Franklin Graham cut from Pentagon prayer event for anti-Islam remarks

The Army has withdrawn an invitation to evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at a special Pentagon prayer service next month … Continued

The Army has withdrawn an invitation to evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at a special Pentagon prayer service next month because of his controversial views on Islam, said Col. Thomas Collins, spokesman for the U.S. Army.

Colins said Graham’s remarks were “not appropriate. We’re an all-inclusive military. We honor all faiths. … Our message to our service and civilian work force is about the need for diversity and appreciation of all faiths.”

Graham issued this statement: “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 express 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.”

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation objected to Graham’s scheduled appearance at the prayer event, largely because of his past remarks about Islam as an evil religion. “Lady liberty is smiling today,” said Weinstein, MRFF president, who sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, objecting to Graham’s scheduled appearance. Weinstein said the invitation offended Muslim employees at the Pentagon and would endanger American troops by stirring up Muslim extremists.

Weinstein said the foundation’s DC attorney, Victor Glasberg, was planning today to go to court to seek a restraining order against the entire prayer event as unconstitutional. Last week, a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. “We congratulate the Pentagon for making the right decision, but it’s a shame that it had to be made under duress.” Weinstein said the Pentagon plans to replace Graham with “a more inclusive” interfaith figure.

Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, was invited to speak at the event by the Colorado-based National Day of Prayer Task Force, which works with the Pentagon chaplain’s office on the prayer event. The task force organizes Christian events for the National Day of Prayer. Graham is president and CEO of both Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian international relief organization in Boone, N.C., and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte.

After the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Graham said Islam “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.”

Last month, in a video interview with On Faith’s Sally Quinn, Graha, repeated some of those remarks, but also said “I am not on a crusade against Muslims. I love the Muslim people . . . I want them to know that they don’t have to die in a car bomb, don’t have to die in some kind of holy war to be accepted by God. But it’s through faith in Jesus Christ and Christ alone.”

The MRFF claims to represent 17,000 members of the armed forces — 96 percent of whom are Protestant or Catholic. “Those who hate us really hate us today,” said Weinstein. “But those who love us really love us.”

Collins said the National Day of Prayer event at the Pentagon “will continue as scheduled under the administration of the office of the Pentagon Chaplain.”

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  • david6

    It is bad enough that the Pentagon has ignored Judge Crabb’s ruling that the National Day of Prayer violates the First Amendment. I’m glad they are no longer outsourcing their prayers to evangelical Christian proselytizers.

  • rlholloway

    It is truly a sad day when a man speaks the truth and he is disparaged for it.

  • Alex511

    fr mattcox:>The truth is that Franklin is a true believer standing up for Jesus and the Christian Faith…No, he is NOT ” a true believer”. His father must just be sooo proud of little frankie.

  • windknot58

    It is amazing to me how Ahmadinejad has stated that he wants to wipe out Israel and the United States (I believe that might be taken as a threatening tone) and not one Muslim/Islamic country has stood up and openly condemned him. Please explain to me the killing of Christians around the world in the name of Islam. If one dares speak foul of the “Prophet” Mohammed you can be assurred that your life will be in jeapordy- perverse artwork about Jesus is perfectly acceptable however. Please don’t lecture me about the Crusades, and other transgressions of the past – lets deal with the present. If one dares mention the violent nature that is prevelant today in radical Islam and the conflicts that exist world wide because of this you are labeled a bigot. OK call me a bigot if that makes you feel better about your lack of fortitude. But hurling insults does nothing to change the actions that are being conducted by these individuals. Rather than acquiesce in the name of political correctness how about a little courage standing up (from Christians and Muslims alike) to the radicals that have hijacked Islam who now perpetrate some of the greatest acts of racism, persecution, and murder on the planet today. Guess I won’t be invited to speak at the Pentagon anytime soon either!

  • jlgjlejlc

    And so it begins… if you’re not for one view, you are against “the world.” So be it. I know Mr. Graham will shake the sand off his shoes as he departs from their presence. At least I hope he does.

  • veritas9

    The political correctness of the Obama Pentagon brought us the Islamic terrorist Nidal Hasan which cost the lives of 14 Americans (yes, I count the unborn) and the wounding of many more. Under pressure from the Council of Islamic-American Relations and other Islamic groups, the Obama administration, once again serving under the flag of political correctness, has disinvited one of America’s leading Christian leaders, Franklin Graham, from speaking at the Pentagon. The toll of turning the Pentagon into another agent of the liberal’s campaign against Christianity is more difficult to quantify than Hasan’s murders but have no doubt that the vast Christian majority within our armed forces feel less “inclusive” today than yesterday. This is tyranny by the minority embraced and abetted by the Commander in Chief, President Obama.

  • Gallenod

    Franklin Graham is not the man, or the minister, that his father was. Billy Graham preached love and tolerance to everyone, even Muslims. Billy Graham believed everyone could be saved and prayed for universal salvation, not damnation of those who did not share his religion. He believed in the positive power of prayer to convert people, not in condemning them.His son is just another evangelical hack with a famous name and a narrow view of the world who dismisses unbelievers (essentially anyone outside his own views) as unworthy enemies of Christianity. Speaking as a retired military officer, he’s not the pastoral role model I’d want for my troops. Yes, in the military we are sometimes called upon to kill people in the line of duty. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still respect them as fellow human beings.

  • plywaski1

    A National Day of Prayer? What is next? A National Day of Self-Flagellation like the Shiites and medieval monks? National Day Of Self Crucifixion? And all that to be done in the uniform of United States Armed Forces?

  • ThomasBaum

    From the post, “”Lady liberty is smiling today,” said Weinstein, MRFF president, who sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, objecting to Graham’s scheduled appearance. Weinstein said the invitation offended Muslim employees at the Pentagon and would endanger American troops by stirring up Muslim extremists.”It is more like “Lady liberty” is in her death throes.Also written, ” “We congratulate the Pentagon for making the right decision, but it’s a shame that it had to be made under duress.” Weinstein said the Pentagon plans to replace Graham with “a more inclusive” interfaith figure.”Seems as if this “more inclusive” thing is both UnAmerican and UnChristian.It seems as if what you consider “a more inclusive interfaith figure” most definitely would not include Jesus.”Freedom of Speech” should be freedom to speak what you want not what others necessarily approve of.”Freedom of Religion” should allow someone to freely convey their faith, not cram it down anyone’s throat, but also not to “water it down” to utter meaninglessness.Also written, “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.”Do you not also think that it is your “responsibility” to speak out about some of the terrible deeds done in Jesus’s Name?Jesus’s invitation was to “Come follow Me”, isn’t it something that there are some “Muslims”, who don’t believe that Jesus Is Who He Is, that are better followers of Jesus than some “Christians”, who do believe that Jesus Is Who He Is, which is God-Incarnate.There are many that follow Jesus that do not have the label “Christian” and many with the label “Christian” that don’t follow Jesus.As I have said before, God looks at the person, not the “label”.Many underestimate God and it includes, but is not limited to, those that that believe in God and “know” God’s Name.God’s Plan is all-inclusive, see you all in the Kingdom.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • jlgjlejlc

    Deut 17:15 helps explain why our nation has so much inner turmoil at this time. And Christians know that when we go against God’s Word, there are consequences. We are living with them now. But, we are to follow God, not man. And we will.

  • gimpi

    In many of the posts here I see a basic confusion regarding FACT and BELIEF. As regards the definition of these words, FACTS can be proven by objective evidence. For instance, 2+2=4, gravity declines on an inverse square, energy equals mass multiplied by the speed of light squared, that kind of thing. BELIEF, on the other hand, can be felt passionately, believed devoutly, but it can’t be objectively proven. For instance, Jesus Christ is the son of God, God appeared to Moses, there is no God but God, and Muhammad is his prophet, the Buddha obtained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, that kind of thing. To me, this shows the need for governmental neutrality in religion. Some people seem to want the government to support their beliefs as though they were facts. I’m sorry, but they aren’t. In the case of religious belief, they most likely can’t be. That’s because they can’t be objectively proven, and that is the definition of a fact. Mr. Graham’s views are beliefs, he has every right to them. However, they most certainly aren’t facts. And the Military is fully entitled to prefer not to bring in someone divisive or offensive. Mr. Graham is not somehow entitled to an official forum for his beliefs. None of us are.

  • jlgjlejlc

    Mr. Graham’s view of the Islamic laws pertaining to the degregation of women, and execution for apostates, is not “his belief.” It is fact. And that is his objection. Not with the people, but with the law they are forced to live by…or die by.

  • gimpi

    Actually, jlgjlejlc, he has stated that he regards them “in error” that they believe “evil” things, that they must “accept Christ, and that they are “in need of salvation.” Those are opinions. I don’t care much for the traditional treatment of women under Islam, but it really isn’t all that different than the traditional treatment of women under Christianity until recently.It’s also worth remembering that every change in that regard was fought by many Christians at the time. Birth control, women working outside the home, women showing their ankles, women wearing pants, women cutting their hair, women choosing their own spouses (or none at all), women voting, women not vowing “obedience” to their husbands, women divorcing their husbands, the list goes on and on. Every one of those changes was opposed by traditionalist Christians when they were introduced in the west. Many still are. True, Islam is far behind the west, but I see it as a matter of degree, not difference.Christianity and Islam are not alone in this. Buddhists used to believe women could not achieve enlightenment. Some sects still do. Hinduism used to have the tradition of suttee. I’m sure some sects mourn it’s loss. We’re all a bit nuts, it seems.The problem the Pentagon has with Mr. Graham’s statements is that they ARE divisive. There is a time and a place to confront people regarding the problems with their beliefs, and a prayer service designed to bring people together isn’t it. It’s like having Jessie Jackson march into a meeting of the Republican convention and take them to task for their lack of black support. Republicans can do better at attracting minority voters, but while they are celebrating the nomination of their candidate isn’t it. The Republicans would also be well within their rights to decline to invite Mr. Jackson, just as the Pentagon is well within it’s rights to decline to invite Mr. Graham.

  • mattcox

    The truth is that Franklin is a true believer standing up for Jesus and the Christian Faith “the world will hate us as it hated me” Christ said – Franklins presents at the prayer meeting may have offended some Muslims who I personally do pray for and hope for their salvation – but the pentagon has offended me and many other Christians but as you can see that doesn’t matter

  • jlgjlejlc

    I “don’t much care” about the traditional treatment of women under Islamic law either, but it is definately different than the treatment of women under Christianity.

  • haveaheart

    mattcox,Please learn how to construct a simple sentence before posting on these blogs.Your post is literally incomprehensible.

  • jlgjlejlc

    The “don’t much care” should read “don’t care much”…and would if I could type as fast as I think.

  • mattcox

    I will do better for the simpletons in the future.

  • jamesharraman

    It amazes me that so many claim that they want to honor all faiths. Anytime a Christian makes a statement or stands up for what they believe in, they are slandered and called homophobes or worse. Christians have just as much right to state their opinions as an athiest, catholic or muslim. It’s been my experience that people attempt to stop something or tear it down or shut it out because they are afraid or it. There are many things to fear in this world, Christianity is NOT one of them. Franklin Graham stated his opinion based on his beliefs. He had every right to his opinion under the 1st amendment as does anyone else.

  • spidermean2

    The Military Religious Freedom Foundation. I don’t think we can hear from this crowd again after WW3. God has something terrible stored for them. They will know for sure what it is. The Pentagon has become a headless chicken. It is slowly losing its sanity. They are a big fighting machine and they are clueless who are their future enemies. They lose the discernment to know what is right or wrong like headless chicken running without direction.

  • cperr57

    I find it unbelievable that the Pentagon disinvited Graham based on his TRUTHFUL statement conerning Islam. First Comedy

  • udhoram

    Having lived and known Islam from first hand knowledge I totally endorse Rev. Fraklin Grahms comment about Islam.Unfortunately Americans have no idea about islam.Rev. Grahm is telling the truth. Look what Islam has done all over the world. They want to come to U.S. and enjoy it,s freedom , its beauty, it,s blessings but they hate it. I was born and raise among moslem people some of them are nice but when Islam brother even though he is totally wronge they will still favour him irrespect of truth.I am glad Rev. Grahm is taking a truthfull stand.

  • gimpi

    jlgjlejlc, you’re aware that Christianity in the past burned heretics at the stake, correct? You’re aware that American Puritans hung Quakers, yes? That those same Puritans hung women convicted of adultery, right? And, under Christian law, in the past, domestic violence was not only legal, but condoned as an aspect of wifely submission. Yes, for the most part, Christianity changed, and that’s good. However, support for those traditions still exists, and some Christians still support them. I read them on this site. Is Islam worse, as regards such practices? Right now, in my view, yes, definitely. However, that’s subject to change. In 1450, (western calendar) they were most likely better. In 1790, probably mostly the same. Now, they seem worse. In the future, who knows?In my view, the reason for this is the need to cling onto a pattern of behavior that is supposed to epitomize divine will. Whenever someone says, “This is what God wants,” they remove the matter from rational discussion. You can’t argue that changing the rules makes for a more fair, more prosperous, happier society. All that is irrelevant. It’s against the will of God. That’s why I personally don’t favor that kind of argument. My feeling is if you can’t support your desire for a rule with objective evidence, we don’t need the rule. This doesn’t apply to the individual, of course. People should live their life as they see fit. They just don’t get to tell others how to live, without a pretty profound reason.

  • gimpi

    As to your aside regarding the Republican party and slavery, yes, your history is correct. It’s also correct to note that President Nixon, when running for office, took note of the huge, disaffected “Dixie-crat” population in the south. He formulated the “southern strategy” focusing on bringing disgruntled former supporters of segregation into the Republican party. It was highly effective. However, obviously, it was very alienating to people of color. Right now, the Republican party appears to accept this as a part of the cost of doing business. I feel they could do better in this regard. In the 19th century, there is no doubt that the Republican party was the agent of change. There is also little doubt that the Republican party of the late 20th century through the present has changed. That’s the problem with the view of history, or the present, as static. Everything changes. Republicans, Muslims, progressives, everything changes. That’s one reason I feel it’s important not to lock yourself into a condemning manner of regarding people, as I see Mr. Graham as having done. It can actually make it harder for them to change, because they feel they have to defend their past behavior. (Anyone who’s ever raised teenagers can attest to this.) It can also make it harder for you to notice or accept positive changes in others. I really think it’s just more effective to try to engage people in a positive way. They don’t become so defensive, and you can actually reason with them. Mr. Graham’s approach wins him praise from his supporters, and alienates virtually everyone else. I believe it’s called, “preaching to the choir.” If you want to persuade someone to change, that strategy is pretty much doomed to failure. I’m all about what works.

  • areyousaying

    By some of the grammar and punctuation in these posts, don’t you wonder if Huckabee home schooling is really better?

  • jlgjlejlc

    In the Bible, not every one that was called “a Jew” was actually of the Jewish faith. They were Jews because they lived in Judea. Not all Chief Priests and elders from centuries ago (and of the O.T.) were Christian. They were not men appointed by God, but men appointed by Roman officials. Not much has changed. True, a positive attitude is usually more persuasive. But, not always effective in making necessary change.

  • marken_ssa

    It remains then that Dr. Graham was disinvited not because his assertions were untrue, but because they offended. That being obvious, the old off topic arguments must be brought up, most prevalent is the comparison of Christian groups in the past preforming deeds that go against their ancient texts to Muslims who perform violent actions in accordance with their texts.Dr. Graham told the truth and some were offended. Slander is defined differently in Sharia law. Under Sharia all speech must uplift the Muslim, so the issue is not whether his statements are true or not, but since they do not uplift the Muslim, they are slanderous. The Pentagon decision makers, were most likely unaware of Sharia, but absurdly, they enforced it.One poster above stated, “Is Islam worse, as regards such practices? Right now, in my view, yes, definitely.” This is true, but under Sharia, the statement is slanderous. Fortunately we are not living under Sharia so the poster gets a pass! But what would it be like in the future when a statement like that may not even be permitted here?

  • tossnokia

    When you refuse to meet with people you disagree with everybody at the meeting agrees with everybody else and nothing gets done. Graham has been declared an enemy it seems. The Pentagon is tough. We had to pray just to survive BRAC and now about the only thing worth anything at the airport is the military which made it. Be an Army of one and pray alone if that works.

  • gimpi

    Marken, perhaps I wasn’t clear. I meant to make two main points.First of all that many of Mr. Graham’s statements being defended as true are in fact opinions, such as his various ‘Islam is a false religion’ statements. It is a statement of opinion because it can’t be proven or falsified. No one can prove if any religion is true or false. This is his belief, but since it can’t be proven, it can’t be considered a fact. Posters were citing the ‘truth’ of his statements, also unaware that they were stating belief, not fact. I wanted to clarify the difference.Secondly, I was puzzled by the opinion that people seemed to hold that the Pentagon somehow didn’t have the right to pick its speakers. If we agree that they have that right, I don’t see the controversy here. They made a choice they had every right to make. It may not be the choice you would have made, but why does that matter? One may be a big fan of Mr. Graham, but why is any governmental agency required to offer him a forum? He has no entitlement to any such thing. No one does.In closing, why do people seem to feel that if one does not attack the beliefs of Islam in nasty tones, one is somehow lobbying for Sharia law? That’s a logical mistake known as the excluded middle. It’s no more reasonable than saying if you don’t condemn Christianity in all its forms, you want to place the dominationalists into power, and live under Old Testament law, a statment I’m sure we can all see is goofy.

  • fairfaxgoper

    Is it any big wonder Obama and his clown troop leadership at the Pentagon does not have a long term plan for dealing with Iran? Perhaps one of the clerics from Tehran can fly over and lead prayer day. God forbid we offend anyone, oops, I guess I should not have used the word God! When we start basing our national policy on some Judge in Madison, Wisconsin, it’s over!

  • Alex511

    fr veritas9:>…Family Research Council President, Tony Perkins, who is also a marine veteran and ordained minister, was disinvited from a prayer luncheon at Andrews Air Force Base because of his Christian beliefs….I sincerely doubt that, because your little bff perkins is virulently anti-gay and anti-choice.

  • edbyronadams

    The only basis of judgement of religions is are the acts of the faithful on this mortal coil and the acts of the religious institutions that support the faith.On that basis, Islam fails. It oppresses women and intimidates free expression.

  • Wildamerican

    Jesus stated that, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. Noone comes to the Father except through me”. John 4:6.

  • Wildamerican

    Jesus is exactly who he claimed to be, or he is a liar who has deceived millions of people throughout history. He can NEVER be “just a good teacher”. He didn’t leave that option open. Nor did he intend to. Franklin Graham is a truth teller and that is one thing that this culture will not tolerate. Doesn’t matter, though. All is going as planned and God is not worried.

  • pelliott007

    I am appalled and shocked that the U.S. Military would band Mr. Franklin. I am daughter of a deceased WWII, Korean Conflict veteran. My father fought in the U.S. Army on many battlefields for this country and for Christianity. Are the Muslims running the country now? the lastest one who was at Fort Hood succeeded in murdering our fine soldiers. God forgive him and God forgive whomever in the Military removed Mr. Franklin from being a guest speaker. It is my opinion as a patriot and a war hero’s daughter that the religious freedom of Christian speech is being discriminated against. Shame on only those in the military who would not allow Mr. Franklin to speak. Keep up the Good Work for God Mr. Franklin P. Elliott

  • pelliott007

    Dear Washington Post: Thank you for allowing my comment. I respect your paper for practicing good journalism. You print both sides of opposing opinions. I am the daughter of Lt. Col. Charles Lindimore who wrote you just recently admonishing Mr. Franklin. Penny Elliott pelliott

  • christsaves92

    I think it is stupid that they uninvited him for something we were all feeling after 9-11 it was 9 years ago… And personally i think this infringes his right to religious beliefs