Franklin Graham's Cult Crusade
In response to Franklin Graham’s Decision America Tour, held May 20th through June 5th throughout California, Paul Martin, centrist GOP challenger to Dana Rohrabacher, calls on Graham to “come clean” about his pro-Trump political crusades.
For Immediate Release
May 30, 2018
Orange County, Calif. — Franklin Graham is hosting crusades described on the Billy Graham website as "a series of one-day prayer and evangelism events across California,” where "Franklin will present the Gospel of Jesus Christ at each event, calling the lost to repentance and faith—and praying together with believers for their families, churches, communities, and those far from God."
"As a Christ follower, I find it reprehensible,” Martin said. “The marketing materials describe a Christian crusade. But you arrive at a half-crusade and half-pro-Trump political event. These are not merely evangelical crusades, they’re fringe right-wing political rallies and Mr. Graham knows it."
A board member for Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse described the campaign’s aim with unusual candor in a New York Times interview, “Only as we change the heart of the people of California can California go red again.”
It’s bizarre to me,” Martin said. “The GOP just officially became a third party in California and instead of understanding its need for moderate candidates you have people who defend Roy Moore and are silent about every nasty thing Trump says. It’s unthinkable that Graham recently told the New York Times, “People say that the president says mean things. I can’t think of anything mean he’s said.”
Graham has built his career on a brand very different from his father, one unrecognizable to millions of faithful Christians. Years of bigoted statements on immigrants, Muslims, gays, and Black Lives Matter culminated in Franklin’s enthusiastic embrace of Donald Trump. Like Dana Rohrabacher, Franklin Graham has been unconcerned by endorsements Trump received by the KKK, his collusion with foreign enemies, or his racist rants. As Martin explains, “Promoting Trump and his lackeys is not Christian ministry. It’s anti-Christian.”
As a former pastor with undergraduate and graduate degrees in philosophical theology, and a proud Californian, Martin is outraged by Franklin’s betrayal of his father’s legacy. “In 1949, Billy Graham’s California crusade helped cement his place as a national icon for evangelicals. His son Franklin will be coming to California to undo Billy Graham’s fine work by preaching a message that leaves out Jesus' primary message of caring for the marginalized of society like immigrants, the poor, and refugees."
Martin went on, "Billy Graham used the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to preach about the love and transformative power of Jesus Christ. His son is using the same organization as a political wing of the Trump Cult, promoting candidates who, like my opponent Rohrabacher, support a sexual predator, serial liar, and racist."
"After September 11, 2001, Mr. Graham called Islam 'a very wicked and evil religion.' Following Trump's attempted Muslim Ban, I launched a peacebuilding campaign called the Christian-Muslim Alliance. We see things very differently."
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