Is Franklin Graham gay “but in a state of denial, self-loathing and shame?” John Allyn Welch (a public affairs strategist and writer) ask this question in a Huffington Post article, “Why Is Franklin Graham So Obsessed With LGBTQ People?” Given Graham’s one-man unrelenting (unhinged?) crusade against gay people it is a reasonable question.
What rational explanation can there be? Pure hatred? Mental illness? Support for the international war criminal and gay-brasher Vladimir Putin?
I first met Franklin when we were both 9. We were the sons of evangelical leaders. We’d both soon be folded into our father’s ministries in a nepotistic spasm of evangelical weirdness, that like North Korea specializes in nepotistic empire building. I’d get out after my dad died in 1984 as I describe in my book Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back.
Franklin Graham stayed in the God business and built a multi-million dollar fortune on being his father’s son. Then he left his dad’s humane example and became a leader in the Bannon/Trump alt-right.
Franklin Graham visited my parents’ mission in Switzerland with his father Billy. He was just another one of the thousands of people, including many other evangelical leadership types, who trekked to my parents mission of L’Abri over the years.
No, Franklin and I didn’t do any 9-year-old sexual experimenting. Too bad! It would have made a good story now but unlike Graham’s hero Trump I don’t just make up “alternative facts.” Nevertheless my views on gay sex were shaped by personal experience at about that same age.
When I was in British boys’ boarding school we indulged in plenty of sexual activities after lights out in the dorm including group masturbation and the like. I didn’t discover I was gay (I’m not) but did discover that I was a horny heterosexual who — a few years later — got his girlfriend pregnant when we were both teens. (Almost 50 years later Genie and I are still together and caring for 5 grandchildren, each other and a lovely family.)
That said in boarding school some of my best pals seemed to like other boys better than girls. And they were among the most wonderful generous and kind people I knew then or now.
Why hate gays to the extreme to which Graham goes? Graham is not on some generalized moral crusade against UN-biblical practices. In fact he seems to condone plenty the Bible is rather tough on. Graham has covered for and excused sin– as long as it’s not gay “sin.”
For instance (as Allyn Welch notes) Graham said Trump — who has been married three times and has bragged about sexually assaulting women — won the election by the “hand of God.” Graham even broke from a number of other evangelical leaders and defended Trump’s refugee ban, saying that welcoming the poor and persecuted isn’t a “Bible issue.” And Graham loves the war criminal and murder of journalists and political opponents Putin almost as much as Trump does… and all because Putin too hates gays.
Adultery, sexual assault and lying are okay according to Graham— if Trump does them, but not gay sex. (If Trump came out of the closet–unlikely!–would Graham denounce him?)
Here is a recap of just some of Franklin Graham’s anti-gay activities and statements as collected in an article in Glaad. The recap notes that: Franklin Graham claims Satan is behind LGBT rights and advocacy:
This is a full-scale assault against Christianity and the followers of Christ. [W]hen our President (Obama at the time) fails to defend biblically defined marriage, and he openly and zealously advocates for gay rights; when legislators rush to overrule existing laws to promote gay marriage; when schools and courts consistently suppress religious freedoms; we know we are locked in a war against the Christian faith, not culture. The architect behind this offensive is none other than Satan himself. The Scripture says that the devil, our archenemy, is bent on as much destruction as possible.
Graham insists that gay and lesbian people cannot have families: “[Same-sex marriage] takes the family away and there is no way you can have a family with two females or two males, if you just think biologically how God made us our plumbing is completely different.”
Graham says he wants to “warn people” about the “consequences” of being gay: “But to wink at sin and to tell somebody it`s okay, when I know the consequences of what will happen one day when they have to stand before God,” said Graham.
Graham claims he loves gay people “enough to care to warn them that if they want to continue living like this, it’s the flames of hell for you” He preaches: “States now are approving same-sex marriage, and our politicians in Washington, both Democrat and Republican, are supporting this whole thing of same-sex marriage, and these things are detestable before almighty God. ”
Graham claims that supporting marriage equality means “shaking a fist” at God:
In changing his position from that of senator/candidate Obama, President Obama has, in my view, shaken his fist at the same God who created and defined marriage. It grieves me that our president would now affirm same-sex marriage, though I believe it grieves God even more.
Graham supports Russia’s draconian laws against “gay propaganda”:
Isn’t it sad, though, that America’s own morality has fallen so far that on this issue—protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda—Russia’s standard is higher than our own? In my opinion, Putin is right on these issues. [H]e has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda. Our president (Obama) and his attorney general have turned their backs on God and His standards, and many in the Congress are following the administration’s lead.
Graham insists that “there is no place for compromise” on same-sex marriage. And Graham says that by allowing openly gay young, the Boy Scouts supported “corrupt values.”
Graham equates LGBT behavior with senseless violence, citing both as examples of “moral decline”:
Since the recent election [Obama], we’ve seen same-sex couples lining up at courthouses in several states to receive their marriage licenses… This is only the tip of the iceberg. The moral decline we see on television programs—blatant immorality, senseless violence, media-friendly gay and lesbian behavior—is just a reflection of the moral corruption that has infected our entire nation. These are indeed dark days …
Graham even claimed that NBA player Jason Collins’ coming out is “yet another example of our culture’s dramatic turning away from biblical values”: “All the way to the White House, NBA player Jason Collins was hailed as a hero in late April when he became the first active male professional sports athlete on a North American team to publicly declare his homosexuality. President Obama said he “couldn’t be prouder” of Collins, who made the announcement via a Sports Illustrated cover story. First lady Michelle Obama appeared at a fundraising event with Collins and said he “has just made the difference in the lives of so many of our young people.” It was yet another example of our culture’s dramatic turning away from biblical values and toward embracing homosexuality as a civil right.”
Being in an English boys school preemptively cured me of any homophobia I might have later absorbed from my evangelical parents’ biblical beliefs. Though unlike many evangelicals the gay “issue” was never one of their pet obsessions and they welcomed gays at L’Abri. (Too bad Franklin didn’t come back as a teen and learn to be as kind as my mom and dad.)
By the time I was 9 or 10 I knew that my friends “who liked boys” were in fact just like me: only when I “wanked” (at age 11-12-13 and up) I thought about girls and they thought about boys. I don’t know when Franklin first masturbated or who it was with. I assume he did. I don’t know if he fantasized about boys or girls. And I don’t care. I’ll bet he knew of or participated in group wanks “circle jerks” as Americans call them though or knew people who did.
Group “wanks” (a Brit expression) weren’t just going on in the UK circa 1960s. One can see an entertaining episode of this in Amarcord– the 1973 Italian comedy-drama film directed by Federico Fellini, that’s an autobiographical coming-of-age story. In the movie teenage boys sit in an old car and their group wanking motion makes headlights flicker on and off as they call out the names of the girls they are imagining…
Franklin seems to have forgotten that sexuality is an organic ongoing experiment for us all and that the real distinction between good and bad sex is the difference between abuse and predatory behavior (of the kind he excuses in Trump) and the sort of kind and consensual sex I observed around me while in boarding school.
Franklin never seems to have learned what I knew by age 11: that “everyone does this” (masturbates, alone with others and/or thinking about either their own gender or the other gender). Only a fool or bigot or a self-loathing hypocrite holds up lies about sex and calls them the will of the creator. After all, if we are created “in God’s image” then God is provably bisexual because the human race is. Deal with it.
The LGBTQ community in our midst didn’t arrive from another universe. They are us and they are God’s handwork or no one is. Deal with it.
Graham has no problem defending a man who turns his back on the poor, deports children, women and men fleeing war, death, persecution and poverty. He has no problem supporting a proven unstable liar. Graham brushes aside Christian charity for the 20 million Americans who will lose access to health care– if Trump gets his way. Graham like other alt-right leaders idolizes Putin for his hatred of the “other.”
Who is Franklin Graham’s Jesus? Judging by Graham’s words and actions these days one would assume that the Jesus he claims to follow never showed concern for the sick or the outcast. In Graham’s gospel story Jesus is on the side of the Romans, more accurately on the side of a Caligula-like Caesar.
Graham is okay with turning away the stranger at the door and tearing children from their mother’s arms. He’s fine with Trump’s heterosexual philandering and repeated and self-admitted sexual assaults… that have led some to accuse Trump of rape of a child. But Graham is declaring war on Disney after learning of the Beauty and the Beast remake. It has an “exclusively gay moment” between character LeFou, and villain Gaston.
In a Facebook post Graham writes:
They’re trying to push the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of your children—watch out! Disney has the right to make their cartoons, it’s a free country. But as Christians we also have the right not to support their company. I hope Christians everywhere will say no to Disney.
Billy Graham was a family friend. He refused to join the anti-abortion movement when my father asked him to because he said “I preach the good news and don’t want to turn people off to Christ.” His gospel crusades were about forgiveness.
Billy’s son crusades against gays, Muslims, women and immigrants. His special venom is reserved for gays. We can speculate on reasons for Graham’s crusade against the LGBTQ community but one thing is clear: Franklin Graham is a nasty piece of work and no follower of Jesus.
Franklin Graham demonizes millions of gay men and women with apparent impunity. He is part of the alt-right hate machine.
As Trump-inspired hate crimes multiply against Jews, blacks, Muslims, women, Hispanics, transgenders and gays, Graham is dong his bit for hate too. Franklin Graham’s “altar-call” is for haters to come forward and embrace more hate–and to follow the “father of lies”–as their personal savoir.