Reverend William (Billy) Franklin Graham Jr.(1918- 2018) has died at
the age of 99. Too often, hagiographies are painted when people die,
especially of ministers. The televangelist, however, is not deserving
of such high praises.
Graham’s inarguably the most influential minister of the 20th
Century his ministry -which provided pastoral counseling to U.S.
presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama - lived at the
crossroads of fear and intolerance as the wrath of God.
promoted his brand of evangelical Christianity - the Billy Graham
Evangelistic Association - like a traveling salesman by conducting
tent revivals in rural backwaters and gospel fests in urban cities.
When Graham expanded his ministry to include multimedia - a
television show and his famous weekly “Hour of Decision”
radio program that was broadcast on more than 1,200 stations across
the globe, many queried about his zealous self-promotion that morphed
into a global business. “We are selling the greatest product
on earth. Why shouldn’t we promote it as effectively as we
promote a bar of soap?” Graham told the Saturday Evening Post
at the arc of Graham’s public ministry, from the 1950's to the
present, the outpouring of grief has overlooked his damaging and
damning messages toward and about LGBTQ Americans.
the LGBTQ community will not be silent in this moment of public
mourning. For example, Craig Coogan, executive director of the
world-renown Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, wrote the Boston Globe
for not mentioning Graham’s decades-long religious vitriol
spewed at the LGBTQ community.
was disappointed that the Rev. Billy Graham’s long track record
of homophobic and anti-gay statements was not included in an
otherwise comprehensive review of his life in last week’s
obituary (“Billy Graham, ‘America’s pastor,’
dies at 99,” Page A1, Feb. 22).”
referred to homosexuality as a chosen lifestyle, a “sinister
form of perversion,” and “an ungodly spirit of
self-gratification.” Graham used his bully pulpit to denounce
LGBTQ activism, and his cautionary warning to Christians who
supported LGBTQ civil rights was that “we traffic in
homosexuality at the peril of our spiritual welfare.”
his dying day, Graham believed LGBTQs could cured. His website still
promotes reparative therapy: “If you have a loved one who’s
homosexual, you may refer to "Someone I Love Is Gay" by
Anita Worthen and Bob Davies, or if you’re a Christian
struggling with homosexuality, consider "Coming Out of
Homosexuality" by Bob Davies and Lori Rentzel.”
an opponent of marriage equality, Graham’s pastoral advice
concerning LGBTQ marriages was that “The Bible provides God’s
blueprint for marriage and for His good gift of sex in Genesis 2:24.
The gift is only to be enjoyed within a marriage between a man and a
woman. There are no exceptions suggested, such as homosexual
partnerships.” And, in 2012 Graham supported actions to amend
his state constitution to define marriage “between one man and
a time when many Americans were looking for a definitive spiritual
answer why AIDS occurred Graham, in 1993, told a crowd of 44,300 in
Cooper Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, that he thought the AIDs epidemic
was the wrath of God- “ “ls AIDS a judgment of God? I
could not say for sure, but I think so.” Graham’s
response went global. He retracted with an apology, but the damage
aptly pointed out that “Those actions and beliefs, over the
course of his ministry and public life, have harmed many people and
perpetuated painful and erroneous stereotypes that organizations such
as ours continue to counter every day.”
Billy Graham’s ministry of intolerance toward LGBTQ people has
unquestionably been passed down to his son Franklin, whose homophobic
remarks TRUMPS that of his father’s and is in lockstep with
this present administration.
going to encourage the Church to take a stand for Christ.
Homosexuality has been allowed into our schools – that’s
why I want to get the school boards back,” Franklin Graham
stated during a radio Q&A segment with Focus on the Family,
another national religious anti-LGBTQ organization.
cannot stay gay and continue to call yourself a Christian. You can’t
do it,” Franklin continued.
the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will continue to be a
revered global ministry around the world. I shudder to think of all
this hate speech passed down from father to son will be done in the
name of God.