Interesting article from rabble.ca:
This article comments on the allegiance of some Christian leaders, including Billy and Franklin Graham, with American military might. While I do respect Billy Graham, I have often asked myself whether his chummy relationship with the White House was positive or negative. This article raises this same concern. And, it also highlights the troublesome violent messages of Billy’s son Franklin in his recent comments pertaining to Afghanistan and 9/11.
The article challenges us to look deep within ourselves and ask if war is the correct answer to conflict, or if we should try to rise above it and offer peaceful alternatives to violence instead. The following excerpt is, to me, the most powerful piece from this article:
- Franklin Graham, brandishing a tone not heard from his father, called Islam “a very evil and wicked religion” and, in the wake of 9/11, said the U.S. should drop nuclear weapons on Afghanistan. He has backed down somewhat from the former statement but refuses to retract the latter. Rather than countering increased division in the world with calls for understanding and unity, he is digging the trenches deeper.
- To be clear about what Rev. Graham suggested for Afghanistan, picture in your mind the apocalyptic images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — disfigured people and a lifeless smoldering moonscape.
- Is that what the religious imagination has to offer the world?
- Compare that with the Amish of Nickel Mines, Penn. When faced with senseless violence, they did not respond with righteous vengeance but reached out to the family of the man who killed their children, setting up trust funds for his kids. Confronted by unthinkable violence, they responded with unthinkable forgiveness and compassion. For them, faith meant replacing the human impulse for fear and retaliation with something kinder and gentler.
I have yet to see the same compassionate, loving and gentle side to Franklin that I see in his father. I hope that this will emerge from Franklin as he fills the void left by Billy. Yet, I can’t help but feel alarmed at the influence that Franklin will have as he inherits the large and far reaching audience that his father developed through his years of dedication to spreading God’s word.
One can only hope that a voice of peace emerges in Christian circles with the same kind of influence as Billy Graham to help fill this void and to help replace the more hardcore and intolerant messages being preached by his son.
One can only hope…