This past Sunday was Easter, a day of reflection and joy, a day marked by celebration, and hopefully, nice weather. Our family went canoeing, did a little yard work, and my husband inadvertently saw ducks having sex. Ah, spring! Easter also fell on 4/20 this year, which meant that in some families, more food might have been consumed than last year. But on ABC’s Sunday morning “news” program, a new Easter tradition was ushered in: gay bashing.
For some truly bizarre reason, ABC chose to feature Franklin Graham and Ralph Reed (with their rather quiet sidekick, Russell Moore) this past Sunday. And true to form, Franklin Graham spoke at length about Vladimir Putin doing what’s “best for Russia,” Ralph Reed tossed out lie after lie about homosexuals, and Russell Moore sort of just sat there, agreeing with Graham on one thing, but primarily he didn’t speak to anything having to do with same sex marriage. It’s okay; he does that on his own.
You are probably familiar with Franklin Graham, given that he is the son of Billy Graham, the world-famous evangelical pastor. What you may not know about Franklin Graham is how he feels about the LGBT community, and that he has joined in the very strange right wing hero worship of Vladimir Putin. Franklin wrote an oped for his father’s website in which he praised Putin’s actions against the Russian LGBT community. From the piece:
Isn’t it sad, though, that America’s own morality has fallen so far that on this issue—protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda—Russia’s standard is higher than our own?
In my opinion, Putin is right on these issues. Obviously, he may be wrong about many things, but he has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda. Our president and his attorney general have turned their backs on God and His standards, and many in the Congress are following the administration’s lead. This is shameful.
The world used to look to America for moral leadership. But those days are long gone.
Protecting children from the “gay agenda.” Pro-tip: There is no gay agenda. You know what my gay friends do every day? They go to work, they pay their bills, they shop for groceries, they sing in the shower, they clean their house, they rake leaves and they do normal stuff. Franklin Graham, and so many conservatives, seem to think that the Homo Demon™ is real, and is coming for the kids. Someone protect the children from that gay guy mowing his lawn!
Ralph Reed is always an unpleasant blast from the past. He is best known as the first executive director of the Christian Coalition, the group that finally brought the GOP and conservative Christians together. Hold your applause until the end. Reed founded the Faith and Freedom Coalition in 2009, and you know it’s a super group, because the first thing you read on their website is a quote from Half-Governor, Sarah “Grifter” Palin. The freedom Ralph Reed embraces, it would seem is the freedom to brag about his work with “Casino Jack” Abramoff. You know, this Jack Abramoff. According to Ralph Reed, his work with Abramoff is something he is “proud” of, and he believes it “advanced sound public policy.”
Finally, let’s take a quick look at Russell Moore. Moore is the the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; he replaced Richard Land. In February, Russell Moore published a letter he received from a Christian wedding photographer, seeking advice on photographing a gay wedding. Mr. Moore’s response is lengthy, and you can read it here, but some low points are:
First of all, while a biblical view of marriage would see that such people (fornicators, believers to unbelievers, unlawfully divorced, etc.) should not get married, and that the church has no authority to marry them, we also would affirm that such people, when married, actually are married. A pastor who joins a believer to an unbeliever bears an awful responsibility for doing something wrong, but the end result is an actual marriage.
I would say that the decisions you’ll make, generally, as a wedding photographer will correspond often with the Corinthian dilemma of whether to eat meat that had been offered to idols (1 Cor. 8).
The Apostle Paul says, first of all, that the idols don’t represent real gods (1 Cor. 8:4), in the same way that you would argue that a wedding without a bride or a groom isn’t really a marriage. If something’s put before you, the apostle writes, eat it to the glory of God, no questions asked.
But, the apostle says, if the food is advertised as sacrificed to idols abstain from it for the sake of the consciences of those around you (1 Cor. 8:7-9). This is the difference between investigating a doughnut shop owner’s buying habits before eating there and stopping in for doughnuts when the sign out front flashes: “Eat here and support our owner’s cocaine and prostitutes habit.”
A pastor who marries a same sex couple bears “an awful responsibility for doing something wrong,” and same sex marriage somehow is equal to cocaine and hookers. And doughnuts.
These are the three men ABC chose to appear on a “news” program Easter Sunday. Graham tripled down on his bromance with Vlad Putin. Ralph Reed started tossing around the discredited Regnerus study as proof of his own statements on gay couples raising children. Dr. Moore tap danced when asked if he agreed with Graham, saying that yes, kids need a mom and a dad, but no, Putin isn’t doing the right thing by blocking Americans from adopting Russian orphans.
Easter Sunday, or any day that ends in Y, isn’t a day to feature Franklin Graham and Ralph Reed. I will tell you the most disturbing thing about this awful segment. Martha Radditz shows a clip of Franklin Graham being interviewed, and when the interviewer mentions that same sex couples can adopt, Graham responds, “Yeah, they can recruit.”
With all due respect, Rev. Graham, it’s not same sex couples who are trying to recruit and indoctrinate children. That would be conservative Christians.