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,


2,976 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “Small Church” Pastor

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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”

      4. What disrespect, you called him Frank. Should be Rev. Look in the mirror, calling him out, but you could be called out to.

      5. Thanks so much, Pastor Peter. I was wondering if I was the only Christ-
        follower that had issues with the rhetoric spewed by Franklin Graham.
        I am amazed at the number of naysayers commenting on your scripture based open letter to Franklin Graham. Matt 7:22 reads: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works.
        I will continue doing what 2 Chronicles 7:14 says “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
        Thanks again, Pastor Peter.

      6. Connie, The verse you quoted is an excellent verse. It should apply to all, including (and in this case, perhaps, especially) those who make false accusations against a fellow servant of God. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if ye have love one for another”.

      7. Connie, you are not alone!! There are lots of us out here who agree with you.

        Did you happen to notice that there are over 2900 comments on this post? Pastor Peter touched a nerve!

      8. “Hit a nerve” is an understatement, Judy. One has the right to challenge any doctrine or teaching. We have that freedom in Christ. We do not, however, have the right to falsely malign anyone with statements which are not true. There are those here who have falsely accused a brother in Christ. One can understand those outside the body of Christ making false allegations, slander and raising straw man fallacy arguments. That is to be expected. And there are certainly those outside the body of Christ who have been commenting on this forum. Such false accusations are to be expected from them. But this should not happen within the body of believers, and when it does, that needs to be addressed.

      9. Ah Mel – hi again. Your whole comment assumes that FG is right in all he does. I do not think so; therefore, I do not believe he has been ‘falsely accused.’

        But then we’ve been here before, and you knew i’d think this.

        And I guess with so many comments on Peter’s post, neither you nor I can be said to stand alone.

        Merry Christmas, Mel.

      10. Judy, I certainly do not think that Reverend Graham is perfect in all that he does. He, like everyone, makes mistakes. And when he has done so, I have never been afraid to talk to him face to face about them. He has always been gracious and thankful for any advice or admonishments I might have given. But he is not guilty of ignoring, or neglecting the passage in Matthew 25, which speaks of giving to the hungry, the poor, the naked, tne sick, etc. That is the false accusation in this letter which needs to be addressed.

        And Merry Christmas to you too! I do hope you have a wonderful season enjoying God’s perfect gift to mankind. 🙂

      11. I noticed there is a lot of bickering.  That is not of God. God is a spirit, therefore,  reading and trying to interpret His Word using our intellect, will not work. Some of these posts are from people who might know the Word, but lack the ability to interpret it. I have on many occasions, written FGrahamasking him for scriptures that justified his support of trump.  No response to date. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  If we do that, we will know when someone is spewing false doctrines.  If I can’t find Word to back up what a “pastor or minister” says, I don’t digest it. FGraham, by no means, is of the same spirit of the late great Rev. Billy Graham. I grew up listening to him. He had the greatest impact on my life.The Bible speaks for itself; times will change, but the Word of God remains the same.  Therefore, there should be no need debating about it.   Merry Christmas,  everyone

        Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S8, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

      12. mccalopc. Your post begs the obvious question…if “bickering is not from God”, and, in your view, we are all bickering, then why are you joining in the fray?

        I am happy to hear, however, that you do have some respect for the Rev Billy Graham. That is heartening. It may, however, surprise you that this true man of God, who has always displayed a morally upright walk with God, who has brought many people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and was renowned for his honest integrity — the late Rev. Billy Graham — fully endorsed the work and the ministry of his son Franklin. There was no disagreement or (to use your word) “bickering” between them on what Franklin has said, or is doing! Rev Billy Graham endorsed both Rev Franklins global humanitarian ministries, as well as his advocay for those being persecuted and mistreated by the state, and his call for a return to Christian morality in our public spheres, including the issues referred to in the letter which sparked this blog.

      13. Thanks so much for sharing your feedback. However, I made several points in my post that I stand by.   I do not debate with people when it comes to the Word of God.  As I said in my post, God’s Word speaks for itself. I beg to differ with you regarding certain statements you made; however, I respect your right to make them.  I also respect people’s right to choose with regard to their sexual preference, abortion, etc, although I may not agree with their chouce.  If I am misreading God’s message on this regard, He will let me know.  I have made my last statement regarding this issue with you. I pray God’s peace for you and your family.

        Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S8, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

      14. mccalopc. Thanks for your reply. I’m glad to know that you believe the Bible speaks for itself. I would agree with you. So would Rev Franklin Graham. That is why he speaks the truth in love! I also agree with you that sexual prefernce is a choice. However, to say that to anyone who is LGBTQPRSMPN risks a barrage of angry arrows of vituperative invective, based on the dogmatic assertion from our cultural elite that it is not a choice. I’m glad that you and I, (and Rev Graham) agree on that point. As for abortion, I would argue that the choice is there prior to pregnancy. Once the mother is pregnant, there is an innocent humah being with the right to life in the womb. It is not a “choice”, it is a child. And, since you added “etc”, let me ask you. Would you say that the desire of US plantation owners in the USA to own a slave was also a legitimate “choice”? Should these plantation owners have been given the same right to choose (which was exactly the thrust of their argument). “If you don’t like slavery, don’t own a slave But don’t force your morality on me!”

        I’m glad that you are open to God’s instruction in the case that you are mistaken. Just be ready for it when it comes. 🙂 Have a very Merry Christmas!

      15. I so agree with you.. And I know this isn’t a big thing what I’m going to say next, but this pastor is showing disrespect to Franklin by calling him Frank, and then telling Mr. Graham to read the Bible, he may like it.. Those remarks right there tells me that this pastor is NOT living the TRUTH of God’s Precious Living Word… This pastor needs our prayers, that his eyes be opened to see the very TRUTH of God’s Word…

      16. Dear Pastor Peter,
        Thank you very much for your email. It is wonderful that someone else feels the way I feel about Franklin Graham and, some evangelical Christians whom I have followed since I was young. I was an avid follower of Pastor Graham. I grew up in Africa, as a young covert then, my friends and I followed brother Billy Graham at any apportunity that we could get. I love politics and news, bought anything that had brother Graham’s name on it. We loved and and respect him. Recently, I have given up on our evangelical leaders who have compromised the Cross of Christ by allowing a man who tucked his children away somewhere and yet insult Brother Classic, his wife and children and many others in everyway. The latest casualty of his insult was Joe Boden.
        Christians have been silent on the matter, he harassed President for years, his followers scattered bombs in his opponents offices and homes, he did not condemned it, instead he went on with his rally. The only person who refused to bully by him was Senator McCain whom belittled even in death. Press secretary Sanders has taking to being agressive these days in her desperate to protect the president. The problem is that the world is watching. Thank God for leaders like Mitt Romney and those leaders who are speaking out. The earth is the Lord’s and He has not given it to any politician definitely not to someone who has no respect for God nor the rule of law in an attempt to stay in power at all cost. May the Lord help us. God bless you and all those who Love the Lord.

      17. Thanks for your comments Ann. We are not alone. More evangelicals each day are seeing through Rev. Graham’s hateful rhetoric and the religion of fear he proclaims.

      18. PETER..or may I call you Pete?
        How many people attend your church? Was that a typo was 30-40 or 300-400? If it is the 30-40, I feel your frustration, but do not take it out on”Franklin”.

      19. Thanks for your comment Elizabeth. And yes, you can call me Pete. By the way, I was baptized and raised in a small church. I have served small churches throughout all of my ministry. Now in retirement I am a member of a small church. Small churches are wonderful, lively and close communities of faith. Serving them has been a joy and privilege. Of course, large churches also do fine ministry and I have nothing against them. To be honest, though, I’m not sure I would know how to be the pastor of a congregation of 300 to 400. Not my spiritual gift.

      1. 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!

      2. #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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. Peter? His mom didn’t know how to spell Dick? Seriously? That was how she made a living, SERIOUSLY!

      4. Revolsen….do you know Neil n Bob personally? If not, then the only thing that has been proven here is your propensity to jump to conclusions. And in this case,again, it is a conclusion which is most likely false. Neil n Bob could just as easily be someone who agrees with you and is simply trying to make those who oppose what you have written look uncouth. I encounter such trolls all the time when discusing issues online where orthodox Christian values (and those who support them) are being attacked. I can assure you, however, (since I do know Rev Graham personally), is that he himself would never use that kind of language in describing those who oppose his teachings. Nor would he endorse anyone else who does.

    2. Jesus was not concerned about the way people treat each other on the cross (and yes He did care about these things) He cared about the eternal salvation which is based on believing in Him! We are to do all the things that was said about taking care of people, but not once did you say the main purpose in life and that is to believe in the Son of God! Franklin does do all the things you said was the main thing (have you ever heard of Samaritans purse, including taking care of refugees) but he is rightfully concerned with the blasting of Christianity from EVERYWHERE in this world, including the church! You say you preach love to one another, but why don’t you mention the most IMPORTANT part! Persecution as defined by Webster’s dictionary says that persecution is in major part for religious purposes and says it’s for harrassment or annoyed! That qualifies!

    3. He is not his father’s son. Billy is the one who went to the hell holes, always preached God’s love and forgiveness, never anger. He never lived in a big, ostentatious house or even had his “own” church. His church was wherever he could gather people “in His name”.
      He says he regrets getting involved in politics in his life, but I’d like to think that maybe he was a positive counsel and influence to the presidents whose company he kept.
      Yes, Franklin Graham is a disappointment and he may get a surprise when HE reaches those “Pearly Gates”.

      1. Emily. Do you really know what kind of house Franklin Graham lives in? What is the name of the church of which Franklin is pastor?

        It may interest you to know that Franklin’s father, Billy Graham supports what Franklin is doing 100%. And while Rev. Billy went around the world preaching the Gospel, Rev Franklin is also doing the same thing. And along with that, he has been going to places like Southern Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Philippines, Indonesia, and countless other nations where disaster or civil conflict has torn society apart. Rev Franklin is putting his money and his feet where his mouth is, and he is showing in word and deed what it means to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ to “the least of these”! .

        During most of father Billy’s days as an evangelist the need to speak out on serious issues such as the desecration of the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage were not cultural issues which needed to be addressed. There was far more of a Christian consensus underlying American culture, though certainly it was not perfect. But it is far different today. America stands at the brink of spiritual and social collapse. I praise God that there are a few brave men and women like Rev, Franklin who are willing to cry out with a prophetic voice to this nation, with the hope that America, like Nineveh of old, will repent before it is too late.

      2. Emily. You might also be interested to hear what the Rev Billy (not Franklin) had to say in a very recent (2015) address to America in response to the recent Supreme Court Ruling on so-called “homosexual marriage”:

        The Rev Billy Graham (who you admire) 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:

      3. Emily, I am afraid that you are greatly mistaken, Franklin Graham’s place in heaven is already secured through the shed blood of Christ and by accepting Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. God has not called Franklin to be like his father as an itinerant evangelist. By the way, who are you to judge his salvation, that is between him and Christ. He has stood up for the homeless, provided supplies through Samaritans Purse during disasters, provided Christmas “shoeboxes” for Third World children with a gospel message in each one. So, what have you done for Christ lately?

    4. Franklin Graham is a Christian. This “Peter” character is not. Just “who” is this “Peter” and where is his “church”. I believe Peter is just another atheist pretending to be a Christian. I know the Grahams. What they say is Truth. Because they preach the Bible. Don’t believe them if you don’t want to. You don’t have to. God gave you the right to disbelieve His Word. And yes you will fool many….but not real Christians.
      The Bible says, Romans 16:18 for such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words.
      2. Hebrews 13:9 Stop being carried away by all kinds of unusual teachings, for it is good that the heart be strengthened by grace,
      3. Ephesians 5:6 Don’t let anyone deceive you with meaningless words. It is because of sins like these that God’s anger comes to those who refuse to obey him.
      If you don’t believe in the Bible or you “Twist” the Bible…like “Peter” did…you’re an atheist. Plain and simple

      1. Nope. Nope nope nope. Have you forgotten all the God-fearing and God-loving and God-worshipping people all over the world who are not Christians but who love and worship the same God we do?

        There are many roads to Rome. There are many roads to our God. There are many ways to worship and love Him.

      2. And of course I just did to you what I most object to about your statement – dictating to you what you MUST believe in order to be a true child of the One True God. I apologize.

        I should have said that I BELIEVE there are many paths to our God. I believe that God loves a random Buddhist or Jew or atheist every bit as much as He loves you. I believe that, in His love for all His children, He’s got paths to Him that you and I cannot imagine.

        (Sorry – I would rather indicate God as genderless, but it was just too awkward.)

        And I believe the worst thing we can do (OK, one of the worst) is to lay out one single answer and be so convinced that we have the one and only right answer that we start to try to dictate to the rest of the world what God thinks and is and does.

        I believe that it is a pretty easy life to just decide you have the one and only answer. I believe it is healthier for you, for the people around you, and for the society in which you live, to have a little humility and a little thoughtfulness, and to recognize that you might not have all the answers. And I believe the best thing you can do (and the thing God wants most from you) is to just love your fellow sojourners.

      3. Judy. When you replied to Rand Saffell saying: “I believe it is healthier for you, for the people around you, and for the society in which you live, to have a little humility and a little thoughtfulness, and to recognize that you might not have all the answers”, are you not being considerably judgmental?

        It is not about anyone thinking that they have all the answers. The question is do we believe what Jesus clearly said or not. Jesus said: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. No one comes to the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6)

        The Bible also clearly states: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12-14). These, and other verses like them. leave no room doubt. Either Jesus is correct, or He is not.

        And if Jesus is correct, then all roads do not lead to “Rome” (ro use your words). Only one does. That may seem narrow minded to people today. But that is exactly what Jesus said it would be. “Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it.” (Matt 7:13-14)

        And as the Proverb says: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Prov 14:12)

      4. Here you go, Mel – this is a statement by John Shelby Spong, retired episcopal bishop; he says it better than I can:

        (S) “God is not a Christian. God is not a Jew or a Muslim or a Hindi or Buddhist. All of those are human systems, which human beings have created to try to help us walk into the mystery of God. I honor my tradition. I walk through my tradition. But I don’t think my tradition defines God.”

      5. Judy. You are free to believe the heretic “Bishop” Spong if you want. I have read much of his teachings and find them unconvincing (to say the least) . But you should be aware that he blatantly contradicts what Christ and the Scriptures clearly teach regarding the central teachings of Christianity.

        I put my faith in Jesus Christ and His word!

      6. Judy. I’m disappointed, though not surprised. Just don’t blame God if you never make it to Rome! He gave you the map, and the road is clearly marked.

    5. This is great debate. It’s clear to read that people have passion behind their beliefs. I put a comment when this article was first published, I’ve gotten a lot of notices that new comments have been posted. Some of the responses to the article and other commenters can come across as intending to remind us all that we actually-are not as much a united nation as we would like to be.
      Most importantly to me, I have to always remember that there are “bad actors” on every site we go to. Their profession is based on showing the world that America is not so united afterall. They make comments to keep us unsettled and angry. Most of all they spread lies and fear. We should make our points to one another as we defend our beliefs, but keep in mind the comments to your post or inflammatory language of any kind could be intentionally inflamitiry. The world is working to bring America down. Fake news,

    6. Well, my wife and I are at odds with a believer that thinks the ends justify the means. Franklin Graham has helped folks a lot. But, siding with the seemingly Devil incarnate to get a few more Christin rights passed is not ok. People what us as Christians, and siding with this terrible elected official is a slam on Jesus. I believe Billy Graham’s grand daughter best described Franklyn. He has done wonderful things to help people, but his association with the Administration is not the behavior of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. And we are ALL capable of being tricked by Satan, so don’t throw rocks. Pray for the truth to abound, and let God do with these people, whatever HE deems appropriate. Let God be true, and every man a liar. Strive for the same mind as was in Christ. Even though it hurts at times.

    7. “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.” – where do you live, sir? Have you access to television, radio, newspaper, internet? It looks like you don’t. Or maybe you don’t exercise your “religion freedom”. Or you just don’t care.

      “A century old fixture” that “seats 30-40 on a good Sunday” … I call ‘disappointment’ when you are OK with that. “Fixture” is a good description for what you have.

      Love one another “the best we can”, feed the hungry “that come to our doors”, “bury the dead” – this is NOT what the Bible teaches. If you are preaching this then you are misleading your church.

      This dumb letter was surely written by a liberal, faking to be a christian. Smart was Rev. Franklin that didn’t even care about this “letter”.

    8. Thank you Peter .. your letter expressing the same questions and thoughts I’ve wanted to ask the same to anyone who supports Trump .. it is so difficult for me to understand how anyone could challenge your vision and understanding of Christ. God Bless you Peter.. you’re letter has given me hope.

    9. Last info I saw was Rev Franklin Graham received $750,000. a year to run the Graham Ministry and another $750,000 a year to run the Red Shoe box Christmas charity. $1.5 million a year ,every year .
      You decide if that’s not enough or to much.

      1. I’m not sure what the problem is here. That money goes to provide shoebox sized gifts to needy children all around the world to tell them that God loves them and we love them. Why would anyone have a problem with that? I wish it could a hundred times more than that.


      1. 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!

      2. 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…

      3. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. Debbie, the Graham family is among the richest in America. You can add to the $882,000 you know about by reading the stats on ALL the Graham “charities” and what they pay on Charity Navigator and elsewhere.

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

      1. 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.

      2. 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!!

      3. 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!

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

    3. 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.

  1. “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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

      2. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. “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.

    Kathie Boyett

    1. 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.

      1. 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”.

      2. 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!

    2. 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…

      1. 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 ~

    3. 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.

    4. 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.”

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

      1. 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.

    5. 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.

      1. 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!

  6. 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.


      1. 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)

      2. 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!

      3. 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:

      4. 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.

      5. 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. 🙂

      6. 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.

  7. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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!

      3. 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!

      4. 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”.

    2. 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

      1. 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!

      2. 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.

      3. 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?

      4. 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.

      5. 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.

      6. 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?


    3. 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.

      1. 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!

    4. 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.

      1. 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.

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

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

  8. 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

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

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

  11. “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.

  12. 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

    1. 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.

      1. 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”.

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

      4. 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. 🙂

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

    1. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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”.

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

    2. 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.

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

    3. “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.

      1. 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.

  23. 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.

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

  25. 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 !

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

    1. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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…

  34. 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

  35. 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!

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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

  41. Sadly… 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

    1. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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

  46. 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.

  47. 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 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

    1. Bravo Pastor Dennis. The bottom line for so many of us is how Trump carries himself, how he certainly has pulled the wool over many eyes, and acts like he is a Christian, all the while his agenda hardly demonstates nothing Christian like; taking food out of the elderly and poor children’s mouths, his blatant misogyny, supporting a health insurance atmosphere that will cause many deaths and much suffering while giving his wealthy buddies huge tax breaks, supporting hate and racism by adding to his cabinet the likes of those with a well-documented history of the same (Sessions), taking Planned Parenthood away from women who may have no other means for reproductive cancer screening-yes, they do more than you think. What really seems hypocritical is the right’s stand on abortion (I am not judging, it is not my place, as it is not my body), you are staunchly stating being against a woman’s right to choose, but once the child you fought for is born, you want nothing to do with supporting said child with help with daycare, nutrition so no child goes to bed hungry, education, etc. This man has fooled so many and used a fake stand, which he cares nothing about, to get the vote, unfortunately. Too, he has repeatedly broken many of the commandments, and continues to (lying, adultry) on a regular basis. I am a sinner, we all are, and trying to always do better and ask for forgiveness for my sin, I am far from perfect, as we all are. It just is astounding what he has done and continues to do, and many turn a blind eye to this abhorrent behavior. This man is a sheep in wolf’s clothing.

      1. Kathleen, very well stated. I do not understand it either. Thank you for such a clear statement of my puzzlement.

      2. I don’t know how many pro life people you actually know, Kathleen. But I know thousands, and not one of them would fit the mean spirited description which you use to portray them. I can certainly say for myself that I have spent most of my working career in ministries to help children and others who are in need, including refugees, the poor, the starving, the displaced, etc. And there are many pro life people who are doing a lot more than I am…..including Rev Franklin Graham, the object of such awful slander on this blog. To say what you have said about pro life people, which includes Rev Franklin Graham, (even Mother Teresa) is simply not true. It is a canard! Don’t swallow it

        And the reason that pro life people care about children and others after birth, is the same reason that they care about them before birth: All human life is made in the image of God, and has immeasurable intrinsic value!. We oppose abortion because it destroys a precious and innocent human life which has such immeasurable value. And everyone has the inalienable right to life.

        You talk about pro life denying a woman’s so called “right to choose”. Let me ask you, at what point would you say this “right to choose” no longer should exist? Is it at “viability”, which is what Roe vs Wade says, and can include unborn children who, it is believed, can feel pain? Is it at any point during pregnancy? As some places, including Canada, now allow…..and right up until the time just before birth, when there is no question that the child can feel excruciating pain? or is it as some eminent academics and elitists (such as Dr. Peter Singer) are now advocating — some time after birth, when the parents have time to look over the child to see if he/she is what they really wanted, and there are no impediments or defects?

        What’s important to note is that when that line is crossed; when society can destroy innocent human life casually (as is done in abortions) then there is no concrete moral principle to stop it from going further. It is, indeed, a very small baby step from turning a blind eye to the killing of the child in the womb, to turning a blind eye to the type of killing we saw in Rwanda, where over 800,000 civilians were hacked to death by machetes in a holocaust of killing and violence which could have been prevented if there had been someone in the White House at that time who believed in the sanctity of all human life.

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

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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….

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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. .

      1. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. “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
    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

  55. 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.

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

  57. 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.)

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. 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!

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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!

      1. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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..!!

  65. 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.

  66. 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!

    1. 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!

      1. 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

  67. 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.

      1. 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..

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

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

    1. @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?

  69. 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.

  70. 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.

  71. “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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

      2. 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.

    2. 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.

  72. 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

    1. 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

    2. 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!

    3. 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?

    4. 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?

    5. 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?

  73. 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

  74. 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.

  75. 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.

    1. 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….

    2. 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…

    3. 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.

    4. @ 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?

    5. @ 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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

    8. 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?

    9. 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.

  76. 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

  77. 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.

      1. 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?

    1. 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?

    2. 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?

    3. 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.

    4. 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

    5. 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.

      1. 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.

    6. 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.

    1. 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.”

    2. 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.

  78. 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! !

  79. 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

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  80. 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

  81. 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.

    1. 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.


    2. 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,,There is also some discernment and calling out of inappropriate stancing. But judgment, dripping sarcasm, bitterness – not in here unless a reader brings it.

    3. 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.

  82. 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.

    1. 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.

  83. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  84. 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

  85. 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.

    1. 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.

  86. 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 –

  87. On 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.

  88. 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….

  89. 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.

  90. 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,


    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

  91. 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.

    1. 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.

  92. 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

    1. It is also spelled “Emanuel” while we are at the proofreading task.

      I greatly enjoyed your essay, Peter.

    2. 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 “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.”

  93. 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.

  94. 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.

    1. 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?

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

  95. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

  96. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. “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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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”.

      3. Thank you for your wise words. You have totally described what Jesus had called us to do!

      4. 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….

      5. 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.

      6. 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.

      7. 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.

      8. 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.

      9. 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.

      10. 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.

      11. 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.

    3. How else than the behavior the author described are we to know who has genuine belief in Christ? Because you say so?

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. Only two comments in to find the first smug, self-righteous idealogue. Thank you for so succinctly justifying this thoughtful and wise letter.

  97. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  98. 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?

    1. ” 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.

    2. 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”.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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

  99. 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….


    2. 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.

    3. 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.

  100. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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!

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

    8. 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.

    9. 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.

    10. 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.

    11. 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)

    12. 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.

    13. 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

    14. 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?

    15. 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.

    16. Easy. Hate speech isn’t protected by the first amendment, and those who engage in it arent a protected class.

    17. @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.

    18. 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.

    19. 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 🙂

    20. 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.

    21. 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.

    22. 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.

    23. 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.

    24. 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.

    25. 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.

    26. 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.

    27. 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.

    28. 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.

    29. 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.

    30. 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.

      1. 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.

    31. 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.

    32. 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.

    33. 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.

    34. 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.

    35. 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.

    36. 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.

    37. 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

  101. 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

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

      1. 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….

  102. 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!

  103. 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.

    1. 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…

  104. Bravo, Pastor Peter. Your thoughtful and insightful word reminds me very much of Shane Claiborne. Well done, sir.

  105. 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.

    1. 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.

  106. 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.

  107. I want to attend the church you preach in………….please send the address! The church of love…………………….

  108. 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.

    1. 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.

  109. Thank you for this upset with my friends who send me his blasphemy..i loved his father’s messages but his are not right.

  110. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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”.

    3. What an ugly and vindictive comment to such a spiritual and loving pastor. You should be ashamed of yourself.