On the anniversary of the greatest single domestic threat to American democracy since the Civil War, what would you expect a respected religious leader to say?
After the president of the United States calls out his predecessor’s perpetually expanding web of lies that led to that disastrous moment — which we now know he watched over and over again on rewind with glee — what would you expect someone who respects the truth to say?
Probably not what Franklin Graham said in a Jan. 8 tweet.
“This wk in his address to the nation, @POTUS Biden talked w/disdain about former President Trump spreading a ‘web of lies.’ Well, millions do not believe that President Trump spread a web of lies — but they do feel there’s a lot of dishonesty going on by politicians in Washington. With all respect, @POTUS Biden needs to be careful how he denounces those who disagree with him. Hillary Clinton tried that once by calling supporters of President Trump ‘deplorables,’ & it didn’t go too well for her. It was an insult to about half the country. President @JoeBiden’s bashing of former President Trump doesn’t unite the country, but just further divides it. Pray for wisdom for our elected leaders and God’s mercy on our nation.”
Where to even begin in response to the ever-multiplying mendacity of Franklin Graham?
In short order:
- Yes, Donald Trump is a documented serial liar who has made a brutish career of lying, all of which led to the Big Lie that he won the 2020 election when he clearly did not.
- Dishonesty in Washington? Take a number. But don’t forget that we’ve never had a president nor an administration so full of fabrication as that of Donald Trump. To suggest otherwise is to live in an alternate reality.
- Specifically naming lies is not the same as “denounce(ing) those who disagree.” Biden did not cast aspersions on people who believe Trump’s lies. He merely asked them to consider the facts and reconsider their opinions.
- Calling attention to grievances against Hillary Clinton is mere deflection from the current situation. She has not held public office since 2013.
- “Bashing” and “dividing”? Has Graham not paid attention to anything Trump has done in the past five years? He is the king of “bashing” and “dividing,” not of “uniting.” How can Graham claim to care about unity when he repeats and endorses Trump’s divisive lies? How can he claim to care about the world’s suffering children while defending a president who literally ripped children from their mothers’ arms and then lost track of the parents?
- Yes, we need God’s wisdom and mercy, but not in the way Graham suggests. We need God to deliver us from the evil of lying liars who lie.
Graham’s comments are all common partisan talking points, but his unflinching utterance of them illustrates that he has drunk the entire container of Trump’s Kool-Aid more than he has imbibed of the fruit of the Spirit or the word of God.
Yet this man leads a “Christian ministry” that in 2019 — the most current year of IRS filings available — took in $720 million. That money came mainly from good Christian people who think they are helping children around the world.
We’ve explained this before here and here and here and here and here and here and here: There are dozens of other ways to help children around the world that will do more real good than Samaritan’s Purse and that will not give a platform to a high-profile minister in whom the spirit of truth does not reside. Franklin Graham has made himself as big a liar as Donald Trump by spouting this nonsense.
“He has drunk the entire container of Trump’s Kool-Aid more than he has imbibed of the fruit of the Spirit or the word of God.”
One big difference is that Trump doesn’t claim to speak for God. Graham’s Twitter feed is full of God talk, such as this from two days before his defense of Trump’s lies: “God loves you. He made you; He created you; He loves you. But we have a problem, and it’s called sin.”
Indeed. And telling bald-faced lies over and over again is a problem called sin. Sin multiplies when ministers tell blatant lies, driving souls they claim to love further and further from God, who truly loves them.
If the board of directors of Samaritan’s Purse wants to save their organization, they should immediately break all ties with Franklin Graham and send him packing. They should have done this five years ago, but they have not, and they will not. Which is exactly why good Christian people ought to cut them off at the pocketbook.
Remember this time last year, when all those major corporations that make big contributions to politicians declared they would no longer support Congresspeople who voted against the rule of law and democracy by refusing to certify the results of a proper presidential election? That’s a distant memory now, too, as those same corporate giants are once again handing out checks to people who, just one year ago, they claimed were a threat to the very idea of truth.
Money is what gives both those politicians and Franklin Graham a platform to continue spouting blatant lies — and in the case of Graham, doing so in the name of God.
There’s an easy way to shut down Franklin Graham’s lies: Stop sending him money.
Mark Wingfield serves as executive director and publisher of Baptist News Global.
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