The Rev. Franklin Graham was bounced from the opportunity to pray at the Pentagon on the National Day of Prayer (May 6). According to Col. Tom Collins, the military dumped Rev. Graham because, “We’re an all-inclusive military.”
The Rev. Graham is likely not feeling particularly included right now. It appears that the inclusiveness of the military does not extend to those who believe that the Bible says Jesus is, “The way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).
What has Franklin Graham actually said? Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, he told NBC News, “We’re not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He’s not the Son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It’s a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion.”
In a later op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, Graham wrote that he did not believe Muslims were evil because of their faith, but “as a minister … I believe it is my responsibility to speak out against the terrible deeds that are committed as a result of Islamic teaching.”
This week he refused to back down, even in the face of anti-Christian discrimination, saying that Muslims are “enslaved” by their religion. What does he mean by this? He explained further in his Fox and Friends interview with Gretchen Carlson.
“I love Muslim people…. I want Muslims everywhere to know… that Christ can come into their heart and change them…. They don’t have to die in a car bomb… to be accepted by God…. They can be free through faith in Jesus Christ and Christ alone.” The Rev. Graham, as the President and CEO of the charitable organization Samaritan’s Purse has demonstrated his love for Muslims by delivering compassionate care in the name of Jesus to millions of Muslim children around the world for decades.
In a written response to the military’s decision, Graham expressed regret over the verdict, but graciously added, “I regret that the Army felt it was necessary to rescind their invitation to the National Day of Prayer Task Force to participate in the Pentagon’s special prayer service. I want to expresses my strong support for the United States military and all our troops. I will continue to pray that God will give them guidance, wisdom and protection as they serve this great country.”
Task force chairwoman Shirley Dobson said in a written statement that U.S. leaders have called for a day of prayer during times of crisis since 1775, but the tradition is under attack. (Learn the History of the National Day of Prayer.) “Enough is enough,” said Dobson, wife of Christian leader James Dobson. “We at the National Day of Prayer Task Force ask the American people to defend the right to pray in the Pentagon.”
Graham, who has a son fighting in Afghanistan, said the upcoming Day of Prayer event is not about “Islam versus Christianity. We’re in war. And we need to pray for our military. We need to pray for our president and all those in authority. That’s what the National Day of Prayer is all about.”
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What do you think of the military’s decision to disinvite the Rev. Franklin Graham from their observation of the National Day of Prayer?