Graham Thinks Christians Aren’t Allowed to Identify Themselves Publicly

Whenever I hear the cries of persecution from the Christian right, I have to wonder what color the sky is in the world they live in, which bears no resemblance to the real world. Franklin Graham actually thinks that Christians are no longer allowed to identify themselves publicly.

Are Christians the only group of people who cannot identify themselves publicly in this country? Are we the only voices who cannot speak? The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is calling for the court martial–yes, court martial–of Maj. Gen. Craig Olson for calling himself “a redeemed believer in Christ” and giving God the glory for his success at a National Day of Prayer event. I guess this group would’ve tried to court martial George Washington when he prayed at Valley Forge! Come on–Whose civil liberties are really being infringed on here? They want to bully Christians into silence.

No one’s civil liberties are being infringed. While I do think that MRFF’s calls for a court martial are a little over the top, the simple fact is that Olson violated military regulations by appearing at a National Day of Prayer event in his uniform. Air Force Instruction 1-1, Section 2.12:

2.12. Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause. Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.

And no, this does not mean that Christians can’t identify themselves publicly, for crying out loud. This is a special circumstance. When you join the military, you agree to abide by rules that limit what you can and cannot say in ways that would not be legal for a civilian. How on earth could anyone believe that this applies to Christians as a whole in this country? To make such a claim requires that you are either delusional or you are deliberately selling fear that you know isn’t true, which makes you a liar. Take your pick, Mr. Graham.

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • colnago80

    Well, Egnorance and the blogs resident physics professor and former math department chairman aren’t shy about parading their Christian bonafides.

  • John Pieret

    Take your pick, Mr. Graham.

    I’ll take Delusions for a thousand, Alex … no, no, wait! … Lies for a thousand … no, um … can’t I just have both?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    …Maj. Gen. Craig Olson for calling himself “a redeemed believer in Christ”

    That explains why I couldn’t get the discount with him. He’s already been redeemed. I feel kind of foolish for keeping him all this time in my kitchen drawer with the other coupons.

  • dingojack

    “a redeemed believer in Christ”

    I wonder how much the pawnbroker lent on him in the first place?

    Dingo

  • grumpyoldfart

    Franklin Graham actually thinks that Christians are no longer allowed to identify themselves publicly.

    Perhaps he does think that way, but it is much more likely that it was an idea dreamed up during a church board meeting. Most of the board probably thought it was a stupid story to spread around until they noticed that the boss seemed to be going along with it. Then, like all good yes-men protecting their salaries, they said, “Yes, let’s go for it, the mugs in the pews love persecution stories…

  • Trebuchet

    @1, SLC: God, you’re tiresome. Give it a rest.

  • Bruce

    So General Olson had a good time talking at the national day of prayer, in uniform.

    What if we had a national day of politics? Could Gen. Olson give thanks for Senator Bernie Sanders, while he Olson wears his uniform? Every Private knows that’s not allowed. Do generals not have to get SAT analogy tests?

    Olson confuses his religion with the air, and thinks it is what keeps us all alive. Well, they do look the same.

    By which I mean his religion looks like nothing to me.

  • busterggi

    If I had a dollar for every time somehow has started a conversation with me by saying, “I’m a Christian” I’d be somewhere else enjoying myself instead of reading this blog on my lunch hour.

  • dingojack

    In some cases — a little Christian anonymity might have been be a better choice!

    😉 Dingo

  • colnago80

    Re Trebuchet @ #6

    I assume that Trebuchet is objecting to the bolded former. I just find it amusing that a math department would appoint a nuclear physicist as it’s chairman, even if only temporary.

  • tbp1

    Actually I’m pretty sure Graham knows better and is just lying.

  • llewelly

    colnago80:

    … former math department chairman aren’t shy about parading their Christian bonafides.

    Heddle losing his math department position has nothing whatever to do with the topic of the thread. We do not even know whether it has any relation with Heddle’s actual qualifications. It could have been for funding reasons, or any number of other reasons.

  • teele

    “Are Christians the only group of people who cannot identify themselves publicly in this country? Are we the only voices who cannot speak?”

    I kind of assumed the reason their voices could not speak was because they generally use them only to bray.

    llewelly, #12: I am curious — do you know Heddle to be male? I always assumed the commenter to be female, because the tone and substance of the comments are so reminiscent of my mother-in-law. I guess it doesn’t matter, but I find myself trying to put a picture to commenters. I have to say, when I am on a site where people use their facebook photos for their comments, I am seldom surprised at how they look.

  • dingojack

    teele – yep, David Heddle is really a male.

    Dingo

    ———

    PS: Yes I am typing this with my paws, and I dideat that baby… :)

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    “Are Christians the only group of people who cannot identify themselves publicly in this country? Are we the only voices who cannot speak?” he asked without betraying even faint awareness of the irony embedded his questions.

  • eric

    I just find it amusing that a math department would appoint a nuclear physicist as it’s chairman, even if only temporary.

    I find it amusing that you comment on foreign policy and nuclear weapons proliferation for the same reason.

  • stewart
  • colnago80

    Re llewelly @ #12

    AFAIK, Heddle was only occupying the chairmanship of the math department temporarily as a courtesy to that department. He voluntarily stepped aside when they finally convinced a mathematician to take the position.

    The reason I find this somewhat strange is because it is unlikely that such would have occurred at any university I have been associated with (e.g. UC Berkeley, Un. of Rochester, Un. of Oregon, Florida State Un., or the Un. of Maryland).

  • cjcolucci

    Graham thinks Christians can’t identify themselves publicly? Here’s an idea — let’s require them to identify themselves publicly, like with a yellow cross on their clothing or something. Maybe he’ll be happy then.

  • sugarfrosted

    @colnago20, the problem is that you’re attempting a thread derail with an ad hominem. Please stop full stop.

  • colnago80

    Re sugarfrosted @ #20

    I did not derail the thread with an ad hominem. In the very first comment, I responded to Graham’s charge that Christians have to hide in the closet by citing a couple of individuals who comment here as to being open and aboveboard as to their Christian beliefs. The thread was actually derailed by Trebuchet @ #6.

    I really must protest the accusation of using an ad hominem. Who did I insult? Apparently, sugarfrosted, like Trebuchet somehow considers the bolding of former or referring to Egnor as Egnorance (which is how Larry Moran refers to him on his blog, Sandwalk) as some sort of insult. Given the fact that Egnorance rejects the Theory of Evolution, about which he is totally ignorant, I don’t see that as an ad hominem. Chill out.

  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    How on earth could anyone believe that this applies to Christians as a whole in this country? To make such a claim requires that you are either delusional or you are deliberately selling fear that you know isn’t true, which makes you a liar. Take your pick, Mr. Graham.

    Always a tough question with this type. However we can easily make a related conclusion.

    Conservative Christians demonstrate a lack of concern about what is actually true. They also are repeatedly willing to make provocative assertions with little to no effort to validate their claims are true, even if when those claims lack evidence and frequently, are logically impossible or at least infeasible.

  • Doubting Thomas

    This would explain the secret fish symbol on their cars. It’s how they recognize each other without letting the rest of us know.

  • chirez

    It may be obvious, but I feel like explicitly noting the framework of that appearance-in-uniform is valuable.

    Appearing at a prayer rally is not the problem, Craig Olson is free to endorse whatever religious position he desires.

    Appearing IN UNIFORM, however is a significantly different thing, because in that instance, it is not Craig Olson’s endorsement of a religion, but a Major General in the US armed forces.

    The reason the christian right don’t see that must surely one or both of two things: either they don’t understand that an officer in uniform represents quite literally the US army as a whole, or they believe the US army is a christian organisation.

    It would not surprise me if the more weaselly ones slide back and forth across that line at their convenience.

  • theDukedog7 .

    I think Graham’s observation is pretty accurate. He engages in a bit of hyperbole, but he certainly identifies a trend. MMRF’s call for a courts-martial is way over the top, and anyone of good will has to admit that it’s a bit chilling.

    You’ll have to excuse Christians for being a bit touchy about where this censorship is heading. We were promised that gay rights laws wouldn’t be used to prosecute Christian businessmen who didn’t want to participate in gay weddings. We see how that turned out.

  • Nick Gotts

    theDukedog7,

    Well I appreciate the point you’re making. Asking Christians to obey the law really is chilling, when they’ve been so used to flouting it – in schools, in the military, in using the pulpit to push their electoral preferences – for so long.

  • caseloweraz

    Franklin Graham: Are Christians the only group of people who cannot identify themselves publicly in this country? Are we the only voices who cannot speak?

    Franklin Graham? Never heard of him. You say he’s the son of Billy Graham. Who’s Billy Graham? And what are Christians? Oh, wait; I dimly remember hearing a Christian speak in my youth. And I remember a lot of buildings with crosses on top of them — a long, long time ago. So I guess that Graham fellow is right.

    /sarc

    In other words, Franklin Graham, you’re spouting bullshit. Which you have a perfect right to do. We may wish you didn’t, but we still support free speech.

  • colnago80

    Re Egnorance @ #25

    Gee, you don’t seem to be hiding in the closet. And certainly David Heddle is not hiding in the closet.

  • Childermass

    Colnago80, when you engage in name calling, you are engaged in ad hominem.

    And please refer to theDukedog7 . by the username he has chosen. His offline identify is simply not relevant in this discussion.

  • colnago80

    Re Childermass @ #29

    Egnorance is Dr. Michael Egnor, by his own admission in a comment over at PZ’s blog. Egnorance is how Larry Moran and many commentors over at the Sandwalk blog refer to him and I will do likewise.

  • dingojack

    Yeah SLC – referring to commenter by another name, apart from the one they choose, is ad hom..

    Chihuahua 😉

    ———

    PS: An ad hominem fallacy is to falsely assert that the arguer is stupid, therefore any argument they make is, likewise, stupid.

    Lil DookieDawg™ has proved, amply, that in his case both conditions are manifestly true.