Franklin Graham's Plea to the President

Franklin Graham's Plea to the President

05-05-2010
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Rev. Franklin Graham is putting The White House on the spot and it could end up being a potential PR mess for the President and the administration.

Graham wants the President to step in so Graham can pray inside the Pentagon at a National Day of Prayer event tomorrow. Will he? Graham was disinvited from speaking at this event because of his comments that Islam is “evil.”

We have called The White House for a reaction.

The USA Today story is below.

If President Obama fails to intervene to allow controversial evangelist Franklin Graham to lead a National Day of Prayer event Thursday inside the Pentagon, "it will be a slap in the face of all Christians," Graham said Tuesday.

And invited or not, he'll stand in front of the Pentagon and pray, Graham said in an interview.

The Pentagon had invited a private national evangelical group, the National Day of Prayer Task Force, of which Graham is 2010 honorary chairman, to lead an official prayer service there. The prayers are for the U.S. military; Graham's son is on his fourth tour in Afghanistan.

But the invitation was rescinded after mainline Protestants, Muslims and Jews complained that Graham offends and excludes many believers because of his strict views on Christianity and his comments that Islam is "evil."

The Task Force requires organizers and prayer leaders to sign a statement of beliefs agreeing that salvation is only through Christ and that the Bible is inerrant — views not shared by all Christians, including Catholics and many mainline Protestants.

In an interview Tuesday with USA TODAY, Graham reiterated his belief that "Muslims do not worship the same 'God the Father' I worship." He laughed at Hinduism's many manifestations of God: "No elephant with 100 arms can do anything for me. None of their 9,000 gods is going to lead me to salvation.

"We are fooling ourselves if we think we can have some big kumbaya service and all hold hands and it's all going to get better in this world. It's not going to get better," Graham said.

He also said Obama pays attention only to black charismatic and Pentecostal pastors, such as his spiritual adviser, Joshua Dubois. Dubois heads the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which has dozens of advisers from a wide spectrum of denominations.

Obama invited scores of pastors to an Easter breakfast, attended the National Prayer Breakfast, and signed the annual proclamation for the National Day of Prayer. The administration is appealing a federal court ruling that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.

"The president is a committed Christian who is proud of his engagement with people of faith," White House spokesman Shin Inouye said Tuesday.

Still, Graham said, he "warned" Dubois that Obama is losing millions of "mainstream evangelicals" because he appears to be "soft on Islam" and he doesn't stand up for the "rights of the historic Christian majority." (Dubois declined to respond about a private conversation.)

Graham told USA TODAY that when Obama visited his father, 91-year-old evangelist Billy Graham, last month, the younger Graham asked the president to intercede with the Pentagon to restore his invitation. He said Obama replied that he would "look into it." On Tuesday, Task Force spokesman Michael Calhoun said there had been no word from the White House on the matter.

The Task Force holds its main services Thursday morning at a House of Representatives office building. Graham says after he prays at the Pentagon, he'll join the group on Capitol Hill. Everyone, of any faith, is welcome to join their Christian prayers. 

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