An Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “Small Church” Pastor

Dear Frank

Can I call you Frank? This is just pastor to pastor. Feel free to call me Peter. Anyway, I have to say I was flattered when I learned that your Decision America Tour took a detour off the beaten path to call upon us “small community churches.” We are nothing if not small. We seat 30-40 on a good Sunday. And we are a century old fixture of our small community. Most often we are overlooked and overshadowed by mega-churches and politically influential religious voices like your own. We don’t hold a candle to an auditorium filled with the music of a one hundred voice choir led by professional musicians. We probably will never be recognized in any nationally syndicated media. After all, we don’t do anything really “newsworthy.” We just preach the good news of Jesus Christ; love one another the best we can (which sometimes isn’t very well); feed the hungry that come to our doors; care for the sick; comfort the dying; and bury the dead. So thanks for thinking of us. Rest assured, we are ready to respond to your calls to prayer and action.

I have to say, though, that I was a little confused by your summons. Of all the things that worry me, loss of religious freedom for Christians in America isn’t one of them. I can’t say I have ever experienced anything in this country that could reasonably be called a restriction on my religious liberty, much less persecution.  When you started talking about attacks on Christianity, I thought you might have been referring to the racially motivated slaying of pastors and lay people at Mother Emmanuel church in Charleston some time back. Or I figured you were referring to the slaughter of Coptic Christians in Egypt this past Palm Sunday. That’s what I call persecution. But having to pay a judgment for refusing to bake a cake for a same sex couple in violation of the law against discrimination? This you call persecution? There’s a letter in the Bible, written by the Apostle Peter (ever heard of him?). He’s an expert on persecution, having been on the receiving end of it more than once. He says you don’t get divine kudos from suffering the consequences of breaking the law-even if you are a Christian. Moreover, there is a Christian fellow named Paul (aka Saul) who wrote a letter to a church in Rome nearly two thousand years ago. He said that if your enemy is hungry you should feed him (that’s in the Bible too). So wouldn’t it have been the Christian way to have baked a cake for the same sex couple in your example, even if you deem them enemies (another assertion I don’t quite understand)? I’m confused.

But in any event, Frank, let’s get over this persecution complex. Stop with the drama already! You are not under attack just because you have to follow the rules like everyone else. Look, I understand the owners of this establishment you mention in your speech don’t approve of gay and lesbian people getting married. They don’t have to approve of them. But if they are going to do business in this country, they have to follow the law against discrimination-just like the rest of us. If you don’t like the rules, don’t join the game. It’s that simple. Furthermore, I don’t understand why baking a cake for people whose conduct you find personally offensive is such a big deal. Heck, Frank, if all of us small church pastors refused to bury everyone whose conduct we didn’t approve of, the country would be ten feet deep in corpses!

I am struggling, too, with your claim that Donald Trump is a champion (albeit an unlikely one) for religious freedom. What freedoms are we talking about here, Frank? The freedom to lie with impunity? The freedom to grab young girls by the genitals? The freedom to discriminate against people of color in the sale and rental of real estate? The freedom to refer to women as “dogs,” “fat pigs,” and “ugly”? The freedom to call your opponents “idiots,” “losers,” “liars” and “frauds”? The freedom to slander people with accusations of criminal conduct based on absolutely no evidence? By my count, the above violate at least four of the Ten Commandments (you will find those in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy-both in the Bible). If Donald Trump is the champion of American Christianity, God save it from its enemies!

All kidding aside, you might be right about God putting Donald Trump in the White House-though your reasons for so believing are probably different from what I might conjecture. Still, how do you know that? Where did you get this info? I have to hand it to you, Frank, you sure do have the connections. As I am sure you know, God does not consult with us small church pastors on weighty issues of that kind. So it was kind of you to leak this classified intelligence to all of us who are evidently a good deal further away from the divine pipeline. So let me see if I have this figured out correctly: God doesn’t give a flying fruitcake if we deprive twenty-million people, most of them poor, of access to health care. Nor is God particularly concerned about how men treat women in the workplace, how people of color are treated in the real estate market, how the hungry and homeless are cared for (or not), but God flips out if we bake a cake for a same sex couple to celebrate their wedding? I have to be honest with you, Frank. I’m just not seeing it. Not in the Bible, not in the realm of rational common sense.

Here’s the thing, Frank. At the last judgment, Jesus doesn’t ask anyone about who they voted for, how many times they have been divorced, what their sexual history or orientation is or for whom they did or did not bake wedding cakes. His sole concern is for how we treated the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the imprisoned, those deemed “least” among us. No, I didn’t get that from any private chat with God. We small church pastors have to rely on the Bible for our intel. I got this stuff from the Gospel of Matthew, 25th Chapter to be precise. As I said, that, too, is in the Bible. (It’s a great book, Frank. You should read it sometime.)

You know, Frank, I would like to think that we are brothers. I would like to believe that we are on the same side. I would like to believe that, beneath our differences, we worship the same God and follow the same Savior. But quite honestly, I don’t recognize the Jesus I learned from my parents, my Sunday School teachers, my pastors or my years of study and reflection on the Bible in your angry, fearful rhetoric. Yes, I will answer your call for prayer. But I will be praying for the real victims of persecution-the victims of racial discrimination, sexual violence and bullying. I will answer your call to action. But I will be acting to establish health care as a right for all people; making the college campus and the workplace spaces where women and girls need not fear being called “pigs,” “dogs” or “ugly” nor will they need to fear rich, white celebrity males who feel entitled to grab them by the genitals. I will respond to your call for action by working for a society in which no one needs to worry about where she will sleep at night or where the next meal is coming from. You want prayer? You want action? You’ve got it.

Well, thanks again, Frank, for thinking about us small church folk. I appreciate your concern about our being persecuted and under attack. But don’t worry about us. We don’t have your money, your access to the halls of power or your seeming direct connection to the Almighty. But we have the scriptures, we have prayer, and we are learning every day what it means to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. That’s all we need. You can keep your champion in the White House, thanks just the same.

Christ’s servant and yours,

Peter

  1. #1 by Cathy Hunley on May 18, 2017 - 5:57 pm

    thank you so much for writing the truth. Franklin is such a disappointment.

    • #2 by Rhoda Cormier on May 24, 2017 - 3:38 am

      Franklin Graham isn’t a disappointed, it’s the other way around.

      • #3 by Phae on May 24, 2017 - 10:32 am

        Oh look, a pretend Christian

      • #4 by Jonathan L Melugin (@jlmelugin) on May 24, 2017 - 11:46 am

        Are you claiming you ARE a Christian? How can you not support what Peter has stated? Yes, Franklin Graham should be considered a huge disappointment to the Christian believers.

      • #5 by Mel Middleton on May 24, 2017 - 1:32 pm

        Why would Franklin be an embarrassment to Christians? He has spent his life preaching the Gospel, helping the poor, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, assisting refugees and displaced people, and providing aid to victims of hurricanes, earthquakes, civil conflict and terrorist attacks. And he speaks the truth, decrying injustice and unrighteousness, just as Christ did.

      • #6 by Allie on May 24, 2017 - 9:30 pm

        I’m thinking the same thing Rhoda.

      • #7 by David Bresett on July 11, 2017 - 6:59 pm

        He’s always been Elmer Gantry. Always.

      • #8 by Mel Middleton on July 13, 2017 - 1:39 am

        I seriously doubt that Elmer Gantry ever risked his life in the many hell holes of the world where Rev Franklin has gone to bring help and hope tho those who are suffering from serious spiritual and physical need.

      • #9 by GS on July 16, 2017 - 1:43 pm

        Yes, Rhoda, Thanks.

      • #10 by Sue on July 17, 2017 - 9:28 pm

        Huh???? I have honk he is riding on daddy’s coat tails . And.. will never catch up!

      • #11 by Larry Best on July 17, 2017 - 9:45 pm

        Oh,I’m sorry. Ok, Graham Franklin is a disappointment. There,fixed it for you.

      • #12 by maddux27 on July 18, 2017 - 1:38 pm

        yes, and if a shop doesn’t want to make you a cake…this is still America…go elsewhere..President Trump is no Saint, as you,sir aren’t either.We neeeed a President who loves and WANTS to do what is RIGHT(at least we are hopeful)…And h by the way….how are you on the killing of innocent babies ????Sick of knuckleheads like you”pastor”

      • #13 by djcosmiccat (@adamdysarz1) on July 19, 2017 - 7:24 pm

        you are a flat out JOKE, LADY!! God fearing christian? bet you fear everything then.

    • #14 by Gertrude on May 30, 2017 - 3:28 pm

      Jesus called them, Vipers, Snakes…that’s why it’s good to know the Word for yourself. ..

      • #15 by Mel Middleton on May 31, 2017 - 12:19 am

        Jesus did not call Franklin Graham, or others like him a “brood of vipers”. He called the Pharisees that. He did this because the Pharisees (not Franklin Graham) were neglecting justice, mercy and faithfulness yet trying, at the same time, to appear to be “holier than thou” !. They were straining at gnats while swallowing camels.

        Franklin Graham is not neglecting justice. He is speaking out for the poor, sick and the persecuted. He is defending the right to life of those who are destined for slaughter (the unborn children in our own societies as well as victims of war and persecution and terror. Franklin is NOT neglecting “mercy”. He, through his organization, Samaritan’s Purse, has helped millions of people around the world who are starving, displaced, sick and in terrible condition. He has not neglected faithfulness either, since he has been proclaiming faithfully the Word of God and speaking the truth, even when it is not popular to do so, (as this article and the blog comments clearly demonstrate).

        No, Franklin Graham is not the one here who Jesus would be call ing a “brood of vipers”. But I can think of someone else who might qualify!

      • #16 by Sengabira Charmant on June 28, 2017 - 10:14 pm

        SO RIGHT

      • #17 by N.H.Leviton on July 15, 2017 - 11:47 am

        #10 Modern Judaism stems from the Pharisees. I think you are missing something about Jesus being a Jew as well as about anti-Semitism in the N.T.

    • #18 by allanvanderley on July 15, 2017 - 10:23 pm

      Brilliant,…

    • #19 by Brad Marcum on July 18, 2017 - 1:09 pm

      Pastor, why such a snarky and condescending letter? I think you lose credibility when you write like this. Although much of what you say I agree with, you should consider Ephesians 4:29 when you speak/write.

      • #20 by castaway5555 on July 18, 2017 - 5:49 pm

        His piece is brilliant and well said. Graham, I’m afraid, backs the Southern Strategy of States’ Rights … check out: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EH1EL7A/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

      • #21 by Jim on July 19, 2017 - 12:19 am

        Amen

      • #22 by Scott on July 20, 2017 - 5:49 pm

        Condescending is exactly right. This is not actually a pastor who wrote this. He or she never identifies himself/herself. Therefore, it’s a phony letter.

      • #23 by Judy on July 20, 2017 - 7:03 pm

        For me, and for many others, thus letter speaks truth. Don’t like it? That’s fine. But don’t call it fake; it’s anything but.

  2. #24 by Melba Lacey on May 18, 2017 - 6:22 pm

    Right on, Peter. I will be praying with you.

    • #25 by DORAJEANBEAR (@DORAJEANBEAR) on May 25, 2017 - 1:33 pm

      FRANKLIN & HIS FATHER ARE THE MOST EMBARRASSING TO THE COUNTRY THEY ARE NO CHRISTIANS THEY ARE STEALERS TAKING THE MONEY OF POOR PEOPLE THEY BRAIN WASH IN BELIEVING IN THEM NOT IN GOD SO THEY CAN GET RICHER THIS SOB’S ARE BAD MEN INCLUDING JIM BAKER, JIMMY SWAGGERT, OLSTEEN, PATTERSON SHIT OF ALL HOW IN THE WORLD DO THE PEOPLE BELIEVE THEM I RATHER LISTEN TO THIS PASTOR IN SMALL CHURCH I KNOW HE IS A GOOD CHRISTIAN SAYING THE WORD OF GOD WHY I THANK THIS PASTOR FOR SAYING WHAT HE FEELS AND SEES THE TRUTH ON THIS BASTARDS NO GOOD BUT DEVILS

      • #26 by Mel Middleton on May 25, 2017 - 6:31 pm

        Your rather crass, demeaning, and obscene rhetoric betrays a deep seated hatred against Franklin Graham and those who support him. And here I thought Christians were supposed to love everyone….even their enemies and people they disagree with!

      • #27 by Malia on July 4, 2017 - 1:25 am

        Sad you judging Billy Graham and Franklin Graham…They are the only two recognized Prophets preaching out there. They do not have expensive cars, adorn with jewelry or lavish homes, but live humbly. All donations are not used for their own personal but for spreading the Gospel of Jesus! For those who believe in God an explanation is not necessary; for those who do not believe an explanation will not suffice…

      • #28 by Mel Middleton on July 4, 2017 - 3:01 pm

        Thank you for your well written reply, Malia. You are correct. Rev Graham does not deserve the kind of false accusations he has been receiving on this site. God bless you.

      • #29 by Dennis on July 12, 2017 - 9:31 pm

        Wow, it must be hard for you to live in a world where you know EVERYTHING.

    • #30 by Debbie on July 6, 2017 - 4:46 pm

      Malia, you are mistaken. Franklin Graham took a salary of $882,833 out of the faithful’s contributions in 2015. See his IRS filing, https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.irs&ein=581437002

      • #31 by Lisa on July 9, 2017 - 11:28 am

        The Graham’s are in the list of 10 richest pastors in USA, worth over $25 million……truth. Actual real truth is extremely important, assuming the best about people you like and the worst about people you are against is not a Christian action. Do some research, get the facts….allow facts to influence your thinking. Thank you Debbie for supporting truth.

      • #32 by dschuetz1 on July 9, 2017 - 9:40 pm

        That’s what I thought!

  3. #33 by Tony on May 18, 2017 - 8:32 pm

    It’s Reverend Graham to you, Pete.

    • #34 by John on May 23, 2017 - 4:06 pm

      It’s sir to you ton

    • #35 by cofer on May 24, 2017 - 12:00 am

      There is NOTHING Reverent about Mr. Graham.

    • #36 by Nancy Seeger on May 24, 2017 - 10:07 pm

      Well that was condescending and rude. Sorry, but you can’t accuse Franklin of all those things while doing it publicly (not Biblical) and being disrespectful.

    • #37 by Daniel Schuetz on July 15, 2017 - 2:57 pm

      They are both reverends!

  4. #38 by brendawilbee on May 18, 2017 - 10:16 pm

    A lonely voice in the wilderness. Thanks for trying.

  5. #39 by Gary on May 18, 2017 - 10:45 pm

    Pray for our leaders Peter .
    Pray.
    You should know this.

    • #40 by D'Arzcy on May 23, 2017 - 8:01 pm

      He and they are not your ‘leaders’, He, et al, are takers for money. Ordinary greedy mammals, likely sociopathic a lot.

      • #41 by zapper45701 on May 24, 2017 - 9:11 am

        Actually, they are not our leaders–they are our servants, as in “public servants.” If the space aliens come and say, “Take us to your leader,” point to yourself and the people around you. We are the leaders, not the politicians.

      • #42 by Mel Middleton on May 24, 2017 - 1:35 pm

        Excellent reply! Thanks zapper45701!

      • #43 by Lou Poulain on June 6, 2017 - 10:44 pm

        Hear here!! Frank Graham preaches a gospel I don’t recognize and worships a Christ if his (and his ilk’s) own making. He is no leader to me. And he isn’t worthy to tie his father’s sandals!!

      • #44 by Mel Middleton on June 7, 2017 - 6:17 am

        If by “father” you mean God, then yes you are correct. No one is “worthy, even John the Baptist”. But if you are referring to his earthly father “Billy”, it might interest you to know that Billy Graham supports completely what his son is doing. Franklin clearly has his father and mother’s blessing on his ministry. Is it because Franklin is taking the gospel to the poor and needy, or helping the hungry, the sick, the displaced, and persecuted all over the world that you don’t? Or is it because he stands up and speaks out for justice even when it is not popular to do so? Just curious!

    • #45 by Mark Radecke on May 24, 2017 - 5:37 am

      To paraphrase Tevye’s rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof:
      “May the Lord bless and keep The Donald…
      … far, far from the White House.”

    • #46 by Allie on May 24, 2017 - 9:28 pm

      And how is it you know how his father feels?
      There’s a very good chance he is standing behind Frankli as he always tried to speak The
      Word, TOO.

  6. #47 by Steve on May 18, 2017 - 11:34 pm

    “I don’t recognize the Jesus I learned from my parents, my Sunday School teachers, my pastors or my years of study and reflection on the Bible in your angry, fearful rhetoric.”

    Thank God we have your sanctimonious, self-righteous pontification to guide us.

    • #48 by Barb on May 24, 2017 - 10:03 am

      If you are referring to the letter above, I hear no anger or fear….certainly no rhetoric or sanctimony. I don’t believe for a second that you have ever studied the Bible.

      • #49 by Allie on May 28, 2017 - 8:48 pm

        Sorry Barb, but if you actually READ what “pastor Pete” wrote (did you??) you’d see that he is the one accusing Franklin G.of being angry etc. Please try to think Ist, duh!

      • #50 by Allie on May 28, 2017 - 8:48 pm

        Sorry Barb, but if you actually READ what “pastor Pete” wrote (did you??) you’d see that he is the one accusing Franklin G.of being angry etc. Please try to think Ist, duh!

  7. #51 by Debora on May 18, 2017 - 11:48 pm

    Peter, thank you! A brilliant letter. I feel this way and I’m always wondering who Franklin Graham is, because I don’t recognize him. His father would never have approved.

    • #52 by Stan Greer on May 26, 2017 - 4:03 pm

      Actually Debora, you’re right. Franklin is not Billy. His father, who will be 100 years old next year, was not a bigot and wouldn’t have approved of Franklin’s approach. He preached Jesus and not against an agenda like Franklin is spending most of his time doing. He is paid very well, in the $millions$ to head up both Samaritan’s Purse, which in fact does help in worldwide disasters, and the Billy Graham evangelistic association, now because his father can’t. I’m not sure where his heart truly is, since God only knows that, but Jesus would disagree with a lot of what he says.

  8. #53 by Deborah Cicconi on May 18, 2017 - 11:53 pm

    Thank you, Peter. I wish your church was near me. Sadly, Frank’s type of church are the only ones out here. This Republican Christianity is not even close to the teachings of Jesus in the Bible. Nice to know there are churches like yours.

  9. #54 by Ted Koran on May 19, 2017 - 12:54 am

    Amen

  10. #55 by Helen Arnestad on May 19, 2017 - 1:05 am

    All I can add is Amen. Thank you, Peter, for pointing out the puck-and-choose aspects of Frank’s and others’ reasoning. The sanctimonious aspect of the whole no cake for gays thing got to me, too. As well as the blatant disrespect for women and racially and socio-economic tinged “Christianity”. And the sexual not-so-innuendos that have been flying about genitals and looks.
    So, in closing, you’ve nailed the issues with the current administration marching out and hiding behind a thin veil of being Christian. Hallelujah!

    • #56 by Eric on June 28, 2017 - 11:07 am

      AMEN !

    • #57 by Josephine Benson on July 15, 2017 - 1:15 pm

      Yes. You are spot-on!

  11. #58 by Kathie Boyett on May 19, 2017 - 1:39 am

    “His sole concern is for how we treated the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the imprisoned, those deemed “least” among us. No, I didn’t get that from any private chat with God. We small church pastors have to rely on the Bible for our intel. I got this stuff from the Gospel of Matthew, 25th Chapter to be precise. As I said, that, too, is in the Bible.” Pastor Olsen, this is exactly what I was taught at my Southern Baptist church in my small Southern town when I was a child. Christ commanded me to love our Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind, and to love my neighbor as I loved myself. I learned to do good to those who hurt me and to be kind to everyone because God is love, and if God lived in my heart then I was His love too.

    That Southern Baptist church has a new pastor and doesn’t have the same Jesus anymore. Needless to say, I don’t attend that church. I decided to keep my Jesus. Pope Francis seems to know the same Jesus, and now that I’ve read your letter to Mr. Graham I believe you know my Jesus too. If I lived in New Jersey, I would love to attend your services, but I still live in Louisiana. For now, I’ll just keep up with church on the internet.

    Thank you for reassuring me that my faith is true. I have been told in recent months that I am wrong, not a Christian because of my disdain for and failure to support Donald Trump and other GOP candidates here in Louisiana. I found hatred and bias inconsistent with my Lord’s teachings. Honestly, I don’t believe that any candidate is ordained by God. I just prayed and voted my conscience. I know that our Lord is bigger and more powerful that our election, our nation, our political issues. He does want us to focus on His word and on demonstrating His love for others so that they may know Him through our actions and through our love. I do my best to live my life as a witness for Him by loving, helping, and giving to others.

    Once again, thank you for writing and publishing this letter. It has provided me great comfort. May the Lord bless you.

    Sincerely,
    Kathie Boyett

    • #59 by Barb on May 24, 2017 - 10:10 am

      Kathie, I love your response. You may be in Louisiana as a champion for the Lord. Stand strong in your beliefs in this world where up is down and left is right. The Bible should be our guide, it will never fail us. God Bless and may he be with you all your days.

    • #60 by Eric on June 28, 2017 - 11:11 am

      Kathy, There are many prophets like you who have not bowed their knees to Baal.

      • #61 by Mel Middleton on June 29, 2017 - 12:30 am

        When Christ said “the least of these” there is no question that He was including the unborn! These precious children are a group of people who have no legal rights, can be killed in the most barbaric and cruel ways imaginable, have their body parts sold, and suffer excruciating agony simply because someone chooses to do so. It doesn’t get any more “least” than that. When liberal “pastors”, who cry foul because some bakers stand true to Christ’s teachings on the sanctity of marriage, show a fraction of that concern for the plight of these “least of these” children, perhaps they will begin to have some credibility. As for Franklin, he has demonstrated that he clearly has an active love for all of those groups mentioned in Matthew 25, including the unborn child. There aren’t many who have done more to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoners, provide water to the thirsty and to stand for truth and justice than he has done. “Let those who have no sin cast the first stone”.

      • #62 by djcosmiccat (@adamdysarz1) on July 19, 2017 - 8:23 pm

        Mel Middleton so that makes it ok to kill innocent adults and so on? taking insurance away from sick people is worse than abortion. you guys dont care about life after the baby pops out! what about the earth? god made this globe to give life to you, me and the other 7 billion people who spin with it. killing the planet is the worst way to say “thank you God”. so if life is sooooooooooooo precious while in the womb, why do you and yours want to restrict gay people from adopting the children nobody else gives a damn about? and “gay” isn’t contagious or a agenda to turn others “gay”. a six pack of beer has that aspect wrapped up. and “gay” isnt the cause of any pediphilia. look at the statistics of the correlation between sexual child predators and married hetero men. all my gay friends like pubic hair and muscles. and their own car. and a job and intelligence and their own bank account to pay for their own stuff while courting. children don’t have those qualities. and IT IS A CHOICE!! just like you making the same choice to be hetero. in order to be a choice, both selections have to be available ie. you chose hetero and not homo. so was it a choose for you or not? it cant be the other way around when it comes to a label of “choice” its like saying “im happy and you chose to be angry” you chose to be happy while i chose to be angry” another example. when you go to a fast food or any type of restaurant and order a soda. and all they have is 2 sizes “s and S”
        its nonsense to say the “s” is a medium sized drink and the “S” is a large. because there has to be a small and a large to make the third size a medium. its that simple. cheers!

    • #63 by Kim on July 5, 2017 - 10:05 pm

      Kathie, I think what you wrote is beautiful. I am Catholic and feel so blessed that Pope Francis is here to guide our church back to the most important principles of Christ: LOVE. I am currently reading a book about Mother Theresa that is part biography and part her letters. She was criticized heavily by Christians (seriously, how can you criticize this woman?) because while she was caring for the poor, sick, and dying in India she wasn’t trying to convert the Hindu’s to become Christians. Her response was (I paraphrase): “Jesus didn’t call me to convert, he called me to become poor so that I could love the poor. Just as God/Jesus became human to show his love for humans and human suffering. I show them, one person at a time, God by showing them Love”. I can only speak for Catholics, but this is the message that Pope Francis is using to guide Catholics away from judging and back to love. If you feel at a loss of finding a Christ-centered church, just maybe go to a Catholic Mass. I’m certainly not trying to convert you!!!! Just saying keep your options open. God Bless! P.S. A forewarning: we Catholics are sinners and sometime hypocritical too; just like all Christians…

      • #64 by Mel Middleton on July 6, 2017 - 2:47 pm

        And Mother Teresa’s love was a strong testimony for God’s righteousness and love. Nor did she refrain from speaking out on behalf of human suffering and need. She was not afraid to speak out against the growing decadence and moral free fall occurring in Western nations like the United States. Like Rev Graham, she was a strong advocate for those who are suffering, especially the unborn.

        “Abortion kills twice. It kills the body of the baby and it kills the conscience of the mother. Abortion is profoundly anti-women. Three quarters of its victims are women: Half the babies and all the mothers.”
        ~ Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta ~

    • #65 by Lisa on July 9, 2017 - 4:08 pm

      What a beautiful reply Kathie. I grew up with the same values you did. It’s nice to know there are others who have faith in love and the actual teachings of Jesus by his example.

    • #66 by kygal97 on July 14, 2017 - 9:54 am

      Kathie, I’d love to invite you to view my church’s services and you can even catch up with them on Youtube. Look for Grace Culture, and Jake Stringer. I can promise you that you’ll find a very loving church that feels the same way as you and many of us are rising up that feel the same….the true love of Christ and not the “law & legalism” of “religion.”

      • #67 by Mel Middleton on July 14, 2017 - 1:14 pm

        Jesus said: “If you love me, keep my commandments”. True love is obedience to Christ, not following the way of the world.

    • #68 by Josephine Benson on July 15, 2017 - 1:18 pm

      Kathie – you have put into words so much of what I feel. Bless you!❤️

      • #69 by Mel Middleton on July 17, 2017 - 2:37 pm

        What is so ironic is that Rev Graham, the object of such judgmentalism and vitriol on this blog, has done more to carry out the injunctions of Christ given in Matthew 25 than any other Christian I know. Certainly far more than the people casting stones at him here in this discussion.

    • #70 by Augusta Walden on July 19, 2017 - 8:57 pm

      Your letter is also quite wonderful. I am a non-believer, but fully support those who believe in charity, good will, and loving one’s neighbor. Thank you for being a decent human being.

      • #71 by Mel Middleton on July 21, 2017 - 10:39 am

        If you believe in charity, good will, and loving one’s neighbor, then you should support Rev Franklin Graham. That is exactly what he has committed his life to doing!

  12. #72 by Ima on May 19, 2017 - 2:03 am

    Absolutely brilliant, but the fella ur writing to will not understand unfortunately. But hey, with God all things are possible.
    I do hope he takes ur advice on the book you recommended for him to read, it’s his only prayer.

    • #73 by Charles Duane McCullough on May 23, 2017 - 5:45 pm

      GO, GO, GO…WHY DO WE FEAR THE TRUTH…i AM A RETIRED, 85 YEAR OLD CLERGYMAN – UNITED METHODIST – AND i DO NOT KNOW WHERE FRANKLIN GRAHAM GOT HIS NARROW -MINDED THEOLOGY…i DID NOT SEE NOR HEAR IT FROM HIS DAD…

      • #74 by Mel Middleton on May 24, 2017 - 2:00 pm

        Maybe he got it from reading his Bible. 🙂 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

      • #75 by dschuetz1 on July 15, 2017 - 12:11 am

        I agree pastor! Both of Mr. Graham’s children have gone political, and a little racist, in my opinion! This is something I did not detect in Mr, Graham himself!

      • #76 by Mel Middleton on July 15, 2017 - 9:29 am

        Perhaps you are not aware of it, but the Rev Billy Graham totally supports what his two children are doing and saying. In recent years he, as well, has spoken out strongly against the moral decline in America. He decried the recent Supreme Court decision regarding so-called “homosexual marriage”, as well as the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. In a recent (2015) message to America, he said the following:

        “The fourth great crisis in American history is the crisis of the present moment. Our nation at this moment is being threatened as it has not been threatened since the Civil War. We are being threatened by moral deterioration.

        We have seen this country plunging deeper and deeper, at a rapidly gaining momentum, into moral deterioration. Honesty and truthfulness have been thrown out the window. The nation is on a mad pursuit of amusements, pleasure and immorality.

        The same symptoms that were in Rome during its last days are now seen and felt in America. Walk down the streets of our cities and see the current names of today’s films. Many are either psychopathic or centered on sex.

        What is this country coming to?

        We need a moral revival. We need a spiritual revival that will put a new moral fiber into our society, or we will have collapsed internally before any enemies even get here. We are being softened up right now by the devil for the kill.”

        Billy Graham and his son Franklin, as always, have pointed to the solution being a return to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. America needs to return to its spiritual roots. You can read Rev Billy Graham’s message here:

        https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/june-2015/billy-graham-on-the-crisis-of-moral-deterioration/

      • #77 by Eric Evan Darling on July 15, 2017 - 10:15 am

        I agree. When you have a Fake President lying to the American people on a daily basis who promotes grabbing women by their private parts and falsely claims to be a “Christian” and is under Criminal Investigation by Congress…our country has fallen into moral decline. And to have Graham promote those values to our children is inexcusable. Those who stand with Trump stand with Pure Evil and they don’t even realize it. Trump is The AntiChrist, The Great Deceiver that has been prophesized to usher in The End Of Days. That good and true Believers have fallen under his spell has been foretold as well. It is time to wake up before this Evil AntiChrist starts a Nuclear War and fulfills the prophesy.

      • #78 by Mel Middleton on July 17, 2017 - 3:02 pm

        The Investigation on Russia’s interference in the US election has been ongoing for many months and not one shred of evidence has turned up implicating Donald Trump in anything illegal or even any impropriety. What it is turning up, however, is the extent to which the Obama administration spied on the American people, including Donald Trump. It makes what Nixon did look tame by comparison. It is also demonstrating the very real financial connections between the Clintons and various nefarious dictators around the world, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other unsavory governments. It may be, that in time, they will uncover something truly unpleasant about Trump, like the fact that in 1992 he went for more than 24 hours without flossing his teeth. But until they discover that, Trump is still very much the President. He won the elections fairly despite the mainstream media, and the rest of America’s elite opposing him. He is no fake President.

        I’ve never heard Donald Trump promote grabbing women anywhere. When he bragged that women want him to grab them, it was in a private conversation with a “friend” who later betrayed him. And, Trump has apologized to his wife and the American people for these comments. He has acknowledged that they were wrong. How is that “promoting” anything?

        As for Trump being the anti-Christ, i have to laugh. Your own comment proves that he can not be. The anti-Christ, as described by the prophet Daniel, will be someone who has no regard for the love of women. That obviously can NOT apply to Donald Trump. 🙂

      • #79 by djcosmiccat (@adamdysarz1) on July 19, 2017 - 8:29 pm

        Mel Middleton. hey dumbdumb!! DJT AND DJT Jr. BOTH HAVE SAID THE OPPOSITE OF YOUR STATE. READ THE DAMN E-MAIL THAT DUMP JR EXPOSED HIMSELF.

      • #80 by Mel Middleton on July 20, 2017 - 11:08 am

        Your posts, with their use of insults, straw man arguments, ad hominem attacks, misrepresentation of facts, making huge mountains out of molehills (or as Christ put it, “straining gnats while swallowing camels”)and convoluted logic, are good examples of why Trump is now in the White House. A large segment of American society has had it to here with being the victims of such “jamming”. Every time someone dissents from the official politically correct narrative being dictated by our self appointed cultural and corporate elite they risk being targeted.

        Trump has done what ‘representatives of the people” are supposed to do. He has listened to those who have been forgotten, marginalized, and demonized. And despite his obvious character flaws, have consequently voted him into office.

        If Democrats really want to get the vote of this “basket of deplorables”, forget the jamming and listen to what they have to say. You might just learn something.

  13. #81 by June Miller on May 19, 2017 - 4:09 am

    Only one word, brilliant! This is true Christianity. Noone who backed Trump, or who holds Graham’s views has the right to call himself or herself Christian.

    • #82 by Wilson Ferris on May 23, 2017 - 2:35 pm

      What do you mean by “backing” Trump. Voting for him was to assure that the ultra left did not forevermore rule via the Supreme Court. Also to have voted for his opponent was to support already acknowledged high crimes of selling political favors. Voting for either candidate to provide strict purity of calling yourself Christian was frankly an impossible choice. So participating in our democratic republic by your definition means that a person cannot call them selves a Christian.

      • #83 by Barb on May 24, 2017 - 10:18 am

        High crimes? Yet who is under investigation for colluding with Russia is acceptable? It’s more like good Christians backed someone that does not live by the teachings of our Lord. It’s better to fight Congress than to add more corruption to the cesspool. We’ve had to fight against the extremes on both sides of the aisle and I will continue to do so no matter which party is in the majority. I will not knowingly help anyone that doesn’t care about our constitution or the Bible.

      • #84 by Mel Middleton on May 24, 2017 - 1:52 pm

        How could any Christian vote for someone who supports unrestricted abortion. That is the killing of unborn children. It is the shedding of innocent blood. God hates the shedding of innocent blood. And Christ said that whoever harms children “it would be better for them to have a millstone tied around their neck and be cast into the sea. Hillary’s stance on killing the unborn (not to mention her (and her husband’s) negligence during the Rwanda holocaust, corruption and many other moral failings made it impossible for reasonable people to vote for her. Trump was by far the better choice, despite his many obvious failings. Beside Hillary, Trump is a paragon of virtue!

      • #85 by dschuetz1 on July 15, 2017 - 12:24 am

        Mr. Middleton:

        Do you know the difference in percentage of Democrats who get abortions and Republicans who get abortions? None! Do you know that 18% of all abortions in this country are performed on those who self-identify as Evangelical? Do you know that more than 60% of the abortions in this country are performed on those who identify as Catholic and Protestant? Most Abortion is not a political problem but a spiritual problem! The church needs to police itself and stop playing politics!

      • #86 by Mel Middleton on July 15, 2017 - 9:42 am

        You replied to Wilson Ferris, but addressed your comments to me. I do not presume to speak for Mr Ferris, but I will reply to your post since my name is mentioned.

        I do agree with you that abortion has affected all Americans. While I could dispute your facts and figures, that would be missing the main point which is that you are correct in that the church in North America has fallen into serious moral decline. We have politicians who call themselves committed Catholics who support abortion on demand. The Catholic church says virtually nothing to admonish them. In Canada there is a Prime Minister who claims to be Catholic yet will not even allow any of his Liberal Members of Parliament to be pro life. Similar situations exist within the Protestant Churches with some even taking a theological stance approving of the killing of these precious children. We should not be surprised when our young fall prey to the message of the world when such leadership within the church is so anemic, corrupt and cowardly.

        That is why I appreciate so much what both Rev Billy Graham and his son Franklin are doing. They are providing real Christian leadership in these difficult days of serious moral decline in western culture. Rather than diss them, we should be thanking them for calling the church to repentance and real spiritual awakening. We need many more men and women of God like them who are willing to stand up and be counted, regardless of the attacks from those who have declared that “Caesar is Lord”.

    • #87 by Hiram Ben Cooper on May 23, 2017 - 2:51 pm

      June Miller, and all who hold God’s view and voted for Hillary can call themselves Christians?

      Surely you jest.

      If you cannot see what SCOTUS, Congress and the Democratic Party has done to Christians and the American people you are blind.

      Small church or not this is a sad documentary of Franklin Graham’s worldwide work. Is he perfect? No. Are you or I perfect? No. Is any Is anyone perfect in this life? No.

      Contrary to what you, others and the small town poster think, following are a few of the things that have happened to Christians in America.

      For the last 60-70 years our country has turned it’s back on God. For example:

      Since the United States Supreme Court [SCOTUS] ruled (erroneously I believe) in 1948 that [religious instruction in public schools is a violation of the establishment clause and therefore unconstitutional.] Many Constitutional judicial scholars believe this is in error, me included.

      This single ruling has created numerous behavioral and other changes in our society since; along with other SCOTUS decisions:

      • School prayer banned
      • Bibles removed from school
      • Ten Commandment removal from public domain
      • Nativity scene removal
      • Christian oriented plays, songs, etc., excluded.
      • Same sex marriage
      • Homosexuality
      • Infanticide
      • Judicial sin
      • Eldercide [My word: To deny or delay surgical procedures and medication to the elderly causing or attributing to their death – a recent phenomenon]
      • Religious freedom does not trump federal law
      • Teaching evolution is fine, creationism and intelligent design not so much
      • All laws must be religiously neutral, have a secular purpose and maintain church-state separation. [What were they thinking here?]

      Above are a few, I’m sure there are many more. Where and when will it end? Christianity is under attack in the USA and worldwide. Our Judicial Branch of Government is against God as is Congress, the President and all the minions (bureaucrats) attached there to.

      Romans 13:1-7 identifies government officials as ‘ministers of God’ three times [NKJV]; that is a significant number. Our government has overwhelmingly turned from God.

      I’m sure they think they are disciples of God but their actions speak louder than words.

      Secular humanists have consistently denied the Judeo Christian foundation in the creation of the USA and its Constitution. Christians seem to agree; they pay homage or contribute to the SCOTUS’ decisions as we all do. SCOTUS has unilaterally in its judicial rulings turned us from God and churches have willfully consented and obeyed.

      I could go on.

      Glory be to God

      • #88 by Mel Middleton on May 23, 2017 - 4:14 pm

        Well said! Thank you for standing for the truth!

      • #89 by David Guild on May 23, 2017 - 5:16 pm

        So you’re not much for that whole separation of church and state thing, huh?

      • #90 by Mel Middleton on May 24, 2017 - 1:57 pm

        The separation of church and state is a Christian doctrine, based on the teachings of Christ. And while you can separate the church (as an institution) from the state (just as you can separate the church and state from the institution of the family which is also established by God), you can not separate religion from politics. In a democratic system, everyone, including those with religious views, have the right — and the responsibility — to “rule” with justice and righteousness!

      • #91 by rbredmond1 on May 23, 2017 - 7:42 pm

        You’ll never win souls with condemnation. The only thing that draws them near is LOVE. Those of us who study The Bible indepth learn THAT is the only thing Christ’s own ministry was about.
        Remember, He Himself refused to condemn the adulterous woman. (John 7:53–8:11, especially verse 11)
        Why then do any of us imperfect beings think WE have the right to condemn anyone else for sin?
        We DON’T.
        Our only Godly instructions are to LOVE them, something Franklin Graham, so unlike his great father, rarely does.

      • #92 by Mel Middleton on May 24, 2017 - 2:14 pm

        What does love look like when you see a child playing on a street where cars are speeding by? What does love look like when you see your teen age daughter takes a toke? What does love look like when your friend wants to snort cocaine? Does love mean showing tolerance and letting them do it?

      • #93 by Reht Kadon on May 23, 2017 - 8:33 pm

        Well said, Hiram Ben Cooper!
        June Miller, your view of “Christianity” is extremely distorted.
        I will say that Trump is a buffoon…..a buffoon who is becoming very presidential.(despite popular fake news)
        However, he never should’ve been nominated. It was the biased lib-media who gave trump millions in free coverage because they knew, he was the only one that killary had a chance to beat….but, they couldn’t contain her corruption, and their plan backfired. And we ALL have to live with the consequences.

      • #94 by Marianne G on May 24, 2017 - 8:41 am

        So you believe in a Republican Party that is producing an AGE BASED Health care plan? Where the older you are, the more it will cost you?? You are also blaming Homosexuality on the seperation of church and state??? Wow, you are woefully uninformed. First, almost all the charges against Hillary have been proven time and again to be lies. There were no acts of treason, unlike the current potus who started committing it during his campaign. Second Homosexuality has been around since before Christ walked on this earth, it didn’t just show up now. You may need to learn more history. Third, Christianity is NOT under attack in America, you want to see a religion under attack all over, look up the Jewish History. You want one under attack in America, look up the hate crimes being committed against Muslim Americans. Lets clear this up, NO ONE is stopping you from saying Merry Christmas to anyone, NO ONE is stopping you from placing a Nativity Scene on YOUR LAWN, NO ONE is forcing you to not work and produce a Christian Themed Show at YOUR CHURCH, all that is being asked is that YOU not force YOUR Faith on Others. Nativity sets are allowed on public areas as long as ALL OTHER FAITHS ARE REPRESENTED. PRAYER is allowed in School, just not in a form where you FORCE others to pray. All around the country, children of faith, different faiths, gather to pray before school, after school, or choose to privatly and quietly do so during their study hours during school. No one is stopping them. As for your assertions about this country being founded by Christian teachings, you know what it was mostly based on?? Just check it out in the history books and in the writings of the forefathers. They were all called her not by their faith, but because most of them were thrown out of where they came from due to religious persecution. Their biggest belief, the one this nation was founded on, was that their GOVERNMENT would NOT be based on RELIGION, it would be seperated from Religion, to prevent Religious Persecution of ANY FAITH by the government. This means that NO RELIGION gets a stronghold on the government and it starts making laws promoting THAT Religion above the needs of EVERY PERSON the government represents. Because of this, OUR GOVERNMENT, the AMERICAN Government, is charged with protecting, defending, and ruling with an EQUAL hand, every citizen, black, white, male, female, gay, straight, old, young, catholic, jewish, muslim, aethiest, and on and on and on. You need to learn to stop your HATE, there is no room to hate in christianity. Don’t spread hate and state that you are a persecuted christian. Cause you’re not a Christian if you promote hate.

      • #95 by John Alexander on May 24, 2017 - 10:39 am

        The separation of church and state is to keep the government from mandating following a state sposered beleifs. If the Gay community is an idealology which could be seen as the state forcing someone to believe in said idealology (religion) above another where is the freedom there?

      • #96 by Allie on May 24, 2017 - 10:41 pm

        Thank you so much for speaking the truth!

      • #97 by Beth on May 25, 2017 - 10:15 pm

        I hope Peter reads this excellent response.

      • #98 by Sherri on June 27, 2017 - 4:58 pm

        I so agree with you.. ON ONE OF US IS PERFECT BUT I TRULY FEEL GOD HAD A HAND IN THIS ELECTION AND I PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME FOR DOING SO… WE SERVE AN AWESOME GOD AND I KNOW HE FORGIVES AND GUIDES PEOPLE.. FOR THAT REASON I AM PRAYING FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP AND TRUST GOD TO LEAD HIM IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION… MAY OUR COUNTRY TURN TO GOD…

      • #99 by Mel Middleton on June 28, 2017 - 4:37 am

        Thank you Sherri. Well said!

      • #100 by Carol on July 16, 2017 - 5:46 pm

        Very well said!

    • #101 by Jonathan Paschal on May 23, 2017 - 3:23 pm

      That’s a bit harsh, don’t you think? No one who backed Trump? In order to call oneself a Christian should all of us have voted for Hillary, or should all of us just not voted? I’d really like an answer.

      • #102 by Mel Middleton on May 23, 2017 - 4:25 pm

        To have voted for Hilary would have been to support the unrestricted killing of unborn children; and that is to support the shedding of innocent blood. And the Word of God clearly states that God hates the shedding of innocent blood. And this lack of concern for human life was apparent when she, as first lady, remained silent when her husband intentionally intervened to halt any protective action by the UN Security council to allow the peacekeepers in Rwanda to have their mandate changed so they could protect innocent civilians. Instead, he (and she) sat there and watched, doing nothing, while a million Rwandan civilians were hacked to death by drunk interahamwe militias. Most of these deaths could easily have been prevented. But she said nothing and he did nothing except prevent what could have been done. I don’t see how any Christian could have voted for her, knowing what she is promoting and what she stands for!

    • #103 by Gary Porter on May 24, 2017 - 8:20 pm

      June Miller, “Judge not lest ye be judged.”As for you Pete, if God does not speak to you there must be a reason. Maybe it is because you are not truly a Christian. Stop blaming Dr. Graham and take responsibility for your own actions. Maybe if you truly talked to God he would answer you but you have to open your heart and truly believe. My mother and I had a discussion about a preacher much like yourself. She told me that there are good preachers and their are good ministers and seldom do you find someone that is both. By the words that you wrote you seem to be neither. Do not make excuses for being a small church. The size of your church depends on your ability to spread the gospel. Your beliefs don’t seem to be bringing in the sinners. So don’t question someone else’s religion if you have none of your own. By God not speaking to you, you must realize that God has left you or you have left God. Dr. Graham has saved more souls than you can begin to fathom. His charitable work is demonstrated in most nations of this world. I pray that Jesus may once again open your heart and that you may once again communicate with God. Until then I will continue to pray for you and especially for your poor congregation.

      • #104 by Beth on May 25, 2017 - 10:29 pm

        👍

      • #105 by Ceelee on July 9, 2017 - 12:23 pm

        Hi Kathie! Just eant to let you know you are not the only Southern Baptist who believes that this new Christianity is not what we learned as children I am so thankful to God that I was able to learn the true meaning of being a Christian and that the first rule is love everyine as I love myself. I believe the new Christianity is not the true religion and they are trusting people who have the devil in them so the hatred we see is Sarah’s doing. I wish Rev Peter was my pastor but alas! I am in Texas where the new Christian churches abound so I don’t go to church and my only leader is God. We aren’t supposed to worship ifols and people like 45 and the TV evangelists do not represent God in any way. They van talk the talk but if they don’t walk the walk they are not speaking the true Christianity of our Lord Jesus Christ. I want no part of the “God is Hate” crowd. God is Love now and forever and for anyone to express anything different is not according to Jesus’s teaching.
        God bless you Kathie and Rev Peter and those like him who are showing the true spirit of God’s love.

      • #106 by Mel Middleton on July 10, 2017 - 5:39 pm

        How does publicly tearing down and slandering a fellow believer — member of God’s family — exhibit the “true spirit of God’s love”???

    • #107 by Allie on May 24, 2017 - 9:34 pm

      I agree. I wouldn’t want to have this pastor. .Another one skewing God’s word

    • #108 by Kiki on May 25, 2017 - 1:02 am

      June, that is plain hateful. I DID vote for Trump and I prayed over this for months. I agree with some of Reverend Franklin Grahams views and disagree with him on others. However, I respect his opinion. I am still, and always will be a Christian. One has nothing to do with the other.
      I do not understand your comment. Are you saying that because I do not conform to what You think a Christian should be, I am not a Christian? That is so sad June, and wrong. I pray that nobody tries to follow your expectations of what a Christian should be.
      My Lord and Savior knows my heart. He knows I am a Christian. June, I strive to live my life Christ like, not Christian like. If I live my life Christ like I hold myself to a higher standard. Therefore, everyone knows I am a Christian.

    • #109 by Nancy on July 1, 2017 - 2:39 pm

      Excuse me! You are being very judgmental! Only God judges people. And I will be saved buy grace and grace alone. Not by good deeds, although I do try to be a good person.

    • #110 by Peter gomez on July 18, 2017 - 12:02 am

      Exactly

  14. #111 by Diana Conley on May 19, 2017 - 6:00 am

    So true. Thank you.

  15. #112 by Pam daniel on May 19, 2017 - 6:31 am

    You speak God’s truth sir Your letter made me smile at times,but mostly I was overjoyed God is love he gives it for free also unending forgiveness Thank you sir ,thank you

  16. #113 by Mark Diehl on May 19, 2017 - 7:04 am

    Peter, please correct the location of Mother Emmanuel Church which is Charleston (SC) rather than Charlotte (NC).

  17. #114 by John Oliver on May 19, 2017 - 7:17 am

    Thank you for being so clear to God’s word in Jesus, bless you from an English small church pastor, now retired.

  18. #115 by Andi W on May 19, 2017 - 7:26 am

    Wonderful. Well said.

  19. #116 by tartartic321 on May 19, 2017 - 7:29 am

    Wonderful. Well said.

  20. #117 by Jeff on May 19, 2017 - 7:36 am

    “Here’s the thing, Frank. At the last judgment, Jesus doesn’t ask anyone about who they voted for, how many times they have been divorced, what their sexual history or orientation is or for whom they did or did not bake wedding cakes.”
    I’ll give you “who they voted for” or “for whom they did or did not bake wedding cakes,” but you are off base on the other points. Christ himself warned against sexual immorality and called marrying a divorced woman adultery (one of those Ten Commandments you mentioned earlier), so I’m pretty sure those other points will come up. Yes, we need to be better in the way we treat people, but don’t claim to preach the Bible and then say that God won’t judge sin.

  21. #118 by dwhalen8 on May 19, 2017 - 7:38 am

    I love it when a “pastor” preaches unlimited obedience to the state.

    When the state commands that which God forbids, or forbid what God commands, the Christian’s duty is to God.

    See: the book of Daniel

    • #119 by Julie Specht Hunter on May 23, 2017 - 1:23 pm

      You’re forgetting a few things. We are told to obey the law of the land and that we are to come to God of our own choosing. When did Jesus try to have the government change the laws? The state isn’t commanding YOU to sin, are they? The Christian duty is to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and hold ourselves accountable for God’s law, not others.

      • #120 by Mel Middleton on May 23, 2017 - 2:16 pm

        But that’s just it. They state is forcing the bakers to do just that — sin! At least sin as they understand it. It was not about discriminating against anyone. It was about not participating in an even which, in their view, was a desecration of what is sacred.

        And we are to obey the laws of the land UNLESS those laws force us to do something which is sinful….such as bow down to a Golden image (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo) or to state, as the Roman emperors demanded: “that Caesar is Lord”.

      • #121 by Jackie on May 23, 2017 - 5:52 pm

        Yes indeed that would have been a no win situation!!

      • #122 by Mel Middleton on May 24, 2017 - 2:08 pm

        Actually the state (or at least the court (incorrect) ruling in this case IS commanding the bakers to sin. Providing a service for a function which contradicts the teachings of Christ on marriage would be, in their eyes (and I would agree) to partake in a desecration of what is sacred.

      • #123 by Maureen on May 24, 2017 - 2:22 pm

        These same tired arguments were used to discriminate against negro people and to uphold miscegenation laws (marrying between races). Jesus said not one thing about homosexuality. There is no sin to bake a cake; but we are a nation bound by laws that protect those who would suffer discrimination.

      • #124 by Mel Middleton on May 24, 2017 - 2:51 pm

        Nothing that Christ said precluded marriage between races. In fact, Moses wife was black, as was the beloved lady in Song of Solomon. However, Christ DID say that marriage was between one man and one woman. (Matthew 19:4-6). Marriage, as Christ defined it, is sacred. It is so sacred that He likened His relationship to the church to a marriage, where the church is called the “Bride of Christ”. To alter Christ’s definition would be to desecrate what is sacred. Rather than this being a “tired” argument, it is a tried and true argument. 🙂

  22. #125 by Ernie Kidd on May 19, 2017 - 7:40 am

    Charleston …. not Charlotte , otherwise well constructed Peter.
    Frankly
    Ernest

    • #126 by sandra goodwin on June 5, 2017 - 11:13 pm

      if you are actually a pastor, I understand why your church has only 30-40

  23. #127 by Jason J. on May 19, 2017 - 7:41 am

    Very well-written and thought-provoking letter. I love God but boy do I struggle with many of His followers. So many double-standards/hypocrisy it reminds me of the Alabama theater refusing to show Beauty and the Beast https://jasonjdotbiz.wordpress.com/2017/03/10/beauty-and-deceit/

  24. #128 by daniel obrien on May 19, 2017 - 8:02 am

    Listen Peter, I to believe and was taught that people should care about the less fortunate, the persicuted, and victims of sexual discrimination and bullying as I was taught in growing up as a Catholic in a small town. I’m not a practineing Catholic now because I don’t go to church but I still believe in almost all of its teaching of tolarince and mutual love of one another. I am a gay man and proud of it. So you might guess why I don’t go to church any more, but still believe in its basic teaching of good and kindness to others. Why does Frank teach hate to select groups of people? How does a “man of God” justify hate. I don’t understand Christians​ who practice discrimination. I was NEVER taught that, am I missing something? Was Frank taught that from his father? If so I’ll pray for him even thought I don’t pray any more and his flock. Thank you “small town preacher” for reminding me of the good teaching that I received. I am a good man because of it no matter the HATE preaching of Frank and his followers.

  25. #129 by Monika on May 19, 2017 - 8:08 am

    Thank you Peter for your sense of purpose and honesty and for speaking your truth. I am a non-religion good-deed doer. There have only been a few instances in my life that would give me true hope that I could find common interests with the religious agenda. The leadership of Pope Francis is one, the FB group Christian Left is another, an now your letter. Thank you Peter.

  26. #130 by Adam M on May 19, 2017 - 8:14 am

    I am a former baptist and am now an atheist, but this gentleman exemplifies everything good I’ve heard in defense of religion. Peter you are a leader for your community keep up the good work and I’d gladly stand beside you at any rally/protest/soup kitchen.

    • #131 by Beth on May 25, 2017 - 10:33 pm

      If Peter is correct, hopefully you will feel led to stand beside him in church.

  27. #132 by Gwen Williams on May 19, 2017 - 8:15 am

    God bless you Peter

  28. #133 by Ann Al-Chokhachi on May 19, 2017 - 8:24 am

    Absolutely EXCELLENT!

  29. #134 by Tammy Malone on May 19, 2017 - 8:32 am

    Amen!!!!

  30. #135 by Todd Landis on May 19, 2017 - 8:35 am

    Thank you for your letter and for sharing it openly. Though I no longer am a Christian, I grew up in the Mennonite faith and have family and friends who are still active in those communities. I was raised with those values that sound similar to those you espouse, and I am grateful for my background and the j fkuences it has made in my life. You pose serious challenges to Mr Graham and while I doubt they will influence him, your challenges should not be ignored by the rest of us. Thank you, indeed.
    Todd

  31. #136 by John R. Rubio on May 19, 2017 - 8:35 am

    This letter hits the nail right on the head thank Pete for saying what is on a lot of Christians mines concerning faith and the teachings of the Bible.

  32. #137 by Rick Johnson on May 19, 2017 - 8:41 am

    Well put Reverend. Thank you.

  33. #138 by bellaamena on May 19, 2017 - 8:43 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    But one edit: Charleston, not Charlotte

  34. #139 by Charlie on May 19, 2017 - 8:53 am

    Bravo, Pastor Peter!! You are a true and grace-filled follower of Jesus! Thank you for this inspired message. ❤️

  35. #140 by betterworldmama on May 19, 2017 - 8:55 am

    Love the letter. Please make a correction: Mother Emanuel church where the shooting happened is in Charleston, SC, not Charlotte, NC.

  36. #141 by Jon on May 19, 2017 - 8:58 am

    Thank you for writing this. This hits at things I’ve struggled with for years.

    As a note: Emanuel AME Church is in Charleston, not Charlotte.

  37. #142 by Amelia L Johnson on May 19, 2017 - 9:00 am

    Can I just say “Amen”?

  38. #143 by Rev. Jeff Cottingham, STS on May 19, 2017 - 9:01 am

    I”m sorry but while I might agree with most of your letter, the way in which you ended it undid all that, and demonstrates that you don’t comprehend what is really going on these days.

    So says another small town pastor without the money, prestige, and power. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, regardless, even if we couldn’t disagree more.

  39. #144 by Michael Wilson on May 19, 2017 - 9:01 am

    Bless you brother. God is with you. This would have been more compelling to me if the tone had not been so condescending. Somehow I’m not feeling “the love”.

    • #145 by Sheila on May 24, 2017 - 7:03 am

      My thoughts exactly.

    • #146 by Beth on May 25, 2017 - 10:47 pm

      Peter is judging ‘Frank’, as he calls him. God is the judge. The letter sounds as though scripture has been re-interpreted to meet the needs of the world. The path is narrow, but more and more churches are re-interpreting God’s word to make the path wide open to please the people. God does not change and neither does scripture.

      • #147 by Mel Middleton on May 26, 2017 - 2:04 pm

        Thanks Beth. I agree. Thanks for standing up for the Truth!

  40. #148 by romeburning on May 19, 2017 - 9:01 am

    Can I just say “Amen”?

  41. #149 by Matilda jackson on May 19, 2017 - 9:05 am

    I thank God for using you

  42. #150 by Paul Frazier (@pauldfrazier53) on May 19, 2017 - 9:10 am

    As close to a perfect description of the dismay with Franklin Graham as I have seen. Thank you. The Church I serve is just like yours. I am the only full time open communion minister in this rural County. I’ve been here for 29+ years. I cannot see any Good News in the proclamations of Franklin Graham. I know however, that I will never reach the numbers of people that Mr. Graham reaches, but that is OK. My ministry is right here, with these people. But I have to admit, that sometimes my work is cleaning up the moral messes that Franklin Graham and his folks are making. After I leave or die, I trust that God will continue this community, because the people are so good and faithful, even when that goodness and faithfulness has been tested. See you in the Kingdom.

    • #151 by Barb on May 24, 2017 - 10:26 am

      Thank you Paul, for what you do. Soldier on….God Bless.

  43. #152 by Chuck Benway on May 19, 2017 - 9:13 am

    Just wondering “pastor”, if you’ve ever read the 18th chapter of Matthew, where it speaks of how to address another who has “gone astray”, or who has offended you? It’s very private, to begin with, then escalates. No where does it speak of calling someone out in a public forum or open letter for all to see. You take that person aside in private. This is poor leadership any way you look at it!
    For my part, I apologize for replying in public, as I do not have any way of responding to you in private, otherwise I would have. Feel free to email me and we can continue our “conversation”.

    • #153 by Wade on May 23, 2017 - 9:01 am

      Your dilemma of replying in public amy mirror Pastor Peter’s, huh?

    • #154 by I g hill on May 23, 2017 - 4:06 pm

      Thanks for setting him straight, if he was to tell us who he really is half of his people would leave his church…

    • #155 by David childress on May 24, 2017 - 2:29 pm

      You clearly don’t understand what an open letter is do you? An open letter is a way for a talented writer to respond to someone and allow many many others to share in that response. How exactly would you suggest that the small-town pastor speak with Franklin Graham directly? I doubt if a stranger has any way of contacting Franklin Graham personally and probably not even an email address.

      • #156 by Mel Middleton on May 24, 2017 - 2:42 pm

        Its not hard to find Franklin Graham. Just google Samaritan’s Purse and find their website. It has contact information 🙂

    • #157 by James T. on June 22, 2017 - 10:59 pm

      “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” is about as public as it gets. Where was the indignation for sin during slavery, lynchings, Jim Crow, school shootings, police brutality, and and throwing out “hardened criminal” mothers of little children to get the trash out of America. Do we prefer bringing babies into the world only to kill them by poverty, lack of healthcare, automatic weapons brought to school, and poisoned government water. Are we so afraid of losing “our” religion that we insult everyone else’s. Franklin Graham had the right to say what he did, but I don’t think Jesus Christ every would have. The choice between cheating everyone justly and following a perverted leader seems to be very clear to me. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” You seem to be astute concerning the Bible, look that passage up in Micah. Unjust and unmerciful treat of the poor and needy was what lead Israel in exile in the Bible. Profit does not equal righteousness.

      • #158 by Mel Middleton on June 23, 2017 - 1:43 pm

        James. Franklin Graham has done more to help the poor people than most Christians (especially those who condemn and “cast stones” at him) could ever dream of. And “do justly” means speaking out for the poor and needy and those “destined for slaughter”. That includes the innocent unborn of our nations. God hates the shedding of innocent blood. And killing unborn children does exactly that. Rather than demonize Rev Graham as so many on this blog have done, we should be thanking him for all the assistance he gives to the poor — all over the world– and for standing up for God’s standards of justice, even when it is not politically correct to do so.

  44. #159 by Rowena Gillett on May 19, 2017 - 9:16 am

    One should not HAVE to bake a cake for anything.

  45. #160 by Helen Salters on May 19, 2017 - 9:18 am

    amen

  46. #161 by Terry Jordan on May 19, 2017 - 9:20 am

    In a word, Bravo💖

  47. #162 by Ronald McCown on May 19, 2017 - 9:22 am

    Peter you have in one letter destroyed the sanctimonious religious hypocrites who claim to be the leaders of the Christian faith in this country. You are the true faith and the true servants of God not Franklin Graham and his kind who rip off followers so they can live the high life.

  48. #163 by janicewood on May 19, 2017 - 9:25 am

    This is perfect– one correction: the location of Mother Emanuel in the second graf is Charleston, SC and not Charlotte, NC.

  49. #164 by Claire Lewis on May 19, 2017 - 9:29 am

    Thank you, Peter. You spoke my heart.

  50. #165 by Diane Chapman on May 19, 2017 - 9:30 am

    Thank you.

  51. #166 by humblyBOLD on May 19, 2017 - 9:32 am

    POWERFUL Letter. Thank you Pastyor Peter for taking the time to write this letter…Talk about righteous accountability!

  52. #167 by Bill on May 19, 2017 - 9:34 am

    this is from a real Christian practicing real faith not a fake like Graham or Robertson or any of the other mega fake pastors or right wing hate mongers who are so fake !

  53. #168 by graciesdaddy on May 19, 2017 - 9:34 am

    FYI, Preacher: “Mother Emmanuel” church is in CHARLESTON, SC, not Charlotte.

    Jus’ keepin’ ya honest, Shugah! 😉

  54. #169 by jantink on May 19, 2017 - 9:35 am

    Thank you. Our very small church occasionally has participated in his shoe box charity, but I realized that he likes the poor and hungry to be at quite a distance from the United States. I guess for many Christians they don’t mind taking care of brown people as long as they stay on their side of the big pond and what they give them can fit in a shoe box.

  55. #170 by Sallie on May 19, 2017 - 9:41 am

    Thanks for your good words. You might want to correct your reference to the attack on the saints of Mother A.M.E. church. It was in Charleston, not Charlotte.

  56. #171 by Cindy on May 19, 2017 - 9:42 am

    Awesome!❤️

  57. #172 by Matt on May 19, 2017 - 9:44 am

    FYI, the Mother Emmanuel shooting was in Charleston, SC and not Charlotte.

  58. #173 by Mary Lou on May 19, 2017 - 9:45 am

    Beautiful!

  59. #174 by Meredith Webster Indermaur on May 19, 2017 - 9:47 am

    I’m speechless in the best possible way. This is ALL I’ve wanted to say for months summarized in a more beautiful and truthful way than I could’ve articulated it. THANK YOU!

  60. #175 by Dorothy Forys on May 19, 2017 - 9:49 am

    Thank you for saying what is in my heart.

  61. #176 by Benjamin Phillips on May 19, 2017 - 9:50 am

    Doesn’t need my reply, besides, Amen.

  62. #177 by John S. Whiteside (@johnwhiteside) on May 19, 2017 - 9:51 am

    Wonderful letter. Mother Emmanuel is in Charleston, South Carolina though not Charlotte, NC.

  63. #178 by Brian on May 19, 2017 - 9:53 am

    AMEN! and again I say, “AMEN!”

  64. #179 by Andi Zanoni on May 19, 2017 - 9:55 am

    Franklin, your father the great Christian minister Billy Graham spent his entire life saving souls and advising Presidents without lowering himself to petty politics. I so wish you could follow his example instead of the examples of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who I firmly believe have driven more young people from church than they have brought in to the flock. Please pray about what I have said for I speak truth to you with only love in my heart.

  65. #180 by DoK daughter on May 19, 2017 - 9:55 am

    The Mother Emmanuel shooting was in Charleston, not Charlotte. Otherwise, good article.

    • #181 by Alice Brown on May 31, 2017 - 11:46 am

      Thank you, DoK daughter, for reminding us of what many ‘Christian preachers’ have forgotten or ignored. Trump is an evil anti-Christ and to follow him is to turn your back on Jesus’ teachings.

      • #182 by Mel Middleton on May 31, 2017 - 2:52 pm

        Alice, to call Trump the anti-Christ is simply mean spirited hatred.

  66. #183 by Eliyahu on May 19, 2017 - 9:57 am

    I’ve got to say, Peter, that from reading this as an outsider (I’m Jewish), you have a much better understanding of your bible than do most of the followers of Trump. Mr. Graham may have read a lot of scripture, but I don’t think he understands it at all.

    If there were more Christians like you, there would be a lot more Christians, as your approach is to draw others in rather than to drive them away.

  67. #184 by chelmi51 on May 19, 2017 - 9:59 am

    Well said, and parallel to my thoughts for a long (( long )) time. BRAVO ! … for your boldness, and fearlessness in confronting so many issues of this hour, and the wave of deception that have
    swept over the masses. I wish everyone would read this, but sadly…they probably won’t. It is much easier to just ” go with the flow ” than to actually open up the Bible, study it, pray, and see what God’s Word actually says. Thank-you for speaking out, and I will add you ( and your church, ) to my prayer list.

  68. #185 by Sam Hill on May 19, 2017 - 10:01 am

    This a snarky and dishonest letter to bite Franklin Graham’s ankles. The couple who were sued for so much money would gladly have baked a cake for their customer. You know that. Trump is bad? His actions show that the things you mentioned are in his PAST. By some of your rude comments, I am not sure they are in YOUR past.

  69. #186 by Lisa Coston on May 19, 2017 - 10:01 am

    Thank you for this. Thank you so much. This is what I believe as well.

  70. #187 by Chris on May 19, 2017 - 10:02 am

    If I could find Peter’s church I would send a donation. Very well said!

  71. #188 by Willam Derek Faulkner on May 19, 2017 - 10:03 am

    Brother Peter, I have to say your letter sends sharp pains through my spirit. While you are right on most of the items you mention, you are not right in the way you address Pastor Graham. Is there a time when what you know is absolutely right and true but wrong to make public – absolutely. Whether Pastor Graham is right or wrong is not the point. You, sir are dead wrong in HOW you present your argument. David (prior to becoming king) said in I Samuel 26:9, But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’s anointed and be without guilt?” Sir, I challenge you to make this right by apologizing to Pastor Graham…….and, I want you to know, I am challenging myself to better understand those whose shoes I don’t walk in.

    • #189 by Sheila on May 24, 2017 - 7:06 am

      Well said. I agree wholeheartedly

  72. #190 by nonitsnonsense on May 19, 2017 - 10:05 am

    AMEN Peter!!

  73. #191 by Bob Whitman on May 19, 2017 - 10:08 am

    Thank you Peter for such a great letter and a reminder of what a true Christian should be doing, thinking and acting. It would be a pleasure to meet someone like you and heart them truly preach Gods love…

  74. #192 by Martha V. Holmen on May 19, 2017 - 10:09 am

    I have been wanting to say the same thing. Couldn’t have been better said. Thank you.

  75. #193 by mendopt on May 19, 2017 - 10:10 am

    Thank you.

  76. #194 by Gayle on May 19, 2017 - 10:10 am

    AMEN!!

  77. #195 by D.G. on May 19, 2017 - 10:12 am

    Wow Peter,
    Thank you so much for being you.
    God bless and keep you, may His face shine upon you all the days of your life.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    In friendship, in Christian brotherhood,
    A gay, single dad from Indiana

  78. #196 by Dennis A. Gray on May 19, 2017 - 10:12 am

    Reblogged this on Myriad Shades of Gray and commented:
    I could not possibly have said this any better. So I won’t try.

  79. #197 by Roger Davis on May 19, 2017 - 10:13 am

    Your insulting left-wing snobbery shows you know nothing about Franklin Graham, or his work!

    • #198 by Beth on May 25, 2017 - 10:21 pm

      Exactly.

  80. #199 by J Reynolds on May 19, 2017 - 10:16 am

    Excellent
    Excellent! We have been infiltrated, over run and now led by false prophets. So relieving to read honest words from an honest preacher! Thank you for your words for they are sorely needed!

  81. #200 by Tim on May 19, 2017 - 10:19 am

    This is wonderful, but the Mother Emanuel Church is in Charleston, SC, not Charlotte. Sorry to nitpick.

  82. #201 by Michael on May 19, 2017 - 10:21 am

    Amen!

  83. #202 by fancythat123 on May 19, 2017 - 10:21 am

    Thank you

  84. #203 by Cathy Calamas on May 19, 2017 - 10:24 am

    Spot on and Amen! The only correction is that Mother Emmanuel Church is in Charleston,SC.
    But thanks for putting into words what many of us feel.

  85. #204 by Greg Cressywell on May 19, 2017 - 10:29 am

    As a Christian, there is much that I agree with here, but not everything. For example, citing an event from 1973 feels wrong to me. I suspect that very few people are the same people they were in 1973, people change, hopefully for the better. Anyways, thanks for writing, I suspect you put a lot of time, effort and thought into writing this. Greg.

  86. #205 by SameSides on May 19, 2017 - 10:30 am

    An excellent and poignant piece of writing. Thank you for speaking up!

  87. #206 by Margie on May 19, 2017 - 10:32 am

    Well said. The policies of Trump go against Biblical concepts.

  88. #207 by Paul Barrett on May 19, 2017 - 10:33 am

    Bravo to you, sir. I am not religious at all, but if more professed Christians thought and felt and acted this way, you might win me over. At the very least, I think we would be great friends. Good on you.

  89. #208 by Phyllis Gooden on May 19, 2017 - 10:36 am

    poor thing, you do sound persecuted.

  90. #209 by Cynthia Stotlar-Hedberg on May 19, 2017 - 10:37 am

    Thank you for being brave enough to call him out for supporting Trump in then name of Christianity. I have not been able to wrap my head around why the religous right has supported him so heartily when he has been caught in lie after lie and his behaviors toward others are far from Christian.

  91. #210 by M. G. on May 19, 2017 - 10:39 am

    Wow. Great .I am from small Church town America.
    I stand with you open letter to Frank I understand that Trump paid him $1000000 to support him I think that’s against everything that my Bible teaches me

  92. #211 by jennifer dwan on May 19, 2017 - 10:40 am

    Sadly…..you are very blind then to what this man sees. From the media to the schoolhouse to the church with the rainbow flag flying proudly………Christ is under attack and it is a big deal. He only draws attention to it so that those who are asleep will see that the days are coming to a close.

    We are surely being persecuted but it is just the beginning.

    God bless.

    • #212 by Camille Klein on May 23, 2017 - 10:43 am

      You are NOT being persecuted. You are being told, finally, that you are not allowed to force your abusive and hateful belief system onto others.

      Only a bully cries “persecution!” when his (or in your case, her) victims rise up against them.

      • #213 by Mel Middleton on May 23, 2017 - 12:14 pm

        Actually, the bakers who received such a ruinous fine were not forcing anything on anyone. They simply did not want to participate in an event which went against their sincere beliefs. And yes, the fine they received was not a just one. It was exorbitant and destructive. it was persecution, even if it does not compare to Christian children being beheaded by ISIS in Syria. It was intended to intimidate, bully and force people to accept what, to many, is the desecration of,what is sacred. True marriage is so sacred, in fact, that Christ compared His relationship with the Church to that of a wedding. And we know Christ’s definition of a marriage is! It is clearly laid out in Matthew 19:1-12.

        Fortunately, these strong arm, bullying tactics of the Oregon state government is having the opposite effect that was intended. It is waking up a very sleep Church to the agenda of those who would seek to destroy the Christian faith, and causing true believers to speak out and prepare!

  93. #214 by Arlie Patterson on May 19, 2017 - 10:40 am

    I actually was wondering who wrote this ? Was it Pastor Olsen? I just wasn’t sure as it is signed Pete…..and I did not know if the Pastor is Pastor Pete Olsen or if this was written by some one else
    Thanks if anyone can tell me who wrote this letter to Frank.

  94. #215 by Eccoo Damo on May 19, 2017 - 10:41 am

    Your letter to Pastor Franklin Graham is anything but humble, you have much pride in the fact that you are from a small church. The arrogance in your tone pretty much show the true nature of the letter and there is nothing godly about it. Persecution comes in many forms but I guess in your mind only those who die or are slaughtered fit in that category.

    You remind me of Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah in 1 King 22: 13- 28.

    I call you to repent, but I doubt you will so when destruction comes up on you remember this comment and tremble.

    • #216 by Sheila on May 24, 2017 - 7:10 am

      I agree with this first paragraph. Can’t comment on the 2nd and jury’s still out on the 3rd. But if we are going to speak the truth we are to do so in love, not sarcasm, pride, and bitterness.

  95. #217 by marshalackey on May 19, 2017 - 10:47 am

    Thank you, Peter! True Christianity expressed.

  96. #218 by John Jackson on May 19, 2017 - 10:47 am

    An interesting and thought provoking letter from “Peter”. On the social issues that so bedevil Rev. Graham, I stand with “Peter”. Also for my sense of Christianity I don’t feel persecuted or under attack.

  97. #219 by Bill Smith on May 19, 2017 - 10:48 am

    Excellent accounting of how off base Frank is. This tongue in cheek approach shows how far from God and close to trump Franklin is. Thank you for your timly response

  98. #220 by Mary Ann Scott on May 19, 2017 - 10:49 am

    Amen.

  99. #221 by Dianne Bolognani on May 19, 2017 - 10:49 am

    WOW! PERFECT!

  100. #222 by Mary Lou Klein on May 19, 2017 - 10:50 am

    Kudos to you, Peter! As a retired “small church” pastor, I couldn’t agree more. . . and you didn’t even touch on the inflated salary Frank pays himself.

  101. #223 by L.J. Roberts on May 19, 2017 - 10:50 am

    Thank you, Peter!!!!

  102. #224 by Cyndy Warnier on May 19, 2017 - 10:54 am

    AMEN … I have no other words to say but AMEN.

  103. #225 by Margaret Hughes on May 19, 2017 - 10:55 am

    Great commentary! Billy Graham is spinning in his grave right now….

    • #226 by Allie on May 24, 2017 - 10:36 pm

      Really?? Where is he buried??
      Yeah this is sarcasm.
      You really DO have your head buried in the sand.

  104. #227 by Bruce Dennis on May 19, 2017 - 10:55 am

    Thank you, Peter, for these words. I am a fellow pastor in France, where a “crowd” on Sunday morning means 50 or 60 people. We are usually happy to have our average 34 faithful on a typical Lord’s Day.

    I appreciate your clarity and your courage in calling out the blatant hypocrisy of American Evangelicals in their blind support of Trump. The call of Christ to a life of love and service has been seriously blocked by this phenomenon of populist entitlement. I took the liberty of sharing your post with my friends on Facebook, and trust many more will do the same.

    One small issue — I find your use of the en-dash or hyphen where you actually mean to use the em-dash, which is twice as long, and actually relays the pause intended. See https://www.englishclub.com/writing/punctuation-dash.htm for the explanation.

    Again, thanks for your letter to our brother in ministry Frank, and, as we say in France, “Bon courage et bonne continuation!”

    God bless you,

    Bruce Dennis

  105. #228 by Charlie Pierce on May 19, 2017 - 10:56 am

    Wow! Right on! Such a great letter reflecting on reality while exposing what I call “actions of Satan.”

  106. #229 by Karen Eberhardt on May 19, 2017 - 11:01 am

    Bravo!!

  107. #230 by Carla on May 19, 2017 - 11:02 am

    Sorry to be that person, but Mother Emanuel is in Charleston.

    • #231 by revolsen on May 19, 2017 - 2:06 pm

      Yep. Geography is not my strong suit. Thanks.

  108. #232 by Laurel on May 19, 2017 - 11:03 am

    Great letter. People like Graham are why I don’t go to church and flirt with atheism. FYI, Mother Emmanuel is in Charleston, SC, not Charlotte, NC.

    • #233 by revolsen on May 19, 2017 - 2:05 pm

      Yep. Geography is not my strong suit. Thanks

  109. #234 by calebtabor on May 19, 2017 - 11:04 am

    Well said! Just a quick note that Mother Emmanuel is in Charleston not Charlotte.

    • #235 by revolsen on May 19, 2017 - 2:04 pm

      Yep. Geography is not my strong suit.

  110. #236 by Kenny Boone on May 19, 2017 - 11:04 am

    Dear Peter , THANK YOU

  111. #237 by Gary Johnson on May 19, 2017 - 11:07 am

    Bravo, Bravo and AMEN!!!

  112. #238 by Kim Carter on May 19, 2017 - 11:08 am

    You have eloquently and concisely outlined so many of my thoughts and feelings of the time we’re living in and the current administration. Having left the church as a young adult and coming back to it from a place of love and service, it is wonderful to see pockets of hope where churches are turning their backs on propaganda and simply serving their communities. Thank you so much for writing this.

  113. #239 by Sj on May 19, 2017 - 11:11 am

    Peter, if you aren’t talking to or hearing from God, there is a whole different issue here. There is no point in answering your arguments if you have no relationship with God.

  114. #240 by Caroline on May 19, 2017 - 11:12 am

    You pompous ass! Your hypocrisy sticks out like Maxine Waters stupidity, every time she opens her mouth. I don’t know what Your Bible says about God setting up governments for our protection and what our attitudes towards our leaders are to be but you Sure skipped over That part (or does it Only apply to when you want your way?).
    You are being a terrible example to your congregation, with your venomous, disrespectful jabs, at Franklin and also our President. Who set You up as judge and jury? Just because someone is accused of something, doesn’t means it’s true! And where is this “love” you speak of; do You get to decide who deserves it and who doesn’t? And I’m guessing you have some sort of super powers to look in a man’s heart and know what’s there.
    Have you ever asked yourself WHY it is, your church continues to Stay small? Graham’s ministry started out small but true love expands and Grows, faulty or weak love, stagnates and grows very little. Maybe you don’t have something deep inside you that just naturally draws people to you and you yourself said your church more often Doesn’t show love. Why is that? Could be their leader! I wonder….

    • #241 by K Kunan on May 19, 2017 - 2:16 pm

      Wow, SJ, way to fail entirely to understand what Peter said. Relationship with god? I would think that someone like Peter has a much better relationship with his god than Franklin ever will, since Franklin is about as much of a christian as I am…that is, none at all.

      Caroline, I would respond to your hysterical rant, but I think you are too far gone in believing in Franklin’s “gospel”. I hope you come to the light some day.

      • #242 by Allie on May 24, 2017 - 10:50 pm

        Thank you so much for speaking the truth!

    • #243 by Douglas on May 20, 2017 - 12:06 am

      Lol and who made you judge and jury. Oh and how ever do we know what is in a man’s heart? Grab em by the… I’m guessing you think that was fake.

    • #244 by Anthony John Blackham on May 21, 2017 - 3:14 pm

      Caroline, if someone confesses to committing sexual assault why would you choose not to believe them? I believe that Christ proffered unconditional love, but from your words I suspect you have a problem following his lead. .

      • #245 by drycamp on May 22, 2017 - 9:00 am

        I’m somewhat puzzled by the argument, which I am hearing here in a lot of posts, that the fidelity of the message may be judged by the size of the church, so that small churches are not preaching Christ as effectively as big churches. And having lots of money, of course, is further testimony. If the minister (like Graham) flies all over the place first class or even has his very own jet (actually Graham, who has a personal net worth of $25 million, has his own FLEET of jets) then that just means he’s the greatest preacher of the gospel ever!!

        People who make this argument are conveniently forgetting what Jesus said about rich people. He said it was easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Now God of course can accomplish even that, but one senses that it would be quite a challenge even for Him.

  115. #246 by tobdncng on May 19, 2017 - 11:13 am

    What a beautiful letter! Spot on, with humor! Just what we needed! I hope Frank listens.

  116. #247 by Steve Walker on May 19, 2017 - 11:14 am

    Elegantly and succinctly put. I cannot recognize many “Christian” elements in what has been espoused by Franklin Graham but, due to the influence wielded by his father, he has gotten away with spreading his false gospel for far too long.

  117. #248 by Jordana Megonigal on May 19, 2017 - 11:16 am

    I wish I knew where you were, because I’d find you to give you a huge hug right about now….

  118. #249 by Mini on May 19, 2017 - 11:16 am

    “We just preach the good news of Jesus Christ; love one another the best we can (which sometimes isn’t very well); feed the hungry that come to our doors; care for the sick; comfort the dying; and bury the dead. So thanks for thinking of us. Rest assured, we are ready to respond to your calls to prayer and action.”
    First off, what is so good about Jesus?

    If you opened your Bible to John Matthew 10:14,15
    we clearly see a tribalistic elitist supremacist who resorted to disregard and threaten unbelievers for their
    disbelief.
    Um, how is that exemplary behavior?
    Call me crazy, but isn’t thst how an ordinary insecure
    bully would do?
    Additionally, according to Christianity, it’s the remedy to original sin.
    Original sin is the result of Adam and Eve not knowing disobedience was wrong.

    Think about that for a moment.

    And now ask yourself, is salvation being morally lazy and opportunistic when one exchanges their
    personal responsibility for their own salvation as they lay claim to being washed by the blood of the Lamb?

    If one isn’t subscribing to that ideology, do they stand filthy before the god Christians worship, who is regarded as the most important being?

    Considering the lack of evidence for the existence of this being, isn’t it paramount to provide it in order to be taken seriously, or has the definition of baseless claims been eroded with the desire to be inconvenienced?

    Just know that more and mire ppl are beginning to recognize how incredibly dangerous religious dogma
    is…

    • #250 by Progenitor Almighty on May 20, 2017 - 10:04 am

      Which bible has a book of John Matthew? I can’t seem to find it in mine.

    • #251 by Allie on May 24, 2017 - 10:59 pm

      Agree with you and SJ. Thank you

    • #252 by Allie on May 24, 2017 - 11:09 pm

      Original Sin: Adam and Eve were only asked to do avoid one thing in the Garden of Eden. They didn’t.

  119. #253 by Geri on May 19, 2017 - 11:16 am

    I’m an elder in a small Presbyterian church. I completely agree wit your letter. Thank you for taking on one of the big boys. Some else said the Christians sold their souls to get to preach politics from the pulpit, out law abortion and have charter school paid for by the government. Thank you for standing up for God.

  120. #254 by Rosalind Moats on May 19, 2017 - 11:18 am

    Well said Pastor Peter

  121. #255 by D.A. Shannon on May 19, 2017 - 11:18 am

    AMEN BROTHER! ❤✊💪🙏

  122. #256 by W. J. E. Coombs on May 19, 2017 - 11:19 am

    Very well said! God Bless you brother!

  123. #257 by Monica on May 19, 2017 - 11:20 am

    Thank you.

  124. #258 by DLee on May 19, 2017 - 11:24 am

    Beautiful. I disagree with religion in general, but this is an attitude that we all should cultivate, regardless of our beliefs or lack thereof.

  125. #259 by Susan Dushane on May 19, 2017 - 11:25 am

    Peter, I don’t recognize the brand of Christianity claimed as such by Mr. Graham. Thank you for speaking for those of us who try to live by the teachings of Jesus rather than the rantings of the political right. (There. You can see why we need someone like you who can remain civil rather than someone like me who gets angry every time Christianity is claimed by those who don’t practice it.)

  126. #260 by Kerrie on May 19, 2017 - 11:27 am

    I take this letter as argumentative, pompous jargon.

  127. #261 by RP on May 19, 2017 - 11:28 am

    One correction — the Emmanuel AME shooting was in Charleston, not Charlotte

    • #262 by revolsen on May 19, 2017 - 1:29 pm

      Yep. Geography is not my strong suit. Thanks.

  128. #263 by Krystal Bohan on May 19, 2017 - 11:29 am

    What an outstanding, diplomatic and dignified way to put this man in his place! To show him how he is such a hypocrite and perhaps he has some lack of education when it comes to spewing advice! He is as far from a Christian or even a good person in general, as a person could be. I am not a Christian myself but I know that it teaches to be be kind to everyone despite their background or appearance and to feed the hungry and is a decent beleif system. This man is preaching hate and how anyone can think Trump is anything but evil is beyond my comprehension.

  129. #264 by David King on May 19, 2017 - 11:30 am

    Wow, now THERE is a pastor to believe in: not the angry, finger, pointing zealot or the hypocrite prowling the stage like a caged lion, crying manufactured tears in his megabuck suit… but someone who actually reads his Bible and believes it is from that source that his faith is derived. Good for him.

  130. #265 by Anthony Neal Emmel on May 19, 2017 - 11:30 am

    That is a truly awesome piece of wordsmithing! I salute you, sir!

  131. #266 by Michael Deak on May 19, 2017 - 11:30 am

    All Christians should contemplate the words of this humble, but honest, caring human being and disregard those of the mega-church people. There have been innumerable hypocrites in religious history; the mega-church ministers of today are just the latest manifestations of them! The small town pastor has a caring heart which is exponentially larger than the big town guy… God bless ’em, and all like him!

  132. #267 by aemmel on May 19, 2017 - 11:30 am

    A truly awesome piece of wordsmithing. I salute you, sir!

  133. #268 by Richard Smoley on May 19, 2017 - 11:31 am

    This gentleman’s letter leads me to believe that there could be a future for Christianity.

  134. #269 by Kris C on May 19, 2017 - 11:32 am

    WELL STATED!! Thank you!!

  135. #270 by Robert Bourke on May 19, 2017 - 11:33 am

    Excellent letter and food for thought for the throngs that are caught up in the Trumpmaina cult that has also captured the enlistment of some, so called, Church leaders who are supporting the movement. Their support can only be considered a prostitution of their position and claimed Christian values.

  136. #271 by Sharon Mackwell on May 19, 2017 - 11:36 am

    Excellent rebuttal. I can’t help wondering what Billy thinks of the nonsense his son is spewing.

  137. #272 by Rachel Sapyta on May 19, 2017 - 11:42 am

    Thank you. In this letter, to me, an atheist, is the real spirit of Christ.

    • #273 by jjjones on May 19, 2017 - 4:18 pm

      Peter, at least the atheists agree with you.

  138. #274 by Peter on May 19, 2017 - 11:43 am

    Having been a practicing Catholic on and off for 67 years I believe essentially the same thing. We have been given two directives from God; Love him with your whole being and love others as we would love ourselves. Simple. In 67 years I have never felt threatened or prevented from practicing these two principles, except by extremist “christians”. I will share your words.

    • #275 by moxiebliss on May 21, 2017 - 10:35 am

      But, Leftism has deconstructed the word “love” to mean “embrace what God hates”. So, those “extremist” Christians… meaning those who obey God’s word… so, tell, me, the first part of that command “Love the Lord your God”… how is snubbing His opinions on matters show “love” for Him?? Note in the judgment scene at the end of Matthew 7 Jesus sends to Hell those “lawless” ones i.e. “acts as if God gave us no moral law to obey”. Also, Paul blows a gasket in Romans 6:1-2 when the people had that attitude of “hey, sin’s no big deal, cuz grace”. And, I didn’t vote for Trump, but EXTREME judgmentalism for his mis-speaks, NO forgiveness, and where is your compassion for those brothers and sisters who have had their lives destroyed over the forced-celebration of gay weddings?? Zero, read Romans 14 about other believers who don’t believe exactly as you do?? This whole thing is Biblical ignorance on display combined with ignoring 95% of scripture and the 5% that is adhered to, voils’ magically comports 100% with the Leftist ideology. The religion is NOT distinctly Christianity, it’s Leftism.

      • #276 by Peg Johnson on May 23, 2017 - 5:53 pm

        Show me one person who has had their lives destroyed by gay people being allowed to marry.

        People who have lost their business because they refuse to serve gay people aren’t included. Those people lost their businesses because a) They refused to follow the law and/or b) other people had decided they didn’t WANT to give their business to people that discriminate.

      • #277 by Mel Middleton on May 23, 2017 - 6:29 pm

        The right to marry includes the right to parent children. While so-called homosexual “marriage” is quite new, there is already evidence emerging that children are suffering from the ill effects of having same gender parents. This will grow increasingly obvious over time.

        Children deserve to grow up in loving homes with a mother and a father. For society to intentionally deprive them of this is unjust!

  139. #278 by Louann on May 19, 2017 - 11:43 am

    Thank you Peter.

  140. #279 by Carrie Thornton-Akey on May 19, 2017 - 11:43 am

    I would love to attend yurt church. Thanks for speaking up.

    • #280 by revolsen on May 19, 2017 - 1:00 pm

      We’d love to have you!

      • #281 by George Deimling on May 24, 2017 - 9:07 pm

        Reply to one of the negative comments Pete. Figured out your geography short comings. You are arrogant to say the least. There are many forms of persecution Our Lord said pick up your cross. If it was easy everyone would do it. Forgiveness should be followed by repentance. God’s grace is not a license to sin. Christians true believers are still human and fall short everyday.Seems like some people use that as and excuse to reject Christ. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah .God doesn’t play . God is loving and forgiving. But we are warned to turn from our evil. Take comfort we will all understand it by and by.

  141. #282 by kssunflower on May 19, 2017 - 11:44 am

    Finally, a pastor whose views I can respect, a religious leader who understands and follows the essence of his faith! Thank you for voicing your concerns in this open letter to Franklin Graham, and thereby guiding those who listen to a more humane, compassionate, and I believe, truly Christian path. I can only hope there are more pastors, both male and female, who, like you, reflect the essence of Christ, instead of the fear, hate, and greed we hear from faux pastors like Graham who seems blinded by his own ego and quest for power and fame. I am sure I am not alone if appreciating your gentle chiding of Franklin Graham and those like him who seem to have lost their way. You seem to be a good shepherd of your flock, and your church is fortunate to have you. I am someone who has never joined a church because I have never encountered a pastor who spoke from the heart with the gentle humor and deep understanding as you do. I have yet to read your other sermons, but I have bookmarked your site because I am intrigued to see how you handle other issues of our day, the complications that modern life sets before us, and how you interpret the teachings of Christ. I may never join a church, but I am open to honest reflection, kindness in both word and deed, and believers who truly respect and live their faith with humility and insight. Thank you for your open letter to Franklin Graham. I can only hope he reads it, for surely he needs to hear what you say and hopefully come to understand the privilege he holds as pastor to those seeking sincere guidance. His message seems not to come from a loving heart, but from some small, skewed place within him that turns away from the precious essence of the faith you so eloquently express. May your congregation cherish and follow your example, not that of Graham. Perhaps Graham, in time, will heal himself so that he might heal and nurture others. Again, thank you.

  142. #283 by Lynda Symans on May 19, 2017 - 11:46 am

    LOL! Best thing I’ve read so far…standing with you Brother Peter…you go go go…LOL!

  143. #284 by Fay Aubuchon on May 19, 2017 - 11:48 am

    Anyone who won’t put a full name and identity on a post, even one I applaud, makes me worry that it is fake news…so tell me..!!

  144. #285 by James Sheehan on May 19, 2017 - 11:50 am

    Well said Peter. Thank you!

  145. #286 by June on May 19, 2017 - 11:50 am

    Thank you Peter for your wonderful thoughts. I have felt the same way for some time. The scriptures show us that love one another is the highest form of worship.

  146. #287 by Lauren on May 19, 2017 - 11:51 am

    Powerful message here for All of Us!
    Trying hard to remember, did Frank’s father preach the Word of God in such a manner as his son? Always remembered going to hear Billy Graham and feeling that he reached the hearts of many through the Love of God. Never felt like he only preached to the rich! Am I wrong? Never felt that same comfort, that same Word of God from Frank! Can tell he was brought up with a silver spoon! Maybe, Frank’s really Oral Robert’s! Not nice of me! Sorry!

    • #288 by Cyndy Warnier on May 19, 2017 - 12:58 pm

      I have attended two Billy Graham revivals in my earlier days – the Gospel, the Truth, and love was shared. It’s sad because Samaritan’s Purse does so much while it’s leader’s condemning language almost wants to undo what good work they are doing! For ALL of us, the best is to “speak the truth in love” — condemnation and politics are just not a part of that nor should they be. I would assume that if Jesus decided to walk our sod once again, he would without hesitation invite Mr. Trump — and many others — to sit at his table. So how do we love these tough folks–not with condemning words, but with the loving truth of the gospel…perhaps, as I am thinking on this right now, we waste our time on these replies when we could be praying!

      • #289 by GEM on May 20, 2017 - 1:43 pm

        Cyndy, you touch on some important points and your pursuit of a balanced perspective is refreshing.
        1. Samaritans’s Purse is a good ministry which should continue and possible expand if provided proper leadership.
        2. Jesus just might have a different view of the POTUS than some of his political adversaries.

        Yet, what Peter is probably neglecting to consider in his efforts to rationalize the rise of President Trump and our current socio-political environment is the power of our peers, certain entities and influential religious leaders. I feel sure that if Peter were absolutely honest and transparent he would recognize the influence of these and other factors in his own thought process. The magnitude of “some” of the political/social problems he takes issue with (e.g. healthcare) are far more complex than the average citizen has time or intellect to comprehend in “political” terms. Having been within the mix denominational organizations and leaders I can only imagine the pressure and influence Franklin Graham experiences. It takes a very strong, secure person to navigate the complex issues of this world while carrying the baggage of an intrenched “christian” organization. I don’t know that I have met anyone capable of doing it justly and without fault.

        I am a former pastor having recently left the pulpit “in part” because Christianity has become too political, too commercial, too socially compromised and too misunderstood in its purpose. Practically speaking Peter’s words do not help me to rectify any disillusions, but only adds to them. I would assume his open letter is an attempt to help. Yet, it truly only stands out as another symptom of the problems we endure in terms of a spiritual society.

        One additional note: As we discuss this event, we are not wasting our time. You are not wasting your time. What you so authentically and thoughtfully communicate is valuable as it comes from a heart created by God and seeking his direction. I would hope as spiritual beings we are marinating our words in prayer as we pray without ceasing. Also, as the writer of Proverbs is recorded to said, “iron sharpens iron and so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 NIV

  147. #290 by Robert Haugh on May 19, 2017 - 11:51 am

    I share this mainly because it’s aimed at Graham, whom I consider to be the most sanctimonious, bigoted, purveyor of hate, on the national scene. R. Haugh

  148. #291 by Val Priest on May 19, 2017 - 11:52 am

    Peter, it sounds to me from your letter that you are quite bitter about things. As Christians, we are to forgive others and that includes the President when he has apologized for past mistakes. God forgets them but people never seem to forget and go on and try to unify instead of divide. God has many people working for His Kingdom and not all do the same thing. Carry on and God bless without tearing a brother down please.

    • #292 by Virginia Pickens on May 19, 2017 - 1:11 pm

      👍🏻

    • #293 by Ross on May 19, 2017 - 1:13 pm

      When did he apologize? I must have missed that press conference

      • #294 by Jana on May 20, 2017 - 8:32 am

        You obviously did… He said he was deeply ashamed and he apologized to the American people, his wife and his family.. Publicly – one of the debates..

    • #295 by Dean Kelley on May 19, 2017 - 1:51 pm

      I have been paying as much attention to the messages expressed by Mr. Trump as my brain and digestive system can handle without multiple system failure. I have rarely seen or heard him express sorrow, contrition or any form of apologetic statements, at least in the American English language with which I am most familiar. I truly believe his speech organs would become paralyzed if he would make such an effort. Everything he has said, done or experienced is so superior to any other words, deeds or events in all of human history, by his own declaration, as to be so far beyond the ability of us mere mortals to comprehend that we must simply accept his viewpoint without murmur, contraindication or dissent. Thanks but no thanks.

    • #296 by nesretep15 on May 20, 2017 - 1:11 am

      It’s amazing how many evangelical Christians are suddenly willing to forgive sinners when for the last 50 years they’ve been pointing their accusatory fingers from atop their moral majority high horse.

      Remember when Franklin Graham forgave Bill Clinton for his sins? Ya, me neither. Didn’t happen.

    • #297 by Sheila on May 24, 2017 - 7:17 am

      Ditto! … what ^they^ wrote.

  149. #298 by Jorge C. on May 19, 2017 - 11:52 am

    Brilliant! Two minor corrections; one about the spelling of Emanuel and the other about geography. Mother Emanuel Church is in Charleston, South Carolina.

    • #299 by Ruth on May 19, 2017 - 1:54 pm

      @Val: You attack the author personally by calling him “bitter” and avoid discussing the content of his message. I would like to hear what you think of his message. Is he wrong about what the Bible says about feeding your enemies? Is he wrong about taking care of the sick? Do you think that it is hypocritical of Christians to support policies that go against these teachings?
      He states that he as a Christian has not felt persecuted. Do you feel persecuted? How so?

  150. #300 by piquantpixie on May 19, 2017 - 11:53 am

    This letter is excellent. I see none of what I was taught of the Savior and how we’re supposed to act in the behavior of these stridently evangelical factions, who seem to trade exclusively on fear and hate and exclusion … all of which were anathema to Christ.

  151. #301 by Shirley Elkins on May 19, 2017 - 11:53 am

    Bravo! It could not have been said better. Agree with you 100%. God bless. By the way, I am an Episcopalian. We welcome ALL to our church, regardless.

  152. #302 by Terry on May 19, 2017 - 11:55 am

    Thank you Pastor from a small church. You said this perfectly.

  153. #303 by Irene C on May 19, 2017 - 11:56 am

    Reblogged this on Retired and Happy in Murrells Inlet and commented:
    Exactly what I believe.

  154. #304 by Allen Lewis on May 19, 2017 - 11:56 am

    I will pray for you, when you have time read 2 Cor. 11v14

  155. #305 by Kontbe Doxt (@KontbeDoxt) on May 19, 2017 - 11:58 am

    “But if they are going to do business in this country, they have to follow the law against discrimination-just like the rest of us. If you don’t like the rules, don’t join the game. It’s that simple. Furthermore, I don’t understand why baking a cake for people whose conduct you find personally offensive is such a big deal.”

    My friend, “bake a cake” is a pithy, rhyming misnomer. In each case to which this refers (small business owner wedding photographers, calligraphers, t-shirt designers, graphic artists, florists, wedding caterers, floral arrangers) the issue isn’t who gets what. It is the client demanding the creation of art (yes, a wedding cake is a customized work of art) that objects to the convictions of the small business owner. For example, a tattoo artist cannot ethically turn a client away for being white, black, male, female, trans, gay, lesbian, alt-right. But the tattoo artist can refuse to make art that says “Go Trump”, or “Go Hillary” or religious art, depictions of the crucifixion, of satan, of Bhudda, of harley davidson motorcycles, of LGBT rainbow flags, of Mick Jagger, Abraham Lincoln, the flying spaghetti monster, of Jesus, of scantily clothed women, of Chick-Fil-A, of “Eat more beef” etc.

    Get the picture? Its illegal to refuse to give a gay person a taxi ride because he’s gay. It should be illegal to refuse. It is. It is also illegal to refuse to cut someone’s hair, based on the ideological, political, religious, sexual leanings of the person who needs their hair cut. It, however is also a gross violation of free speech & expression for the client to insist that the independent business owner artist/hairdresser buzz-carve love hearts with “Sherri + Melissa 4EVER” on the side of her head, regardless of whether that’s the hairdresser’s niche or not. See? If the hairdresser wants to do it, great. If not, plenty of other hairdressers, wedding photographers, florists out there would love the business.

    Thanks for stating your views, and listening to mine.

    That’s all I have time for.

    Be blessed. & have a great day.

    • #306 by Patrick on May 19, 2017 - 1:05 pm

      But what do you do in that situation where there isn’t another baker in town? Does that baker then have to follow the law because there isn’t another within 50 miles? You can’t selectively discriminate within the law in the US. Period.

      • #307 by Kontbe Doxt (@KontbeDoxt) on May 19, 2017 - 5:18 pm

        Patrick: what is the cake for, how is it decorated, what words are put on it. If we’re talking about a generic bundt, a happy birthday suzie cake, a product off of a shelf, or from Kroger, Walmart, then that’s a different ballgame.

        Or is it possible that no one in the universe knows how to bake cakes, except for specialty wedding cake designers? No bakers in 50 miles? No ovens?

      • #308 by Sammy on May 19, 2017 - 6:07 pm

        In that case, I’ll take the heterosexual wedding cake, exactly as it is pictured in your catalog. The same one that is offered to any other person who might walk in off the street.

    • #309 by Virginia on May 21, 2017 - 4:09 pm

      I assume that we’re talking about the case with “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” here. This case always gets brought up as an example of how christians are being persecuted but it seems to me that the vast majority of people citing this case haven’t taken the time to read up on exactly why the bakery was fined to the point of closing down. The actions that they were being fined for had nothing to do with the cake and were pretty decidedly NOT Christian. Obviously acknowledging that removes a pretty large chunk of “evidence” from the claims of persecution so I understand the reluctance to acknowledge those inconvenient facts.

  156. #310 by Anthony E Biancardi on May 19, 2017 - 11:58 am

    Absolutely brilliant.

  157. #311 by Keturah Mase on May 19, 2017 - 11:59 am

    Excellent!

  158. #312 by Greg on May 19, 2017 - 11:59 am

    You can’t have Jesus and your sin too.
    You have to make a choice who is first in your life here. Peter read your bible again. Show me where you Jesus gives you liberty to keep sinning, while you claim you are saved by His grace from sin. God lifts one person up and pulls another down, God put Trump where he is. As a pastor you other choice was Clinton, now really pastor, really, a real man of God. . Voting for Clinton

    • #313 by Charlene on May 19, 2017 - 1:13 pm

      Just because he doesn’t like Trump, it doesn’t mean he likes Clinton. I don’t think Clinton is claiming what she does is Christianity… Trump is. that is the difference. you don’t call THAT Christianity. Clinton doesn’t use Jesus to try and get away with what she is doing… Trump does. But that is not Jesus

    • #314 by Allen Valenzio on May 19, 2017 - 1:17 pm

      Greg, you really can’t be serious, God put Trump there? Unless God’s name is now Putin I think you are sadly mistaken. Trump is a con man, a liar, a pervert, and an arrogant moron who somehow got a degree from an Ivy League school ( which I’m sure they’re ‘very’ proud of). And now it seems as though he’s also a traitor to this great country of ours. When are people going to open their eyes & ears all the way & realize what a danger he is to our way of life!

    • #315 by K Kunan on May 19, 2017 - 2:39 pm

      You need to re-read Peter’s letter. That is not what he said. It is what Franklin and people who call themselves christian do and believe…they sin, and then say “God” is in their heart, so they are “forgiven”, and it doesn’t matter if they commit the same sin again. Peter said this was wrong, and it is.

      As for “god” putting trumperkins where he is? That is truly a deplorable statement. Where do you people get these ideas?

    • #316 by Deb Provinzano on May 19, 2017 - 4:33 pm

      If God put Trump in the White House, it was not to save us but to punish us!

    • #317 by Velma bellamy on May 19, 2017 - 7:00 pm

      Look at your sad president..Clinton looks like an angel compared to him. You are deceived

    • #318 by Gerald Mathis on May 19, 2017 - 7:14 pm

      God’s WILL be done. WE may not know WHY he allows certain things to happen, but if you believe that God has a plan and that that plan WILL be done, then you must know that God had a reason for allowing Donald Trump to sit where he is at.
      It may be that God is trying to show us that we ARE NOT IN CONTROL. For some time now many people in our country have turned their backs on God. I am not the one to say but, MAYBE God is either punishing us for our sins or maybe he trying to teach us a lesson just as he did with his chosen people, the Isrealites. Remember they were FORCED into exile from the land that HE had promised them. They had to endure forty years in the wilderness. So, WHY would you think that WE are any better?

    • #319 by Evan on May 20, 2017 - 1:50 pm

      1) Apparently you believe the baker should refuse to bake cakes for ANYONE who isn’t a Christian, for anyone who is on their second or third marriage (unless their previous spouse either died or fooled around), who has engaged in pre-marital sex . . . .
      2) Specifically with gay people: anyone who doesn’t hold the same beliefs as I do should be discriminated against because that’s what God would want me to do to show His love and to draw them closer to Him.
      3) How do you know God put Trump in the White House? Do you believe God prevents man from making his own choices–maybe good, maybe bad?

      I’ve read my WHOLE Bible. Have you?

  159. #320 by Barry such on May 19, 2017 - 12:07 pm

    He is a modern Cyprus who was an evil king but went around dowing good and his main reason for being the is to move the American embassy to jerusalem eventually

    • #321 by Anthony-HHH on May 19, 2017 - 7:18 pm

      That is the most illiterate and nonsensical thing I have read in quite some time, and I read Facebook posts, so that is saying something.

  160. #322 by Sheila on May 19, 2017 - 12:08 pm

    This is the first time I have been motivated to attend church in years. Where is your church Peter?

    • #323 by revolsen on May 19, 2017 - 12:48 pm

      We’re in Bogota, NJ. Be glad to have you drop in!

  161. #324 by Mike Bone on May 19, 2017 - 12:13 pm

    Thank you, Peter. As a small-town pastor in the heartland, I could wish I were half this honest and eloquent.
    Blessings,
    Mike

  162. #325 by Joe on May 19, 2017 - 12:13 pm

    Bravo, pastor. What an eloquent, plain-spoken and down-to-earth evisceration of the sad hypocrisy that garners far too much of the press covering religious calls to action. Thank you.

  163. #326 by Josephine Benson on May 19, 2017 - 12:14 pm

    Wow! Thanks for putting into words what I’ve been thinking. Amen!

  164. #327 by Ginger LeVan-Houston on May 19, 2017 - 12:16 pm

    You might want to look up that verse about a man laying with a man being an abomination and also that verse that reads no man becomes a king or over a nation that God didn’t put in control. If you are going to quote scripture to Rev. Graham, don’t treat the Bible like a buffet. You don’t get to pick and choose the part that supports you and your sarcasm toward another minister, and leave those other verses out.

    • #328 by Dusty on May 19, 2017 - 1:51 pm

      Ginger LeVan Houston, you might want to go back and read that Leviticus passage in the Hebrew. It doesn’t say precisely what you are quoting. Also, if you are going to quote Leviticus as the authority for religious action, I’m sure you are going to check every garment you buy or make so that it isn’t composed of mixed fibers, you are going to keep kashrut, it’s ok for you if your daughter is sold into marriage….and your son stoned for adolescent sullenness. Just saying….

    • #329 by John on May 19, 2017 - 2:00 pm

      So you don’t eat shellfish I guess, you stupid twat!

    • #330 by K Kunan on May 19, 2017 - 2:49 pm

      Ginger, you must be a follower of Franklin Graham to be so perturbed by Peter’s letter. If you don’t agree with the sentiments expressed in it about Jesus, and what Jesus said people were to do…you know, Jesus’s rules for living? About loving and caring, believing in him, then what do you believe in?

      As for the king stuff, for one thing, trump is not a king and he is not “over” this nation. He is a government employee who can be fired…and god certainly did not elect him. I believe that was the Electoral College…

    • #331 by Fred_the_Dog on May 19, 2017 - 4:13 pm

      Ah yes, so many, many white Christians accepted Obama, didn’t they? And I guess we can say that Vlad the Impaler was put in control by God, as was Idi Amin, Stalin, and many others.

    • #332 by nnahtur on May 19, 2017 - 4:52 pm

      @ Ginger LeVan-Houston- Do you expect him to quote the entire Bible? That’s not what Rev. Graham does when he pontificates.
      I agree that you shouldn’t treat the Bible like a buffet. You either believe all of it, or none of it. If you believe it’s wrong to be gay, then you must also believe that a woman’s hand should be cut off if she accidentally touches the genitals of a man who is fighting with her husband while she is trying to defend her husband (Deuteronomy 25:11-12). You would stone your children to death if they were disrespectful to you. You believe a man should be allowed to sell his daughter into sex slavery. You also think shellfish is “an abomination”. You are a believer, so this stuff is all true, right?

    • #333 by BJ on May 19, 2017 - 5:17 pm

      Exactly!

    • #334 by Stephanie on May 19, 2017 - 7:04 pm

      @ Ginger – You might want to look up the scripture where God says He HATES a lying tongue and proud look. Two sins that are besetting our current President. You can’t be against homosexuality and abortion and then blatantly ignore President Trump’s hubris and pathological lying. (Add to that his constant slandering of Obama.) Many of us are just sick and tired of the Evangelicals hypocrisy. Either stand against ALL sin or shut up – stop picking and choosing. Additionally, stop alienating your Democratic brothers and sisters in Christ and work out your own salvation. Some of the most vile, racist and ignorant comments I’ve read were from Evangelicals on Christian websites. They’ve become modern day Pharisees.

    • #335 by Anthony-HHH on May 19, 2017 - 7:26 pm

      I wonder if you were quoting that same scripture when President Obama was elected… hmmmmm?

      There are a LOT of things described in the Bible (especially the OT) as sinful, and even worthy of execution, but I don’t see many people harping on those things: being a glutton, being a thief, being disrespect to one’s parents, being adulterous, sleeping in the same bed with a women when she has her period, eating shellfish (that’s shrimp, crab, lobster, oysters, clams, etc.), planting fields with two different plants growing together, wearing clothes that are mixed cotton/polyester… I’d like to challenge some of those who like to ping on just one sin that they have as their “favorite” to live as the Bible totally directs for a year, and then see if they would be willing to accuse others of picking and choosing.

    • #336 by Annie on May 19, 2017 - 9:43 pm

      Amen
      Was condesending, and arrogant…I don’t condone what he did…and remember God says that Light has no dealings with dark, but you speak while laughing (seen in the writings)…that in and of itself is judgement..of which you are warned Not to do…and that the judgement on you will be heavier, Jesus said ” Many will say “haven’t we done good works for you..”.etc….be careful, all of you…Jesus also said “Get away from me, I never knew you”…He also said “you are neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm so I vomit you out”…so you should Know God has limits! This was very sad

    • #337 by Marc Ross on May 19, 2017 - 11:45 pm

      I have an honest question then. Did God also put Barack Obama in control?

    • #338 by zwounds on May 20, 2017 - 12:00 am

      You need to carefully consider the meaning of the verse you have referred to. Firstly, Paul was writing to a particular community in Rome, and his advice should be understood in that context. Secondly, Paul’s comments presuppose that the ‘authority’ is benevolent, “For rulers (archontes) are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.(Rom 13:3)”
      As history has shown us, there have been many rulers who have been a terror to good conduct, and you have a choice, to either accept Paul’s words as suggesting that we should without question accept all authority, even the ‘terrorizing kind’, e.g. Hitler, Stalin and Mao, or to understand that there must be some nuance here, and that the unquestioning support of malevolent leaders is not called for.
      If we consult the Biblical prophets, I think we should decisively take the latter view, as the ‘prophetic critique’ of the rulers of Israel and Judah take centre stage. So, if God did appoint these authorities, he certainly didn’t have a problem with them being criticised for being selfish, ungodly and oppressive to the poor (in fact God instituted such criticism in calling the prophets).
      Also, if we read the Magnifcat from Luke’s gospel:
      (Luke 1:51-53)
      “He has shown strength with his arm;
       he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
      he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
          and exalted those of humble estate; 
      he has filled the hungry with good things,
          and the rich he has sent away empty”
      We can see that God also works to bring down the proud and the mighty, and who is to say that the critique above is not part of God’s plan in this regard?

    • #339 by izzaelly on May 21, 2017 - 10:59 am

      Did you apply the same scripture the same way when Obama was President? Or is it possible that leaders are not always appointed for the prosperity of the country they will lead? American Christians have long been idolizing America on a level with God, perhaps Trump is there to teach America a lesson.

      Also, he never said homosexuality isn’t wrong, but Jesus was a friend of sinners. His judgement was for the hypocritical religious leaders.

  165. #340 by Peter Tarleton on May 19, 2017 - 12:17 pm

    Encouraging + stimulating – thank you, Peter

  166. #341 by Cindy King on May 19, 2017 - 12:21 pm

    This is wonderful.

  167. #342 by joanneeddy on May 19, 2017 - 12:22 pm

    Dear Peter…and yes, you can call me Jo. I am the wife of a Presbyterian pastor who retired in December from a church that sounds a lot like yours. Thank you for this thoughtful post. I am thinking of sending it to a pastor friend who has a much more conservative leaning than I do, and who voted for the current President largely because he wanted the Supreme Court to be more conservative. We have had this discussion for a while and I don’t know if he follows Graham at all, but, to me, you responded well to a conservative viewpoint, with what I found myself in complete agreement is the call of Christ, a call to love God and one another as he loved us, to love neighbors…Samaritans/Syrians/gay couples, and even to love ourselves with heart, mind, and strength. I would love to think he might listen to you…and I have sent this to my husband, because I know he would find in you a kindred spirit. Blessings to you, Jo

  168. #343 by TDM on May 19, 2017 - 12:23 pm

    A huge, colossal reverent AMEN!

  169. #344 by timothywisk on May 19, 2017 - 12:23 pm

    amen

  170. #345 by Valarie Garber on May 19, 2017 - 12:23 pm

    Amen and Amen !

  171. #346 by Keith Wright on May 19, 2017 - 12:23 pm

    Amen.

  172. #347 by Mae on May 19, 2017 - 12:23 pm

    Dear Peter
    Your reviews on this matter shows why you are a small town preacher. Perhaps you need to read the Bible more; and preach what the Bible says, not to your own understanding but to what God says.
    You of all people in your little town, should be behind our President and not listening to social media. If your flock follows your ideals of what they consider you to be right, then it will be hell come judgement day!
    A sister in Christ.

    • #348 by Virginia Pickens on May 19, 2017 - 1:08 pm

      Amen!

      • #349 by Meredith Webster Indermaur on May 19, 2017 - 4:40 pm

        Which translation of “what the Bible says” are you referring to, exactly? Which part of our caring for the least, the most vulnerable (the poor, for example) – which Jesus told us to do – is Peter’s “personal ideal” worthy of hell?

    • #350 by Choz on May 19, 2017 - 1:42 pm

      Lol. No. No. And no.

    • #351 by Lyn on May 19, 2017 - 2:00 pm

      This is very funny

    • #352 by Leanne on May 19, 2017 - 2:00 pm

      You are kidding, right? Peter does listen to the president who boasts of using gis power to sexually assault women, turn his back on the persecuted and homeless, descriminates against people of colour, makes it popular to use slurs and violence, take healthcare away from millions, and now education. Trump would belittle Jesus himselve as an unkempt libtard radical and accuse him of being paid by Soros to undermine the profits of the rightfully wealthy and jail him for throwing the moneychangers out of the temples. Oh and deny him asylum if he is from a Middle Eastern country that doesn’t have Trump hotels and golf courses.

      Do you ever actually listen to or watch Trump? Or read the Bible?

    • #353 by Michael Johnson on May 19, 2017 - 2:05 pm

      Yes, sadly his ignorance is glaringly obvious. He should be attending church, not leading one.

    • #354 by K Kunan on May 19, 2017 - 2:56 pm

      Please tell us what the bible says about being “behind our President”. I just cannot remember anywhere in the bible that says anything about trump or supporting him. Also, please tell us what in Peter’s letter is against “what god says”. He talks about Jesus, love, caring, being kind and generous, and believing in him…and this is not what god says?

      By the way, why would you think he wants to be anything more than a small town preacher? I would say it sounds like he has a great life, loving community, and faithful congregation. What more could anyone want?

    • #355 by Steven on May 19, 2017 - 3:22 pm

      Dear Mae,

      Your comment implies that preachers with money, power, and media exposure are somehow superior and better qualified to teach the Gospel of Jesus than “ordinary” ministers, such as Reverend Peter. You also imply that you yourself are better qualified, by telling Reverend Peter what he should do.

      Jesus spoke the truth to power. Do you think he would say “Bravo!” to the spouting of false and petty persecution complexes by rich politicians and pastors of privilege ?

      Reverend Peter quotes many specific and relevant passages from the Bible in this open letter.

    • #356 by gptobin on May 19, 2017 - 4:37 pm

      Give us a few reasons why Peter is wrong and Trump is right. Or for that matter for what reasons we should support Graham or Trump. Comment at fedupwithdonaldtrump.com.

    • #357 by Sammy on May 19, 2017 - 6:09 pm

      Nothing like a good empty threat to round out a comment.

    • #358 by Julie on May 19, 2017 - 8:29 pm

      The Bible does say that God puts people in leadership. Revelation shows that the US is not a power in the last days, so Trump might be there to cause this to happen. Just one idea some people have that say, God put Trump in office.

      • #359 by zwounds on May 20, 2017 - 12:04 am

        So God appointed Hitler, Stalin and Mao, and we are not to criticise them? Your argument leads to absurdities. God calls prophets to criticise wayward leaders. The Old Testament is full of this criticism of kings and other leaders.

    • #360 by romanticheretic1 on May 20, 2017 - 3:58 pm

      So, let me see if I am understanding this correctly.

      A person’s faith and goodness is determined by the size of the congregation they lead? Am I understanding this correctly.

  173. #361 by Marta Pearson on May 19, 2017 - 12:23 pm

    Amen!

    • #362 by Paul Kodish on May 19, 2017 - 12:47 pm

      Pastor Peter explains exactly why he should not stand behind “our” President.

    • #363 by Helen Joffe on May 19, 2017 - 12:56 pm

      Marta Pearson, you are an idiot and a hypocrite. YOU are the one who needs to read the Bible, not Peter. You accuse him of listening to social media when YOU are the one who has obviously been brainwashed by the propaganda of FOX news. Go stand on your head in the toilet and take a swifter path to Jesus so he can set you straight “Sister.”

    • #364 by Jeannie Dixon on May 19, 2017 - 1:48 pm

      Marta Pearson- you are an example of ignorance to the highest degree. You are supporting a so-called “President” that is a psychopath. He is under investigation for raping a 13 year old girl. Is that what your Bible tells you to do? Are you so stupid that if Trump told you to kill your fellow man you would do it ? Well – guess what – you are that stupid. You voted against giving healthcare to all Americans, which will result in numerous deaths. Remember that next time you think your ignorance justifies backing a morally corrupt man like Trump.

  174. #365 by Elizabeth on May 19, 2017 - 12:25 pm

    Thank you! Beautiful and refreshing!

    Christian mom of 3 daughters, one of whom happens to be gay.

  175. #366 by Lorri Roland on May 19, 2017 - 12:25 pm

    Thank you Peter for your words. I feel exactly the same way but was unable to express my thoughts clearly you make me feel so blessed to know there are still God’s people who are not defined by money but by the contents of their characters God Bless You Pastor and Thanks Again! !

  176. #367 by Ben Honeycutt on May 19, 2017 - 12:26 pm

    Thank you for giving the world a REAL Christian leader’s views. It is greatly appreciated!

  177. #368 by Thom Dillon on May 19, 2017 - 12:28 pm

    Thank you for a thoughtful and accurate presentation. I have come to the point where I hardly recognize my country. Where is the vision of John F. Kennedy, the compassion of Dr. King, the courage of Rosa Parks and Robert Kennedy? Why are the President and Congress so intent on rewarding the wealthy who have most reaped the benefits of our republic? I am 70 years old and wonder where all the fear comes from. If we would simply follow the direction you so sensibly present the country would move to a much better place. I know it sounds like a ’60s cliche, but it is true: All you need is love.

    Thank you again. I only came across your site this morning, but will be reading even more of your sermons over the next several days.

    God bless you.

    Thom Dillon
    2240 W 3800 South, Apt 307
    West Valley City, UT 84119
    nycdillon@msn.com

    • #369 by Donna Raagas on May 19, 2017 - 2:07 pm

      Your revered President JFK was not who you think he was. You should read The Death of Camelot–or watch a YouTube video based on it. Seymour Hersh was and still is s highly respected, impartial author who carefully researches his books and identifies his sources. It’s an old book, this is not a “fresh attempt to smear JFK”; this is public information that might have been fascinating when the book first came out, before it was forgotten. I got my hardback copy at Goodwill for $3.99! I bet you could find one there or at your public library.

    • #370 by Amix on May 20, 2017 - 12:18 am

      I don’t recall Dr.King or Rosa parks using nasty language, violence, or name calling to accomplish their goals. They were peaceable and Dr.King suffered the awful price of giving up his life for equality. I agree that all we need is love, but what we have is division and strife. It didn’t start with Trump or even Obama. It’s been a slow decline in moral integrity. I found this article horribly offensive as this pastor oozes sarcasm and judgement. Mr.Dillon, you sound like a wonderful man who has had the honor of living in a much better world than my children and I have lived in. I urge you to read your Bible and be like the Bereans testing every word that comes from a pastors mouth regardless of whether it is Peter or Franklin Graham. When we face God we will face Him alone. He is in control, not presidents, nor pastors. Blessings to you and your loved ones.

  178. #371 by Suzanne Smith on May 19, 2017 - 12:28 pm

    You may be my new hero. Thank you for writing this. Your congregation is lucky to have you (as I am sure you are lucky to have them).

    Yours in Christ, Suzanne

  179. #372 by Mark on May 19, 2017 - 12:31 pm

    I couldn’t help feel the bitterness and anger in your tone, Peter. And, therefore, could not finish reading your caustic letter. Haven’t you got something better to do with your time, because, this seems like a total waste. I know it was a waste of my time, except to say, practice what you preach, try some kindness n love, and by all means excersize forgiveness. Then, take the log out of your own eye before you point your finger at someone else. Be thankful and pray it on them, don’t lay it on them. Enjoy your life today.

    • #373 by Virginia Pickens on May 19, 2017 - 1:06 pm

      👍🏻

    • #374 by Constance King on May 19, 2017 - 2:02 pm

      Mark,
      I found Peter’s letter spot on. There was nothing bitter or caustic in his letter. It takes courage to speak truth to power. THAT was the point of his commentary.

      I find I live by two Commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your mind and soul and strength and the second is like unto it. Love the neighbor as thy self. Everything else is a detail. That was the central theme of his letter. Perhaps you should have read it to the end.

      May the Peace of Christ follow you all the days of your life.

      Connie

    • #375 by Lyn on May 19, 2017 - 2:06 pm

      I think you’re reading your own bitterness into this. Nothing caustic about this post. There’s a little tongue-in-cheek response to the misplaced self-righteousness, brimstone, and fear-monger preaching of Graham, et.al.,There is also some discernment and calling out of inappropriate stancing. But judgment, dripping sarcasm, bitterness – not in here unless a reader brings it.

    • #376 by K Kunan on May 19, 2017 - 3:02 pm

      Really, Mark? I think that maybe the bitterness and anger were in your mind before you started this letter, which was a letter directed to Franklin Graham, one of the foremost non-christian christians in this country, who tends to preach doom, gloom, fear, anger and loathing of the “other”…as well as praising trump as another great non-christian christian.

      I think you need to read it again…with a bit more open mind.

  180. #377 by Pam ford on May 19, 2017 - 12:32 pm

    Thank you!! Amen

  181. #378 by Mary on May 19, 2017 - 12:33 pm

    Thank you Peter. You know the teachings that I grew up with, but that I hear so little about in the news and public forum. I suspect if we heard more from “small town church pastors” (I grew up in the largest Methodist Church in a large international city, but that was 50 years ago) like yourself and less from the political maneuvering God-celebrities, more people would be returning to the churches and doing good work and expressing and living compassion and kindness for others. And a narcissistic man-child that has never know anything but privilege and “leads” by overpowering the politically & financially disenfranchised and by lying to those that are vulnerable and pinning their last hope on a compulsive self serving privaledged “victim”.

    That’s a lot…but I am bombarded by this negative and punitive political genecide (removing healthcare and not caring that people/children will die) and degradation of women and minorities and LBGTQ and religious intolerance daily…hourly, by my state and Federal government (In America). And if that abuse was not enough…these charlatans profess to be doing it in the name of God.

    Please continue to speak up and to these “men of their political god” and breath your compassionate words to the larger audience. Those that ingest this political insensivity in the attempt to demand truth to power need to at least be reminded that you exist.

  182. #379 by Bonnie Marcia on May 19, 2017 - 12:37 pm

    fantastic, but will he bother to read it? If he reads it, will he understand what you have written?

    • #380 by Anthony-HHH on May 20, 2017 - 1:00 am

      Probably not. Graham is one of those (apparently) whose conscience has been seared with a hot iron. It looks like there quite a few commenting here with the same problem, too.

  183. #381 by Ryk Tompkins on May 19, 2017 - 12:37 pm

    Amen!

  184. #382 by Trava Mayes on May 19, 2017 - 12:38 pm

    So glad you voiced my thoughta and feelings here!

  185. #383 by Carl on May 19, 2017 - 12:39 pm

    You do bring up some good points, however, the condescending snarky sarcasm only detracts from your serious points. I wish we could all learn to debate and present our differences in a respectful manner. These legitimate differences need to be discussed in a way that brings the church and all Christians to either a collective agreement or at least a better understanding of our different opinions. We need to be more loving and tolerant of each other and that goes BOTH ways. Disrespectful dialogue does nothing but foster more discontent, more division, and foster greater I’ll will among people who should Love one another and shoulder each other’s burdens.

    • #384 by Tim on May 19, 2017 - 12:52 pm

      Amen!

    • #385 by RoughRugger on May 19, 2017 - 1:37 pm

      Yeah, because Franklin Graham is always the epitome of love & tolerance & respect…

    • #386 by Tom on May 19, 2017 - 1:43 pm

      So what? Look past the snark and pay attention to those good points. Priorities should demand as much. People are imperfect and sometimes it’s the shouldering of said load that drives one to exaggeration. I do it, you do it, and people you love do it. So, in the social media era, folks may need to relearn what thick skin is. This is soft core sarcasm. I hope you don’t listen to politicians or the news media. They will make your head explode if this brings out such sensitivity as to serve as a distraction to good points.

    • #387 by Dave on May 19, 2017 - 2:18 pm

      Couldn’t agree more, Carl; seems childish to me.

    • #388 by K Kunan on May 19, 2017 - 3:11 pm

      Carl, what makes you think the preachers in the large mega-churches who preach about making money, doom, gloom, and most of all fear, have any interest in listening to a preacher like Peter, who preaches love, caring, belief in Jesus, following his rules for life?

      Preachers like Franklin seem to be a great deal more interested in the money they can squeeze from their church members than in saving their souls, or even talking about Jesus and what he said.

      I don’t see any “legitimate” differences here to reconcile.

    • #389 by Stephanie C on May 19, 2017 - 7:37 pm

      Agree.

  186. #390 by Marshall on May 19, 2017 - 12:39 pm

    Ok mi. I must comply with the smaall church Pastor beg to differ with JIM if Peter pastor would go back to maybe 60 to 70 years up to now and see the damage against our Christian society to numerous to call Rev Graham though very large is correct

    • #391 by Jerry N. Wesner on May 19, 2017 - 1:24 pm

      Marshall, I think you might have a point here, but I can’t find it. I hope English isn’t your only language; this is impossible to follow.

  187. #392 by Becky Waldenberg on May 19, 2017 - 12:40 pm

    Grateful for those who follow Jesus instead of a mouthpiece for him. Thanks for the timely and well thought out letter. Hope he gets it.

  188. #393 by John on May 19, 2017 - 12:42 pm

    Not sure this guy is for real: he sounds more like a secular humanist than a christian, in spite of his bible references, though Frank also has the full bigotry and hate of the bible behind him as well: heard of Leviticus, Pete? Can I call you Pete? You can call me an anti-theist, and perhaps see clear to agree, in some measure, that modern humans no longer need this stone age clap trap to tell us right from wrong. Secularists have led the vangaurd of morality since religion first began to try throttling the humanity from our species. Frank should crawl back under his daddy’s rock, and leave us in peace.

    • #394 by Wilm Roget on May 19, 2017 - 1:38 pm

      Well, John, by invoking Leviticus to condemn others, you bound your self to every single Levitical law, and rejected Christ’s death and resurrection, and justification by grace. And ironically, Leviticus does not condemn homosexuality anyways – the passages that evil people use for that purpose are actually about a married man cheating on his wife with a temple priest. And guess what, God won’t exempt you from that just because you deny God’s existence.

      Frankly, you are as much a bigot as franklin graham, worse actually, for you demonize far more people than frank does.

  189. #395 by Donna Vogelpohl on May 19, 2017 - 12:44 pm

    If you don’t speak out on the side of Christ – the false teachers will continue to make life a living hell for the rest of us and chase us further from all versions of the bible – so keep at it –

  190. #396 by Paul Kodish on May 19, 2017 - 12:44 pm

    Great honest post. I would love to attend this pastors church.

  191. #397 by Jan Bowman on May 19, 2017 - 12:45 pm

    Wow! This is excellent! Thanks for writing it and sharing it.

  192. #398 by J Tucker on May 19, 2017 - 12:46 pm

    On point..my concern is with all the negative, arrogant and self serving things Donald Trump has said and done, how and why is he called a champion? This response shows a sad state of affairs in America and solidifies the hatred that other countries and governments have for us now. America the land of hypocrisy.

  193. #399 by Matthew J Orifice on May 19, 2017 - 12:49 pm

    Dear Peter,
    I’m not one of your flock, i’m not even Christian. Though i have Studied the bible intensely…
    I’m a pagan, and i would very much like to say thank you, because what i read in the Bible the MANY times a read it, what much as you put it, i’m not Christian because it didn’t move me , i am pagan because i heard those same things in the signs of nature… i too like to think my Great Spirit, is the same being as your God, if not they should hang out they have a lot in common….

  194. #400 by stephen matlock on May 19, 2017 - 12:51 pm

    Reblogged this on No Place Like Home and commented:
    Some good thoughts on “Christian” vs. “Christ-follower”

  195. #401 by John on May 19, 2017 - 12:51 pm

    Franklin Graham’s annual compensation of $880,000, revealed in a Charlotte Observer story, has some worrying that too many top Christian nonprofit leaders as well as pastors are seeing themselves as CEOs instead of as God’s servants.

    • #402 by Sammy on May 19, 2017 - 6:12 pm

      And remember that the $880,000 doesn’t include the “soft money” benefits of his position.

  196. #403 by Tommy on May 19, 2017 - 12:52 pm

    This is beautiful. Thank you for putting into words what I could not.

  197. #404 by Kenneth Dillard on May 19, 2017 - 12:54 pm

    Pastor, I find most of what you said to be more akin to the liberal version of Christ’s teachings, as opposed to the true Word of God.

    You’ve done what most liberals have. You’ve taken some incidents out of context and made them into non sequitur.

    You’ve taken the narrative that government should take people’s money/labor and decide what to do with it,

    You’ve even sunk so low as to pull the favorite excuse that every progressive, or person who can’t really stand on the facts, pulls: “blame it on the white male”.

    How do any of the above promote the love, understanding, and free will gifts given to us by God, and exemplified by Christ?

    How does taking a condescending tone do anything but further the divide among the very-much-shattered Christian community?

    Your brother in Christ,

    Ken

    • #405 by KATHY on May 19, 2017 - 1:34 pm

      Take off your blinders Ken

    • #406 by Susan Clark on May 19, 2017 - 1:34 pm

      We believe in the Word of God, but for some Christians, the Word of God has been edited to make their views fit. Shouldn’t we be loving all people, not just the ones that choose to love who they want.

    • #407 by pilatesrehabpro on May 19, 2017 - 2:11 pm

      Ken
      As you know, Christ was a radical/ liberal of the highest order. That’s why he made the Pharisees heads spin. Saul had to break out of the very mind-set you recommend in order to become Paul. I’m quite sure if Jesus showed up at your church and asked for gifts and donations to help him and the rag-tag group of 12 guys he dragged in with him, you’d throw all of them out the door for being dirty and lazy. You’d focus solely on old Testament punitive laws and rules. But remember how Paul, Peter and (centuries later) Martin Luther correctly realized what the UNDESERVED gift of Christianity really is. You can’t buy it, earn it, force it or judge others re. whether or not they do or don’t deserve it. Your talk drives a wedge in the heart of those who would try to understand the message of Christianity. Are you truly spreading the good news of the gospel? I don’t feel the genuine love.

    • #408 by Susan on May 19, 2017 - 2:15 pm

      Agree…..I couldn’t help but seeing yet another “servant” of the Democratic Party spewing forth yet more talking points rhetoric dictated to Peter by his chosen political affiliation. Pastor? He sounds more like a politician. Perhaps that has something to do w/ his low attendance on Sunday mornings.

    • #409 by tcvisioneer on May 19, 2017 - 3:21 pm

      Well said, Ken.

  198. #410 by Just calling out BS on May 19, 2017 - 12:55 pm

    This is just pastor to pastor? Then why am I reading it? And what’s with the condemning rhetoric? I don’t think you’ll be winning over your “friend” Frank’s graces with this kind of post.

    • #411 by Dan McNabb on May 19, 2017 - 1:31 pm

      Calling BS on religious ” hypocrisy is the duty of every Christian. It’s the hit dig that howls.

    • #412 by K Kunan on May 19, 2017 - 3:22 pm

      I don’t think winning over Franklin’s graces or friendship was the point of this letter. For one thing, I don’t think Franklin would either understand the point of this letter, or care what it says. He’s doing just fine, conning money from his church members, fawning after Trump, and being a general, well, you know. Franklin is one of the foremost non-christian christians in this country, and he’s not a very nice person either.

      Peter’s letter was simply a reiteration of what many people think about Franklin and his cohorts in the other mega-churches, along with some of the major “christian” religions in the US.

  199. #413 by CMR on May 19, 2017 - 12:56 pm

    Excellent and valid points, except that Mother Emmanuel is here in Charleston, South Carolina, not Charlotte, North Carolina, as was stated in the letter.
    Nonetheless, thank you for speaking with a voice of reason and reality during a time when too many are not speaking

    • #414 by revolsen on May 19, 2017 - 1:10 pm

      Yep. Geography isn’t my strong suit.

    • #415 by hamguin on May 19, 2017 - 2:58 pm

      It is also spelled “Emanuel” while we are at the proofreading task.

      I greatly enjoyed your essay, Peter.

    • #416 by EC on May 19, 2017 - 5:03 pm

      Thank you for pointing out that error CMR. Also, it wasn’t a meeting of only pastors, I believe. Otherwise, THANK YOU Peter for this open letter. It’s heartening to see someone standing up for all of God’s children. Finally, are you aware of an issue about the translation of the original Biblical text regarding man lying with man? Here’s some text from http://stopbibleabuse.org/biblical-references/leviticus.html: “Martin Luther translated it as ‘Du sollst nicht beim Knaben liegen wie beim Weibe; denn es ist ein Greuel,’ which is roughly ‘You shall not lie with a youth (or boy) as with a woman/wife; for it is an abomination.’ At the very least, a wide range of translations is possible.”

  200. #417 by stephen matlock on May 19, 2017 - 12:57 pm

    Good words. I find that in interacting with those outside the faith they mostly know what we’re going tell them anyway.

    But they then look at our actions and hear our words directed against others, and my friends and acquaintances ask me “Is this Christian faith worth following if it requires me to hate so many people?”

    The Christ who lived, died, and lives again is lost in our American Christian world of exclusion and fear.

    The good news is that the Gospel is always unfettered. The good news is that the Gospel is always available. The good news is that the Gospel is always redemptive.

    So I preach the Gospel, still, as-is, uncut, unfiltered, unrestrained, and hope that the people I reach who are outside the American Church will find their own way without the American Church. Can’t pour new wine into old wineskins.

  201. #418 by jwntx on May 19, 2017 - 12:57 pm

    So an alleged preacher is fine with the State of Washington suing a Christian couple into the poor house because a gay couple refused to go find another baker. I think your idea of charity and forgiveness is far more informed by your political ideology than your Christianity.

    • #419 by Fmartin on May 19, 2017 - 1:27 pm

      Actually it was the state of Indiana and Mike Pence started the Religious Freedom Act in 2015. I live in Indiana and remember this well.

      http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/25/politics/mike-pence-religious-freedom-bill-gay-rights/index.html

    • #420 by RoughRugger on May 19, 2017 - 1:35 pm

      I believe you might need to take another look at the facts surrounding this situation. How, precisely, were they “sued into the poor house” when they crowdfunded over $500,000 on the backs of the two lesbian foster mothers whom they saw fit to dox? (Also, it was Oregon, not Washington, just FYI.)

      Regardless, the bakers have no one to blame but themselves. The law in Oregon explicitly bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which the bakers, by their own admission, were guilty of. (Seems to be a pretty clear-cut case of failure to “render to Caesar…”) Also, they were not “sued”…rather, they were fined. The subsequent damages they were ordered to pay were, again, not because of refusing to bake a cake, but a consequence of the aforementioned doxing, which triggered harassment & death threats and almost resulted in the aggrieved couple losing their foster children.

      So: on the one hand, you have a loving couple, taking care of some number of “the least of these” and on the other hand, you have a vindictive pair of law violators. Tell me again which is the Christian couple?

    • #421 by Anne on May 19, 2017 - 2:00 pm

      Florist in Washington, a bakery in Oregon (which is what I believe you are thinking of). The gay couple didn’t sue the bakery; the bakery was fined by the state for breaking the law when it came to discrimination as well as posting the couples information on line. Want to talk about persecution? Christians complaining about this in the USA don’t know the meaning of the word. As long as you are selling in the public sector, you must abide by the existing laws. It just doesn’t get any simpler than that. If one wants to discriminate? Make it a private straight, Christian-only club. I would ask you this. It’s kind of an old thing going around, but so very true. If a bakery is “participating” in a gay wedding by simply baking a cake, doesn’t it follow that all gun manufacturers and sellers are then participating in any crime a weapon may be used and therefore be brought to justice? I’m not anti-gun by any stretch, but just think about that reasoning. You can’t tell me it isn’t the same way of thinking, because it is exactly that. Those couples made their choices; that is why they are in the poor house now.

    • #422 by Sammy on May 19, 2017 - 6:16 pm

      The case in Washington State is about flowers. The refusal of service was the action of the proprietor of the flower shop. Citizens should not be forced to find another business because some proprietors can’t seem to understand the concept of non-discrimination. The days of “we don’t serve your kind here” are long gone, and good riddance.

  202. #423 by IrvinWithAnEye on May 19, 2017 - 12:57 pm

    Reblogged this on The Website High Atop The Thing and commented:
    I often struggle with words to describe my feelings regarding Franklin Graham and others like him. This though, this I can rely on as excellent theology and better than I deserve Christianity. Thank you, Peter. Thank you for being a true & thoughtful Christian leader. There are too few of you today.

    • #424 by Elizabeth Woods on May 19, 2017 - 1:18 pm

      Agree😊 Elizabeth on nick’s fb site

  203. #425 by Linda Coleman (@LindaColemanDFW) on May 19, 2017 - 1:00 pm

    Great article! One small edit–3rd paragraph from the bottom left out the chapter. It’s 32, right? (“I got this stuff from the Gospel of Matthew, 25th Chapter to be precise.”) 🙂

    • #426 by MaxLaw843 on May 19, 2017 - 5:09 pm

      While we are doing a bit of editing of some important points, it was in my home town of Charleston, SC and not Charlotte (near where dear “Frank” lives) where the horror of nine church members were killed at Mother Emmanuel AME church happened. Further, and just as an FYI, the killer Dylann Roof was sentenced to death in a federal court case and has been transferred to the federal death row.

    • #427 by englelong on May 19, 2017 - 5:59 pm

      No, it’s Chapter 25: Verses 31-46. From an Atheist who used to be a Bible study teacher.

    • #428 by Brad Bigam on May 19, 2017 - 6:22 pm

      Peter, and I can call you Peter, right? What an ignorant letter. Just because it doesn’t touch you, it doesn’t happen. Just because you’re safe in your cocoon, no one else is struggling. Maybe you need to do some research on Franklin’s Samaritan Purse ministries, where they do help the poor, hurting, needy, the destitute, the burned-out etc. Maybe you need to listen to one of his Crusade sermons, where he lays out the Gospel. What a nasty, rude, uninformed, sarcastic and especially judgemental letter. I don’t know why this even got into the news.

    • #429 by Kathy on May 19, 2017 - 9:13 pm

      No, he’s right. Matthew chapter 25 gives the ONLY description from Jesus about the judgement!

    • #430 by Paul on May 19, 2017 - 9:16 pm

      I am confused by your question about the “left out” chapter when your comment even quotes that it’s the 25th Chapter. I must be missing something here.

  204. #431 by Chad Jackson on May 19, 2017 - 1:02 pm

    God’s sole concern on the last day is truly believing in Christ as your Savior. A real pastor not being driven by emotional need would have communicated that in his letter.

    • #432 by Keith Rader on May 19, 2017 - 1:23 pm

      In the end, the bible says God will say to many that call him by name, I never knew you. The parable of the Good Samaritan shows correct theology is not as important as caring for those in need. If you use Jesus as a tool for hate I have to warn you, you have misunderstood the one you profess to follow. I thought this article was spot on.

      • #433 by Joan on May 19, 2017 - 7:11 pm

        Great response, to Chad ,m Keith!

    • #434 by matthew on May 19, 2017 - 2:16 pm

      “God’s sole concern on the last day is truly believing in Christ as your Savior.”

      I’ve heard this many times and have never understood how Christians can buy into it, contradicting the words of Jesus as it does. As Peter pointed out, the one and only scripture that describes the last judgment in any detail is the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25. Jesus doesn’t tell the goats that they’re being cast out because they didn’t accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. He didn’t tell the sheep that they could enter the Kingdom because of their personal relationship with him. It was their actions, the way they treated the poor and the helpless, that had to do with their salvation than any profession of faith. it’s the same deal with the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. The rich man didn’t end out in Hell and torment because he lacked faith in Jesus. He was told very specifically it was because in life he had what he wanted but never cared enough about the poor man on his doorstep to do anything for him.

      Jesus was asked to summarize the law and the prophets once and he said that we must love God with our whole being, heart, mind, strength, and soul. Then he added that there’s a second thing that can never be separated from the first and that is to love our neighbor as ourselves. This modern idea that we can love Jesus without caring at all about the poor, the refugee, the immigrant, the outcasts, the sick and the vulnerable is not founded in scripture. It is the invention of preachers like Graham.

      You may believe that it’s possible to be a mean-sipirited and selfish person, fear-filled and hate-driven and still be saved because you love Jesus in your heart but I do not. If Christ’s love is in your heart you love others as he does. If God’s Spirit fills you, the fruits of that Spirit can be seen in your life. For the record, scripture lists them as: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

      As I said, I hear a lot of Christians saying it doesn’t matter how they treat other people, as long as they have Jesus in their heart. I hear a lot of people defend President Trump when he does something that is greedy, lustful, vain, wrathful, jealous, prideful, or self-indulgent by saying you can’t judge him because you don’t know what’s in his heart, and if he loves Jesus, the rest of this doesn’t matter.

      It’s irreconcilable. If the Franklin Grahams of the world are right then Jesus is wrong. That is unacceptable to me and I don’t understand how it can be acceptable to any Christians.

      • #435 by Ted on May 19, 2017 - 2:34 pm

        Mattew,
        You nailed the essence of His message…
        Thanks!

      • #436 by Jerm Swag on May 19, 2017 - 3:01 pm

        What Keith and Matthew said…..

      • #437 by Janet Ellinger on May 19, 2017 - 3:47 pm

        Well said. Thank you!

      • #438 by pleasure2serve05 on May 19, 2017 - 3:53 pm

        The works based righteousness in this thread is terrifying. I suggest everyone go and re-read Matthew 25 and catch the key point that the least of these mentioned are not simply the poor or downtrodden, but the Christian poor and downtrodden. This is why it says the least of these my BRETHREN. If you are a Christian, you will care for other Christians. If you love God, you will love other Christians. That is the point of the passage, and it matches perfectly with the full council of Scripture (1 John 3:17, 1 John 4:20-21).

        Likewise, the prisoners in Matthew 25 are Christians in prison who other Christians come and visit and take care. Who was the only prisoner Jesus mentioned and supported in Scripture? John the Baptist, who was in prison for being critical of a king because the king was participating in sexual debauchery. Jesus took the time to acknowledge the righteousness of John the Baptist as a result, and we should do the same lest we be like the goats in Matthew 25 who thought they were following God, but were not there for their brothers and sisters in Christ. (And for the record, hardly any Christians are being seriously persecuted for their faith here in the USA. I am not making the case Franklin Graham is right to do all the politicking he does, as quite frankly I don’t think it is the church’s job to enforce laws upon society. However, I did want to Scripturally explain a passage that is being explained by lots of people in this forum in a works based righteousness, dangerous manner.)

        In any event, Matthew 25 is not about how to get into heaven; the Bible is clear that salvation comes by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God. Rather, if you are saved and are a sheep, you will have love for the brethren (Christians), whereas if you are not, you will not. Your fruit shows if you are truly saved or not.

      • #439 by Glenn Galen on May 19, 2017 - 4:13 pm

        The problem with denying grace like that is the question: “Who has done ‘enough’ to get into heaven then”? And what human could ever tell you that you had done “enough”.

      • #440 by Carol on May 19, 2017 - 4:13 pm

        Thank you for your wise words. You have totally described what Jesus had called us to do!

      • #441 by Allan Green on May 19, 2017 - 4:27 pm

        So your saying that you can go to heaven without excepting Jesus Christ?

      • #442 by Nate on May 19, 2017 - 5:09 pm

        Treating people “right” doesn’t get one into Heaven. Our relationship with God determines that. If we are in right relationship with Him, we will (mostly) treat people right. Even mean, nasty people treat others “right” ocassionally. That doesn’t mean….

      • #443 by Brian on May 19, 2017 - 5:15 pm

        Amen Matthew!

      • #444 by Mel Middleton on May 19, 2017 - 5:15 pm

        It is ironic that Franklin Graham, who heads one of the largest charitable organizations in the world (Samaritan’s Purse), whose ministry helps people in literal hell holes all over the planet, regardless of race, national origin, gender, age, or sexual orientation, is now being condemned on the basis of passages of Scripture to which he is in total obedience. Franklin IS helping the poor, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, giving clothes to the naked, visiting the prisoners and doing all kinds of other acts of Christ-like love in places where others fear to go! When he sees people in need, he does not walk by on the other side of the road, as many of those who condemn him do. And he is being faithful to the Word of God. That has never been a popular thing to do.

      • #445 by Lynn Ervin on May 19, 2017 - 5:22 pm

        Amen James 2:18 I will show you my faith by my works

      • #446 by Keith Malley on May 19, 2017 - 6:09 pm

        Well said.

      • #447 by Derrick on May 19, 2017 - 6:26 pm

        The two principles aren’t mutually exclusive; we must believe in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, which is exhibited through our conduct, conversation, and character. So your response was on point and reminds me of Matthew 7, where the Lord says, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” So we can claim Him as Lord, but what does our actions say? Thanks for your response, but don’t discount us having to know Jesus as Lord and more importantl Him knowing us.

      • #448 by Lucy on May 19, 2017 - 6:29 pm

        Yay! You said it!

      • #449 by Becka Brown on May 19, 2017 - 6:44 pm

        Thank you. Well said.

      • #450 by Erin Knittle on May 19, 2017 - 7:10 pm

        Can we be friends? Thanks for this.

      • #451 by Debbie on May 19, 2017 - 7:43 pm

        Matthew, you said it all, and very well I might add!!! Thank you!!!

      • #452 by August Rose on May 19, 2017 - 8:06 pm

        You my friend would make a better Christian than most!

      • #453 by Julie on May 19, 2017 - 8:10 pm

        Thanks, I agree with you completely. Every time I read something by Frank I want to say those same things to him. I would add, his isn’t the teaching I learned from his father, nor from his sister Anne.

      • #454 by drycamp on May 19, 2017 - 8:15 pm

        I just want to thank you for this, your theology is unimpeachable, and I’m tired of being told that it’s perfectly OK for us to trample the helpless so long as we have a “personal relationship” with Jesus. He is without a doubt outraged at such statements.

      • #455 by ALAN F GROVE on May 19, 2017 - 8:53 pm

        Excellent.

      • #456 by romanticheretic1 on May 20, 2017 - 4:12 pm

        I’m thinking of something I once heard from the comedian Emo Phillips.

        “I used to pray for a bicycle. Then I realized I was doing it wrong so I stole a bicycle and prayed for forgiveness instead.”

        The people claiming accepting Christ as their personal saviour is all that’s required to get into Heaven are bicycle stealers.

      • #457 by Anita Heuss on May 20, 2017 - 5:55 pm

        I think people misunderstand the whole personal relationship thing. If you truly have a personal relationship you won’t be trampling the helpless. The whole point of the personal relationship is that it changes you for the better. You will sometimes sin and those sins are covered if repented but your walk has changed to more copy the walk of Christ than it was before. Agreed some of us are further away than others when we find him but we need to be headed in the same direction. If people are attacking the people he was helping something is very wrong.

      • #458 by John on May 21, 2017 - 1:59 am

        Fantastic post. I’m fairly agnostic, but once upon a time, I was dating a girl who was a devout Christian, and I went to church with her fairly regularly. One day, I told her my main concern with her religion was this notion of “a personal relationship with Christ” being the only thing required for salvation. I simply didn’t buy the idea that someone could accept Christ, live a despicable life, and still be saved.

        She explained it to me like this: If you truly find and accept Christ, truly love Christ, you are aware that the basis of this claim is the atonement. Jesus suffered for every sin we will ever commit. If you truly love and accept Jesus, you live your life in a way that minimizes your contribution to the pain he endured for us. If you claim to accept Christ, but live as an intolerant scumbag, you haven’t truly accepted him, because you knowingly and willfully contribute to the pain he endured via the atonement.

        That explanation didn’t fully satisfy me (because it implies that we have no free agency, or requires a serious mind warp/time travel paradox where the atonement hasn’t actually happened and/or is ongoing), but it definitely was illuminating. The person who claims to accept Jesus while living an un-christlike life isn’t any more committed to Jesus than a person who accepts their marriage vows while carrying on an affair is committed to their spouse.

      • #459 by doris emilie on May 21, 2017 - 3:04 pm

        Perfectly said!

      • #460 by Glenn on May 21, 2017 - 10:30 pm

        Well said

    • #461 by Vance Butler on May 19, 2017 - 3:33 pm

      It was, didn’t you read it!! That was the whole letter..

    • #462 by cmtartist on May 19, 2017 - 3:39 pm

      How else than the behavior the author described are we to know who has genuine belief in Christ? Because you say so?

    • #463 by davidchumney on May 19, 2017 - 4:04 pm

      God’s sole concern on the last day contradicts what Jesus said in Matthew 25? Wow, I wonder why Matthew wrote what he did. Too bad he didn’t have good old Chad to set him straight.

    • #464 by Chadd Niles on May 19, 2017 - 4:46 pm

      Matthew 6:21
      “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Clearly not believing in Christ.. or may be the verse before that one “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” We have to work at being Christ like, we can’t just act or say we do.

    • #465 by Richard Cowles on May 19, 2017 - 5:30 pm

      Unless you believe the words of Jesus, “he who hears my words and does the will of my father…”. Nowhere did Jesus ever say you had to accept him as your savior, only follow his teachings; which were about loving God, loving people, repeating, forgiving, etc. That’s been the view of a good portion of the Orthodox Church for 2000 years.

    • #466 by d bard on May 19, 2017 - 5:33 pm

      You are adept at judgement. Maybe you can lend a hand to God in that category.

    • #467 by Greggie on May 19, 2017 - 8:42 pm

      Only two comments in to find the first smug, self-righteous idealogue. Thank you for so succinctly justifying this thoughtful and wise letter.

    • #468 by c adams on May 19, 2017 - 9:10 pm

      I think God will be welcoming all comers whether they follow Christ or Buddha.

  205. #470 by Susan Baird on May 19, 2017 - 1:03 pm

    Thank you for this. I’ve tried to no avail to see Jesus in “Christian” leaders like Franklin Graham. Wish there was a small church like yours that I could be a part of.

    • #471 by Jay Rasco on May 19, 2017 - 3:54 pm

      The earth was dark through misapprehension of God. That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satan’s deceptive power was to be broken. This could not be done by force. The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of Satan. This work only one Being in all the universe could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known. Upon the world’s dark night the Sun of Righteousness must rise, “with healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2.

    • #472 by william Toth on May 19, 2017 - 4:40 pm

      we won’t see what is not there, Susan.

    • #473 by Calvin on May 19, 2017 - 5:15 pm

      Maybe check out the local Unitarian Universalists.

    • #474 by C J on May 19, 2017 - 8:31 pm

      Susan, it may take awhile but you will find that church. I have found that the smaller churches are the ones more likely to accept you, with all your doubts and sins, and give you a home. Keep looking, the journey is also the opportunity to examine yourself.

  206. #475 by Jacquelyn Weddington on May 19, 2017 - 1:06 pm

    Thank you for posting your letter Peter. I just don’t understand why people think it was condescending or snarky at all. Seriously wonder what Bible some of these people are reading from. Not the one I learned in Sunday School certainly. I even wonder if we live in the same country. Best as I can see there seems to be a “Christian” church on every street. Sometimes there are even two. No one is stopping anyone from going to a church of their choice. What we (most of our population) will not allow these people to do is take over our nation. We have heard enough from politicians and our President about “Christian” people. If there is anything that scares me or makes me want to run is someone coming up to me and telling me what a good Christian person he or she is. Why do you have to say it when there are so many ways you can do it? If you truly want to live as a “Christian Society than buy some land and all live on it together. I really would like to know what books you all read. Certainly not history books and as I said not the Bible. Please remember Jesus was a Jew, never thought about starting a new religion, never. HIs goal was to free his nation from the yoke of Rome and to reform his church. The first book about Jesus was written sixty years after his death. There seems to be IMHO a group of “Christians” who are so disrespectful of Jesus and his work. that calling yourselves “Christians” is close to sacrilege. What are you thinking of?

    • #476 by dhcrystal on May 19, 2017 - 3:13 pm

      ” HIs goal was to free his nation from the yoke of Rome and to reform his church.” Really? That’s something I guess I’ve missed in the years of study and Sunday School lessons and sermons I’ve sat through. And, reform his church? No church existed and those who followed him were largely viewed as simply Jews of another sort (more like another cult). It was some time later that a church evolved, soon to be taken over by political aspirants and power-seeking clergy. Today’s church is the one that needs reforming.

    • #477 by Carol on May 19, 2017 - 4:15 pm

      Amen!

    • #478 by D Noland on May 19, 2017 - 5:52 pm

      If a person is a true Christian, he/she won’t need to tell anyone what they are. True Christians “walk the walk”, and have no need to ” talk the talk”.

    • #479 by Jean Meriton on May 19, 2017 - 6:24 pm

      Jesus never tried to free his nation from the yoke of Rome and the church was not around yet. Only after He died and rose did the church begin to exist. His goal as He said was to be a ransom for sinners. His death means we can live. Government can never establish righteousness.

    • #480 by Jeanmarie (Simpson) Bishop on May 19, 2017 - 7:34 pm

      It IS condescending and snarky, by design. And DAMN STRAIGHT! Much respect, Peter.

    • #481 by Sylvia Classic on May 20, 2017 - 5:04 am

      For what it’s worth, Jacquelyn, my mother, who was a minister later in her life, would wholeheartedly agree with you completely. May peace be with you.

    • #482 by Donna Raagas on May 20, 2017 - 12:01 pm

      Please remember that Jesus IS God–both God and man. I don’t know what Bible the doctrine you preach comes from, but no one will learn about who Jesus IS from history books. Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb who died once for all, so that mankind can be reconciled to Holy God. He was NOT a political leader, born to rescue his (Jewish) people from the Romans (although they hoped that’s who he was.) He is the one way that sinful man can have a relationship with God. Only people who have accepted God’s unmerited gift of grace by believing that Jesus paid the wages of sin (death) in their/ our/all of mankind’s place can be in God’s holy presence. Jesus not only died in our place, but He overcame death, and through Him, we have overcome death too! He was with God before the universe came into being! John 1:1

  207. #483 by William Elliott on May 19, 2017 - 1:07 pm

    And what of Matthew 19:11-12? Nobody ever seems to remember these words of Christ.
    Also, why does man seem to add the word except to John 3:16? I am proud to say that I am a whosoever….

  208. #484 by Bunny on May 19, 2017 - 1:08 pm

    I left organized religion 20 years ago. I would go to your church joyfully. ❤ Preach on.

    • #485 by WANDA on May 19, 2017 - 2:23 pm

      I AGREE BUNNY…… THIS IS LIKE THE COUNTRY CHURCH I ATTENDED IN MY YOUNGER YEARS…… MISS THAT FELLOWSHIP.

    • #486 by Cate Corr on May 19, 2017 - 4:16 pm

      I left 30 years ago, bit Peter’s letter made me feel hopeful again.

    • #487 by william Toth on May 19, 2017 - 4:39 pm

      I punched out, too, Bunny, the day the pastor of the catholic church I attended stood up on the pulpit and told us to “vote correctly,” meaning vote republican because they oppose abortion.

    • #488 by Sharolyn Wells on May 19, 2017 - 5:41 pm

      A friend invited my family to her church. When I asked her how her church feels about LGBT rights, she told me that it was unacceptable. I told her, “Any church that will not accept my daughter (who is pansexual) is not a church I will go to.” I haven’t been to church since 1995. But like you, Bunny, I would go to Rev. Peter’s church.

    • #489 by Erma Jay (@galleryshops) on May 19, 2017 - 7:10 pm

      So, now you are associated with a disorganized religion?

  209. #490 by susietucker32451 on May 19, 2017 - 1:08 pm

    Pastor Peter, if one of your congregation members owned a print shop, and they were hired by a customer to print flyers, posters, banners for a group with values they objected to, such as a white supremacy group or Westboro Baptist church style denomination, do you think it would cause that person, or cause you to experience “drama”? Is there freedom of conscious only for those with your values, or for all? Please help me understand. Thank you.

    • #491 by John on May 19, 2017 - 2:08 pm

      The law would apply there as well. Freedom of conscience does not trump everything else. Remember the biblical ‘render unto caesar?’. Also, 6th grade civics.

    • #492 by Bobby McGovern on May 19, 2017 - 2:52 pm

      You missed the whole point, Susie…

    • #493 by bobbymac29649 on May 19, 2017 - 2:54 pm

      You missed the whole point Susie. Last time I checked gay marriage wasn’t a hate group.

    • #494 by Lyle on May 19, 2017 - 2:57 pm

      Susie, there is one major difference between the groups you mention and the LGBT community. The groups you mention are groups that are based on racial bias and use violence and terrorism to suppress people. So, it is ok to not print a flyer, poster or banner that would perpetuate hate and violence which is based on racial bias.

    • #495 by Mike Stewart on May 19, 2017 - 3:06 pm

      As someone with a darker skin than most of the people commenting…. I have a brother who owns a print shop. He has printed #Trump shirts, things with confederate flags, “The South shall rise again” items….. many things that promote things we are against. Such as slavery. Living in Tennessee, it is expected.

      Like Peter said, follow the law of the land. That is spoken of in the bible. if you don’t feel like your spirit will allow you, find another occupation. That is an option. But discrimination isn’t biblical, holy, moral, or legal.

    • #496 by Kris Welch on May 19, 2017 - 3:18 pm

      I am not Pastor Peter, but I would like to weigh in on this. The question you need to ask is whether this print shop would print white supremacy propaganda for anyone. That is where the difference lies. If I owned a print shop, I would refuse to print such things for anyone. It is the item itself I am not willing to make. A person who owns a bakery will bake a wedding cake for others, but not for the gay couple. This is discrimination against individuals. In the same vein, if someone orders a cake with “hitler is the best” written on it, the baker would have every right to refuse, as long as they would not make that cake for anyone. It is a case of refusing for one what you would do for another. That is what is illegal. If a bakery does not make genital shaped cakes, that bakery cannot be sued for not making them. It is simply something they do not do. But a place that bakes wedding cakes has to be willing to make wedding cakes for all or they are being discriminatory and breaking the law. If one’s conscious will not allow one to treat all customers as equal, then a new profession might be in order.

    • #497 by Judith K. Loudin on May 19, 2017 - 3:51 pm

      I left organized religion many years ago, too, Bunny! Would love to go to this church because they embody what I envision God and Her commission to be! Maybe we could go together!

    • #498 by Sue Keene on May 19, 2017 - 3:57 pm

      I also would like to know your answer, Peter

    • #499 by Yvonne Satow on May 19, 2017 - 4:07 pm

      I agree with the points that Peter makes in his letter to Franklin Graham but have felt ,along with susie tucker 32451 that the ‘freedom of conscience’ rule has to be applied fairly on both sides. If I were asked to decorate a cake promoting Nazi values, I would, I hope, refuse. Few of us are consistent in these things and it’s significant that Jesus said that getting into His kingdom (and being a faithful citizen), is as hard as getting a camel through the eye of a needle. The best we can do is to accept His love, make Him our Lord and love others as he loves-even those whom we disagree.

    • #500 by soleil2020 on May 19, 2017 - 4:12 pm

      susietucker32451, one needs to use moral reasoning. If the material ( posters, or whatever) is designed to harm others or promote hatred, racism etc, then a person could decide not to participate. Baking a cake for a loving, gay couple is NOT harming anyone. So, maybe you thought you were on to something, but, nah. Good try.

    • #501 by Joseph Dockle on May 19, 2017 - 4:13 pm

      There’s a difference between baking a cake for a gay couple and printing flyers for a hate group. The gay couple isn’t advocating bigotry and hate. In fact, they aren’t advocating anything. They’re just living their lives. The hate group is actively advocating its malignant belief that certain people are to be treated as vermin. If you can’t see the difference, then the problem lies in you, not Pastor Peter.

      I grew up in a conservative family. Gay relationships had no place in my upbringing. But on becoming an adult, I gradually learned tolerance for views that, although they run counter to my upbringing, actually do me no harm. I want others to have tolerance for me. If I’m to receive tolerance, then who am I to deny it to others? As long as others do no harm, I can live peacefully with them.

      Personally, I think the proper definition of a conservative should include the idea that one doesn’t endlessly pry into other people’s personal lives.

    • #502 by mark_of_naz on May 19, 2017 - 4:21 pm

      Susie, that’s an important — and good — question. The difference between not accepting the business of someone who want to print a poster for a group with whom you do not agree ideologically and the baker who does not want to bake for the gay couple is that it is illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. On the other hand, racists are not a protected class. So by law, if you wanted to say, no I will not print your poster because I disagree with your views, that’s legal. I won’t print your posters because you’re gay — not legal. The baker does not have to bake a cake with a swastika on it for the gay couple… as long as he would not bake it for the straight couple either.

    • #503 by pruzoo on May 19, 2017 - 4:29 pm

      Good question, I thought the letter was rather condescending.

    • #504 by rowan77 on May 19, 2017 - 4:45 pm

      Well, I think I may take a stab at that. Making a wedding cake for a private ceremony where only the people alrady invited and going will eat is, is hardly comparable to the printing and spreading of racist, hateful rhetoric to the general population at large (as opposed to printing only for the few members of the Westboro congregation) with publicly distributed flyers, banners and posters. The former is also spreading the idea of love, through cake. The latter is spreading hate through words and visuals.

    • #505 by rex bullington on May 19, 2017 - 4:45 pm

      The motivation, purpose, and actions of racial supremacy and hate-spouting “churches” cannot and will not be compared to the concepts of love and acceptance. Your comparison is deeply flawed and misguided; people buying a wedding cake or celebrating a marriage aren’t doing so to in order to hate or condemn someone else. It’s about purpose and reason. We – as a society – condemn that which is hurtful, hateful, or malicious – not things of which we “do not approve.” (Although, it is still confusing to me why so many people are concerned about relationships that do not concern them between loving and consenting adults)

    • #506 by Carl Fuglein on May 19, 2017 - 4:48 pm

      Excellent point, ssie

    • #507 by Vivi Schenk on May 19, 2017 - 5:03 pm

      While a wedding cake does not harm third parties (except it is poisened or rotten, which I hope is not the thing expected to happen in American bakeries) flyers or posters etc. of radical groups will. They call for discrimination, spread hate and insult those the radicals do not like. So, there is a difference, don´t you think? I am second pastor in a village in Switzerland (near Heidi´s place, the real Heidiland). In case a group known for racist propaganda would ask for rental of the church hall for a meeting, I´d of course refuse. If their leader had an accident and the family was in distress, I´d visit them as I would anyone else. If he was to get married, I´d prepare the ceremony with as much time and effort as for anybody else in the congregation. But if his friends tried to use the church ceremony for political messages of hateful content, I´d send them out of the church. You get my point? As a baker, he could buy bread and stuff, and I´d prepare a cake, though I´d refuse certain symbols. I would never hang out posters. But of course all “normal” service would be available with no discrimination.

    • #508 by John Margerum on May 19, 2017 - 5:05 pm

      The Good Lord gave is common sense as well as moral foundation. You have compared printing hate flyers, etc to baking a wedding cake to celebrate a union of love. What do you think Christ would tell you? You also are not breaking the law by not printing material you feel is hateful, and you are breaking the law if you discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation. I could go on, but COMMON SENSE is the key, and prayer is the answer, but the law is the law. Amen

    • #509 by Recovering Church Member on May 19, 2017 - 5:07 pm

      I used to be heavily involved in large scale printing. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the same company that churned out hundreds of thousands of Bibles for companies like Zondervan, also printed the fabulously graphic monthly issues of Hustler magazine. So next time you pick up your NIV, or your genuine word of God Thompson Study Bible in the King James Version, reflect that those pages you so fondly caress may have been printed by the very same people who printed Hustler’s graphic pornographic imagery of things like multiple people simultaneously inserting multiple objects into multiple orifices.

      At the same time, I wonder at the mind that could equate a cupcake with the deranged hate speech of members of Westboro Baptist Church. That’s quite a stretch, Susie. Perhaps you believe in transubstantiation, and that wedding cupcakes also become the body and blood of your Lord Jesus Christ?

      It’s impossible to be in any business in America these days without frequently accepting money from, or giving money to, people whose morality, religion, and politics are different, even in conflict with our own. Clearly then, unless you are Amish or something of the sort, you have learned to compromise. We all draw our own lines, but I’ll be darned (as it were) if I can see the parallel between baking cupcakes for a gay couple wanting to commit publicly to a loving marriage, and helping hate groups like Westboro Baptist spread their filth. I presume you get your milk from Christian cows?

    • #510 by Rinsel on May 19, 2017 - 5:19 pm

      Don’t worry. He is not going to reply. Notice he only recognizes someone if they express his views or wants to drop by his church.

    • #511 by Heather J on May 19, 2017 - 5:28 pm

      Easy. Hate speech isn’t protected by the first amendment, and those who engage in it arent a protected class.

    • #512 by Susan on May 19, 2017 - 5:41 pm

      Those two groups you just mentioned are hate groups…big difference!

    • #513 by nnathur on May 19, 2017 - 6:03 pm

      @SuzieTucker- Under the constitution individuals are protected from being discriminated against for their religion, gender, race, age, nation of origin, citizenship, disability, pregnancy, familial status. I don’t think the law prohibits you from saying “no” to bigotry. Bigots are not a protected class.

    • #514 by Cos Tang on May 19, 2017 - 6:08 pm

      If that Klansman came to my print shop to print out something that other customers also regularly ordered, perhaps a hundred copies of a flier for a lost dog, I would have no reason to deny them. The gay couple was not asking them to bake a massive penis-shaped cake or to decorate it with slogans hateful or demeaning to others. They simply wanted the SAME TREATMENT AS EVERYONE ELSE! Bake the same damn cake that you baked for the last hundred couples.

    • #515 by glendasings on May 19, 2017 - 6:13 pm

      Susie, white supremacists and the Westboro Baptist church are recognized under law as hate groups. There are separate laws that allow businesses to decline services that are illegal, so a print shop could in fact legally decline.

      Wedding cakes, however, are about love, and they are legal 🙂

    • #516 by Mike Maloney on May 19, 2017 - 6:28 pm

      Baking a cake will not cause harm to any person, nor make them change their sexual preference. Printing flyers and posters for a hate group would contribute to that groups ability to spread it’s hatred. The two acts are not comparable.

    • #517 by Erin Sullivan on May 19, 2017 - 6:33 pm

      Are you really comparing the baking of a cake to the dissemination of hate speech?!

    • #518 by Grett on May 19, 2017 - 6:38 pm

      If they were printing Hate literature then yes – it would be the law to refuse to produce it. but if they were producing materials that were not promoting hate crimes (like advertising a neighbourhood BBQ) then no problem.

    • #519 by Jenny on May 19, 2017 - 6:59 pm

      The difference is that the law forbids discrimination on the basis of unchangeable characteristics such as race, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. (These are called protected classes.) You can’t refuse service to a black person just because she’s black, for example. Likewise, you can’t refuse service to a gay person just because he’s gay.

      White supremacy is not in a protected class, so it’s not discrimination to turn away the KKK’s business.

    • #520 by Anthony-HHH on May 19, 2017 - 7:07 pm

      A cake is not something that attempts to influence people to hate others. Gay people wanting to be married is not a demonstration of hate, but a demonstration of love and commitment… but refusing to bake a cake for them, or to allow them in your church, or calling them names… those things are hate-filled, and nowhere near what Christ taught when on Earth.

      Loving others and treating them with respect, caring for them… these are Christ’s values, not just Pastor Peter’s values.

      It’s too bad that your mindset is stuck in the Old Testament, and has never been freed from that by the Love of Christ.

    • #521 by Bruce on May 19, 2017 - 7:18 pm

      That’s not analogous. A printer can refuse to print hateful materials. A baker can refuse to bake a lewd cake. What they can’t do is refuse to prepare the same product they willingly prepare for others.

    • #522 by Denise on May 19, 2017 - 7:25 pm

      I am far from Pastor Peter, but I will tell you that I think that Jesus’s saying that we should render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s fits here. In this case the laws that discrimination is not allowed are “Caesar” so in the public sphere, you serve the public. Hopefully you can do it in such a way so as to influence the haters to move beyond their hatreds. If you shut them out, there is no chance to treat them as your neighbor.

    • #523 by Garth on May 19, 2017 - 7:34 pm

      Great question, Susie. Dietrich Bonhoeffer faced the same issue on an incomparably more serious level in Nazi Germany. To over-simplify an impressive theologian’s thinking, he believed his faith demanded he should be involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler, while he remained firmly opposed to taking another’s life. He accepted the consequences of the law of the land when captured, but remained clear in his resolve. In lesser issues (no cake no matter how many calories was even responsible for a holocaust), I have come to understand that when our conscience or our faith requires us to break the law, we usually also need to be willing to pay the price and accept the consequences. So if I was a printer, i would almost certainly refuse to publicise anyone promoting hate and intimidation. And to ‘prove’ how strong my beliefs actually were, I would need to be ready to face any legal consequences – which in this case, while I dont live in that jurisdiction, I suspect there isnt any. (BTW, personally, I wouldn’t have any objections printing wedding invites for someone who happened to be a member of Westbrook Baptist, but I could not print a flyer promoting hate or for an event promoting hate.) I hope this response is received in the spirit in which it is intended, as we struggle to be faithful followers of Jesus.

    • #524 by Jeanmarie (Simpson) Bishop on May 19, 2017 - 7:38 pm

      I can’t speak for Peter, but I can speak to the question that he addressed in his letter. Non-discrimination is the law. It’s about civil rights. If one of Peter’s congregants didn’t want to print hate speech, that would not be breaking the law. Not serving people based on the gender of their mates of choice IS breaking the law. And, as Peter pointed out at eloquent length, it is un-Christian behavior.

    • #525 by Anon et al on May 19, 2017 - 7:41 pm

      If you own a for profit business, you cannot discriminate on the basis of a person’s legally protected characteristics, and that is the real lynchpin here. Those cake bakers owned a business in a state where the specific type of discrimination at issue is illegal. Without that law, there would not have been that judgment.

      A for-profit business cannot refuse to print a pamphlet simply because the customer belongs to the Westboro church – that’s religious discrimination. They can, however, refuse to print for a person based on the person’s membership in a nonreligious white supremacy group, because that is not a protected classification (that I’m aware of). The business can also have a neutral policy against printing hate speech that applies equally to all religions, and all races, and all sexual orientations, and that policy will not run afoul of discrimination laws. But if the Westboro congregant wants birthday invitations printed, that person is entitled to not be refused just because the store owner doesn’t like the customer’s religious affiliation.

      If you bake wedding cakes as a business, you have to bake them for people of every race and for interracial marriages, even if your religious beliefs would otherwise encourage or even require racial discrimination – which many self-proclaimed Christians in former times claimed, by the way. You also may not refuse to bake cakes on the basis of the couple’s religious beliefs, or for inter-religious marriages. It’s the exact same principle here. If you bake wedding cakes in a state that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, you may not refuse to bake a cake on the sole grounds of the sexual orientation of the couple.

    • #526 by Debbie on May 19, 2017 - 7:48 pm

      Carol, if you live by what Jesus preached, you would print the information and then try to minister to these people. The Bible says, it’s not our place to judge. The Bible doesn’t preach freedom of what you decide to do.

    • #527 by C Tyler Storm on May 19, 2017 - 8:10 pm

      Not in the slightest. It is my job to make flyers, banners, etc. I am responsible only for the quality of my work, not the content of the flyer. You see, that is what being in business is all about. I provide a service, and the public who chooses to use my service pays me a fee for it. I can turn around and donate all the money those white supremacists paid me to a black rights charity if I was so inclined, which is my right, just as a wedding cake baker can donate the proceeds from a same sex couple to some organizations that work to make same sex marriage illegal.

      I am a disabled Army veteran, and I didn’t refuse to fight to protect the rights of those I disagree with…quite the opposite, actually. You may call me whatever disgusting term you can think of and teach your children that I am some sort of pervert…that’s your right. I don’t agree with you, but I would still fight to the death to defend your right to say, and teach your children as you please. You seem to believe that your religious beliefs should be considered above someone else’s civil rights. You forget that your rights end at the tip of my nose. Bottom line, if you choose to open a business, you must do business with the public…ALL of the public.

      • #528 by Donna Raagas on May 20, 2017 - 4:14 am

        I see a lot of responses that contain objections to your analogy. As a matter of fact, it’s not really an analogy, is it? You’re stating a principle of business. The people who are critiquing your example are projecting their own values in the same way as the bakers and the florists, but for some reason, they believe their values are “correct”. I like your business model, sir. I believe it reflects your military service and your defense of our country’s Bill of Rights for ALL, not just for those you agree with.

    • #529 by Tim McGeary on May 19, 2017 - 8:18 pm

      That print would be about hate the cake is about love, bad analogy

    • #531 by A L Wakeley on May 19, 2017 - 8:19 pm

      An individual couple ordering a cake for a private event is a far cry from spewing hate and harm in flyers via “Westboro style. Taking the motive into account cannot be overstated here.

    • #532 by Rick on May 19, 2017 - 8:24 pm

      There is a distinct difference in discriminating based on a couples sexual orientation and a violent group promoting hate. If you find a couple of gay guys wanting you to bake them cupcakes for their weekly lynching of African Americans feel free to refuse.

    • #533 by Chris Whitehouse on May 19, 2017 - 8:59 pm

      False analogy. Required to do a printing job with objectionable text would be the equivalent of baking a cake with gay pornography in the icing. But this never happened. It’s was just a cake.

      A true analogy would be for the printer to refuse to do a perfectly normal print job because those who ordered it had been divorced. You can’t do that.

    • #534 by Pastor David on May 19, 2017 - 9:02 pm

      Susietucker: I think it would indeed cause some “drama” within the conscious of the printer, but as Pastor Peter points out there are laws within our legal system that prohibit discrimination for businesses who provide a service for the ‘public’ and everyone is part of the public regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation or self identity, etc. And there are laws against ‘Hate Speech’ so it would depend on the request.
      Now if the ‘printer’ provided a specific service such as printing flyers, posters and banners for Little League sporting events only, then they could refuse to print materiel outside of that criteria. But they still couldn’t refuse to print Little League sporting event material for the Westboro Baptist church little league verses the White Supremacist little league game.
      We all have to follow the laws that pertain to our business venture or those that affect our daily lives.

    • #535 by dlviles on May 19, 2017 - 9:03 pm

      Susietucker: I think it would indeed cause some “drama” within the conscious of the printer, but as Pastor Peter points out there are laws within our legal system that prohibit discrimination for businesses who provide a service for the ‘public’ and everyone is part of the public regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation or self identity, etc. And there are laws against ‘Hate Speech’ so it would depend on the request.
      Now if the ‘printer’ provided a specific service such as printing flyers, posters and banners for Little League sporting events only, then they could refuse to print materiel outside of that criteria. But they still couldn’t refuse to print Little League sporting event material for the Westboro Baptist church little league verses the White Supremacist little league game.
      We all have to follow the laws that pertain to our business venture or those that affect our daily lives.

    • #536 by Brian on May 19, 2017 - 9:06 pm

      Read his letter again. The answer seems fairly obvious. If it breaks the law, then tough shit for your personal feelings. You do it. If not, you shouldn’t be in business. It’s literally that simple.

    • #537 by Latoya on May 19, 2017 - 9:39 pm

      Susietucker32451 You read what you wanted from Peter’s letter. What I understood him as saying is that you do not break the law but more important is that you show love even to those racists, white supremists etc. If I am hired by a company and what I am being asked to do is immoral or illegal, then I am not obligated to do it. What I have done as a black woman dealing with racists who do business at my work place is add that extra bit of love and engage them in conversation and sometimes even have the guts to ask why they choose hate over love and in some cases they leave and I feel we connected or sometimes not but I pray that whatever kindness I show them and the love demonstrated to them = mind you it has to be the love of God because on my own I could not love them = but I pray that my actions will be their conscious and that it will remain with them until they change their ways or that it simply brings them to become closer to God through me letting my light shine

  210. #538 by Carol from Canada on May 19, 2017 - 1:09 pm

    The Billy Graham style God-Business is another reason why organized religion & I parted ways decades ago. ….Self-aggrandizing money making machines that are Far too political to be spiritual anymore…UGH..
    Keep the faith “small town pastor”….you’ve figured out what the Big Boys haven’t…it’s all about kindness, love and spirituality….and that’s it… If I didn’t live so far away, I just might be on the footstep to hear your preaching.
    Illegitimus non Carborundum

    • #539 by K Kunan on May 19, 2017 - 2:24 pm

      susie tucker, If that printer lived in a community which required all businesses to sign a non-discrimination agreement in exchange for a business license, then that printer either prints what is requested, or goes out of business. You want to own a business, you get to take the bad with the good. Your personal religious beliefs simply do not come in to play when dealing in the secular world of business.

    • #540 by jon on May 19, 2017 - 4:21 pm

      There is a huge difference between printing material that is clearly offensive, harmful and dangerous to baking a wedding cake. Really, you’re comparing two totally different things. We must put into perspective what is being asked of to the business owner and into our counter arguments.

    • #541 by william Toth on May 19, 2017 - 4:37 pm

      I left the Catholic Church two years ago for the same reasons you cite, Carol. What I see is not Christianity. It is BIG business and political manipulation run wild.

    • #542 by Julie on May 19, 2017 - 8:13 pm

      I do have to say, that Billy Graham, in no way taught like Franklin. Billy’s only message is to find Jesus and find life. He taught absolutely no politics and was a huge factor in my coming to understand Jesus as a child. Franklin’s sister Anne does not do any politics in her email devotional either.

      • #543 by Freddy Clements on May 21, 2017 - 1:50 pm

        I often find myself so angry when I hear Franklin put words into his father’s mouth! The last interview I read with Billy, they wanted to pin him down on gay marriage and relationships. Billy said that he had to many issues of his own to worry about and that was an issue between other individuals and God….

  211. #544 by Donnie Stephens on May 19, 2017 - 1:10 pm

    A great man without money.I agree with the Pastor.We feel alone sometimes when folks talk how God sent a man.Who never knew Christ.We pray for you to stay strong and in prayer.God bless you.Please keep telling it like it is!

  212. #545 by Jan on May 19, 2017 - 1:11 pm

    Maybe it’s because I am 70 and see things from a different perspective, but the country and the Christian community of 2017 is not the country or the church I grew up in and loved. Thank you for your words of healing and love.

    • #546 by John on May 19, 2017 - 2:12 pm

      I’m not even 50 and don’t recognize it either. Fundamentalism has taken over the hearts and minds. Too bad, because ‘modern’ Christianity was a largely humanitarian movement. See Hans Kung, liberation theology, etc. Not sure how we got to here…

    • #547 by william Toth on May 19, 2017 - 4:35 pm

      me either, Jan. Both are very different now.

  213. #548 by John on May 19, 2017 - 1:11 pm

    Wow! I had to read this twice. Renee’s my faith in love and Goodwill to all good people. Men and women.

  214. #549 by Chad on May 19, 2017 - 1:11 pm

    Bravo, Pastor Peter. Your thoughtful and insightful word reminds me very much of Shane Claiborne. Well done, sir.

  215. #550 by Marg Barnes on May 19, 2017 - 1:12 pm

    Excellent piece. I am no longer “conventionally
    Religious”, but I agree with what you are saying 100%. This is what I was taught growing up.
    Thank you! Well said.

    • #551 by william Toth on May 19, 2017 - 4:35 pm

      that has happened to so many of us, Marg. The problem with “religion” is that Jesus never intended for “organized religion.” No, that was Constantine who used the “church” to gain political advantage (that story about the blazing cross in the sky is just that, a story) and changed the “Catholic” (universal) church into the Roman Catholic Church. That became a political and military entity and resulted in things like the Crusades, the reformation, the council of trent, the Inquisition (ask Galileo about them!) and other horrors I won’t have space to mention. Christianity was meant, I am convinced, to be a way of living, not a long set of rules to follow, over seen by a machiavellian hierarchy.

  216. #552 by Marc Morris on May 19, 2017 - 1:12 pm

    Thank you. That is all I have to say, really. This is the conversation I’ve been trying to have with my evangelical friends for over a decade. They have lost their way and I pity them, I do but more so I pity the rest of us who suffer the harms they perpetrate in the name of the man they call Christ but so very much isn’t.

    • #553 by A friend on May 19, 2017 - 3:37 pm

      Agree with you and feel the same.

  217. #554 by Susan B on May 19, 2017 - 1:12 pm

    Beautiful response, Peter. Amen and Amen!

  218. #555 by Monica Wells on May 19, 2017 - 1:14 pm

    Well said. So hard to find the Christ in Christian these days.

  219. #556 by 2peasinapodandafixerupper on May 19, 2017 - 1:15 pm

    I want to attend the church you preach in………….please send the address! The church of love…………………….

    • #557 by revolsen on May 19, 2017 - 1:50 pm

      Tlcbogotanj.org Would love for you to drop in!

  220. #558 by Margaret Pendragon on May 19, 2017 - 1:16 pm

    Thank you for this. I have grown skeptical, derisive, and scornful of what seems to pass for Christianity these days, and it has led me to leave the Church altogether. I want nothing to do with this machine that oppresses people. It is nothing like the Book from which I was taught to read when I was young child. Reading this, penned by a pastor, no less, gives me some faith and reminds me that not all is as it appears on the surface. Perhaps there is hope for the faithful yet.

  221. #559 by Patricia D Hoye on May 19, 2017 - 1:16 pm

    Bravo and Amen.

    • #560 by Jay Rasco on May 19, 2017 - 3:57 pm

      The earth was dark through misapprehension of God. That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satan’s deceptive power was to be broken. This could not be done by force. The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of Satan. This work only one Being in all the universe could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known. Upon the world’s dark night the Sun of Righteousness must rise, “with healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2.

  222. #561 by Marie Crawford on May 19, 2017 - 1:16 pm

    Thank you for this reply..so upset with my friends who send me his blasphemy..i loved his father’s messages but his are not right.

  223. #562 by A christian on May 19, 2017 - 1:18 pm

    On what planet where you born or which version of the bible are you trying twist to fit your own personal beliefs? No great wonder why your church is so small.

    • #563 by Bob on May 19, 2017 - 2:03 pm

      learn to use proper word choice, imbecile. [ you meant to write, ” on what planet were you born…”

    • #564 by S Hartless on May 19, 2017 - 2:06 pm

      My sentiments, exactly! Well put.

    • #565 by Charlie Pace on May 19, 2017 - 2:45 pm

      Not the hateful one you occupy, clearly.

    • #566 by Sue on May 19, 2017 - 2:54 pm

      The greatest commandment is to love God and love one another. This pastor sounds like he gets it. And small is a matter of opinion.

    • #567 by gadgetdon on May 19, 2017 - 2:56 pm

      I suspect it’s the version of the Bible that has the Beatitudes in it. That has Jesus saying “What you did for the least of these, you did for me”.

    • #568 by Scott Fagerstrom on May 19, 2017 - 3:53 pm

      Written by “a Christian.” How utterly brave of you.

    • #569 by Ruairi MacRae on May 19, 2017 - 4:02 pm

      Wow, you are why he wrote this. If it offends you. You are the problem.

    • #570 by David childress on May 19, 2017 - 4:13 pm

      What an ugly and vindictive comment to such a spiritual and loving pastor. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    • #571 by gptobin on May 19, 2017 - 4:32 pm

      How dare you claim to be “a Christian.” By your comment, you are anything but.

    • #572 by mvbirdie57 on May 19, 2017 - 5:10 pm

      Another nasty “so called Christian”.

    • #573 by Keith Rasey on May 19, 2017 - 5:47 pm

      Jesus had very few followers, according to the Bible, at the end. You have conflated marketing with evangelization. The prosperity Gospel preachers have the most followers but that does not mean their version of the Gospel represents Jesus of Nazareth. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer noted, when Christ calls a “man” (sic), he calls him to die!

    • #574 by ND69 on May 19, 2017 - 6:12 pm

      please inform us as to what your bible says, because mine matches up his…..

    • #575 by Anthony-HHH on May 19, 2017 - 7:02 pm

      The size of a church is no measure of how correct a person’s beliefs are. Christ only chose 12 disciples. If you disagree with Pastor Peter here, I am sure it is YOU who is twisting the words of the Bible. I feel sorry for you, but you are absolutely wrong.

    • #576 by Gerald Mathis on May 19, 2017 - 7:25 pm

      God said, ” Where two or three are gathered together IN MY NAME, THERE WILL I BE ALSO.”
      So God himself doesn’t say that you have to have a large congregation in order to truly worship him, because HE WILL STILL BE THERE FOR THOSE WHO TRULY BELIEVE IN HIM AND HIS SON JESUS CHRIST WHO HE SENT TO EARTH THAT ALL MANKIND COULD BE SAVED THROUGH THE BLOOD OF HIS SON.

    • #577 by Marilyn on May 19, 2017 - 7:45 pm

      Please explain your comment to Pastor Peter. If you are a born again Christian it will be easy to understand his words, what he says is the ttuth.

    • #578 by rickwion on May 19, 2017 - 7:50 pm

      That’s a very Christian response.

    • #579 by Another Christian on May 19, 2017 - 7:59 pm

      What points do you believe to be ‘twisted’? Disagreeing without sharing your specific points of disagreement don’t help you make a point. Pastor Peter’s beliefs and perspective actually are shared by many Christians from both large & small church’s as well as those that have left organized religion due to the hypocrisy shown there.

    • #580 by Julie on May 19, 2017 - 8:18 pm

      The Bible does not teach politics but Franklin Graham does. It does not tell us to divide our love between politicians and the Lord. Go back to what Franklin’s dad taught and you will see real faith. I do believe that God hates politics and that many of you (I don’t know you, so won’t say it’s you) use politics as your religion.

    • #581 by Stephanie on May 19, 2017 - 8:51 pm

      Frankly I hear nothing but an arrogant, self righteous haughty spirit!
      I’m all for loving and caring for people even if they aren’t believers but if I do that to make me look good it’s all for naught.
      True love is tough!! Jesus portrayed that!
      As a “Pastor” I would think you knew about the Sovereign God of this Universe. The only true God!
      If you ck Revelations the enemy has no power except that which God permits.
      So Mr. Graham speaks of the Sovereign God! Because he is a Believer and KNOWS the scripture thats where He is coming from that God allowed Mr Trump to win. Now, I wondered why He didn’t allow any of the professing Christians who were candidates to win. I heard many of them give their testimony of their salvation experience. God has another plan and we must trust Him always when we don’t understand. I’m grateful Trump won! There are some things he could improve on but he is willing to listen to Pastors who love the Lord and want to protect the freedom to preach the Word! He is protecting Pastors who revere the Lord God Almighty. Who teach Truth! It would have been a travesty for America for men of God to be silenced and thats where we seemed to have been going. It bothers you that a homosexual was mistreated but does / did it raise the hair on your back to see the Mayor of a huge city making efforts to shut Pastors up who were preaching the Word because it offended!! Gods Word is offensive to the unbeliever!
      God isn’t just a God of love that JUST exudes rose colored glasses type of love. Whether it’s judgment or loving the unlovely His action is ALL based from love. He alone knows the heart and while you made fun of Mr Grahams knowing Gods sovereignty, you put yourself on God’s throne and judged Mr Grahams heart. You seem to begrudge the rich and loathe your position of wealth in this life. Remember it’s ALL Gods money! So He KNOWS who to entrust all things to ! Whether money or the protector of the Gospel! Those of us who are Believers are wealthier than all the money we have and dont have. We are children of the King! Of we don’t like what we have been dealt then take it up with Him! If you don’t like people who have a lot take it up with Him!
      I urge you to be a Pastor who face to face, not on the media where you can say anything, would sit down and try to listen and hear Mr Grahams heart! Maybe Mr Graham can even receive wisdom from a small town Pastor. I think he could and vice versa. Remember what Paul taught Timothy that he had to learn, know the Truth and carry the Truth of the gospel and not sway from it no matter his age. He had to be bold when it came to Truth no matter if it was to the elder or to young me, older women or whoever! Not arrogant, not self serving, but because of Christ who came for all sinners. Paul mentored Him and entrusted the true gospel to continue to all!
      But remember in The Old Testament God didnt like the high places to remain…..He required them to tear them down and when they didn’t there were consequences to their choices. We must do the same! Deception is powerful and especially if you don’t know what you are up against! And if you try to do it on your own without the power of the Holy Spirit!
      The High Places are within our hearts , those that go against the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. And we need to do all we can to continue to fight for that freedom. If God allowed a strong personality as Pres Trump has He will use it for His purpose! He is the One who turns the hearts of Kings and Rulers to perform His will and His purpose! He will most assuredly use big churches and small churches……but not the buildings but the people who ARE the Church!

      • #582 by Jana on May 20, 2017 - 1:35 am

        “Because he is a Believer and KNOWS the scripture thats where He is coming from that God allowed Mr Trump to win.” By this reasoning, it was also God’s plan for Barak Obama and Bill Clinton to win. However, I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that you didn’t feel their presidencies were “God-approved”. I actually heard a pastor say that Clinton was the antichrist…and years later say that, while Obama wasn’t the antichrist, he was “ushering in” the antichrist (well, maybe he wasn’t too off-base on that one, in light of our current state of affairs….) I know it’s tempting and comforting to put the “God seal of approval” on a politician that agrees with our temporal political views, but that seems a bit like creating God in our image, instead of the other way around.

      • #583 by Angie 'Odem' Wyrick on May 20, 2017 - 1:48 am

        Amen! This was so well thought out. I also heard a self righteous spirit speaking in that article.

      • #584 by Don Dillingham on May 21, 2017 - 2:39 pm

        Finally, a believer in the sovereignty of our loving God!

    • #585 by Glenn on May 19, 2017 - 8:56 pm

      Amen!

      • #586 by Sharry on May 19, 2017 - 9:43 pm

        Amen….

        Buy the way a true man of God will not be afraid of objection.
        Thank you for blocking my comments !!! You just proved you are not for God but for yourself as I suggested… Again try to read to Bible one more time with open mind and heart….
        There is still hope for you….

      • #587 by Susan Bradbury on May 20, 2017 - 8:50 am

        Amen and amen

    • #588 by Brian on May 19, 2017 - 9:11 pm

      What’s the matter? His version doesn’t allow you enough wiggle room to be a bigoted, judgmental prick? Sounds like his version is a lot closer to what Jesus would want than yours, apparently.

    • #589 by meatman945 on May 20, 2017 - 5:22 am

      where 2 or three are joined together.Jesus said, there I will be also.

    • #590 by Sonya Wood on May 21, 2017 - 2:59 pm

      Thank you for your response, “A christian.” In my opinion, Peter is egotistical and quite condescending. And I’m sorry, but if the bakery owners refused to make the wedding cake for the gay couple, that is their right. Many businesses have signs on the door saying they have the right to refuse service to anyone, and for whatever reason. The Bible plainly says that homosexuality is an abomination. Period. My mother always said to beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. I think that’s what Peter is.

  224. #591 by cdwarika on May 19, 2017 - 1:20 pm

    Wonderful.Thanks for having the courage and articulation in your article.

    • #592 by K Kunan on May 19, 2017 - 2:26 pm

      A christian, I think it would behoove you to read your bible again, especially all the things that Jesus said…and what beliefs were twisted?

    • #593 by Leslie on May 19, 2017 - 6:42 pm

      You apparently have no idea how a christian is supposed to live and act. Your comment is rude!

  225. #594 by Virginia Pickens on May 19, 2017 - 1:20 pm

    I Agree 100% with you. Thank God Hillary’s not our president.

    • #595 by Dutchess on May 19, 2017 - 3:31 pm

      You used Jesus as a tool of hate in that sentence .. Exactly what Pastor Peter is talking about.

    • #596 by Peter Degenhardt on May 19, 2017 - 4:51 pm

      Did you even read the letter? There are none so blind as those who will not see………..

    • #597 by mvbirdie57 on May 19, 2017 - 5:11 pm

      Whaaat???*

    • #598 by ALA on May 19, 2017 - 7:46 pm

      You’re insane. God would have voted fir Hillary warts and all. Nobody, but evil, heartless, corrupt, ignorant, racist, bigoted, fear – mongering people voted for Trump. Anyone claiming to be Christian who voted for Trump, has greatly lost their “Christian” way.

    • #599 by Debbie on May 19, 2017 - 7:50 pm

      Your comment does not belong here, it shows you have no clue what Christianity is.

    • #600 by Linda Brown on May 19, 2017 - 7:55 pm

      But, #26, Trump, who said he has NOTHING for which he needs to ask God’s forgiveness IS our president. Do you approve of Trump and his actions? If so, why?

    • #601 by Glenn on May 19, 2017 - 8:58 pm

      Amen!

      • #602 by gptobin on May 19, 2017 - 10:41 pm

        You saying that God would have voted for Trump? The philanderer, 2 Corinthians, draft-dodging pathological liar. How dare you? Comment at fedupwithdonaldtrump.com.

  226. #603 by N. Goodman on May 19, 2017 - 1:21 pm

    Just made a copy of this for my Bible! This is true Christianity!

    • #604 by Sandy Morrison on May 19, 2017 - 8:27 pm

      LOL did you not read the same thing I read…lol. WOW!!!

      • #605 by Sandy Morrison on May 19, 2017 - 8:29 pm

        I’m sorry my comment was meant for Virginia Pickens.

  227. #606 by Mary on May 19, 2017 - 1:25 pm

    I believe I recall something about Jesus driving the money lenders and sacrifice merchants out of God’s temple. I think Jesus is nodding agreement with Pastor Peter’s Words, here. 🌈❤️

  228. #607 by Drucilla Brookshire on May 19, 2017 - 1:25 pm

    As a Christian who’s struggling with even attending church right now precisely because of this faux-Christianity, thank you.

  229. #608 by Kim on May 19, 2017 - 1:26 pm

    Frank’s God and my God, Frank’s idea of church and my idea of church, and Frank’s idea of explemplifying Christ and my idea of exemplifying Christ could not be more dissimilar. Thank you for your words.

    • #609 by Debbie on May 19, 2017 - 7:56 pm

      Read the Bible, Frank’s telling it like it is. Your words are sounding like the Jews before they were captured by Nebechanezzer. They fought againts all that GOD asked of them, so they were punished.

  230. #610 by Molly watson on May 19, 2017 - 1:27 pm

    I loved this! I want to go to your small church but I think the rector of the small church we attend would miss us. Thank you for helping to bring Christianity and church going back to where it belongs and away from the crazy politics of the far right. Good luck.

  231. #611 by Nora C. Davenport on May 19, 2017 - 1:27 pm

    Wow oh wow, how I love thi!!!!! Now that “small church” pastor has got it 10000% right!!!! I really am in awe for this “true” pastor standing up for what really IS right and “true” Christianity……not the “mega church billionaire” Franklin Graham, who I feel has truly lost his way (nothing like his Dad, Billy Graham!). It makes me thankful that there still are “real” Christian pastors around…….thanks so much, Peter….God bless you….you’re truly a “breath of fresh air!”

  232. #612 by irma.garcia@grandecom.net on May 19, 2017 - 1:27 pm

    Excellent observation and explanation of christianity. These are my thoughts exactly, but you articulated them objectively, with biblical references. Our Savior would have been considered a radical in his time. It was his great love for the lost that turned many around from death to eternal life. What are we doing-drawing people to him or pushing them away? Mr Graham has much to,learn, he has become too political, not at all like his father whose main concern was to take the “good news” to the masses. God bless you and your ministry.

  233. #613 by Dan McNabb on May 19, 2017 - 1:29 pm

    And when they perceived that he was speaking of them , they sought to kill him . .

  234. #614 by David Limbaugh on May 19, 2017 - 1:31 pm

    Thank You for writing this! You feel the same way I do. I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church during the 1960s in Alabama. We had some great Sunday School teachers. http://www.limbaughlooper2016.com/i-thought-christians-were-supposed-to-honor-and-witness-for-christ.html

  235. #615 by ylfrith on May 19, 2017 - 1:31 pm

    Reblogged this on Pots, Pans and Proverbs.

  236. #616 by Candy Hendrix on May 19, 2017 - 1:32 pm

    Peter, seems like you’re judging here! Since you seem to quote the Bible so much, you must know what it says about judging!

    Since Franklin Graham has a platform in which he can use to reach so many, I believe God is using him. We need to hear this!

    You seem somewhat jealous of how God uses Franklin.

    • #617 by Michael Purnell on May 19, 2017 - 1:59 pm

      That you think jealousy was Peter’s motivation is an indictment of you, not him.

      See what I did there?

      You should still think it through​, rather get trapped by schtick. Franklin has a platform because of his dad, not the validity of his teaching, which is often fearful and hateful.

    • #618 by Donald Day on May 19, 2017 - 2:00 pm

      Amen.

    • #619 by CCM on May 19, 2017 - 2:06 pm

      Agree, Candy.

    • #620 by Nema Poole Miller on May 19, 2017 - 2:09 pm

      Candy read your Bible. Are you judging?Graham is off base supporting Trump and holding up for him in his vulgar talk Graham needs to be told what real Christians think about what he is preaching and teaching Peter hit the nail on the head!

    • #621 by S Hartless on May 19, 2017 - 2:10 pm

      Candy, you are so right! Peter also twists Rev. Graham’s words and imputes thoughts and beliefs to Graham that the Rev. may or may not imbrace. Just like the fake news media, “if you can’t come up with something real, then just make something up.”

    • #622 by GarylInda Rocha on May 19, 2017 - 2:14 pm

      agreed

    • #623 by nnathur on May 19, 2017 - 2:24 pm

      You believe God speaks through Franklin Graham and your support for this belief is that he has a large congregation. Hitler was also able “to reach so many”, so perhaps the fact that a lot of people listen to Graham does not mean “God is using him”. Do you have any other reasons for your belief that God is using Graham to send us a message? Do you believe Graham when he says God put Trump in the White House? Why?
      You attack the author personally by calling him “jealous” rather than argue against the points he has made. I would like to know what you think about the content of his message. The author thinks it is hypocritical of Christians to support policies that go against Bible teachings such as taking care of the sick and the poor. So why do you believe that Christians should be able to support these policies? Peter says he does not feel that he is being persecuted as a Christian. Do you feel that you have been persecuted? How?

    • #624 by Donna on May 19, 2017 - 2:44 pm

      Agreed. The language used was very judgemental. Pointing out only the faults and problems assigned to one individual is not helpful or Christian. We all know who you blame, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO BRING MORE PEOPLE TO JESUS? This, this is all you got? God is LOVE.

    • #625 by Sue on May 19, 2017 - 2:56 pm

      Jesus judged us by telling us to follow Him and not the hypocrits.

    • #626 by bobbymac29649 on May 19, 2017 - 2:59 pm

      Candy, did you not read the article and understand what it was saying? Just because someone has a “platform” doesn’t mean what they say is right i.e. Hitler, Mussolini, Kim Jong-un to name a few. Mr. Graham has become a harbinger of hate and ignorance.

    • #627 by Tom on May 19, 2017 - 3:08 pm

      Good point…where there is envy, there is every wicked thing…I detect a root of bitterness in this pastor who is boasting in his own works and judgements or opinions. One should not think to highly of himself lest he be deceived. Just because you might not see beheading type persecutions here in America, there is much persecution of the spirits of all of them that desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus…not to mention sickness and death by spiritual means. A desire to live Godly brings persecution everytime we abandon compromise…no matter where you are.

    • #628 by Nathaniel Aaron Ashby on May 19, 2017 - 3:37 pm

      Reread the article. Please. I will pray that you take it for what it was meant and not a jealous judgement by the author.

    • #629 by Fred_the_Dog on May 19, 2017 - 4:05 pm

      He’s teaching. Sometimes you have to try to show people the right path. You, on the other hand, are definitely judging. Do you think everyone with a platform is being used by God? I guess that would include the Kardashians, then.

    • #630 by Joel on May 19, 2017 - 4:28 pm

      Actually, you are incorrect. We, as Christians are called to judge each other who are within the Church (the body of Christ), but not those who are outside of the Church (non-believers). Those are for God to judge. 1 Corinthians 5:12-13

    • #631 by gptobin on May 19, 2017 - 4:33 pm

      Maybe he doesn’t believe that “God” is using Franklin but that Franklin is using “God.”

    • #632 by Liz Caraway on May 19, 2017 - 4:36 pm

      We are called to judge/be discerning. Peter is not judging Franks salvation but his discernment of the scriptures of which we are ALL to do.

    • #633 by Maureen Madden on May 19, 2017 - 4:46 pm

      Your comment is funny!! Franklin Graham preachers judgment. This is what Peter is using the scriptures to point out to him.
      The Bible is MAN’S interpretation of God’s word. ALL words can be interpreted in differently. That is why we have so many religions. This is exactly how the Lutheran church began. Some parishioners did not like how others were interpreting God’s word and her differently so they begin their own church the Lutheran Church

    • #634 by Peter Degenhardt on May 19, 2017 - 5:09 pm

      I don’t believe for one minute that God is using Franklin to teach this hatred. Not sure what Bible you read, but it’s obviously not the same one that I read. As far as judging, please, Franklin is doing his own judging here, or are you too judgemental to see that?

    • #635 by Janice young on May 19, 2017 - 5:17 pm

      I feel that this SMART ALLECK “small church pastor has awfully large kahunas to talk to Franklin Graham that way! Such a lack of respect! With that hate in his heart, I doubt he’s leading many folks to Jesus! Franklin & his organization do more to minister to the basic needs of human souls in one day than most do in their entire lives!!! Get over yourself, li’l pastor!!

    • #636 by Kontbe Doxt (@KontbeDoxt) on May 19, 2017 - 5:23 pm

      I wonder why this man isn’t penning a letter to Tony Evans. Or Pope Francis.

      • #637 by Steve on May 19, 2017 - 8:00 pm

        I wonder how you know he isn’t

    • #638 by englelong on May 19, 2017 - 6:03 pm

      I think the problem is that people don’t understand the difference between judging and discernment You know the saying, “He has good judgment and is a discerning person?.

    • #639 by Anthony-HHH on May 19, 2017 - 7:10 pm

      If you listen to Franklin Graham’s words with ears of faith, you will hear that he is not being used by God, but by God’s opposite number, to spread hatred and venom. Franklin is not doing God’s work. He is doing Satan’s work. We do need to hear Graham’s words… so we can recognize evil when it is covered over by a thin veneer of Christianity. But we don’t need to heed Graham’s words and do what he suggests, unless you want to follow the Deceiver instead of Jesus.

    • #640 by Marilyn on May 19, 2017 - 7:57 pm

      You are missing the point, Franklin is NOT preaching God’s word. His support of the Republicans and their actions goes against what the Bible teaches us. Pastor Peter was pointing out to Franklin that God tells us to love our neighbor, that does not mean just the occupants of the house next to you on your street. We are to care for the sick, needy, hungry and those less fortunate.

    • #641 by Debbie on May 19, 2017 - 8:07 pm

      He doesn’t sound like he’s judging at all, he’s asking how they can support a platform that is against, the sick, the poor the children, the elders. But, many who follow these TV evangelists don’t see the fleecing that is going on. In the Bible, God asks that the Levites only support him and his sanctuary. They are to live from the thiting or sacrifices brought to the temple, but not to make themselves prosper from working for God. Jesus asked the rich man to give up his wealth to follow him, but he couldn’t, I think the Bible tells us all what God expects, I don’t see any of the TV evangelists following those principals. God is not using Franklin to tell people to support DT, which means these people support passing laws that will hurt the most venerable. If you’re questioning what Peter is writing about, I can only suggest you read the Bible and take some Bible classes, it will help you to understand the Bible’s message.

    • #642 by Nancy on May 19, 2017 - 10:33 pm

      Candy, have you read Matthew 7 lately? Jesus instructed people to examine teachers and leaders to see whether they bore good or bad fruit. It makes sense to judge them, because if you follow, you’ll end up bearing the same fruit.
      Franklin has a platform, like so many other rich men. That means God gave it to him? Look what he’s doing with his platform. It’s disgusting.

      Have you heard what Jesus said about the Pharisees? That they travel half way around the world to win a convert and make that person twice as fit for Hell as they are?

      God isn’t using Franklin. Trump is. But then Franklin is using him too. A real man of God would call him to repentance,and bring healing to his sin-sick soul.

      But Franklin just encourages his lies and arrogance, because Trump has the power to give him what he wants.

    • #643 by Barbara Webb on May 20, 2017 - 1:20 am

      Yup…..quite judgmental, Pastor Pete.

    • #644 by 70pearls on May 21, 2017 - 3:01 am

      I agree with your assessment, Candy! I believe Peter’s open letter is sanctimonious, jealous, judging, self-righteous rhetoric. He needs to apologize and begin by having the decency to call Franklin by his name. I’m wondering why he didn’t call himself “Pete”!
      Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse have ministries world wide. Their Quick Response Team is usually first at the scene of disasters. God bless him and all the good work he does!

      • #645 by Mel Middleton on May 22, 2017 - 11:24 am

        Well said.. Thanks for standing up for the Truth.

  237. #646 by Frank Hartzell on May 19, 2017 - 1:32 pm

    Bless you. It hurts me when this monster calls out the name of Christ to worship the rich and hate the poor.

    • #647 by K Kunan on May 19, 2017 - 1:54 pm

      So, Candy, you appear to be jealous of Peter…and his very simple message. As for your god using Franklin to spiel his religious garbage of fear, loathing and more fear? Don’t think so. I don’t think Franklin has the slightest idea of what Jesus said, or cares. He is no more a christian than his hero, trump.

    • #648 by nnathur on May 19, 2017 - 2:22 pm

      You believe God speaks through Franklin Graham and your support for this belief is that he has a large congregation. Hitler was also able “to reach so many”, so perhaps the fact that a lot of people listen to Graham does not mean “God is using him”. Do you have any other reasons for your belief that God is using Graham to send us a message? Do you believe Graham when he says God put Trump in the White House? Why?
      You attack the author personally by calling him “jealous” rather than argue against the points he has made. I would like to know what you think about the content of his message. The author thinks it is hypocritical of Christians to support policies that go against Bible teachings such as taking care of the sick and the poor. So why do you believe that Christians should be able to support these policies? Peter says he does not feel that he is being persecuted as a Christian. Do you feel that you have been persecuted? How?

    • #649 by Robert Wade Whitmer on May 19, 2017 - 3:13 pm

      then sadly you didn’t understand what you read. Let him (or her) who has ears..hear.

    • #650 by Maureen Madden on May 19, 2017 - 4:34 pm

      Amen

    • #651 by Meredith Webster Indermaur on May 19, 2017 - 4:41 pm

      Graham has caused extreme hurt to the LGBT community. I don’t think God is using him for that purpose.

  238. #652 by Bruce Milne on May 19, 2017 - 1:32 pm

    Excellent articulation cutting through the hype to get at the fundamentals. I’m not an American, but I don’t think Jesus was a Republican. Or a Democrat for that matter. It’s interesting how in America those seem to get intertwined. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself has always got to be the starting point. You could be the VInce Lombardi for the evangelical chaos! ‘Gentleman, this is a football.’

  239. #653 by Ron on May 19, 2017 - 1:33 pm

    What is your position as for as DAVIDS relationship with GOD? ?? Considering his past transgressions.

    • #654 by George Markos on May 19, 2017 - 1:50 pm

      Psalms 51… Forgive me… I have sinned… works every time.

  240. #655 by James Yearsley on May 19, 2017 - 1:34 pm

    Dear Peter, Isn’t this plaint just as self-serving as you believe Mr. Graham to be? Where in your public chastisement can we find Grace, or reconciliation? It seems absent.

    • #656 by Ben V on May 19, 2017 - 1:55 pm

      I would guess that grace and reconciliation might happen when Franklin Graham responds to Pastor Peter’s blog post, ideally via direct contact instead of some canned email or a Facebook post.

    • #657 by Tom on May 19, 2017 - 3:00 pm

      Well said.

    • #658 by Barry on May 19, 2017 - 4:27 pm

      Blahhh

    • #659 by Julie on May 19, 2017 - 8:21 pm

      Grace and reconciliation are just waiting for Franklin. He teaches right-wing politics and chases people away from the Lord. Franklin can have God’s grace whenever he starts teaching God’s Word and quits teaching politics.

  241. #660 by matthew on May 19, 2017 - 1:34 pm

    This is a wonderful letter. I see that at least one comment chided you for now forgiving Rev Graham and President Trump for things they did in the past. I’m also a small church pastor and I hope you’ll forgive me if I answer for you.

    The idea of forgiveness is a powerful one and is one of the most important elements of Christian faith. That sometimes brings it into conflict into seeming conflict with the need to bear prophetic witness against evil in the world. When someone like Rev Graham or President Trump continues to do the same hateful and sinful things they have done in the past, without any admission that they have done anything wrong and with the clear intent of continuing to attack and hurt the same people. forgiveness is difficult. We can forgive them in the sense that we do not hold any hatred or vengeful thoughts against them. If, however, they will not confess their sin, assert that their fearful rhetoric, their hate-mongering, the false witness they bear against their neighbors, if they will not repent, if they will not change their ways, any broader kind of forgiveness becomes impossible. You cannot fully forgive someone who refuses to be forgiven.

    I’m anxious that the kind of forgiveness so many Christians are asking for for Graham and Trump are not really forgiveness at all but a free pass to continue their destructive actions. It’s not true forgiveness when someone is proud of the terrible things they have done, and says they will continue doing them, and you say, that’s okay, go in peace, it’s all good. It’s just giving cover to hateful and destructive behavior.

    In short, this letter isn’t unforgiving at all. It’s meant to help people who follow the angry, fearful rhetoric of leaders like Franklin Graham to see their error and return to following Christ instead with his ways of compassion, justice, and truthfulness.

    • #661 by Susie on May 19, 2017 - 3:18 pm

      We must spend much time in our prayer closet for our leaders. They have weaknesses, they make mistakes, they may speak without first asking god for his plan of direction. It’s up to us to stand in faith and do what we can to get our country on the right path and fill our leaders with gods supernatural strength, knowledge and perseverance to do all they can to glorify god every step of the way. It starts with us.

    • #662 by Yvonne Satow on May 19, 2017 - 4:16 pm

      I too appreciate the truths in Peter’s Letter but would challenge your comment that forgiveness has to be reciprocal. Jesus said; Forgive your enemies. Do good to them who hate or despitefully use you.” That’s why it’s so hard-it isn’t always fair, but we have to d it anyway!

    • #663 by Liz Caraway on May 19, 2017 - 4:39 pm

      Yes ~thank you for this eloquent response. I hope it is read by those who are confused about the difference

    • #664 by Sylvia Ackley on May 19, 2017 - 5:30 pm

      So agree as well.

    • #665 by Tom Hussmann on May 19, 2017 - 7:59 pm

      I agree that unrepented sin is wrong, and I have concerns about Rev. Graham’s message, and of course President Trump causes all kinds concerns, however, if someone sincerely holds a belief that homosexuality is wrong and a sin (and there is some evidence in the Bible for that belief ), don’t the same rules apply? In other words, isn’t it unrepented sin to live such a lifestyle?

    • #666 by Rick on May 19, 2017 - 9:09 pm

      Exceptionally well put.

  242. #667 by RD on May 19, 2017 - 1:35 pm

    The pastor failed to mention that Jesus also said there is only one way to salvation and that is through Him. That was definitely something Jesus was concerned with, as a matter of fact, it was the whole reason for him being born in the first place. The pastor’s omission of that makes me question his suitability to lead a church.
    As for the discrimination law. The fact is, it is only applied against Christians. Gay businesses can, and have, refused to make materials encouraging traditional marriage. A Muslim caterer would never be required to bake a ham for a client. The truth is, discrimination laws are being used solely against Christians.

    • #668 by Randall Simpson on May 19, 2017 - 1:52 pm

      You, sir, are not a “Christian”. You are what is being called a “radicalized Christian,” no better or worse than a radicalized Muslim, or any other people that twist things to fit their way of looking at things, like you with the Bible. I’m not a big church goer and don’t know is I even believe in God. But what Peter wrote in his letter is what I learned in church school, bible classes and Sunday school. Grahams. “church” are after one thing: money. So spread your venom somewhere else sir. You are a racist and a bigot and that is all.

    • #669 by Leanne on May 19, 2017 - 2:09 pm

      “A Muslim caterer would never be required to bake a ham for a client.”

      If a Muslim caterer has a business which specializes in baking hams and will happily bake one for absolutely anyone no matter their personal sins except for one particular sin they have singled out, they are legally guilty of discrimination.

      The bakery is not being forced to do something against their religion, ie bake a cake when baking cakes is abhorrent to them. They are happy to bake cakes for weddings of people who may be adulterous, murderers, divorced, blasphemous, abusers, torture animals, embezzle, thieves, whatnot.

      Pretty sure they don’t take stock of everyone’s sins. They just cherry pick gay people and hide behind religion.

    • #670 by Ksbag on May 19, 2017 - 2:21 pm

      I’m not a lawyer, but I dont think your Muslim example is accurate. A Muslim shop that is strict Halal would not be required to bake a ham because they dont have ham on-hand, not because they are discriminating against a customer’s lifestyle or belief. In like manner, if *any* restaurant runs out of a dish (say scallops) they are not obligated to run out and immediately purchase more just because a patron wants to order it right now. If I go into a vegan store, they are no obligated to sell me beef, because they dont carry it. They *are* obligated to sell me lettuce even if they dont agree with my beliefs or personal lifestyle.
      The point this pastor is making is that Christians are obligated to follow the law, or suffer the consequences. Those consequences are not “persecution”, it is a result of not following the law.

    • #671 by Steven Waite on May 19, 2017 - 2:37 pm

      Ok cite some references please

    • #672 by Erica on May 19, 2017 - 2:43 pm

      Your assertion is that laws only discriminate against Christians? In a country where 17 states still have laws on the books criminalizing sex between two people of the same gender? In a country where law enforcement routinely profiles and entraps people who are Muslim, and people routinely kill and burn the places of worship of even non-muslims who “look like” muslims?

      You are really desperate to be oppressed, aren’t you?

    • #673 by Mackenzie on May 19, 2017 - 3:20 pm

      The fact that 83 percent of the country is Christian renders your “only against Christians” claim hogwash. Read more things.

    • #674 by Fred_the_Dog on May 19, 2017 - 4:08 pm

      If you bake wedding cakes, then if the client wants a cake that you have on your menus, then you bake a cake. If you cater roast beef, but not ham, you are not required to cater ham because it is not on the menu. Can you not see the difference here?

      There may be a bakery that does not use, say, peanuts. You would not be able to order a cake with peanuts from that bakery.

    • #675 by Suzanne on May 19, 2017 - 4:38 pm

      RD – I think the difference with a Muslim caterer and ham would be that a Muslim caterer does not use ham and would not have to work with materials he/she does not use. In the same way a vegetarian caterer could not be forced to make sirloin steaks for a wedding. Or if you go to a paint store that does not carry Benjamin Moore and demand BM paint – well you cannot do that either. Had the bakery been a vegan bakery and a gay couple demanded dairy in the cake- then the baker would not have to comply. But they can’t say no just because they do not like or agree with the way the customer lives her/his life. I am not aware of gay businesses have refused to make things for traditional male-female weddings but if so, then the heterosexual couple should have made a formal complaint. I do agree with you that the way to salvation is through Him. But how that works and the way all of that takes shape is His to understand and His alone. We can only do our best to live our own lives in what we understand as right with God – based on faith, prayer, Scriptural reading, reason and tradition — but as someone once said – the minute you think that God agrees with you then you know you have made Him in your image and not the other way around. In response to Franklin Graham sharing his vision of what living a Christian life looks like, which seems to include supporting Trump, Peter is sharing his (very different) view of how he understands the Gospel message. That view may not resonate with you. But it does with me. And I thank Peter for sharing it.

    • #676 by Lucas on May 19, 2017 - 4:42 pm

      Prove that a gay business has refused to make materials encouraging traditional marriage. Why does traditional marriage need encouraging?

      and this business about muslim caterers not being required to bake a ham – you do realize that there is a difference in not offering a product to anyone, and not offering a product to specific people, right?

      A muslim caterer simply doesn’t offer ham. To anyone. Its not a product they sell. They aren’t refusing because they don’t like the customer who is asking.

      A wedding cake baker does offer wedding cakes It IS a product they sell, so they can’t pick and choose who they sell that product to. But they CAN choose to not sell wedding cakes to anyone.

    • #677 by BJ on May 19, 2017 - 5:10 pm

      AMEN!
      Peter conveniently omits that the Bible says that men
      should not dress as women. ( I ‘m sure the opposite applies).
      It also says that men should not lay with men (and vice versa), that it is
      an abomination to the Lord.
      Should we not honor what God says is sacred?
      Peter is not honoring God by leaving out those truths and is misleading people by trying to be politically correct.
      Revelations says “Do not leave out or add to this BOOK.”
      Peter is misleading people by not telling the whole story.
      God is not calling for us to hate anyone, but HE does make it clear
      What is right and wrong.

    • #678 by capeek on May 19, 2017 - 5:16 pm

      RD (#43) That is a complete mis-reading of Jesus’ statement “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Maybe worldwide, Christians are the most persecuted religion. In the USA, they are the most favored. If you want to feel persecuted, go out and serve the world in Jesus’ name.

    • #679 by John Margerum on May 19, 2017 - 5:36 pm

      I ask you please try to follow your own logic….you have an opinion that discrimination laws are solely used to discriminate against Christians and you try to support your opinion by using an example that a Muslim caterer would never be required to bake a ham for a client. Your example fails the test of logic because first of all the Muslim does not bake ham and the Christian baker does bake cakes. The client in the case of your Muslim caterer example could be anyone, but in the case of the Christian baker and his client, his client is gay and the reason for not baking a cake he would otherwise bake for any straight couple getting married is that in fact his client is gay. This is clearly discrimination under the law against someone because of their sexual orientation. Their is no discrimination against the client in your example with the ham…..the Muslim simply does not offer ham for sale. If he did offer ham for sale and refused to sell it to a gay person because that person was in fact gay, then the Muslim would also be in violation of a discrimination law, just like the Christian baker. May I ask why you used a Muslim in your example?

    • #680 by Elliot Miao on May 19, 2017 - 5:39 pm

      No, they’re not. And wherever there is discrimination, no matter who practices it, it should be penalized and stamped out.

    • #681 by Sammy on May 19, 2017 - 6:00 pm

      I’ve never understood the premise of the “requiring Muslim (or Jewish) caterer to provide pork products” as a valid example of discrimination. A Muslim caterer most likely would not offer those products at all. Every case of denial of service based upon discrimination against gay couples has been that of denying the exact same products and services that the businesses have advertised and provided to any other customer that walks through the door. Your premise that “discrimination laws are being used solely against Christians” is a complete failure. The number of discrimination cases involving christians claiming religious belief as a defense is minuscule when examining the totality of discrimination cases brought before the courts.The majority of cases involve race and sex as grounds for discrimination, and I’ve seen none of those that have used religious belief as a defense.

    • #682 by nnathur on May 19, 2017 - 6:18 pm

      The law applies to everyone. Nobody is allowed to discriminates against folks just because they are gay. The folks who refused service to gay couples happened to also be Christians, but if an atheist, Jew, or Muslim refused to serve a person just because they were gay, they would also be in trouble. The fact that they were Christians had nothing to do with it.

    • #683 by Cory on May 19, 2017 - 6:22 pm

      Try again. A gay printer isn’t discriminatory for not printing certain materials if he refuses all requests to print such materials. A Muslim caterer isn’t discriminatory for refusing to provide a product he doesn’t carry. But bakong wedding cakes for one group of legally married couples and not for a different group of legally married couples is discriminatory.

      See how easy this is to understand when you apply logic?

    • #684 by glendasings on May 19, 2017 - 6:22 pm

      RD, your point about catering doesn’t make sense. A bakery makes cakes…but when the baker refuses service to some people, that’s discrimination.

      However, a Muslim caterer probably doesn’t make ham for anyone. They are not picking and choosing, making ham for some and not for others. It’s not discrimination, they simply don’t provide that service. Incidentally, that baker probably wouldn’t make you a baked ham either…still not discrimination.

    • #685 by Anthony-HHH on May 19, 2017 - 7:16 pm

      You are speaking out of ignorance. Baking a cake would not bring ceremonial uncleanness to anyone, no matter for whom it was baked. But if an observant Muslim or an observant Jew were required to bake a ham, it would bring on ceremonial uncleanness. You should know more about a religion, before you try to use it as an example.

      By the way, I would LOVE to see a real, factual, proven example of a gay baker refusing to bake a wedding cake for a straight couple. (I’m not talking about a cake with hate speech on it… I’m talking about a wedding cake.) I don’t think you can produce one from a reliable source. But you know, even if you did, that would not excuse a Christian from acting Christ-like. Do you think it would have been right for Jesus to have spat back into the face of those who tortured him at the crucifixion?

    • #686 by C Tyler Storm on May 19, 2017 - 8:33 pm

      You have confused the law of public accommodation RD. It is not some sort of conspiracy against Christians. The only way the Muslim would be in violation of the law is if he offers and sells hams to one group of people, but refuses to do so for another group of people. Same with the gay business. Did they sell materials encouraging traditional marriage for one group but not Christians? You see, when a baker sells wedding cakes, they must sell wedding cakes for ALL, not just straights, or blondes, or whites. THAT is the difference. Sorry you feel so oppressed just because society won’t allow you to discriminate against a group of people you don’t like. That in no way prevents you from going to the church of your choice or practicing your religion.

    • #687 by Randy on May 19, 2017 - 8:51 pm

      I agree with you completely.

      • #688 by Claudia Uerkvitz on May 21, 2017 - 5:34 am

        You know? I get Sooo tired of folks trying to judge and dictate Jesus business to Him!!!! He told us not to judge, He told us that He has other sheep to feed that we know Nothing about!!! He told us that no man comes to the Father except thru Him! In other words, it’s His decision!!! We know very little about other people’s souls, nor when He decides to reveal Himself to another!!! It’s only our job to spread the Good News and leave the rest to Him!!!

    • #689 by Hunter Ledford on May 19, 2017 - 9:10 pm

      Yes! Thank you for this!!! It is pure truth!

    • #690 by Annie on May 19, 2017 - 9:15 pm

      Amen

    • #691 by TM on May 19, 2017 - 9:21 pm

      Agree!

    • #692 by CB on May 19, 2017 - 9:29 pm

      Exactly, thank you!! I had trouble reading this article in its entirety. It is extremely condescending, and mostly biased on his own personal and emotional opinion. Calling Pastor Franklin, “Frank!” Really! How disrespectful! And then the gall to call Franklin “dramatic!” This small church Pastor is the one being dramatic. This man is twisting so many things around here and I feel he is on the attack. What kind of Christianity judges and speaks to others like this? This is unbelievable! Pastor Franklin does a world of good for so many across the globe, and he deserves a lot of respect in my book!!

    • #693 by Nancy on May 19, 2017 - 9:56 pm

      RD, can you cite a verifiable incident of a gay business refusing to make materials encouraging traditional marriage? And getting away with it?

  243. #694 by Gloria Wright on May 19, 2017 - 1:36 pm

    Sir, I would love being a member of your congregation! Your ideas and views of Jesus Christ and the love of God and how to serve Him are spot on! Thank you for stating so eloquently your views of Mr Graham and his calls to support a man who doesn’t have any Christian virtues that I can detect! You have reaffirmed my views of our Saviour! Thank you.

    • #695 by K Kunan on May 19, 2017 - 2:05 pm

      RD, If a Muslim caterer does not offer ham to all of his clients as part of his business, then he isn’t discriminating. As for “gay bakers” refusing to make traditional wedding cakes, really? Proof is required.

      Even as a non-christian, I would think by doing one’s best to obey all of Jesus’s requirements, believing in him, etc. qualifies as “finding salvation” through him. How else do you “find” salvation?

      Christians have been privileged for so long that when you have to put up with a little equality, you cry and whine that you are being persecuted. Indeed, the entire christian religion, or at least a great deal of it, seems to be based on victimhood and persecution…y’all seem to spend a great deal of time on those, while also failing to remember what Jesus said…something about, above all love your neighbor as yourself.

    • #696 by denycelott on May 19, 2017 - 3:10 pm

      Once again, you have ears but can not hear!

    • #697 by Sonny on May 19, 2017 - 6:52 pm

      How does he not share same values? That boggles my mind anyone would say that as if they were god and could judge the heart of a man.. Franklin gram and his dad have been active evangelist when it comes to civil rights and are well respected when it come to fighting those issues and do to there platform I can guarantee they’ve done more then the person who wrote this letter or any pastor or evangelist in the world alive today especially when it comes to feeding the poor and getting fresh water to people who need it but most importantly he’s been the biggest impact on spreading the gospel to the world battling for souls for Jesus which again that’s what the lord said is most important.. Matter a fact he said don’t worry bout food or money but to feed off the word. Yes its important to help the less fortunate but its more important to make sure they get to know Jesus and experience salvation through him.. Franklin gram isn’t in the position he’s in because the devil put him there.. That would be furthest thing devil would want because millions and millions of people have accepted Jesus as there lord and savior because god gave the grams platform to reach the world.. Jesus said judge a man by his fruit and if you do that You can only see that Franklin has been blessed

    • #698 by Anitia Mata on May 19, 2017 - 7:30 pm

      Yes, beautiful letter by Pastor Peter.

  244. #699 by Ghassan Ghraizi on May 19, 2017 - 1:36 pm

    I am not a Christian. This is what I wrote in sharing your letter on my Facebook page: I became a chaplain’s charge when I was 9 at a boarding school, and what I learned about Christianity came from attending several church services, attending bible studies, as well as having “Divinity” classes, over the next 5 years. My so-called religious experience did not prepare me well enough for the mega-church productions that I witnessed, which isn’t limited to the US.

    Thank you for taking the time to compose this letter.