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The law as it relates to Christians and their free exercise of religion

Outrage builds over Graham’s rejection at Pentagon

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 25, 2010

Pro-family leaders and a U.S. Senator have joined a growing list of conservatives expressing outrage over the Pentagon’s decision this week to tell evangelist Franklin Graham that he is barred from taking part in a National Day of Prayer event at the military headquarters.

On Thursday afternoon, a spokesman for the U.S. Army said the Pentagon had rescinded its invitation to Graham — founder of Samaritan’s Purse — to be the lead speaker at a May 6 Pentagon service held in conjunction with the National Day of Prayer. In a statement, Graham said he regrets the Army’s decision and will continue to pray for the troops.
 
The reason for the “dis-invite”? Graham’s earlier comments about Islam were “not appropriate,” said the Army (see more details below from Associated Press). In 2001, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham described Islam as “evil” following terrorist attacks. More recently, he has said he finds Islam offensive and wants Muslims to know that Jesus Christ died for their sins.

AFA backs Graham
On Friday, the Mississippi-based American Family Association (AFA) sent a letter to Franklin Graham, criticizing the Pentagon for “severely” compromising Graham’s First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and free exercise of religion. In addition, the letter — signed by AFA president Tim Wildmon — expresses the organization’s staunch support of Graham’s “expressions of love for Muslims” as well as his “criticisms of Islam.”
 
“We at [AFA] likewise desire that every Muslim may come to faith in Jesus Christ and know the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal that is found in him,” the letter states.
 
“We, too, want to see every Muslim come to faith in Jesus Christ,” says Bryan Fischer, AFA’s director of issues analysis. “We also agree with Reverend Graham that Islam is an evil and wicked religion.”
 
In earlier comments, Rev. Graham described Islam as an “evil and wicked religion” that puts its followers in bondage and puts others in danger. AFA’s letter to Graham comments that his remarks are supported by a culture that “seems determined to ignore” several aspects of Islam that are in direct opposition to Christian principles.
 
The letter offers as examples: a call by the Koran to kill “infidels”; documented acts of pedophilia by Islam’s founder, Muhammad; the religion’s intolerance of conversion out of Islam; “blatant and deadly sexism” as expressed in Islam’s treatment of women; and “honor killings” — a practice that AFA points out is “utterly at odds with the Christian teaching that fathers are to nurture and protect their children.”
 
Fischer comments specifically on Islam’s treatment of women. “[Muslim] husbands are taught that they literally may beat their wives into submission,” he notes. “[And] you have the shameful practice of honor killings in many Muslim countries. That practice has come to the United States. A Muslim husband decapitated his wife in New York not too long ago.” 
 
AFA’s letter to Franklin Graham concludes with a statement that AFA plans to challenge its constituency to contact their members of Congress, asking them if they agree with the “shameful treatment” Graham has received from the White House and the Pentagon.
 
‘Political correctness’ of the White House
Tony Perkins is a pro-family leader who himself was disinvited from speaking at an Air Force event. He says it’s an absolute outrage that the Army has caved to political correctness in disinviting Graham from taking part in an upcoming prayer event.
 
Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), was similarly disinvited from speaking at a luncheon in February at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, DC, after he criticized President Obama’s call for lifting the ban on homosexuals serving in the military. He notes that political correctness has struck again. (Listen to audio report)
 
“Radical Islamists operate very much like radical homosexuals in that they don’t mind screaming and playing the role of the victim and using special laws to protect them,” Perkins comments.
 
“We don’t even have many of those laws in place yet in this country like they do in Europe, but we have seen this environment of political correctness created by this administration — and clearly the White House could step in at any time in any of these decisions that the military has made to disinvite Christian leaders, and they have not.”
 
The FRC president believes this treatment of Franklin Graham clearly illustrates that the Obama administration is creating a hostile environment toward Christianity.

Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, concurs with Perkins’ observation.

“Franklin Graham is being barred [from the event] for publicly stating nothing more than [what] Christian evangelists have preached for centuries,” Wicker says in a press release. “To ban from an ecumenical service every person who believes their faith is the true religion is taking political correctness several steps too far.” Ministers who have “fervently advocated their own religious beliefs in an entirely different context” should not be prohibited from participating in ecumenical events, the senator continues.
 

“What they’re saying is that a Christian evangelist who has basically given his message publicly to the exclusion of other religions is somehow now unfit to go to an evangelical prayer event. If you take it to that extreme, any preacher who’d ever preached revival [or] brought the message of Jesus dying for our sins would now be excluded from being invited to a prayer event at a defense facility because they’re being exclusive,” he concludes.

The Council on American Islamic Relations, a group with ties to terrorism, had called on the Pentagon to disinvite Graham.

Courtesy of http://www.onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=985012

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