Dear Franklin: It is not a good idea

Dear Franklin Graham,

My dear brother in Christ:

Those of us old enough to have attended a Billy Graham crusade remember you.

Many of us who heard or read your testimony of rebellion feel like we connect with you.

Masses who see the phenomenal impact of Samaritan’s Purse have great respect for you.

I am all of the above.

Recently I read your recent public comments on the tragic murders of five American servicemen in Chattanooga. I join with millions, including the family of the murderer, mourning a deliberate act of aggression against our countrymen.

I’m saddened at lives cut short in the line of duty. And by a life forever lost to a bad ideology.

I’m also saddened that you’ve used your platform, obviously earned, to rally people who’ve supported your organization’s humanitarian efforts to a political action against adherents to a particular religion.

Do you realize for millions around the globe who yet think of America as a Christian nation, your call to halt the immigration of Muslims could be interpreted as a Christian attack on Muslims?

Do you realize the wedge you’ve potentially driven between Christian missionaries the world over–including in the United States–and the Muslims they are trying to engage with the gospel?

Is it not problematic to conjure a darker era of our nation’s history–immigration policies affecting Japanese and Germans–to make a dark case toward Muslims? Do you realize many of the Germans were German Jews trying to escape Hitler and the Holocaust?

Do you realize if we “stop all immigration of Muslims at the border” we will in essence be asking ICE officers to give theology tests?

Do you realize “Muslim” is not a nation, that Muslims live in many, many nations around the world? Do you purport to halt or restrict immigration from any nation with Muslim citizens? Even from our allies?

Including Israel?

Do you realize “Religious preference” is not on an immigration card? Would you have it added to immigration cards globally? Would you have American Christians refused entry to the nations?

Do you realize immigration played no role in Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez’s murderous decision? That he’d been in the United States since before 9/11? Since he was 5 years old?

If his radicalization was the result of Internet videos of radical clerics, would you have the U.S. government cut off all Internet accounts for our Muslim citizens to prevent potential radicalization?

Do you realize more mass killings since 9/11 occurring on American soil were committed by non-Muslim White people than Muslims of any origin? That most killers of police officers are not Muslim? That Dylan Roof, James Eagon Holmes and Adam Lanza–mass killers all–were neither immigrants nor Muslims?

That only around 2% of all terror acts globally are committed by Muslims? [Correction: terror % is for the EU, not globally.]

Do you remember when Anders Breivik slaughtered 77 people in Norway it was to further a claimed pro- “Christian Europe” agenda?

Since some Muslims immigrate to escape persecution (often at the hands of jihadists) shall we turn them away as we also disallowed the immigration of Jews before and during WW2?

Shall we embrace a form of this bygone era?

Congress in 1939 refused to raise immigration quotas to admit 20,000 Jewish children fleeing Nazi oppression. As the wife of the U.S. Commissioner of Immigration remarked at a cocktail party, “20,000 children would all too soon grow up to be 20,000 ugly adults.” (see previous link)

Though the total numbers are higher, did you realize about the same percentage of Muslims immigrating from war-torn areas was about the same in 2012 as in 1992? That Muslims being in America actually works against their radicalization?

Franklin, God has given you a platform that commands the attention of the world. He has given you a surname that commands instant respect across much of Christianity. Please do not politicize issues of mission. Do not further polarize an already polarized nation. Do not make it more difficult for Christians to engage Muslims with the gospel. No Christian trying to show Christ to Muslims should have to give an account for a leader’s divisive words.

Your potential for influence in the Kingdom is nearly unmatched. I humbly ask that you measure your words when addressing public events. The cross of Jesus is enough offense for us all.

Thanks for reading and sharing. Don’t forget to subscribe to email alerts at the top of the sidebar.

Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.

3 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • Bob Roberts

    Thanks for your comments Marty – So un first century Jesus followers – the Gospel never would have spread. It’s as if we have become the Gladiators yelling “bring it on”

  • Paul

    I think it is about time that someone politely calls out Mr. Franklin Graham on the politicizing of his name. I cannot speak for anyone, but I can only imagine what his father (and Father) thinks of his obvious political motivations in his speeches and writing. Thanks Mr. Duren.

    • Kamal Fahmi
      • martyduren

        Kamal-
        Repeated posting of the same links will get you blocked. No one is arguing either in the post (me) or in the comments (others) that Islam does not have violent extremists.

        • Kamal Fahmi

          The link I posted was a respond to this comment from you in your article which is not true.

          That only around 2% of all terror acts globally are committed by Muslims? [Correction: terror % is for the EU, not globally.]

          The things you writing are more harmful to us in the Middle East than what Franklin is saying. You are participating in the crimes of Islamic Ideology by your silence and not true statements.

          He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous,

          Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.

  • Gary Snowden

    Well said, Marty. Thanks for a much-needed reflection on the impact on Christian missions of inflammatory words.

    • Kamal Fahmi

      You meant by that you do not want upset the abusing husband?

  • I appreciate Franklin Graham boldly speaking up in love as I do you in our free society. I do not want us as a body to remain silent on important policy issues that touch all of us and could hinder the sharing the gospel.
    I will note your stat, “That only 2% of terror acts globally acts by Muslims” is incorrect. It is cherry-picking by the agenda-driven Daily Beast (and they are quoting a Leftwing link from think progress http://thinkprogress.org/world/2015/01/08/3609796/islamist-terrorism-europe/) The stat is only 2% of the US and Europe, not the “whole globe” nor even most of it. As one commenter said, the stat doesn’t include “workplace violence” like the ones in Texas, Oklahoma, and other places.

    • martyduren

      Dwight-

      Thx for stopping by and for you comment.

      I too desire for people to speak up. I want Franklin, due to his stature, to do better. I refer you also to his remarks admonishing our brothers of color to “just obey the police” which were offensive to MANY of our brothers and sisters of color who DID just obey the police and found themselves arrested/jailed anyway. If Graham continues speaking to national political policy I hope he learns more nuance.

      My apologies for what surely did look like cherry-picking. Not long after posting this AM someone on Facebook questioned that percentage. I went back to the article and realized I’d replaced “E.U.” with “globally.” It’s been corrected since about the time you left your comment. It was an unintentional, though frustrating, mistake.

      As to your concerns about “Leftwing” links, the objection is not sustained. The Think Progress article links to Europol’s own terrorism data report, and to Charles Kurzman’s 2013 Muslim-American Terrorism data report–conducted with the DHS. His report, the fifth annual of its kind, found during the period 2001-2013 more than 190,000 murders were committed in the U.S. Only 37 of those are attributable to Muslim terrorism. (Obviously that was prior to Chattanooga.)

      https://www.europol.europa.eu/content/te-sat-2014-european-union-terrorism-situation-and-trend-report-2014
      http://sites.duke.edu/tcths/files/2013/06/Kurzman_Muslim-American_Terrorism_in_2013.pdf

      According to the FBI, the period 1980-2005 saw 6% of all terrorist activity Muslim related.
      https://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/terrorism-2002-2005/terror02_05

      I’m not remotely concerned about Left-Right wing sites if they are accurate. My experience is one needs to look all over to have any hope of finding the truth. Neither wing has a grasp on all the facts.

      (I recently took both Raw Story and New Civil Rights Movement to task over their Sweet Cakes by Melissa errors if it makes you feel better about me ;^)

      • Thanks Marty. I appreciate the update and response. I don’t believe you were cherry picking the stats but those publications were for their agendas. But I agree if they use good information you should use it.

  • Brad Raley

    I would ask Franklin Graham this question–when did you start to confuse your identity as a Christian with your identity as a conservative Republican. Then, of course, I remember that his father was part of that movement back in the 50s.

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  • David Wesley Gould

    How many people do you minister to who live in Islam ravaged nations? Do you realize that your statistic about Muslim terrorism is wrong? Do you realize that Islam is not just a religion? Do you realize that it is arrogant of you to tell Graham to stick to the nice work of Damaritan’s Purse? Do you realize that Graham has more interaction and trouble with Muslim extremists than you do? Do you realize that blogs like this make it difficult for people like me who are trying to reach people? Instead of using your platform to “humbly” challenge Graham, who is more of an expert in Muslim activities than either of us, why not challenge the Muslims who will coop your message to show division in the Church?

    • Steve

      U should check ur facts. Franklin can hardly be classified as an expert on Muslims or ministry among Muslims. Influence, an impressive organization and family name hardly makes anyone an expert on global missions among muslims

    • martyduren

      DWG-
      I suppose I’ll eventually write something upon which we can agree, but until then…

      Where exactly did I tell Graham to, “stick to the nice work of Damaritan’s Purse.” Or, even if you could point out exactly where I said, “stick to the nice work of Samaritan’s Purse.”

      Don’t misrepresent me to falsely accuse me of misrepresenting someone else.

      • David Wesley Gould

        I gathered from the piece that you appreciate his ministry, but do not appreciate him “politicizing the mission”, making it difficult for others to do Kingdom work.

        I call him more expert than us because he deals with this reality of Islamic dangers more than we do.

    • Joe Fox

      Perhaps there SHOULD be division in the church if there are people who refuse to believe that Islam isn’t inherently violent and that these whackadoos who create violence and terror have as much to do with Islam as you do with Westboro Baptist.

    • Kamal Fahmi

      Jihadism: Tracking a month of deadly attacks
      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-30080914

  • John W. Morehead

    Thanks so much for this. I left comments on Graham’s FB page that have been well received. Good to see responses like this. You might appreciate an evangelical alternative on multifaith engagement in the Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy at http://www.EvangelicalFRD.org.

  • Geri Ungurean
    • Joe Fox

      Of course, that link is absurdist nonsense. It is absolutely possible to create a similar page with cherry-picked verses from the Bible and demonstrate that Christianity is a violent, murderous and brutal religion. But that’s ridiculous also.

  • Mark Baxter

    Mr. Duren,
    This is the wrong way to disagree with a brother. As a follower of Jesus, surely you know what He has told us to do when we disagree. Your public comments are an embarrassment to Jesus and harm His purposes. People will be attracted to the Gospel as we love one another, not by publicly ridiculing one another.

    • martyduren

      Mark-
      Franklin made his comments in a public forum, ie, his public Facebook page with more than 2M “fans.” As such, I don’t think public responses are unbiblical. I think they are needed. Since he is neither my pastor or my small group leader, and since there is no personal offense involved, a personal response is not warranted.

    • Justa_suggestion7

      I think Graham’s remarks were more of an embarrassment to Jesus. In Galatians 2 when Paul saw that Peter had it wrong, he opposed him to his face “in front of them all.” Since Graham’s post was public, this well-written response needed to be public, too.

  • Joel Granger

    Marty, We would love to see your great articles on
    http://www.CollectiveFaith.com. Please join and
    share with our Christian Social Network.

  • Kamal Fahmi

    20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
    Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
    Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
    I remember not so long ago when I applied during the cold war for the US visa there was a question in the application form have you ever have been a communist?
    This was not considered raciest?
    Islam is not a race it is an ideology which has caused the suffering of many people around the globe.
    My Friend Bagi a convert from Yemen his wife as murdered because she was a convert left him with 4 children and he is refuge on the run today. Representing millions of converts who have no right to exist in their home countries and I.3Billion Muslims who do not have the freedom to leave Islam.
    Asia Bibi is in prison since 2009 in Pakistan because of Islamic blasphemy low sentenced to death.
    Raief in prison for the same reason for 10 years + 1000 lashes.
    Not mentioning 2 million murdered in Sudan under the banner of Islamic Jehad or the atrocities committed by Bako Harma in Nigeria or IslamicStates in Iraq, Syria and Libya.
    Or the oppression of non Muslims living under Islam in Malaysia, Brunia, Jordan, Iran, Egypt, Turkey ………..
    Enough is Enough with finding excuses for the abusing husband.
    Enough is enough with not condemning the oppression.

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