(my head is about to #$@ing explode edition)
As a Christian, I am almost at a loss for words.
Over the course of time, there has been no shortage of things Franklin Graham has been wrong about. Nor has there been any shortage of issues where he boldly issued sharp, public rebukes, against those he thought were wrong.
And certainly, Franklin Graham has been the last person to hesitate issuing strong condemnations of movements, political leaders, and the ideologies that inspire or fuel them.
In fact, that’s what Franklin Graham does– if he didn’t, I’m not even sure what he would post about on Facebook.
Yet, today it is clear that Franklin Graham appears to have no indecision or hesitation to rebuke and condemn, except when there’s a terrorist attack by white supremacists.
While there are a lot of issues in life where two sides can have legitimate, opposing viewpoints, and times in life where deciding between right and wrong is tricky enough that it requires one to approach a situation with nuance and care, I can think of no easier case of knowing who or what to condemn than when effing nazis are marching in the street and killing people.
Apparently Franklin Graham thinks the responsibility and condemnation needs to reside elsewhere, and should be spread out among a few groups of people. In a statement on Facebook, Graham condemns a lot of people, but they are all the wrong people:
“Shame on the politicians who are trying to push blame on President Trump for what happened in #Charlottesville, VA. That’s absurd. What about the politicians such as the city council who voted to remove a memorial that had been in place since 1924, regardless of the possible repercussions? How about the city politicians who issued the permit for the lawful demonstration to defend the statue? And why didn’t the mayor or the governor see that a powder keg was about to explode and stop it before it got started? Instead they want to blame President Donald J. Trump for everything. Really, this boils down to evil in people’s hearts. Satan is behind it all. He wants division, he wants unrest, he wants violence and hatred. He’s the enemy of peace and unity. I denounce bigotry and racism of every form, be it black, white or any other. My prayer is that our nation will come together. We are stronger together, and our answers lie in turning to God. It was good to hear that several Virginia and Charlottesville leaders attended church today at Mt. Zion. CNN said, “The racial divides that fueled Saturday’s violence were replaced by unity Sunday…” Continue to pray for peace and for all those impacted by Saturday’s tragedies.”
While there is much to find shocking and appalling about this statement, the most morally outrageous is this position:
When white nationalists march in the street and kill people, we should blame the people who voted to remove a racist monument because “they should have known” that the decision wouldn’t be popular with racists.
I’ve spent the last few hours thinking about this, and I still can’t figure out how anyone could arrive at this conclusion.
What is equally shocking as the fact that he blamed all the wrong people, is the mind-numbing refusal to specifically condemn the people who actually committed this act of terror: white nationalists.
Over the course of time, Graham has issued his sharpest rebukes in cases of terrorism– when it happens to be a Muslim who did it. In these cases, he quickly takes to the airwaves to remind everyone of the “evil” of Islam, and to reiterate that we are “at war with Islam.” He’s shown time and time again a capability and willingness to condemn a people group, and their belief system.
But in the clear-cut case of nazis literally dressing up like Donald Trump, marching through the streets with torches, and ultimately killing people?
Condemn the governor. Condemn local leaders. Condemn the people who voted to remove the racist monument without considering it might hurt the feelings of racists.
Condemn everyone– except for the people who did it, and the white nationalistic ideology that was behind it.
And to make it worse? He has to take it one step further and say that any attempt to connect the dots between the ideology of Trump and the ideology of those who brought terror to Charlottesville, is simply an attempt by Satan to divide us.
Let me sum it up for you, Christians in Americaland: Franklin Graham issued a stronger condemnation of Target when they removed the “boy” versus “girl” label from their toy aisles, than he did when pro-Trump white nationalists terrorized and killed people.
And that disgusting fact is What Franklin Graham is Wrong About Today.
Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a public theologian and cultural anthropologist who is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with graduate degrees in the fields of Theology and International Culture, and holds a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold. www.Unafraid-book.com.