Tag Archives: Franklin Graham

Evangelical support still baffles

I remain a befuddled American patriot.

Donald J. Trump’s support among religious conservatives simply takes my breath away. I cannot fathom it. It’s real. I hereby concede that it’s solid and unbending.

The former Republican presidential candidate once boasted during the 2016 campaign that he could “shoot someone on Fifth Avenue” and not lose any votes, “believe me.”

You know what? I damn near believe him.

I had a private message exchange with a family member of mine. He’s a Trump supporter. He’s a young man of deep religious faith. He said he didn’t vote for Trump in 2016, but acknowledged that the president has earned his support because of his support for judicial candidates who will make abortion illegal, which is my family member’s threshold issue.

Fine. That’s his call.

What still baffles me is how anyone can presume that Trump actually believes in anything on an ideological level. He once was a pro-choice Democrat on the issue. Then he became a pro-life Republican. He’s also wavered, throwing his support behind Reform Party candidates. He’s all over the pea patch.

Does he believe in anything? Does he stand for anything? Does he possess any core values, other than the values associated with self-enrichment?

The Rev. Franklin Graham — one of the nation’s leading evangelical leaders — says the president’s philandering is no one’s business. His behavior with the porn star and the Playboy model don’t matter, according to Rev. Graham. But this man once said that Bill Clinton’s behavior was clearly the nation’s business.

Donald Trump has managed to do the near impossible. He has managed to redefine what one once considered to be deal-breaking episodes in a politician’s life. Telling a TV interviewer that he could grab a woman by her pu***? Hey, no sweat, man. His bragging about his marital infidelity? Big deal, dude. His declaring that he’s never sought forgiveness, which is a fundamental Christian tenet? Pfftt!

So, the president trudges on through these questions about corruption. All the while he conducts a scorched-Earth retreat policy that lays waste to the media that report on it. He calls the media the “enemy of the people.” He lays waste to the reputation of others who seek to find the truth.

It’s all OK with those on the far right, the members of Trump’s “base.”

Color me baffled.

What do evangelicals see in POTUS?

Of all the elements of Donald Trump’s base of support, the one that baffles me in the extreme is the evangelical Christian movement.

I keep hearing how religious leaders, such as the Rev. Franklin Graham, have parted company with the president over the “zero tolerance” policy that yanks children from their parents’ custody at the southern border of the nation.

What I’ll never understand is how Trump managed to garner their support in the first place. He is not a Godly man. He isn’t associated in any demonstrable fashion with any religious organization. Trump has never been attached to, say, Habitat for Humanity, American Friends or any other faith-based non-government organization.

Yet the evangelical Christian movement aligns itself with this guy.

He’s a serial philanderer. He has admitted to grabbing women by their, um, whatever.

Still, despite all this — and more! — he maintains this base of support.

How in the world does that happen?

Signs of cracking among the ‘base’?

I am heartened to learn of some second thoughts among Donald J. Trump’s most ardent supporters regarding this ghastly policy of “no tolerance” along our southern border.

It’s the policy that allows U.S. Border Patrol and immigration agents to seize young children from their parents as they enter the United States illegally.

Trump blames a “Democrat bill,” which doesn’t exist, for the policy.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the Bible — as stated in Romans 13 — gives the Trump administration all the authority it needs to invoke this intensely cruel policy.

Now we hear from, say, the Rev. Franklin Graham, one of the president’s most ardent supporters. Graham has declared his opposition to the policy.

Oh, and then former first lady Laura Bush has weighed in with an op-ed column in which she declares the policy “immoral” and said it “breaks my heart” to learn of children being put in cages along our southern border.

The current first lady, Melania Trump, has waffled a bit, calling on “both sides” to cease this humanitarian crisis. I understand the first lady’s difficult spot. But “both sides” aren’t required.

Only one side is needed to fix it. That would be the president, who can end this hideous policy with a phone call and a signature.

Where is defense of POTUS’s character, integrity?

I won’t take credit for this inquiry, but I’ll share it here just because it’s worth sharing.

Matthew Dowd, a veteran Republican political operative, posed an provocative question this morning on ABC News’s “This Week,” when he asked why Donald J. Trump’s supporters are not defending the president’s integrity or his character.

The president’s defense is centering on vilifying those who are opposing him. Donald Trump’s political base, comprising his most ardent supporters, isn’t rushing to defend him on the basis of his moral standing, his integrity.

The Stormy Daniels story is swirling. The Russia probe continues to gain steam. The Trump team keeps changing its story. The White House press operation cannot speak clearly and candidly about any of this because the president keeps changing the narrative.

Dowd’s question also seems to presuppose the terrible notion that if no one is defending the president’s character that we’ve become numb to the idea that our president is a scoundrel.

Think of that for a moment. The Rev. Franklin Graham, a leader in the evangelical Christian movement — and a Trump supporter — seemingly throws up his hands and tells us voters “knew what they were getting” when they elected Trump president.

We are ready to settle for this? Really?

Frightening.

Evangelicals continue their stunning hypocrisy

The Rev. Franklin Graham speaks for a lot of evangelical Christians. Thus, I’ll presume for a moment that those who follow him buy into the nonsense he espouses about Donald J. Trump Sr.

Oh, the hypocrisy of this preacher. It’s stunning to the max.

Graham recently told The Associated Press that Trump’s extramarital affairs are no one’s business. He said voters knew what they were getting when they elected him president in 2016. Back off, Graham implores us, because Trump’s marital infidelity is old news and has nothing to do with the here and now.

Why, he messed around with Stormy Daniels a dozen years before he became president, said Graham. He hasn’t messed around since then. OK, then. That makes it all right. It’s all good, right Rev. Graham?

How does that square with what Graham said about Barack H. Obama, Trump’s immediate predecessor as president?

Let’s see. He questioned President Obama’s faith because he was born to a Muslim father, a man the president barely knew. The president is a practicing Christian and has over the years declared his love of and devotion to Jesus Christ multiple times.

Oh, and then there’s this: Barack and Michelle Obama have been involved in a loving and faithful marriage for more than two decades, which is decidedly more in keeping with Biblical principles than the life that Donald Trump has led throughout much of his adult life.

So, the Rev. Graham gives Donald Trump a pass on his hideous moral indiscretions, but doesn’t extend the same Christian grace to, say, former President Bill Clinton. Graham wrote this in 1998 of President Clinton: If he will lie to or mislead his wife and daughter, those with whom he is most intimate, what will prevent him from doing the same thing to the American public?

So help me, this so-called “man of God” possesses an amazing reservoir of hypocrisy.

Christians face troubling dilemma with POTUS

Leave it to the granddaughter of one of America’s great spiritual leaders to finally — finally! — put some perspective on one of the nation’s strangest political alliances.

Jerushah Armfield, whose grandfather is none other than the Rev. Billy Graham, said this on CNN: “In order to forgive somebody, that individual needs to repent and apologize. And I don’t think America has seen that from our President in any scenario.”

Why “forgive” in this case? Because the president of the United States uttered some despicable language when referring certain nations of the world. He called nations in Africa and Haiti “sh**hole countries,” a comment that has drawn international scorn.

Armfield, though, isn’t so alarmed that Donald Trump used that language, but is perplexed at how he dehumanized millions of people. And yet so many evangelical Christian leaders are willing to give the president a pass on that conduct. Why? Because they support his policies.

Armfield went on: “I understand a lot of evangelicals supporting him because of his policies,” she said. “I’d love to see a Christian leader come out and say that they support Trump for his policies, but that his behavior disgusts them, and he needs to clean up his act.”

His behavior hasn’t “disgusted” leaders, such as Armfield’s uncle, the Rev. Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son and one of Trump’s key evangelical supporters.

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, has said Trump deserves a “mulligan,” that his comments — and his admitted deeds — aren’t enough to repulse people of faith.

Armfield said more: “My president doesn’t have to be a Christian … I just don’t want him to be held up as the poster boy for Christian evangelicals because he doesn’t represent most of us.”

Yet, the president continues to bask in the support thrown his way by leaders of a movement who — I am utterly certain — wouldn’t tolerate a fraction of the hideous behavior from a politician whose policies they oppose.

Weird.

Is Rev. Graham for real? Has he lost his mind?

Warning: The element I have posted with this item contains highly offensive language. It comes from the mouth of the man who would become president of the United States of America.

I apologize for displaying it here, but it is critical to a point I want to make.

The second tweet comes from that 2005 recording of Donald Trump yukking it up with “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush.

The first one comes from the Rev. Franklin Graham, who salutes the president for standing up for “the Christian faith.”

This cuts straight at a point I keep seeking to understand: How in the name of God’s holy word do evangelists such as Rev. Graham stand by this individual?

Sickening.

Partisan preacher quits his party

(RNS1-MAY02) Evangelist Franklin Graham preaches during a recent crusade in Mobile, Ala. See RNS-GRAHAM-QANDA, transmitted May 2, 2006. Religion News Service photo by John David Mercer/The Press-Register in Mobile, Ala.

The Rev. Franklin Graham has given up on the Republican Party.

He quit, citing Congress’s refusal to stop federal funding for Planned Parenthood. So, Graham — son of the legendary preacher the Rev. Billy Graham — has had enough of the GOP.

I thought immediately of a bumper sticker I once saw on a car here in Amarillo. I am paraphrasing, but it said, “God is bigger than a bumper sticker.”

Indeed …

Graham isn’t the first high-profile preacher to become involved in partisan politics. Another Republican, Mike Huckabee, is a former Baptist preacher seeking the Republican presidential nomination; Democrats Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, both of whom are ordained Christian clergymen, also have run for the highest office in the land.

Still, I find it intriguing to hear that Franklin Graham is quitting the Republican Party because of an intensely emotional issue. That would be abortion.

Perhaps, though, he ought to know that the Hyde Amendment — named after the late Republican U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde — prohibits the federal government from dedicating public money for abortion and that Planned Parenthood’s mission goes far beyond providing abortion referrals for women seeking to terminate their pregnancy.

And, yes, God truly is far bigger than a bumper sticker.

Or a political party.