I had the pleasure of sitting next to Billy Graham at a small luncheon once, years ago, and I genuinely enjoyed our table chit-chat. By then, I had come to admire and respect the man who did nothing to sully the term “tele-vangelist.”
His theological views represent a more traditional/conservative set of beliefs than I’m comfortable with; nevertheless, he gets the heart of real Christianity. He opposed segregation back in the 1960s. And he’s never been one to attack the religious beliefs of others.
His son, Franklin, unfortunately, is a different sort. His vehement attacks on Islam are the result of both ignorance and prejudice, betraying a narrowmindedness that only inflame tensions between Muslims and Christians.
As just one example, he has said:
“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 [Islam] is a very evil and wicked religion.“
Only about one percent of the troops in the US military are practicing Muslims, according to Pentagon figures, but they are, by all accounts, loyal to their country and willing to put their lives on the line, just like all others. (Some have died. Take a look at the photo below.) There is no place at a National Prayer Day service for someone who smears their religion.
Former President George W. Bush worked to make a distinction between the jihadists who want to destroy us and the law-abiding Muslims who are loyal Americans. But his administration allowed men like Lt. General William Boykin, who also insulted Islam, to hold high-ranking positions in the Pentagon. That’s unfortunate — some SecDef Gates is working to avoid.