Thursday, May 06, 2010

A Response to Franklin Graham

I must say this, Franklin Graham has never developed the political acumen of his father.  He has continually made statements that are narrow and inflammatory -- something his father shied away from (at least in public).  There are those comments on the Nixon tapes that are problematic!

Recently the younger Graham was disinvited from speaking at a Pentagon National Day of Prayer observance.  This occurred because Graham has continually made disparaging remarks about Muslims.  Yes, I know he loves Muslims, he just thinks their religion stinks and that they need Jesus.  But, his comments are incendiary, and his presence at a Pentagon sponsored prayer service, while the United States is at war in two Muslim countries (as it continually declares that it is not at war with Islam), is not helpful.

Graham, of course, won't let this thing die, and suggests that this disinvitation is a slap in the face of evangelical Christians.  Not only that, it is the sign that forces within the Obama administration are opposed to the Christian faith.  (What is interesting is that Graham cites Islam's treatment of women, but when he speaks of Obama's advisers, he speaks of "the men around" him -- I thought that there were some women among Obama's advisers, but I must have been misinformed).

In response to Mr. Graham -- it is not that evangelicals are being disinvited, it's people like you who are being disinvited.  Obama is on good relations with a number of evangelical leaders.  He seeks prayer support from evangelical pastor Joel Hunter and from evangelical United Methodist pastor KirbyJohn Caldwell -- who by the way served in a similar position with President Bush.  It is not, therefore, a repudiation of evangelicalism.  Instead it is a repudiation of the narrowness of figures such as Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson.   It may also be a response to the self-proclaimed National Day of Prayer task force, a group of ultra-right conservative Christians who have seen fit to take over this day as their own. 

27 comments:

Gary said...

I have a lot more respect for Franklin Graham than I do for his spineless, mealy-mouthed dad.

But I disagree with Franklin in wanting to have anything to do with the National Day of Prayer, or with hussein obama. Both of which are bad ideas given the current multi-cultural, multi-religious idiocy the nation is now involved in. Franklin would be wiser to stay away from everything having a hint of "interfaith" to it.

Robert said...

Boy, Gary is feeling feisty this morning! That spineless, mealy-mouthed brother in Christ only led 2.5 to 3 million people to accept Christ during his lifetime of crusades. But I'm sure Gary's led at least twice that many souls to God with his bold, in your face style. Hey Gary, Have you blacked out all of the references to Peter in your King James Bible because that spineless, mealy-mouthed apostle denied Jesus 3 times?

John said...

Gary,

Do you think that members of non-Christian faith traditions should not participate in the National Day of Prayer? Or do you think that members of each faith tradition should participate in the day separately with members of their own tradition?

How should Christians interact with members of other faith traditions? In matters of business, in matters of politics, and with respect to personal relationships?

John

Adam said...

I really enjoyed your blog. It was very well written! Also, thank you for drawing attention to The National Day of Prayer. You can help call our nation to prayer by posting this prayer request to your blog's side panel. I'm hoping that our country will turn to God in prayer.

http://nationalprayerbank.com/Widgets/gjjmqiucar/

Many Blessings!
Adam

Gary said...

Robert,

Where did you get the 2.5 to 3 million number? From the Graham organization? If Graham has "led" that many to Christ, it should be easy to find 50 of them. Can you do that?

Gary said...

John,

Christians should not participate in religious activities that elevate non-Christian religions to the level of Christianity.

I deal with non-Christians daily. But being respectful and polite to people does not include thinking that their religion is of equal value to Christianity.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gary said...

John,

As far as I'm concerned, eliminate the National Day of Prayer. Those who want to pray together still can.

David Mc said...

I totally agree with Gary. There should be no National Day of Prayer supported by the US government. It's obviously unconstitutional (and at least 15% of Americans are currently atheists). One thing for sure- politics + religion all too often ends in hypocrisy.

i.e.

http://eqfl.blogspot.com/2010/05/breaking-news-attorney-general-bill.html

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/05/family-research-council-head-h.html

It is ironic though, BP oil is going to try to cover the oil-leak in the gulf tonight with that contraption. I hope the workers aren't distracted knowing all the prayers for their skill are going out today. I hope God will help if He has no rules about that.

It's hard to give him the benefit of doubt after spending about 10seconds at rentboy.com!

Anonymous said...

You've been spending time on rentboy.com? I didn't know you worked for the Family Research Council.

Dee said...

Is Gary saying that Billy Graham's crusades were nothing more than theater and that the thousands of people that responded to alter calls on TV at each crusade were not really accepting Christ as their savior? I'm starting to have a hard time believing that Gary's posts are anything other than flaming to incite anger in other readers. Opposing viewpoints are fine, but it seems that he has simply crossed the line into boorish, insulting behavior. Nobody could really be this angry at the world.

Glenn said...

Ha. Now poor old Billy Graham is branded as a pseudo-Christian. I would ask Gary if he will denounce the Pope next, but I have a suspicion that Gary doesn't consider Catholics to be Christian either.

John said...

I read Gary as being more passionate about his beliefs than angry, and rather direct and intemperate in his criticism. You always know where Gary stands.

The fact that Gary spends time on this blog is evidence that feels able to be honest about his passions - and that he senses that there are people that need to hear what he has to say. While I often disagree, and rather strongly, I find his passion worthy of the subject, and of my attention.

Graham never captured my attention. Maybe that was because he was too temperate in his language and maybe not enough of a prophet.

Just my opinions.

John

David Mc said...

"...denounce the Pope next, but I have a suspicion that Gary doesn't consider Catholics to be Christian either."

I wonder if John would agree the Catholic Church would be best if turned upside down?

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/opinion/02kristof.html?src=me

John said...

David

I couldn't agree more. Every several hundred years someone comes along and compels the church to look into its soul and ultimately brings about a reversal of values within the church. Now would be a good time for the appearance of a new Saint Frances.

The time for a Vatican III is here.

John

Gary said...

Dee,

Did you know that most of the people you saw going down toward the altar in the Graham Crusades were "workers" who were going down to make it appear that lots of people were responding to the invitation?

Robert said...

I'm surprised at Dee for not knowing that all those people responding to Rev. Graham's alter calls were just his employees putting on a show. Everybody knows that! Just like everyone knows that between crusades, he housed all those employees in the secret Hollywood movie studio where the government filmed the fake moon landings. What isn't as well known is that the movie studio wasn't his first choice, but he eventually had to move everyone there because Big Foot kept fighting with the captured aliens at Area 51 and nobody was getting any sleep at that location. C'mon people, keep up. Gary can't do all the work for ya.

Gary said...

Robert,

Where are the 50 Billy Graham "converts"? Can't find that many? How about 30?

Robert said...

How bout this Gary? You show me the documents proving that all those people were Graham employees and I'll post an add on Craigslist to see if I can find real converts.

Gary said...

Robert,

I don't know if they were paid or were volunteers. I would guess volunteers from the local areas where the crusades were being held.

If you can find someone who worked in a crusade, either paid or as a volunteer, ask them if many of the workers didn't go down front during the invitation, as instructed.

Gary said...

One more thing: I am not saying nobody ever converted to Christ at a Billy Graham meeting; I'm sure some did. But I don't believe it was 2 to 3 million, or any number even close to that.

My major problem with Billy Graham is that he is an ecuminical compromiser who failed to preach the full message of the Bible. The fact that he was and is "popular" with wicked people and theologically confused people is not a compliment to him.

John said...

Careful Gary,

Jesus was "popular" with wicked people and theologically confused people. In fact he's still popular with that crowd.

In response to the Pharisees question about why he befriended sinners and tax collectors, Jesus said "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners?"

And look who YOU are spending time with in this very blog?

John

Robert said...

Gary,

What if it was only 20,000 or 10,000 or 1000 or 50. My guess is, based on your conversational style, that it would still we way more than you have ever led to Christ. My problem with you is not your viewpoint, but the way that you express it. You could have started this conversation by listing your reasons why you thought Franklin Graham didn't get a fair shake in the recent Pentagon affair. But that's not what you did. It's not what you ever do. You prefer to attack and malign peoples character. You never discuss without condemning. John seems to be determined to try to have a reasonable discussion with you although you have never given any indication that you are interested in having one. You are a classic troll. You post inflammatory comments that rarely add anything to the conversation. They simply rile people up. I once read that a blog can be considered effectively non-functional if 3/4 of the posting are in response to one persons aggressive, conflict inducing posts and I think that this blog is dangerously close to reaching that point. If you really are interested in discussing the pastor's posts, try giving reasons for your positions without all the name calling and other nonsense that seem to be your trademark. So until you post something civil, mocking responses that show the absurdity of your statements is all you deserve.

Gary said...

John,

Jesus was "popular" with the wicked and theologically confused as long as he would feed them and heal their sick. When Jesus asked them to repent of their sins and follow him, the crowd went away and all that was left was a small group.

Gary said...

"My problem with you is not your viewpoint, but the way you express it."

That's a lie. You have a problem with both my viewpoint and the way I express it. In fact, my viewpoint is mostly what you have a problem with. If you agreed with me, you would be far less critical of the way I express it.

Franklin Graham was "disinvited" from the Pentagon affair because he is thought to be a Christian who is unwilling to consider the possibility that Islam is just as valid as Christianity. I think the Pentagon did Graham a favor by pulling the invitation.

Anonymous said...

http://gocomics.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c5f3053ef013480712c11970c-800wi

David North said...

I'm amazed at the contempt so many have of Billy Graham's messages.

To the pure, all things are pure but to the defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure."

I can't say Billy Graham "saved me" but I can say that approach to God was stamped and defined by his message. What I heard as a young teen was, "Sin and Hell...Jesus and Heaven...Make a choice.".

How this is a "compromised message" to so many elludes me. It put the fear of God in me despite it's so-called "wishy washiness" and made it clear that just "wanting God" was not enough but that it had to be on his terms and his way through Christ.

His messages were EVANGELICAL... not thrological and doctrinal treatises. The critics of Graham's messages sound mostly like preachers who lament he didn't teach more like the scribes and pharisees.

I saw the last few minutes of only a few of his messages when I was young and they confirmed my identity as a Christian in a way that my family's church never did.

Billy Graham was as human and faulted as any of us. You can critique the various points of his life and criticise his failings but he consistently preached, "Christ and Him crucified". How this is a point worthy of angry Christian criticism is unfathomable to me.