Fresco at the ruins of Pompeii, Italy
While researching one thing or another, I ended up at www.billygraham.org. I’ve always admired Dr. Graham. To my knowledge, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association over the years has never been dragged through the mud of sexual scandal, fiscal irresponsibility, or family feuds. Not even the Crystal Cathedral can claim such a distinction.
I was caught off guard, however, when I read the following pre-election statement on the site’s home page: VOTE BIBLICAL VALUES, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6 . . . The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren, and this great nation is crucial. As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last. I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.
The reins have changed hands at the Association. At 94, Billy Graham has next to nothing to do with the organization he founded in 1950. Son Franklin is President and CEO. Franklin, who spent much of 2009 explaining his $1.2 million salary package to nosy reporters, has quite a track record for expressing his biblical views and medieval social policies. The younger Graham went on record lauding one-time presidential hopefuls Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich as Christians, but declined to say the same about Barack Obama; Graham suggested the President had Muslim leanings. It was impetuous Franklin who after 9/11 reminded us that Islam is “an evil and wicked religion.”
It’s probably just a coincidence that on the website is a picture of the current presidential aspirant sitting next to father and son Graham. A short time later, reference to Mormonism as a “cult” was officially scrubbed from the website. See what good things can happen, Franklin, when you sit down and talk with folks! The same could happen if you invited to your office some devout Muslims, a few LGBT folks, and two or three same-sex couples.
The next time you visit Israel to remind folks there of your unwavering support, after you’ve said a prayer at the Wailing Wall give some thought to visiting the Aida Refugee Camp just north of Bethlehem. Have a heart-to-heart talk with some Palestinians about their experience in the occupied West Bank. Better yet, just listen to them. Who knows how you might see the situation differently!
One more thing, Franklin. I took this photo at the ruins of Pompeii several years ago. Some might see in it homo-erotic behavior. Maybe so. But I don’t believe Pompeii (or Sodom or Gomorrah) was destroyed because of homosexuals living there. Sometimes it really is fatal, despite what a realtor might claim, to buy a house too close to an active volcano. If you’d like a copy of the photo, I’d be happy to frame one and send it (no charge!) to your North Carolina office. Though you once told a reporter you have lots of guns displayed on your office wall, I’m hoping you could find a suitable place to hang it.
Blessings in your ministry!