Saying public schools have no right to teach something “that is an affront to God,” evangelist Franklin Graham urged parents in states that require LGQTQ-inclusive teaching to either homeschool their children or enroll them in private schools during a radio interview Aug. 15.
Graham, head of both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse, told radio host Todd Starnes that he is 100 percent behind a New Jersey mayor drawing criticism for remarks urging his constituents to pressure state lawmakers to rescind a law requiring all schools to teach about “the political, economic, and social contributions” of LGBT individuals.
During an Aug. 6 meeting of the Barnaget Township Committee on New Jersey’s south shore, Mayor Alfonso Cirulli denounced the mandated curriculum as “an affront to Almighty God.”
“The state or federal government has no right to interfere with the religious upbringing or sexual indoctrination of alternative lifestyles of our children,” the mayor said while trying to recruit the community of about 20,000 residents to join his fight against the law that takes effect in 2020.
“The nation was established on a principle of religious freedom,” the mayor said. “Politicians have no right to promote the LGBT agenda through laws that are intended to destroy religious freedom, especially of Jewish and Christian heritage.”
Cirulli claimed “the LGBTQ movement,” which represents only a small fraction of the U.S. population, “is out to crush anybody or any faith that doesn’t embrace their chosen lifestyle.”
“For people of faith, make no mistake that this political movement is an affront to Almighty God, with the intent of trying to completely eradicate God’s law and the foundation that this nation was built on,” the mayor said. “The Bible tells us that they will try, but not succeed, and will pay an eternal price for their rebellion.”
Mayor Cirulli said “the Lord is separating his people from the nonbelievers and the scoffers” and is a loving God “who has left his word the Bible as a guide for a blessed life but will not tolerate unrepentant sin.”
“For the politicians that pass unrighteous laws, you will be held accountable for your deeds as well as those that follow your edicts,” the mayor said. “Those that also continue to vote and support these people will also be held accountable. Now is the time for the righteous to stand up and fight for their rights. This warning especially goes out to the houses of worship, for the Lord will spit out the spiritually cold and lukewarm.”
“God-fearing people ought to organize and select people to run for elected positions at all levels, for the future of our children and nation is at stake,” he said. “Time is running out, and the Lord will not continue to bless an unrepentant and unrighteous nation.”
Graham, the fourth of five children born to Ruth and Billy Graham, tweeted his approval of Cirulli’s remarks on Aug. 13.
“Love this guy — he’s got a lot of guts!” Graham exclaimed. “In the world we live in, the truth of God’s Word many times isn’t received well. But that shouldn’t stop us from standing with God’s teachings from the Bible.”
Expanding on those tweets on the radio, Graham said “the mayor is absolutely right.”
“This is an affront to God, and I don’t believe that the schools have the right to teach our children something that is an affront to God,” Graham said.
“God made us and created us,” Graham said. “He made us male and female so that we could carry on the population, that we would have children and that we would increase, and homosexuality goes against God’s plan for the human race.”
“I’m not against gay people. I’m not fighting them or anything like that,” Graham said. “So if you’re gay and you’re listening I want you to know that I do care about you and I love you but at the same time I love you enough to tell you the truth, that homosexuality is a sin against God.”
“I’m not your judge, God is, but you will have to stand before him one day and give an account for how you have lived your life,” he continued. “All of us do. I just want to warn you that God is going to judge all sin, but he’s willing to forgive sin if we’re willing to repent, and that means to turn from our sin, and by faith believe on his son Jesus Christ.”
Graham said if LGBTQ-inclusive teaching were forced on his children he would remove them from public schools, but in the meantime “we can fight.”
“We are the majority, and we’re having the minority push something down our throats that we don’t accept,” Graham said. “We need to speak out and fight against this. We are the majority, those who oppose this legislation, I believe, are the vast majority, not just in New Jersey but across this country.”
Graham, a high-profile evangelical supporter of President Donald Trump, was criticized in April for saying Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg should repent for identifying himself as a gay Christian.
“As a Christian I believe the Bible, which defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized,” Graham said on social media. “The Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman — not two men, not two women.”
In July Graham warned that a federal law supported by Democrats in Congress to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in public accommodations presents a “clear and present danger to religious freedom.”
“Christians will be persecuted for their sincerely held beliefs as never before,” he said. “The clear teachings of the Bible on the sins of homosexuality and abortion will no doubt be considered ‘hate speech.’ It will be a nightmare from which this nation may never recover.”
In June Graham helped organize a special day of prayer for President Trump. “President Trump’s enemies continue to try everything to destroy him, his family, and the presidency,” Graham said on social media. “In the history of our country, no president has been attacked as he has. I believe the only hope for him, and this nation, is God.”
Two weeks ago Graham said he does not believe Trump is racist, adding his view that the left has “weaponized” the word to use against their political opponents.
In 2018 Graham defended Trump amid allegations that Trump’s lawyer paid hush money to cover up a 2006 affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
“I believe at 70 years of age the president is a much different person today than he was four years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago,” Graham said. “He is not President Perfect.”
“We certainly don’t hold him up as the pastor of this nation and he is not,” Graham said in January 2018. “But I appreciate the fact that the president does have a concern for Christian values, he does have a concern to protect Christians whether it’s here at home or around the world and I appreciate the fact that he protects religious liberty and freedom.”