It is commonly believed that in the early days of the Christian church, followers of Jesus dealt with harsh persecution. The tales of Romans falsely labeling the Holy Communion as “cannibalism,” and Christians being thrown to the lions while Roman citizens cheered have entered the canon of legends and we don’t know truth from apocryphal tale.
What we do know is that from time to time, enterprising Roman politicians made Christians the scapegoats of the community, thereby leading to various acts of violence while they themselves reaped the spoils.
Throughout the centuries, Christians have faced persecution from different factions, including themselves via unnecessary disagreements regarding denominations and customs.
Not surprisingly and justifiably, Christians have always maintained a fierce devotion to their beliefs. It is a shame that, at least in the case of one Christian, this devotion isn’t accompanied with a desire to speak out for other groups facing the same type of persecution.
Franklin Graham, son of the iconic pastor Billy Graham, chose to go the other direction, i.e. embracing the perpetrators of evil rather than the victims. In recent comments, he commended the country of Russia for the recent passage of its anti-gay laws under the lie that it protects children:
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. Obviously, he may be wrong about many things, but he has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.
The inference that gays will somehow harm children is an old dodge perpetrated continuously because it works. Whenever someone wants to pass anti-gay laws or keep pro-gay laws from passing, or build a reputation for themselves on the hallmarks of “values” and “family,” they exploit children as psychological shields, playing on the heart strings of the ignorant by conjuring up images of oversexed gay men raping children, “indoctrinating” children, or “recruiting” children.
It’s the same in Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. The claim that these anti-gay laws in Russia were created to “protect children” is a lie created give Putin more power and popularity. And in exchange, Russian lgbts now face horrible consequences as a result of these laws. The beatings, the unfair arrests, the all-around abject fear which now grips Russia’s gay community are the results. The sad irony is that before these laws, Russian children weren’t in danger. But they are now, if they are gay.
And with his one ignorant statement, Mr. Graham dips his hand into the blood spilled because of these laws and publicly wipes it on his face with zest. In doing so, he spits not only his father’s legacy, and the faces of Russian lgbts facing daily persecution. He also spits upon his own religion, particularly the memory of Christians persecuted so long ago after themselves being falsely accused.
No matter what your personal or so-called religious belief about homosexuality may be, there is no excuse for making lgbts scapegoats via lies and scapegoating. Jesus never stooped to doling out excuses designed to justify horrible acts of violence and uncaring attitudes about innocent groups of people. It is an awful shame that those who claim to follow Him have no problems doing this. It is an awful shame in the eyes who claim to follow Jesus, political power makes the lives of lgbts disposable liabilities.
Even in today’s oxymoronic climate of Christian leaders clutching the lapels of their expensive suits as they trod across immaculately clean carpets of megachurches or before congregations of thousands and in front of cameras broadcasting to millions as they whine about being persecuted simply because they must acknowledge folks with different belief systems, Mr. Franklin’s cluelessness is just obscene.
If he wanted to be a leader with as much notoriety as his father, then mission accomplished. But it’s notoriety in the other direction. I’ve been to a Billy Graham crusade and I’ve seen him on television numerous times. He represented the humility of Christianity, the acknowledgement and respect for a higher power who we must leave all judgement up to while we do whatever good we can for each other.
Franklin now represents the hypocrisy of Christianity, the lack of humility which now plagues the religion but is something no one wants to talk about. Franklin represents the cluelessness that comes with forgetting your past and sacrifices of those who came before you; forgetting the innocent blood shed by those who paved the way to those expensive suits, mega churches with their immaculate carpets, congregation of millions, and television cameras. And especially the lack of shame which comes with scapegoating innocent groups of people in the same manner which your group was scapegoated and using the Bible to justify your sad behavior.
Mr. Graham, you are a disgrace to not only your father, the Christian religion, but humanity as well. I hope that you can see past the glitz which comes with being a supposed acclaimed Christian leader so that you can one day embrace the same humility which made your father such a wonderful person.