Franklin Graham Thinks Partisan Politics Will Save the World

Franklin Graham Thinks Partisan Politics Will Save the World June 15, 2019

I recently wrote a piece for The Bulwark titled “How Franklin Graham Is Perverting His Father’s Legacy.”

The column focused on Graham’s call to deem June 2, 2019 as a day of prayer for President Donald Trump.

More specifically, it focused on how Graham has taken the good will earned through his father, the late evangelist Billy Graham’s work, and is using it to ingratiate himself with the Trump administration.

Reverend Graham, in his long and storied ministry, did not openly endorse or condemn any president. Instead, he held court with, prayed for, and blessed many administrations, with no thoughts to partisanship.

Did he have political beliefs?

I’m sure he did. That would be natural. Whatever they were, however, it didn’t stop him from being “America’s pastor.” He kept the main thing the main thing – that is, he was about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and in being a good witness of that message, for all people, regardless of their background and with no partisan intent.

His son, Franklin Graham, unfortunately, so desperately wants to be court jester in service to a corrupt, adulterous con man and his family, that he’s throwing all in for Trump, openly, and with no regards for how it tarnishes the family name.

The June 2 day of prayer Graham requested of the American evangelical community was not set up as prayer for Trump’s redemption, or even that he lead with wisdom and justice.

It was a prayer against his “enemies” – those who would oppose Trump, such as Democrats or the random citizen feeling pain because of the ill-advised tariffs.

In other words, Franklin Graham has neither the time nor inclination to pray for a nation that exists in unity. He wants political enemies conquered and brought low before the king.

And when I say “the king,” I’m not talking about the King of Glory. I’m talking about the worldly, would-be despot, Donald Trump.

Franklin Graham, and unfortunately, far too many so-called evangelical leaders preach Jesus on Sunday, but from Monday to Saturday, they crave to be subjugated. They long to see a powerful, worldly leader crushing his political enemies and opposition beneath his feet.

Amazingly enough, I don’t even think they understand what they’re doing, when they so openly advocate a worldly fix for spiritual problems. If they did, they wouldn’t risk alienating so many who need to hear a positive message of hope.

These pastors would risk their reputations and their ministry by promoting a divisive figure from the pulpit, rather than keeping the house of God spiritually pure.

I believe there’s a real problem with people who lack spiritual discernment in this current age. They’re unsure of their own ability to study the Word of God, take good counsel, fellowship with other believers, and grow in the life of a Christian.

It’s an ongoing process, actually. None of us are going to get it right, all of the time, but I will say that if you see what men like Franklin Graham, Robert Jeffress, Jerry Falwell Jr, et al. are doing in service to a serial adulterer, liar, and bully, and you’re not troubled, then you’ve developed a callous over your spirit and need some altar time.

Graham and his ilk have created this mythical Donald Trump and pushed it out to the evangelical world.

And by “myth,” I mean they’re lying to everyone for the sake of partisan politics.

Fresh off the heels of successfully conning American churches to ruin the sanctity of Sunday worship earlier this month, Graham doubled down on the myth-crafting.

In a recent interview, he decided to put the age of Trump at the feet of God.

“I think God was behind the last election,” Graham told conservative news site The Western Journal.

The outspoken Trump supporter praised the president in an interview, bragging that the president has accomplished a lot “without a fully supportive Republican majority.”

“He, of course, has been able to do it with the relentless attacks of the Democrats,” Graham continued. “He may go down in history as one of the best presidents we’ve had.”

Did God appoint Trump?

Did he appoint Obama?

God will allow people to make the right decisions, or the wrong decisions. He’s given us His Word, in hopes our decisions are tempered by study and obedience.

We don’t look for worldly fixes to spiritual problems. God has often allowed for corrupt or wicked kings to gain rule, in order to rebuke a nation in rebellion against Him.

As for Trump being one of the best presidents we’ve had, there are not enough face palms in the world to adequately express how off Graham is in this assessment.

Tariffs that tax the American people, diminished respect on the world stage, as he pushes away long cherished alliances and embraces tyrants and foreign adversaries, a national debt that has ballooned out of control, as he spends more time golfing and tweeting than actually working – these are not the mark of a great leader.

I haven’t gotten into the daily lies and the embarrassment of having a president so intellectually diminished, incapable of grasping even the most basic tenets of policy.

None of that matters. According to Franklin Graham, President Trump is a true friend to the Christian community.

“I think he has honored his commitments to the faith-based community,” Graham told the outlet. “He is pro-life, [the] first president really in my lifetime that has been this vocal about life. I certainly appreciate that about him.”

So his signing off on funding for Planned Parenthood in multiple bills is what, exactly?

As for how vocal he is, I really have to wonder how long Graham has been following politics. While few presidents have had the guts to really take on the abortion issue (including Trump), he’s hardly the first to grapple with it.

Ronald Reagan signed the Mexico City Policy in 1984, blocking federal funds from going to foreign nations for the purpose of promoting abortion, either through counseling or referrals.

The policy has been rescinded when Democrats enter office, but the normal pattern is that Republican administrations quickly reinstate it.

Reagan was also responsible for one of the most spot-on assessments of the abortion issue, quipping, “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

President George W. Bush got right on the front lines with pro-life advocates, lending his voice to their prayers, expressing hope for the end of abortion in our time.

Graham also noted that Trump kept his campaign promise to appoint conservative judges. “He’s put two Supreme Court justices so far on the bench that are conservative. He’s appointed a number at lower courts. I hope that he’ll be able to do even more in that area, because that will have an impact on my childrens’ lives. If we have the right judges, it will benefit all of us.”

Of the two SCOTUS judges, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, there have been mixed results. They haven’t brought the conservative renaissance to the courtroom that Trump’s supporters had hoped.

“I think if Christians pray, pray for the president and pray for his administration, I think God will honor their prayers,” Graham told the outlet.

We should pray for our leaders. That much has never been in dispute.

That being said, Graham never used his father’s name to promote prayer for President Obama. I don’t think he did it for Presidents George W. Bush or Bill Clinton, either.

In fact, he attacked Clinton’s adulteries, but brushes off criticism of Trump’s multiple affairs.

Graham’s principles are situational, at best, hinged on his politics, and that is no way to save the world.

 

 

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  • JASmius

    The best way that Christians can pray for Trump is to ask that he be gotten out of office ASAP, as there’s no way his salvation can even begin as long as he’s still POTUS. He needs to be humbled, and that will never happen any other way. It’s an idea that is heretical to Pharisees like FG, but I’m convinced they were never believers to begin with.

  • Alpha 1

    I think you should give Graham and other pro-Trump Evangelicals more credit. They know Trump is the least Christian man in all history. They just don’t care. At the end of the day, they love his policies. Domestically he gives them the xenophobic,ultra-nationalist, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBT theocracy they crave. Overseas, he’s bombing foreigners and helping to bring about the second coming by giving unconditional support to Israel. They care about achieving political goals more than they care about anything else, including Christian practice.

    Evangelicalism has been so intimately fused with conservative politics that it would be absurd for them not to support a right winger like Trump. Decades of replacing their own doctrine with the Republican platform means prayers for Trump is all the religion is capable of producing anymore. I’ve said this before, but Evangelicals will be doomed to worship MAGA Jesus until they find an identity as Christians that exists beyond right wing politics.

  • sometypeofguy

    If you ever met any of the young Asian or black evangelicals I know in NYC you’d be surprised. They are decidedly non MAGA-ites. More fans of AOC and Andrew Yang. I was actually surprised to find this out. I’m pretty liberal but they are far to the left of me. The Trumpists get all the press, but something very different is happening with the younger folks.

  • Alpha 1

    Quite possibly! Evangelicalism is so frequently used as a synonym for “white, politically right-wing protestant.” Among that demographic Trump has something like 90% support, but I’m not surprised that it looks different outside of it. I do doubt that they’ll be able to claim the Evangelical identity though, since the reactionary leadership is so entrenched. If I had to predict that future, whatever they come up with may be considered different from Evangelicalism by both adherents and outsiders, while a hard-right remnant continues to control that label and its infrastructure.

  • sometypeofguy

    Good points, and could be. The people I know are mostly the children of immigrants or immigrants themselves, so no surprise that they see the world differently.

  • Michael Weyer

    I’m a Catholic but saying “God is responsible for Trump.” is great ammo to be used by atheists.

    Too many evangelicals think the U.S. should be a theorcracy where Chrisitans are always given the first shots at everything, only Christian judges, etc. Thankfully, Susan knows that’s a horrible idea as historically, forcing people to worship one faith has never worked out (we Catholics tried that with the Crusades and the Inquisition and it wasn’t pretty). Graham had totally bought into Trump and willing, like many evangelical leaders, to throw out the faith for political power.

  • Michael Weyer

    I try not to judge an entire group by just the vocal nutjobs. Yes, the cliche of the evangelical is some straight white guy who thinks the Left Behind books count as scripture and “freedom of religion” means “Christians get more freedom than anyone else.” As you point out, it’s not that simple and I’m sure a lot of moderate evangelicals aren’t happy with how they’re painted like this.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    You make the mistake of many liberals: You ASSUME that “evangelical” is synonomous with “white, Christian, male, Republican nationalist white-supremecist”.

    You could not be more wrong. Your perception of “evangelical Christian” is nothing more than another leftist stereotype. Evangelical Christians come in all creeds, shapes, colors and beliefs. Susan is (for example) a self-professed “Evangelical Christian” that disproves both your post and your stereotype. I would consider myself a Christian (I’m sure I don’t match your stereotype of “Christian” either), but I strive to be Evangelical – which simply means “advocating for Christ”.

    Those that do Satan’s work love to paint Christians as the oppressors because it sways minds and hearts away from the Gospel and love that is to be gained by following Christ.

    As a Canadian Atheist, I probably should not expect you to understand, but I can at least point out where your ignorance of Christianity leads you to mis-use the buzzwords and to display your leftist indoctrination.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Your comment on one faith not being allowed to control government and turn it into a theocracy is right on. As long as you include the faith of Atheism in your list of religions.

    The religion of Atheism is pushing hard right now to remove all symbols of any other faith from the public square. They must ALSO be stopped from establishing their “official government religion” (theocracy) of Atheism.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Graham has already received more credit than he deserves. He must now also start taking responsibility for his words and deeds.

  • Michael Weyer

    Atheists can be a tricky lot. Some are like someone from any other faith in that they may not agree with my religion but respect it and don’t mind various signs of crosses or such about.

    Sadly, the more vocal ones who get the media attention are the types who, if you believe in any higher power, they treat you like you’re mentally ill and push the “get rid of religion and the world is a better place” idea. As I said, trying to force people into believing one type of faith (or lack thereof) just hasn’t worked out well.

  • Alpha 1

    …Yes, evangelicals are more diverse than “white and politically right wing.” That’s specifically what I was writing about. I just don’t think Evangelicals who don’t fit that mold will have a home in the Evangelical church for much longer, since leaders like Graham are determined to define Evangelicalism by its right wing politics and whiteness.

    Also I have to ask: what do you think Canada is like? Because the Canada you describe is always much more exciting than the Canada I live in.

  • Alpha 1

    Yeah, I don’t see Evangelicals having any appeal to immigrant communities if they stay on board with Trump’s blood and soil nativism. I’m very curious what dissenting Evangelicals come up with though. I think creating identities outside of nationalism will be one of the great political challenges of the 21st century, so it will be an interesting test case to find out what they choose as an alternative and whether it catches on.

  • Bill in NC

    Isn’t all politics ultimately partisan just as all religion is ultimately sectarian?

  • Michael Weyer

    It seems the view of Canada in the States is either a socialist paradise, a socialist hellhole or just boring (“why are there so many Canadian crime shows, nothing happens up there!”)

  • IllinoisPatriot

    It seems Atheists view all Christians in the same “one-size-fits-all” stereotype as they do all other relitions – with fear and loathing – fear that all relistions are on some type of crusade to create theocracies (even though they have no idea what a “Christain Theocracy” would look like – and would be wrong with any of their imaginings since most don’t have the vaguest idea of what Christ taught or why he came and died for us.

    Exchange more than a few comments with an Atheist and they will inform you that perhaps the one thing they hate most about Christians is that we either HAVE or are TRYING TO turn the US into a Theocracy – despite the fact that the vast majority of those drafting ans signing the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were Christians and despite the fact that it was mostly Christians that settled in what is now the US in the first place and yet a “Christian Theocracy” has yet to materialize.

  • Michael Weyer

    Now, I can agree with you there. I remember reading a nutty comic book story where a bad guy tries to destroy the Catholic Church by faking the Rapture with characters talking of it like it’s one of the major parts of the Catholic tenet. Needless to say, when the story was printed, readers went wild pointing out how Catholics don’t even believe in the Rapture. Sure, we share some stuff (pro-life for example) but numerous differences.

    The sad thing is, I have indeed met a few evangelicals who do think “Christians come first” is part of the American creed somehow. Thankfully, they’re not common but they exist and mar the rest of the faith too much.

    But yes, while some atheists are open-minded, too many of them tend to lump Catholics, Evangelicals, Protestants, Mormons and the like into one big group rather than recognize the divisions of faith.

  • Alpha 1

    Yeah, it’s kind of strange. I’d say our politics are further left than yours, but not by as much as Americans think. We have a social democratic party, the NDP, but they’ve never formed a government and I can’t remember the last time they really led on left wing issue. On the other hand, our Conservatives like to take after your Republicans, and we had a splinter faction of the Conservatives form an honest to god alt-right party last year that’s polling around 3-4%. We also produce a significant chunk of America’s right-wing grifters, as you may have noticed.

  • chemical

    Lots of comments here about what atheists believe, and you didn’t go to the one regular who is an atheist and regularly talks to other atheists.

    As far as what I believe:
    The USA is around 70% Christian. So making a general statement like “All American Christians want to do X” will almost certainly miscategorize many people. As far as what Christ taught — well, his life is described in the 4 Gospels. You do realize many of us atheists, myself included, are ex-Christians, right? We used to attend church. I remember you said here before that you switched the church you attend because they didn’t adhere to Christ’s teachings or the Bible. That’s a lot of us, too, except we didn’t pick another church.

    Re. theocracy, the small group of nutters trying to implement it have outsized political power and are overrepresented in government. I don’t believe that even the majority of American Christians want to implement theocracy, but the ones who do hold a lot of sway.

  • chemical

    You make the mistake of many liberals: You ASSUME that “evangelical” is synonomous with “white, Christian, male, Republican nationalist white-supremecist”.

    For what it’s worth, I hope the day comes where no one makes this mistake. I agree with Alpha here and understand that evangelical doesn’t necessarily mean Trump-backing ultra nationalist white supremacist. HOWEVER, there is a group that wants to make that connection, and it isn’t my side: It’s the same people Susan called out in her post, the Franklin Grahams, Robert Jeffresses, etc. that call themselves evangelical that want to make that connection, and they want to do it for political power.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    There is no such thing as an “Evangelical church” as a major or even minor subset of Christianity.

    “Evangelical” describes a belief subset that is common to many Christian beliefs and churches. It is not a NAME, it is a DESCRIPTION.

  • Michael Weyer

    Bingo. You can find people of evangelical leanings all over various Christian beliefs. Not as much among Catholics (the Church has never taught the Rapture as being part of scripture) but some of those feelings are there. It really pops in more among the Protestants.

    Interesting is how I’ve read that the last few years have seen a deepening rift between evangelicals and the Mormons as they may agree on some things but very deep divisions as well.

    Sadly, a lot of it comes down to the old “who’s more a real Christian” arguement and that never ends well.

  • Michael Weyer

    Well, when you bring up “70 percent Christian,” that’s just the blanket of Christianity. You have to delve deeper to figure out the differences of Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, etc. It’s a reason there’s a lot of division still as you’ll see leaders of other sects openly slamming The Pope on “not a true Christian” at times. It seems easy for an outsider to just put us all on the same footing but as you can see with me and Illinois Patriots, we Christians can have much different viewpoints of things (and don’t get started on the Creationists who think the world is only 6000 years old).

  • Alpha 1

    A quick google shows at least 4 churches calling themselves an Evangelical church in my city alone. I also found an Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. It certainly seems like Evangelical churches are a subset of protestant Christianity, same as Methodists and Anglicans. However this is in the blighted Islamo-Atheist wasteland of Canada, so maybe it doesn’t count?

  • Michael Weyer

    I think he meant it’s not like the Catholic Church of one huge power base in Rome or somewhere.

  • Pearl Nardini

    I have not seen an article from Susan Wright since June 15th. Does she still write for any media source? I looked forward to reading her articles.

  • Jesusisdemocrat

    In the 1980s, one of the main problems Evangelicals leaders had with a secular US was Situational Ethics. Ironically, the current crop of pretend “Christian” leaders practice something truly evil, an “Ethical/moral” system where the ends does not simply justify the means, ANY means is apparently justifiable for an unknown ends.
    To describe this Graham and Falwell Jr. as Christian is blasphemous. These and others of their kind are evil men, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and the most absolutely egregious examples of false prophets.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    This main issue for me with Atheism is that ALL Atheists have the same (non-existant) objectivity for whatever moral compass they profess to believe in.

    Thus there is no objective difference between the beliefs of Chemical and those of Trump or Clinton or Warren.

    Practicing Muslims have a legal, ethical, spiritual and cultural system of beliefs built on the Koran.

    Practicing Jews have an ethical, spiritual, and cultural system of beliefs build on the Talmud.

    Christians (in general) base their ethical, spiritual and cultural belief systems on the Bible (some Old-Testament only, some New-Testament only), most on New-Testament teachings with supporting background and context from the Old Testament. Some Christian sects consider that man’s culture has superseded parts of God’s word, others reject any ‘tampering’ with God’s word by man, but all aspects of Christianity have a foundational set of beliefs in Christ’s teachings.

    Atheists have rejected all historical and objective measures by which to evaluate morality, spirituality and ethics, instead attempting to adopt a set of relativistic values – not based on Christ’s teachings but on their own feelings and situational events. This results in the aforementioned inability of Chemical to differentiate his beliefs from those of Donald J Trump or Hillary Clinton with any sense of authority, objectivity or universal reference. Since there is no agreed-upon “common ground” for Atheist beliefs, neither Chemical nor Trump can make any moral claim that their standards of morality or ethics are “as good” or “better” than any other person’s standard because they essentially have no claim to any standard for morality, ethics or spirituality whatsoever other than whatever their feelings of the moment dictate to them. In that regard non-practicing, self-identified so-called “Christians” and self-identifying Atheists are exactly like the twice-a-year “Christians” that attend Church on Easter & Christmas only or like Nancy Pelosi that considers abortion to be a “religious sacrement” in “HER” “Catholic” faith.

    With no standard against which to hold Atheists accountable, is it any wonder that the old Soviet Union (a country that made the major mistake of making Atheism their “official religion” fell into corruption, chaos and collapse ? There will always be false prophets and false leaders among us. With no objective standard against which to select our leaders, how are we to distinguish good leaders from the greedy, self-serving Atheists-in-Religious clothing that attempt to dictate to people of all faiths that their faith must not be displayed or obeyed in public, can only be practiced behind closed doors and must be subordinated to the secular will of hte Atheists that currently control the federal government ? (I specifically refer to Obamacare’s rule agains the Little Sisters of the Poor and Obama’s later “compromise” that STILL put a secular regulation above the Nuns’ Freedom of Religion. I’m also referring to Pelosi’s statement that Christians will just have to change their beliefs because she and her fellow Atheists in Congress passed a law contrary to core Christian (and Constitutional) principles of life and individual liberty.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    I don’t know – She dropped out of sight around that time, but seems to be posting about once a week now – something is wrong.

    I hope she gets to feeling better and comes back to us.

    I miss her too.

  • Michael Weyer

    I disagree with some of that but do agree on other points. The bit on how some Christians “cherry pick” the Bible to support their views can often be an issue and I agree a difference between serious church goers and the “two or three times a year” folks. Which just shows how it’s often not strictly black and white and such which complicates things.

    Sadly, this kind of talk has a habit of devolving into the “who’s more a real Christian” fight and that never ends well for anyone. In the end, we’ll all see who’s right and who’s wrong one way or the other.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Sadly, the “who’s more Christian” actually has a point and a purpose.

    If you believe that mankind sets the standard for admission to Heaven or for finding favor in God’s eye, then your point may have validity. if you believe that God — and ONLY God — sets the standard and that in the final analysis God is the final (and only) arbiter of who “adequately” followed the teachings of Christ vs those that were “play-acting” or those not sufficiently committed to His cause (those that chose which teachings to accept and which could be “safely” ignored because they were not convenient or socially popular), then your claim of some mythical “who’s more Christian” fight is without merit.

    If you believe that the commandments of God are subject to social acceptance or are negotiable by mankind, then it is necessary to ask HOW mankind (those such as the Pope or Cardinals) managed to re-negotiate God’s morality to allow protection of child-abusing priests and Cardinals and to allow such men to continue as examples that non-clergy should trust and look up to as shepherds and spiritual protectors of God’s people.

    If you believe that mankind has renegotiated our covenant for salvation with God, then perhaps you can share when and how and by whom that covenant was re-negotiated. Until then, I will choose to abide by the covenant that Jesus made on God’s behalf — with no pop-culture ‘adjustments” or compromises. I do not expect God’s final judgement to be based on SJW social engineering demands that violate His moral principles nor do I expect that those that are “less Christian” (ie: those that have compromised their faith for social-justice or social-acceptance purposes) to pass that final judgement without question or challenge.

    As a Catholic, you are free to defend the child-abusing priests and Cardinals and the socialist Pope(s) here on Earth, but I believe you will fare less well attempting to defend them in front of the Almighty.

  • Michael Weyer

    I don’t want to hijack this whole thread on a massive theological debate so let’s just agree to disagree on this. As I said, we’ll find out who’s more correct one day and hope we’re judged better than we might deserve.