President Trump I don’t think has admitted to having an affair with this person [porn actress Stormy Daniels]. And so this is just a news story, and I don’t even know if it’s accurate [Why does Graham believe pathological liar Donald Trump over Stormy Daniel?].
I believe at 70 years of age the president is a much different person today than he was four years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago [there’s no evidence for this being true]. He is not President Perfect [no shit Sherlock].
We certainly don’t hold him up as the pastor of this nation and he is not. But I appreciate the fact that the president does have a concern for Christian values, he does have a concern to protect Christians whether it’s here at home or around the world and I appreciate the fact that he protects religious liberty and freedom [gag me with a spoon].
Our country’s got a sin problem, and I believe if these politicians [Democrats and liberals] in Washington would recognize the moral failure of so many of their policies [hot button social issues] that maybe we could fix it [I thought only Jesus could fix our “sin” problem?].
As always, Fundamentalist Franklin Graham is clueless as to WHY unbelievers hate and despise the religious right. Look in the mirror Franklin. YOU are to blame.
America has flaunted its sexual immorality to the world. We’ve neglected many of the poor and suffering and are guilty of much injustice, pride and self-indulgence. We are broken spiritually, adrift morally and divided politically and racially—following whichever direction the bankrupt culture seems to drive us.
Sadly, the voices of hate have grown increasingly loud and insulting, and it was my prayer then and now that God would silence these voices like he shut the mouths of the lions when Daniel was hurled into the den.
While those hateful voices have been raised on both sides of the political aisle, we must realize that ultimately what is transpiring in our nation is an increasing hatred of God, His Word and His ways.
In my lifetime, I have never seen such blatant and incessant animosity toward Christ and His followers. We should not be surprised, because the Scripture tells us that if they hated the Lord Jesus Christ, they surely would despise those who worship and serve Him.
So let’s be clear. While believers should never raise voices of hate against anyone, the real object of hate in our nation (that has been so blessed by God) is none other than God Himself. What has been historically called good and righteous is now called evil, and what was evil is now called good. The Bible says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20).
In what I can only describe as unbelievable, the Southern Poverty Law Center in Mongtomery, Ala., has labeled a number of Christian organizations—such as the Family Research Council led by my friend Tony Perkins, and D. James Kennedy Ministries-—hate organizations simply because they hold to the teachings of the Bible on key social issues like same-sex marriage. Powerful contributors to the SPLC include Apple President Tim Cook and financial services giant J.P. Morgan. The leftist-progressive media frequently reference the SPLC in their reporting.
We need to pray for those who hate the Gospel, those who hate the Name of Jesus, those who hate His followers—that they will come out of their self-imposed darkness and into the light of God’s forgiveness through faith and repentance in Christ, who gave Himself for our sins.
The love of Jesus is the supreme antidote against the hate of our culture. It is the love that saved us from our iniquities and will save whomever will call on His Name.
Ever the voyeur, Evangelical culture warrior Franklin Graham took to Facebook to slut-shame Duchess Kate Middleton for bearing her breasts on a private French beach. Pictures of the topless Middleton were made public in 2012 by French magazine Closer without her permission. Middleton and her husband, Prince William, have filed a $1.6 million suit against Closer and regional newspaper La Provence for violating their privacy.
Prince William, in a written statement submitted to the court, had this to say:
In September 2012, my wife and I thought that we could go to France for a few days in a secluded villa owned by a member of my family, and thus enjoy our privacy. We know France and the French, and we know that they are, in principle, respectful of private life, including that of their guests.
Graham, feigning sympathy for Prince William and Kate, used the violation of their privacy as a pretext to preach the Evangelical gospel of “No Boobs Allowed.”
What’s with Evangelical preachers and their obsession with and fear of women’s breasts? Are breasts the reason Franklin’s Daddy, Billy, refused to be alone with any woman who was not his wife? Billy’s no-boobs-allowed policy — called the Billy Graham Rule® — is followed by countless Evangelical preachers and male weaklings. Vice President Mike Pence made the news several months ago when it became known that he too followed the Billy Graham Rule:
“In 2002, Mike Pence told The Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either.”
Perhaps it is time for women to picket Franklin Graham’s rallies and other red-meat-for-Evangelical-zealots events. Off go the tops and bras, exposing to Franklin and his fellow school boys a beautiful plethora of female mammary glands. Wouldn’t that be a sight to behold, especially when the women are arrested for public indecency? If men did the same, no arrests would follow. Men baring their mammary glands is legal, but women doing likewise is criminal, a reflection of Christianity’s influence on our laws. Yet again, women are held to a different standard from that of men.
Count me as one person who is absolutely T-I-R-E-D of Evangelical moralizing by men such as Franklin Graham and his fellow misogynists. Sadly, Graham’s slut-shaming of Middleton received thousands of likes. The good news? Hundreds of people voiced their objections to Graham’s words in the comment section. Graham will likely view the negative comments as a sign of fall of Western Civilization. Just wait, Franklin, until the Grandmas of America picket your meetings and unleash their breasts. You will then, for sure, see the FALL of Western Civilization.
Leave it to Fundamentalist Franklin Graham to use several of the recent celebrity deaths as evangelistic props for warning sinners of the certainty of death and eternal torture in hell by God if they fail to make a decision for Christ. You might be the nicest person in the world, but without Jesus you are headed for hell when you die. But, you can be a pussy-grabbing, misogynistic billionaire and still make it to heaven IF you pray the sinner’s prayer and really, really, really mean it. (Graham will be one of five clergymen at Donald Trump’s coronation.)
Since Graham does not mention whether any of these celebrities knew Jesus in the saving sort of way, I suspect he has doubts about their eternal destiny. George Michael was gay, so it is certain — according to Graham’s theology — that he went to hell when he died. Carrie Fisher described herself as an agnostic, so she’s in hell too. Richard Adams? His books have allusions to animal deities and false Gods, so it is doubtful he escaped the flames of hell. Graham loves to profit from the salvation of others. If he thought that Michael, Fisher, or Adams were believers, he most certainly would have used their faith to further his agenda. That he didn’t suggests that Graham thinks they are in hell.
Imagine if everyone goes to heaven after they die. Without hell, Graham’s coffers run dry. Threatening and scaring “sinners” with hell — putting the fear of God into people — is the fuel that fires the Evangelical machine. Without fear the Evangelical church would cease to exist. Franklin Graham and his fellow fearmongers are parasites that suck the love, decency, and kindness out of people, turning them into judges of their fellow humans.
Graham’s Facebook post has been shared almost 80,000 times. Scores of Evangelicals commenters have voiced their approval of Graham’s post, taking the opportunity to let Franklin know that these celebrities might be roasting in hell, but they are on their way to heaven thanks to wonderful grace of the Evangelical God.
Note: Without ever mentioning Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, these Evangelical leaders use the culture war dog whistle to let Evangelicals know that Hillary Clinton must be defeated.
One vision includes a nation where free speech and religious liberty are constitutionally protected, bedrock principles. The other continues along a path where such principles are quickly jettisoned with the latest turn of the sexual revolution.
One vision aspires, as a first priority, to use our nation’s military as a fighting force to keep America and the world safe from bad actors. The other would continue using the armed forces as a social experimentation lab, where the LGBT agenda takes precedence over troop readiness and morale, and where placing women in ground combat roles supersedes obvious gender differences.
One vision would seek to build a federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court, that interprets the Constitution as an enduring document for the nation, with timeless guiding principles for civil government. The other would appoint liberal-progressive judges to federal courts who believe the Constitution is a “living, breathing document” that bends with the times and with evolving moral standards.
America is not going to cease to exist as the land mass that it is. What is at stake is the republic as we know it, freedoms that we have enjoyed.
It’s been open [assault on religious freedom] It’s been frontal. It’s been unrelenting … The weight of the government is being used to quarantine faith within the four walls of the church, and that is not religious freedom.
It is the church— armed with the Gospel—that can fix hearts. It is the Gospel that transforms lives. It is the church through the witness of the Holy Spirit that can preserve a culture. But without the space to do that openly in public, it’s difficult. And elections in our country determine that.
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, September 2016, Decision: The Evangelical Voice of Today, Two Visions. Two Americas.
The sexual revolution weakened the exclusivity and commitment required for lifelong marriage. Spiritual apathy and apostasy have also been major contributors. America no longer lives by an eternal moral code given to us by the Word of God.”
Also, the radical feminist movement, based on hostility toward men, weakened the marital bond. Related to it was, and is, the legalization of abortion through nine months of pregnancy. Raising children is what this ancient institution is all about. And, finally, the judiciary has created politically correct interpretations of the law that are destroying the traditional family unit. Uppermost among them is same-sex ‘marriage’—imposed by five members of the Supreme Court on 50 million people who voted against it.
James Dobson, former President of Focus on the Family, September 2016, Decision: The Evangelical Voice of Today, Two Visions. Two Americas.
We live in a time when we have gone from living in a post-Christian nation to living in an anti-Christian nation. That is completely contrary to the founding principles of our country.
Penny Nance, Concerned Women of America, September 2016, Decision: The Evangelical Voice of Today, Two Visions. Two Americas.
We are sacrificing our children, nearly 60 million now, on the modern-day equivalent of the altar of Molech, which God called detestable on more than one occasion. We are mainstreaming same-sex marriage, transgender toilets. It just seems that the sewer cover has been removed and everything is now up in the streets.
Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist, September 2016, Decision: The Evangelical Voice of Today, Two Visions. Two Americas.
The next president will select between two and four justices who will reign over the cultural issues of our nation for the next 30 years. The average Supreme Court judge serves 26 years. In the next 30 years, what happens in this election is going to have an incredible impact on my children and grandchildren. And the impact will be most likely felt more because of what happens in the Supreme Court than anything else that happens in the government.
David Jeremiah, pastor, September 2016, Decision: The Evangelical Voice of Today, Two Visions. Two Americas.
In just 10 weeks, our nation will select a man or woman who will become the 45th president of the United States of America. Whomever we elect will take the helm of a nation that has grown increasingly hostile and intolerant of the very foundation and principles upon which it was so nobly founded—the Christian faith and Biblical values.
That’s why I believe this election is the most significant since Abraham Lincoln was chosen to guide a divided country through a bloody and protracted civil war.
For if the forces of evil that are allied against the free exercise of our faith succeed—and they have done severe damage already—then I have no doubt that the nation we love will devolve into moral anarchy more quickly than we can imagine. …. Same-sex marriage zealots have launched an all-out war on traditional marriage, which is defined in Scripture—and virtually every civilization in history—as a union between one man and one woman. Human sexuality itself is being completely redefined by elite sexual revolutionaries who seek to impose their warped views on society, resulting in fierce battles over such things as transgender bathrooms—supported by none other than the president himself.
The same anti-Christian forces are seeking to strip funding from Christian colleges to keep them from educating students with a Biblical worldview. Business owners across the nation have been forced to close their doors because they refused to participate in same-sex ceremonies due to their religious faith.
The skirmishes over moral standards have turned into pitched battles over the last decade and now have become an all-out war on religious liberty. Think of the moral degeneration that has transpired under our current president, who has helped lead the fight to promote ungodly sexual behavior while failing to protect basic religious liberties.
What if that depraved trajectory continues over the next few decades? Can you imagine what our great nation, whose foundation was laid by a moral and religious people, will look like? The next president will appoint several Supreme Court justices (three of the current eight are 77 or older), so this election will profoundly affect generations to come.
That’s why this fall we must take pains to examine where the candidates for our nation’s highest elected office stand on the critical issues that face our troubled nation.
Will they do everything they can to protect the life of the unborn child? Will they fight for the religious freedom that is guaranteed under the Constitution? Will they fully support the rights of men and women of faith to act in accordance with their sincerely held religious beliefs?
Will they defend our nation against Islamic terrorists who have slaughtered and killed innocents across our country in the name of their god? Will they call the enemy—radical Islam—by its name? Will they work to strengthen our military so the United States of America can continue to be the dependable guardian of the free world?
Will they defend the Biblical sanctity of marriage as between one man and one woman, and do all they can to protect the family unit? Will they continue to lead us down the road of irresponsible socialism, where the Biblical injunction for hard, honest work is ignored? Or will we embrace a resurgence of vigorous entrepreneurship and industry that has been a hallmark of our nation since its founding?
Will they appoint judges to the Supreme Court and federal courts who respect and uphold the safeguards of the U.S. Constitution? Judges who refuse to interpret the law based on decadent ideology and liberal political agendas that are directly opposed to the fundamental tenets of religious freedom? Franklin Graham, Editor in Chief, September 2016, Decision: The Evangelical Voice of Today, The Most Important Election in Our Lifetime
When major disasters and tragedies occur, it is not uncommon for Franklin Graham’s Billy Graham Rapid Response Teams to be dispatched to the scene. While these teams certainly do a great job helping with the temporal needs of those who are suffering, make no mistake about it, their goal is to preach the Evangelical gospel, evangelize, and save lost sinners.
I view Franklin Graham’s Billy Graham Rapid Response Teams in the same light as I do Adolph Hitler and his love for dogs. Yes, Hitler loved dogs. Yea, Hitler! But, he also was a murderous psychopath who systematically killed six million Jews, gypsies, and others deemed inferior. So then, Hitler’s love of dogs doesn’t negate his genocidal behavior.
Yes, Franklin Graham’s Billy Graham Rapid Response Teams do — in very small ways — provide help to people who are affected by disasters and tragedies. But, these teams are operated by Franklin Graham, a man noted for his racist, homophobic bigotry. Their primary goal is evangelization, not meeting the needs of those who are hurting and suffering.
From the ashes of 9/11, the Rapid Response Team ministry was developed to share Christ in the midst of crisis and disasters. BGEA currently has chaplains in the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. These volunteer chaplains are carefully selected and trained to demonstrate the compassion of Jesus Christ and appropriately share God’s hope through the One who “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
The suffering and heartache of others is just a means to an end — the salvation of sinners.
Yesterday, I received a fundraising letter from The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Here’s an excerpt from the letter:
Our country is hurting. We’re in trouble racially, economically, politically, and spiritually—and day after day the news across our nation reminds us of that.
Dallas, Texas, recently endured the deadliest day for law enforcement officers in America since 9/11—a sniper ambushed and shot 12 police officers. Five of them died. The killings came soon after two widely publicized shootings by police in Louisiana and Minnesota. Protests—sometimes violent—erupted across the country.
These are just examples of how broken our nation and society have become. Government cannot fix this. Elections will not solve this. Our only hope is God, who changes hearts and nations. Pray for America.
A group of crisis-trained chaplains from our Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT), selected for this deployment because of their law enforcement backgrounds, headed to Dallas the morning after the attack to offer support, comfort, and emotional and spiritual care to people affected by the tragedy.
Only weeks before that, a chaplain team went to Orlando when the city suffered the most devastating terrorist-attack on American soil since 9/11. A Muslim gunman began shooting inside a gay nightclub during the early hours of a Sunday morning, massacring 49 people and injuring 53 more. He himself called 911 during the killings to proclaim his allegiance to ISIS.
Experienced Billy Graham chaplains (right) arrived there within hours and immediately started one-on-one ministry to family members, first responders, and others in the stunned community—listening, comforting, and sharing the love of Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3, NKJV), and over a period of two weeks, 40 of our chaplains participated in caring for hurting hearts in Orlando, encouraging and praying individually with more than 1,600 people affected by this huge tragedy.
A young man who personally knew some of the victims came with his family to a memorial site. His distress over the shooting had caused him to think more carefully about God, and he engaged two of our chaplains with questions about sin and forgiveness and about faith. The chaplains used Scripture to help answer the questions, explaining what God’s Son did for him on the cross and how he could be confident of forgiveness and eternal salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. The young man then asked eagerly if he, his family, and the chaplains could gather next to the memorial and pray together. In his own words, he repented of sin, thanked God for loving him personally, and committed to live his life in faith with Jesus as his Savior.
During the deployment, the governor of Florida and the FBI agent in charge of the investigation each stopped to thank our Billy Graham chaplains for being there. Another FBI agent, a believer, came by our mobile ministry center and asked if he could pray for the chaplain team.
One day members of the team noticed a man at a memorial site who was taking deep breaths as if to calm himself. They quietly prayed for him before walking over to ask, “How are you holding up?” He immediately began to weep, saying how thankful he was that someone cared enough to ask. He was a professional photographer on assignment from a prominent media outlet, and the images of tragedy he was capturing had started to overwhelm him. Chaplains spent time with him, listening and encouraging. One of them asked if he would like to know how to find peace in his heart. He replied that he was a secular humanist and not interested in matters of faith.
Nevertheless, for the next 20 minutes he poured out questions about the Bible, church, God, and especially why the chaplains would so willingly invest themselves in other people’s troubles. The chaplains had the opportunity to share the Gospel clearly. The young man readily accepted prayer for himself and his family but was not ready to make a decision. Pray for him and the many others in Orlando who received comfort and heard the Good News, and ask God to nurture the seeds that were planted.
I wonder if the “sinners” mentioned in this letter knew that they were going to be used for fundraising purposes?
Franklin Graham’s Billy Graham Rapid Response Teams are human vultures who swoop down whenever there are major disasters or tragedies. While they might hand out bottled water, coffee, and food, their primary objective is to pick clean the carcasses of hurting people. Instead of offering hope, compassion, and kindness, they offer the bastardized Evangelical version of these things, one that has as its ultimate goal the salvation of sinners. This is, by the way, the modus operandi of most Evangelical “ministries.” Disasters and tragedies are just the means to an end — the evangelization of non-Christians.
This is the time of year when Evangelical soothsayers, psychics, and Nate Silver (ESPN 538) make predictions for the coming year. I thought, in keeping with the spirit of the New Year, that I, the atheist version of Carnac the Magnificent, would make a few predictions of my own. Here’s my 15 Astounding Predictions for 2016.
Richard Dawkins will say something stupid.
Neil deGrasse Tyson will say something brilliant.
The Pope will not get laid.
Evangelicals will continue to say the rapture is nigh.
At least three Evangelical preachers will be arrested and charged with molesting children and 25 others will be accused of sexual misconduct.
Evangelicals will continue to say atheists hate God and secretly want to have wanton, immoral sex.
Franklin Graham will be exposed as a cross dressing transvestite.
Evangelical Calvinists will continue to say their critics don’t understand Calvinism.
Donald Trump will say bat-shit crazy stuff and his followers will love it.
Evangelicals will continue to think that Christianity is under attack and that secularists are trying to make Christianity illegal.
Tea Party Republicans will continue to think that the lame stream media controls America and that Muslim socialist Barack Hussein Obama is coming to take their guns.
The day after Thanksgiving, Fox News will say that there is a War on Christmas.
One Million Moms will continue to be outraged over nudity, cursing, and gay kissing on TV. This year they will find their lost remote and learn that if they push the channel button it changes the channel.
Democrats will win the presidency, a sure sign that the Antichrist is preparing to usher in the new world order.
When Wells Fargo hosed and took advantage of the poor by giving them sub prime mortgages they couldn’t afford, Focus on the Family, Samaritan’s Purse, and Franklin Graham said nothing. When a judge fined Wells Fargo for overdraft practices and charges that gouged and took advantage of poor customers, Focus on the Family, Samaritan’s Purse, and Franklin Graham said nothing. When Wells Fargo was fined for repeated mortgage irregularities and fraud, Focus on the Family, Samaritan’s Purse, and Franklin Graham said nothing. When Wells Fargo:
…settled a suit with 24,000 Florida homeowners alongside insurer QBE, in which they were accused of inflating premiums on forced-place insurance. In May 2013, Wells Fargo paid $203 million to settle class-action litigation accusing the bank of imposing excessive overdraft fees on checking-account customers. Also in May, the New York attorney-general, Eric Scheidermann, announced a lawsuit against Wells Fargo over alleged violations of the national mortgage settlement, a $25 billion deal struck between 49 state attorneys and the five-largest mortgage servicers in the US. Schneidermann claimed Wells Fargo had violated rules over giving fair and timely serving…
Focus on the Family, Samaritan’s Purse, and Franklin Graham said nothing.
No matter how Wells Fargo treated poor and minority customers, Focus on the Family, Samaritan’s Purse, and Franklin Graham said nothing. Yet, when Wells Fargo runs a one minute ad featuring a lesbian couple, THEN Focus on the Family, Samaritan’s Purse, and Franklin Graham decided to say something. Here’s the ad:
Wells Fargo’s history follows a pattern from which it has not wavered. Over the past few years, Wells Fargo has marched in scores of “Gay Pride Parades,” advertised monthly in gay magazines and websites, and has endorsed “Gay Pride Month.”
Wells Fargo has earned Human Rights Campaign’s highest “gay” award 13 years in a row, including paying for employee sex-change operations and associated mental therapy.
Again, where’s the offense? All I see is a major banking concern treating their employees fairly and providing for them necessary medical care. As far as Wells Fargo courting gay money, last I knew gay money spends and earns interest just like heterosexual and fundamentalist Christian money.
“This is one way we as Christians can speak out – we have the power of choice. Let’s just stop doing business with those who promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards. Maybe if enough of us do this, it will get their attention.”
…“that use shareholders’ advertising dollars to promote homosexuality. … It’s promoting a godless lifestyle. … A bank should be promoting the best interest rates they’re going to give me and what they can do for me as a business. But they should not be trying to get into a moral debate and take sides.”…
“At Wells Fargo, serving every customer is core to our vision and values. Diversity and inclusion are foundational to who we are as a company. Our advertising content reflects our company’s values and represents the diversity of the communities we serve.”
Graham, knowing that his actions make him look like a homophobic bigot, let it be known that he was not targeting companies that hire or serve gay and lesbian customers. Sure, Franklin, sure. This is exactly what you are doing.
I expect more Evangelical temper tantrums once the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage. On the day this is announced, if you listen closely you will hear the air being sucked out of Focus on the Family, James Dobson, Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham, Tim Wildmon, the American Family Association, and other extremist fundamentalist Christian groups. WE can only hope so much air is sucked out that these groups die, never to be heard from again.
Perhaps it is time for Christians who value justice and fairness to stop supporting Franklin Graham. Perhaps it is time for Christians of good will to stop putting shoe boxes together for Samaritan’s Purse. Perhaps it is time for Christians to ask why Franklin Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Samaritan’s Purse is sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars? Shouldn’t the money be going out as fast as it comes in? Surely, there are still plenty of the “right” kind of disenfranchised, homeless, and poor people to help?
Here’s what I think of Franklin Graham. He is an educated Fred Phelps and Steven Anderson. He represents everything that is reprehensible and wrong with Evangelical Christianity. Here’s the good news and the bad news:
On Monday June 5th Graham took to Facebook to express his outrage over Wells Fargo’s offense against almighty God. Since then, his screed has attracted 98,235 likes and 44,517 shares. Bad news? There are 98,325 people who think like Franklin Graham. Good news? There are ONLY 98,325 who clicked LIKE on his childish tantrum. Graham is getting a lot of press now, but remember that his media presence is much larger than his actual influence. He is just another Evangelical hack demanding everyone live by his interpretations of an ancient, outdated, contradictory, and, at times offensive, religious text. Justice and fairness continue to march forward, trampling over the dead corpses of people like James Dobson, Tim Wildmon, and Franklin Graham. Perhaps, one day, justice will prevail.
I am starting to wonder if Franklin Graham is a closeted gay. He sure spends a lot of time talking about things being rammed/crammed down his throat.
Most Evangelicals are polite, kind, decent people. Most Evangelicals are nothing like hate mongers Bryan Fischer, Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, or the local street preacher. Most Evangelicals try to get along with others and do their best to integrate into society. When I go to the store to shop, buy groceries, get my car repaired, etc. I know that the most of the people waiting on me are Christian. And here in God’s country, most of them are Evangelical.
But, here’s the thing. Behind the polite, kind, decent, loving faces are hateful, judgmental beliefs. As I stated awhile back, there is little difference between the beliefs of the late Fred Phelps and Baptist seminary president and preacher Al Mohler. The beliefs of the Phelps clan and Westboro Baptist Church are not much different from the beliefs of the Duggars. Some may smile and be polite and others might angrily scream, but both believe that every non-Christian who dies will go to hell and be tortured by God for eternity. I recently wrote about this in a post titled What Kind of Christian Are You?
The fight over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has pulled back the curtain on the Polite Right.
Beltway-centric but not moderate, these cautious spokesmen for civility do not practice your drunk uncle’s bigotry. They endorse a more soft-spoken and socially acceptable kind of prejudice. This prejudice comes clothed in talk of tolerance and piety, appeals to fairness and freedom.
They talk about faith and religious rights but what defenders of the pre-“fix” RFRA really wanted was the privilege of condoning bigotry without actually being associated with it. It’s more than a rhetorical sleight of hand to turn denial of service into an “infringement upon religious practice.” It’s Solomon sawing Lady Justice in half. Such an argument insists that theologically-condoned discrimination is somehow less hurtful than the normal, not-God-approved form. “You can still get married!” and “You can continue to deny service to those you see as morally unfit!” do not cancel each other out.
It’s easy to mock the idea of “Big Gay” (what a size queen!), but Fischer’s logic is the perfect mirror to the argument of the law’s critics. All you have to do is scale down the hyperbole, and read “full civil rights” where Fischer fears “gay rule.” Indiana’s RFRAwasintended to hamper the progress of “Big Gay and the Homosexual Supremacy” (my favorite Motown band). If the original RFRA had been implemented, the civil rights for LGTB individuals would have been diminished…
…The Polite Right wants nothing to do with Fischer. When I drew attention to his Twitter timeline, the proudly reasonable conservatives that populate the Acela Corridor were offended. They demanded that I acknowledge that Fischer is not representative of all conservatives, or even all defenders of the law—and that’s true, in the sense that Polite Right would never sully themselves with such obvious homophobia…
…But while it’s Bryan Fischer’s rhetoric that makes him so amusingly offensive, it’s his logicand his goals that demand an answer from those who are aligned with him as far as the RFRA goes. In other words: I believe my friends on the Polite Right when they say they don’t hate gay people; but when it comes to the RFRA, I am not convinced that emotional or theological context is less important than acts of discrimination itself.
Put another way: Two different Christian bakery owners both refuse to bake a cake for two different gay weddings. One bakery owner says that’s because he believes gay people are sinful sodomites that regularly recruit and molest children. The other says she loves and respects gay people but “just can’t participate in a ceremony that goes against my faith.” The Indiana RFRA was written to protect both bakers, not just the nice one.
Of course, both sides of the debate have their drunk uncles. On the left, it was a bunch of randy Yelpers and rageful Twitterers that embarrassed the more selectively outraged RFRA critics. The Memories Pizza owners turned out to be the nice, presentable sort of discriminators, and some of their online critics went overboard in expressing their upset…
…I’m proud to live in a society where being accused of bigotry is itself offensive. I like it that decent people don’t want to be associated with obvious homophobes. But the polite solution to an association with an obvious homophobe isn’t to simply deny the relationship—it’s to ask yourself what you have in common.
The problem is that Bryan Fischer and the Polite Right want the same thing, for the same reasons, even if they use very different language to make their case. They’re activist allies, joined at the hip whether they like it or not. You might even say they’re married.
Let’s not pretend that smiling, polite Evangelicals don’t have reprehensible beliefs. Behind their façade are beliefs that promote hate, bigotry, and discrimination. But, Bruce I am an Evangelical and I support the gay community in their quest for equal protection under the law. I think global warming is real, hell is a myth, and I hate how many of my fellow Evangelicals behave. Fine, let me ask you this: why do you remain in the Evangelical church? Why do you continue to support beliefs and practices you object to? Perhaps it is time for you to exit stage left and move on to religious confines where love, equality, and respect for all are the rule. Are we not judged by those we keep company with? Silence is consent. If you truly love others and desire equality for all, how can you remain silent or support sects, churches, and pastors who preach hate, bigotry, and discrimination?
The two tools most often used by Evangelical preachers to keep people in the pews are:
The threat of God’s judgment
The threat of hell
As with Jonathan Edwards in his famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, Evangelical preachers warn parishioners of the judgment to come and the hell that awaits anyone who does not repent of their sins and become a follower of Jesus.
…The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night; that you was suffered to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God’s hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking his pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending his solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell.
O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment…
While few Evangelical preachers can turn a word and speak as eloquently as Edwards, their message is still the same: judgment and hell awaits those who do not repent of their sins and follow after Jesus.
Preachers often use what I call the carrot and stick approach. Every person has a choice to make about where they spend eternity. While Calvinists and Arminians argue endlessly over whether we really are free to choose, saving faith does require an act of volition. Every person must choose between heaven and hell. Become a follower of Jesus and heaven, the carrot awaits when you die. Reject Jesus, his salvific work on the cross and his death-defying resurrection from the dead, then hell, the stick, awaits you when you die.
Evangelical preachers impress on those under the sound of their voice that it is important to make a decision for Christ NOW! The Bible says in the last part of II Corinthians 6:2:
…behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.
According to Evangelical preachers, none of us has the promise of tomorrow. Proverbs 27:1 states:
Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Evangelical preachers are like Larry the Cable Guy. Git ‘er Done! Today, right now, don’t delay.
Some preachers spice up their sermons with illustrations of people who died suddenly or who died after hearing and rejecting the preacher’s warning about God’s judgment and hell. These stories, true or not, are meant to elicit an immediate response. When I was a preacher, my goal was to press every person who heard my sermon to make a decision. I was of the opinion that there was no such thing as a neutral position. Once a person heard the gospel, heard my sermon, they had a choice to make. Heaven or hell, which will it be?
A regular reader of this blog sent me a Franklin Graham quote that I think will help illustrate what I am trying to say in this post:
“Death is serious, eternal business. Once our physical hearts beat for the last time, we will instantly find ourselves either in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in all His splendor, or in the pit of Hell away from His presence.”
There’s the carrot and the stick. Heaven or hell; choose now while your heart is still beating. The moment your heart stops beating, your eternal destiny is settled.
Think for a moment about what Graham said here about the heart stopping. So, if a person’s heart stops, his eternal destiny is settled? What if his heart is restarted using a defibrillator? Does this mean his eternal destiny is not really settled and he gets another chance to decide, heaven or hell? For those people who have heart transplants, does that mean that they need to decide again?
The bigger problem with Graham’s statement is that it is bad theology. According to orthodox Christian theology, when people die, they do not go to heaven or hell. Instead, they go to the grave and will remain there until the resurrection of the dead. Grandma is not up in Heaven running around, nor is she peering over the portals of Heaven watching her grandchildren play. Neither is Christopher Hitchens in hell, being tormented day and night for daring to mock the thrice holy God. They are dead, lying in the grave, awaiting the second coming of Jesus and the resurrection of the dead.
After the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment will take place and every person will be sent to his or her eternal destiny. And even here, many Evangelical preachers, including Graham, get it wrong. Christians will not spend eternity in Heaven. Instead, they will spend it in the kingdom of God. Hitchens and the rest of us reprobates? We will not spend eternity in hell. Instead we will spend it in the lake of fire.
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
And here an even more interesting point. Isn’t our eternal destiny is settled by repenting of our sins and following after Jesus? These texts state that everyone is judged by their works, that it is works that determine whether Grandma, Hitchens, or anyone else goes to heaven or hell.
I wish Evangelical preachers would get together and figure out exactly where it is we are all going when we die. I wish they would determine if it is really up to me to decide? With so much confusion and lack of theological precision, how is a poor, lost atheist such as I am, supposed to determine in what hotel to make my final reservation?
The purpose of this post is to show how confusing and contradictory Evangelical preachers and their theology can be. If they are not precise and clear, can mere untrained, unwashed Philistines such as we are have any hope of finding THE Way, Truth, and Life?