerned about the growing polarization we see today, both in our society generally and even among some evangelicals. Somehow we've got to find a way to get past this and find a common ground.
Doesn't sound like conservative divide and conquer speak to me, or someone willing to disregard his first president since Eisenhower to me. Here's what he had to say about political labels and homosexuality two years ago:
Q: Have your views on such issues as foreign policy and homosexuality grown more liberal through the decades?
A: Well, I hope they've grown more balanced over the years, although I try to avoid labels like "liberal" or "conservative." When I was young, I thought I knew the answer to almost everything, and I cringe when I look back at some of those ill-considered remarks. The world is complex, and as I've grown older I've learned that foreign-policy issues, for example, usually aren't as easy as they may seem on the surface.
Homosexuality is not a lifestyle that is endorsed by the Bible, although I don't believe Christians should single out homosexuals for condemnation or contempt. God loves the homosexual just as much as the heterosexual, and so should we. We have all sinned, and we all need God's grace and forgiveness. We also all need God's strength to fight temptation and to change our lives.
Franklin Graham is full of shit. He's taking advantage of his father's infirm condition to make a political point. Why would he do this? Here's why:
A recent report in The Anchorage Daily News stated that evangelist Franklin Graham made the Palin connection to McCain, not Republican professionals. Graham, the once-estranged son of Billy Graham, has strong ties to the various strands of the religious rightwing. He met with McCain on June 30 at his headquarters in Boone, North Carolina, after which Graham issued a statement praising McCain’s "personal faith" and prayed for "God’s will to be done in this upcoming election."
The Daily News concluded that "subsequent events suggest that the price of support for McCain by the fundamentalist Christian leadership would be a vice presidential candidate of their liking. Governor Palin was a logical choice for Franklin Graham, whose ties to Alaska include a palatial, by Alaska bush standards, second home in Port Alsworth, a community that has served as a retreat for Christian fundamentalist leaders."
Graham has been the keynote speaker at Palin’s annual prayer breakfasts for the last two years. When she fired the Public Safety Director over what is being investigated as a family matter, few noticed that she hired a local police chief, Chuck Kopp, who was "a rising star in Alaska’s Christian conservative movement," according to the Daily News. He was a frequent speaker at religious and "patriotic" gatherings, but perhaps more significantly he was a director of a Bible training camp in Port Alsworth primarily funded by Graham.
I submit that Franklin Graham is saying these things under the cover of his father's legacy. From what Billy Graham has said, I don't believe he would reject Barack Obama over political differences at a time when the country is so riddled by the same divisive tactics used by Franklin. Franklin has a clear political connection to Sarah Palin and is using his dad's name to continue the divide. Asshole.
His father may even be incapable of contravening his son's statement:
An avid consumer of news, Billy Graham still listens to television — he has macular degeneration and has can't read more than the headlines of a newspaper — and follows the events of the day. He spends much of his day napping and resting, and Franklin visits on Sundays to try and coax him to make the 100-yard walk to the barn next to the mountainside home in Montreat.
Graham's health is fragile. He was hospitalized overnight last month after falling over his dog while trying to pet it. He had elective surgery earlier this year to update a shunt that controls excess fluid on his brain. The shunt was first installed in 2000 and drains fluid from through a small tube, relieving excess pressure that can cause symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease.
The AP story mentions nothing of Franklin's political ties to Palin. They do us a disservice.