Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Franklin Graham's Outrageous Lies About President Obama

Growing up in a Christian fundamentalist family and church, I learned to have a great deal of respect for Billy Graham. Even after my religious views evolved, I maintained that respect. As someone who was invited to provide spiritual counsel to both Republican and Democratic presidents, he always seemed to understand that the separation of church and state was as important to the church as it was to the state.

That is why I've been so baffled at the way his son Franklin has veered from that course. But I was downright disturbed by what he had to say on Greta Vansusteren's show last night.

Some people have focused on the initial part of the interview where he basically invites ISIS members to convert to Christianity. While probably pointless, it doesn't bother me. It was what he said at the end that was so disturbing.
The President, his entire life, his whole influence has been Islam. His mother was married to a Muslim. His father's a Muslim. Then she married a man from Indonesia. He was raised in Indonesia, went to Islamic schools. I assume she was a Muslim. So his whole life - his experiences - have been surrounded by Islam. He only knows Islam.
In trying to understand why Graham would say all that, we only have two options: (1) he is completely ignorant of what Barack Obama has written and said about his life (as well as the historical record) or, (2) he's blatantly lying for propaganda purposes.

Long before he entered politics, Barack Obama wrote Dreams From My Father that went into a lot of detail about his family's religious beliefs as well as his own. And he's talked about it openly ever since. As a summary, here's what then-State Senator Obama told Cathleen Falsani when she interviewed him about his faith in 2004.
I draw from the Christian faith.
 On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences.
 I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10. 
My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim.

I was raised more by my mother and my mother was Christian...

My grandparents who were from small towns in Kansas. My grandmother was Methodist. My grandfather was Baptist. This was at a time when I think the Methodists felt slightly superior to the Baptists. And by the time I was born, they were, I think, my grandparents had joined a Universalist church.

So, my mother, who I think had as much influence on my values as anybody, was not someone who wore her religion on her sleeve. We’d go to church for Easter. She wasn’t a church lady.

As I said, we moved to Indonesia. She remarried an Indonesian who wasn’t particularly, he wasn’t a practicing Muslim. I went to a Catholic school in a Muslim country. So I was studying the Bible and catechisms by day, and at night you’d hear the prayer call.

So I don’t think as a child we were, or I had a structured religious education. But my mother was deeply spiritual person, and would spend a lot of time talking about values and give me books about the world’s religions, and talk to me about them.
Of course he goes on in that interview to talk about his own "born again" experience while working with church groups as a community organizer in Chicago. But none of that is a new story. It's been told over and over again. So it's hard to imagine how Graham could be completely ignorant of it all.

If Mr. Graham wants to suggest that Barack Obama (and various biographers) are lying about his faith and family background, that would at least be more honest than to simply assert that "he only knows Islam."

In the end, what Graham said is outrageous. It has nothing to do with expressing disagreement with President Obama over how to respond to ISIS. I'd also assert that it has nothing to do with Christianity or Islam. It's an ugly attempt to smear President Obama as sympathetic to terrorists.

This is no different than the racist lies that spawned the whole birth certificate nonsense. Most of us thought we'd gotten beyond all that. At least partially due to his father's legacy, a lot of evangelical/fundamentalist Christians will buy in to Franklin's lies.

While I continue to try to maintain my optimism that this country can heal these racist divides, today is one of those days that I begin to wonder what it's going to take for that to happen.


  1. Mo'nin, Nancy

    In terms of your choices as to why Franklin is doing this, at least as I have observed, it's option 2. And, this isn't the first time. He's been spewing that crap ever since PBO has been on the scene. Not a drop of proof for his words anywhere. Of course, one should take into account that Franklin, in terms of reputation, is NOT his dad. As I recall it, he did a one eighty from his dad and was quite the hedonist for a goodly period. Of course, that was alleged to have been "then". And, then, there's his dad...

    The good Rev. Billy has been, justifiably, called out on a number of occasions because even though he was full of fiery rhetoric and charisma during his youth, he was NOWHERE to be found during the Civil Rights Movement. When the deal was goin' down, Mr. Evangelical Christian was both absent and silent. I believe my illustrious alumnus had some timeless words about this very type of silence from "good men" and, because of it, what tends to happen. The Rev. Billy did apologize for his cowardice. At least until a certain Barack Hussein Obama decided to run and, while not as strident as his son, he, again, didn't and continues not to say ONE WORD to counter the blatant lies that his son continues to tell.

    Billy Graham talked a good game but, as far as I'm concerned, is but a paper tiger. And, his son, again, to me, has gotten some notoriety because he just happens to be Billy's son. Apples and trees, my friend. Apples and trees.

  2. Franklin is one of the most pernicious faux Christian Dominionists in the nation. Those of us who hear feedback from people who supposedly were helped by his lucrative private charity, Samaritan's Purse (an apt name for someone gathering in tax money for 'relief' work) know that he forces people to sign agreements to convert before they get a morsel of bread or drop of water. He is disgusting. Because he believes End Times is imminent and that requires the fall of infidels (he made that up). His mission is to spread hate and division between faiths, period so that his brand of Christianity will triumph in Dominion over all the world. If the president helps protect Muslims, then he must be denounced because it interferes with Franklin's power march. He has to call out President Obama as a terrorist to make people doubt the nation's actions. It's not that Franklin believes that. It is that it is so damned useful to say. He's a bald faced liar and a power mad would-be dictator. Calling him out on his treachery is essential.

  3. He's a horrible man - horrified by how many blindly follow him as well.