Pentagon disinvites evangelist who scorned Islam

The U.S. Army on Thursday withdrew an invitation to a Christian evangelist to speak at a Pentagon prayer service next month following an outcry over his references to Islam as a violent religion.

Franklin Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, said in a statement he regretted the Army’s decision and would keep praying for U.S. troops.

The invitation prompted a harsh reaction, including from a prominent U.S. Muslim group that said Graham’s appearance before Pentagon personnel would send the wrong message as the United States fights wars in Muslim countries.

In an interview last year with CNN, Graham said “true Islam” was too violent to be practiced in the United States.

“You can’t beat your wife. You cannot murder your children if you think they’ve committed adultery or something like that, which they do practice in these other countries,” he said.

“I don’t agree with the teachings of Islam and I find it to be a very violent religion.”

The interview can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByovBdIRV2o

The Army said it did not invite Graham to the May 6 event organized through the Pentagon Chaplain’s office. The invitation was instead extended by the private, Colorado-based National Day of Prayer Task Force.

“Once the Army leadership became aware that Reverand Graham was speaking at this event, we immediately recognized it as problematic,” said Colonel Tom Collins, an Army spokesman.

“The bottom line here is that his presence would be inappropriate. His past statements are not consistent with the multi-faith emphasis and inclusiveness of this event.”

The National Day of Prayer Task Force called the Pentagon’s decision part of an “assault on religious freedom and people of faith” driven by groups including the government and media.

“The Pentagon, representing the most powerful military in the world, melted like butter and withdrew the invitation,” it said, citing opposition by “a small group of naysayers.”

4 comments to Pentagon disinvites evangelist who scorned Islam

  • Raja

    Graham prays at Pentagon, says ‘Islam got a pass’

    AP, By Pauline Jelinek, May 6

    Washington — Evangelist Franklin Graham prayed on a sidewalk outside the Pentagon Thursday after his invitation to a prayer service inside was withdrawn because of comments that insulted Muslims.

    “It looks like Islam has gotten a pass,” he told reporters. “They are able to have their services, but just because I disagree … I’m excluded.”

    In 2001, Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, described Islam as evil. More recently, he said he finds Islam offensive and wants Muslims to know that Jesus Christ died for their sins. The Pentagon’s chaplain office called those comments inappropriate and, at the request of the Army, withdrew Graham’s invitation to attend a multi-denominational “National Day of Prayer” service that was held in the Defense Department auditorium.

    He came anyway, arriving in the Pentagon parking lot just before 8 a.m. EDT – his party of a half dozen people forming a circle on the sidewalk and praying.

    […]

    Then the group walked to the Pentagon’s Sept. 11 memorial roughly a couple of hundred feet away, where media had gathered because it’s one of the few places were cameras are allowed on the Pentagon property. There, Graham held a news conference that lasted nearly twice as long as the prayer.


    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • Raja

    BBC, May 16

    The Methodist Church has become the first major denomination in Britain to launch its own application for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

    The new app will allow users to view bible studies and daily prayers.

    […]

    The Methodist Church stresses that technology should complement, not replace traditional worship.


    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • Raja

    Franklin Graham Was ‘Shocked’ to Find Mormonism Is a Cult Article on BGEA Site

    The Christian Post, By Lillian Kwon, November 15

    A month after the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association removed an article describing Mormonism as a “cult” from its website, ministry head Franklin Graham clarified on Wednesday that he was unaware of the article’s existence.

    The evangelist told CNN that he did not write the article and that he was “shocked” to find the article on the BGEA website.

    “We have 10,000 pages and I don’t write the 10,000 pages. Other people have written it. There was a discussion as to what a cult was and they (the article) had a definition of a cult and then they gave some examples and when I found out there were examples they took them off. But I was shocked that we even had that on there,” Graham said, as he described the “cult” reference as name-calling.

    “If I want to win a person to Christ, how can I call that person a name? That’s what shocked me, that we were calling people names.”

    Shocked, shocked!

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