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,


3,124 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. Huh???? I have honk he is riding on daddy’s coat tails . And.. will never catch up!

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

      5. 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”

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

      7. 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.

      8. 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”.

      9. 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!

      10. “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.

      11. 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.

      12. 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. 🙂

      13. 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

      14. 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.

      15. 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

      16. 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!

      17. 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…

      18. 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.

      19. 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.

      20. 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”.

      21. 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.

      22. Franklin, I am not half the man I father was. In my opinion, neither are you. Sad for both of us.

      23. Rhoda did you not read the letter to Frank and have you not followed at least some of the atrocities performed by Frank? Taking $1,200,000.00 a year in salary is just the beginning of the shysters torment on Christianity…

      24. I’m totally on board with you. This knucklehead says at the day of Judgement, Christ isn’t concerned with “sexual orientation, how many times you’ve been divorced,….ONLY how we fed the poor,…” What a fool. Jesus burned down Sodom for “sexual orientation”. Jesus told us that divorce was unpermited under ANY circumstances….

      25. Thanks for the comment, S. But I’m not the knuckle head here. It’s Matthew the Evangelist. Go back and re-read Matthew 25. See any questions about sexual orientation or divorce at the last judgment? I don’t. And if divorce is not acceptable under any circumstances, how do you explain the three marriages of what Rev. Gramp calls the “champion” of Christianity? Also, Sodom was not destroyed because of its citizen’s sexual orientation (which we don’t know), but for the same reasons for which the “goats” are rebuked in Matthew 25. Ezekiel 16:48–50. I’ll conclude with the same advice I gave Rev. Graham. Read the Bible before you go preaching on it.

      26. Revolsen. Your suggestion to actually “read the Bible” is a good one. It is important to be true to the text of Scriptures, whether we like it or not. In fact, the Word of God has been descibed as a “sword” which pierces our hearts and as a mirror which reveals the ugly dirt on our face. So lets look exactly at what the Scriptures teach about the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. Here is the exact words (NIV translation) of Ezekiel 16:49-50: “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” So you are correct that the passage in Matthew where Jesus shows us the great day of judgment when the sheep are separated from the goats reflects what these verses in Ezekiel teach. Clearly there is a progression of evil (arrogance, over fed, and unconcerned) which leads to ignoring the plight of the poor and needy That is something which the Reverend Franklin Graham does not do, as millions of poor and needy people all over the world can testify to the life giving assistance they have received through his work at Samaritan’s Purse. But the passage here does not end with ignoring the pleas of the poor and needy. It goes on to highlight what follows this uncaring apathy to those who are truly “the least of these”. And this is the “haughty spirit” which was pervasive in Sodom and Gomorrah and much of America today. And then, the clincher — “did detestable things”. These “detestable things” are distinct from the lack of caring for the needy, though they begin with that. They are a sin which is different, and, it would appear, is the “last straw” before God’s judgment.

        You may not believe what the Bible is teaching and you might have been led to believe that it means something altogether different. But an honest reading of this passage leads many to infer that what the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were doing went beyond lack of caring for the poor and needy (clearly an evil condition) to something more “detestable”. There are other passages which add to this understanding of the sin of these doomed cities, and this is understood by Christians all over the world to be the case. The question is: do they have the right to believe what they think the Bible clearly teaches?

        One last thing! You mentioned Rev Graham’s description of Donald Trump as the “champion” of Christians. But you have twisted that to imply that Rev Graham is condoning the sins of adultery and divorce which are a part of Donald Trump’s past. Once again, this is misleading. Donald Trump is a champion for Christians in the same way that the Persian emperor, Ahasuerus was a champion for the Jewish people. It was the concern of this emperor, who loved his power, wealth and women, which saved the Jewish people from annihilation. Read the book of Esther. Its in the Old Testament but has a powerful message for today. In the same way, Donald Trump has protected Christians all over the world. He has spoken out on their behalf, he has limited the power of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram which are engaged in genocidal destruction against Christians, and he has supported the religious freedom of Christians in America. He, like you and me, has his faults and a sinful past.

        But the message of hope in the Word of God is that Jesus came to save sinners!

      27. Hello Mel, always good to hear from you. Strange that you would think God can tolerate the starvation of the poor, but when somebody has same sex, God throws an apocalyptic temper tantrum. If homosexuality realy is the sin that is the “last straw” for God, wouldn’t you think Jesus would have mentioned it in his parable of the last judgment? In fact, wouldn’t you think he would have mentioned it at some point in his ministry? A pity he didn’t. It would have saved you the trouble of having to “infer” from the Ezekiel text what clearly isn’t there. And as for Rev. Graham, it looks as though the people are starting to see through the emperor’s new cloths. Have you read about the petition signed by 12 K calling for his removal as CEO from Samaritan’s Purse?

      28. The text in Ezekiel 16 clearly says: “detestable things”. And these “detestable things are distinct from the other sins which are mentioned, including being over fed, arrogant, neglecting the poor and needy. So what are these “detestable things? Other passages in the Bible shed light on this, including the original account in Genesis 19. In Jude it is clear that the sins — the detestable things — of Sodom and Gomorrah were sexual in nature. (Jude 7 – NIV)” In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”

        But your question as to why this sin is not included in the Matthew 25 account is a good one. In Matthew, we are given a glimpse of the great and final judgment of every human being on earth. And not every sin is mentioned, including others which are clearly listed in the Ezekiel text. There is nothing in Matthew 25 on being arrogant or over-fed, nothing on being haughty, and nothing on the “detestable things” which the people of Sodom and Gomorrah engaged in. Nor does the passage in Matthew 25 give us an exhaustive list of all those considered “the least of these”. It specifies the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. But it says nothing about other groups of people who clearly fit into this “least of these” category, including abandoned children, children who are enslaved, or trafficked for sexual pleasure or victims of sexual or phsycial abuse. It does not mention those falsely accused and sentenced to cruel oppression, ruinous lawsuits or the loss of livelihoods and income, or many other categories of people who suffer and are ignored or neglected by people who should be concerned. And no one fits this category of “the least of these” as the unborn child in America who is slated to be killed by America’s multi-billiion dollar abortion industry.

        But I am certainly reluctant to infer that just because Christ does not mention these sins and categories of those suffering specifically in Matthew 25 that they do not matter to Him. Do you really think that the fact that Christ never said anything about the sin of racism means that Jesus is fully accepting of people being racist? On the contrary, Christ, while fulfilling the Mosaic ritual laws through His death burial and resurrection, not only accepted the moral laws provided in the Old Testament as valid but even raised the bar. Christ’s sermon on the mount made this very clear. No longer “an eye for an eye”, but “turn the other cheek”, and if you hate your brother you are guilty of murder, and if you even look at a woman with lust in your heart you’ve already committed adultery with her in your heart. Nothing that Jesus said gives us license to ignore or indulge in the things which were clearly defined as moral sins in the Old Testament, even though, obviously, He did not mention all of them in His teachings.

        Also, the final judgment in Matthew 25 is about all of us as individuals. I think it is safe to say that Jesus focuses on what is in our hearts? What is it that we care about? Is it about our own ambitions, desires, lusts, or pleasure? Or is it a desire to help and care for others based on Godly love in our hearts? Matthew 25 makes it clear that those whose hearts have been tuned to the love of God are going to be caring about those who are suffering and in need, and not focusing on their own personal desires. As Matthew 25 makes clear, in the final day, God does NOT tolerate neglecting the poor and needy, or neglecting justice for those who are oppressed. In Ezekiel, however, God is warning the nation of Israel about its collective (corporate) sins, and pointing to how God dealt with Sodom and Gomorrrah. The message is very clear: if a nation (like Israel) continues to thumb its nose at God, and abandon His standards of righteousness and justice, then that nation will certainly reap what it sows.

        As for the petition against Rev Franklin Graham, I’m surprised you would raise this. The petition is not based on any sin which he might have committed. No accusation of him having his hand in any salacious or lucrative “cooke jar”. No moral scandal. It is 100% political. There are many (as exhibited on this site) who hate Franklin Graham merely because of his political views. The fact that he supports the current president and actually prayed for him (in Jesus name) at a prayer breakfast triggers many — enough to want him removed. But it is his right to express his political views the same way any American citizen does. These days anyone who expresses support for Donald Trump is jammed and hated by many. Last week Keith Olberman, seen by many as a spokesperson for the Left, referred to Trump supporters as “maggots” (which is what Hitler called the Jews), and went on a rant calling for their “removal”. Hillary Clinton referred to Trump supporters as “a basked of deplorables”, and even Joe Biden called some of us “the dregs of society”. With this intentional incitement of hatred in the air, it is not surprising that someone as influential as Rev Graham, who supports Trump, would be targetted for “removal” by those triggered by TDS. I’ve certainly been the target of such hatred, and have been called many obscenities and insults (as have many of my friends who dare to speak out), for supporting what Trump has done and the direction he wants to take the nation.

      29. Mel:

        Well, I don’t buy your inferences. Of course, I agree that gang raping an alien passing through your country is detestable. But is it any more detestable because the rapists are raping someone of the same sex? Do you really believe that if the Sodomites had taken Lot up on his generous offer to give them his virgin daughter and raped her till her ears bled, God would have given them a pass? I know God’s “champion” for Christians in America gets a “mulligan” for sexual assault from his right wing Christian brothers, but I have an idea God’s standards might be a little higher. Yours and Rev. Graham’s equation of my gay and lesbian friends, who are productive members of society, wonderful parents and, though I am sure you will tell me its impossible, deeply committed disciples of Jesus with gang rapists is beyond insulting. The fact is, no biblical figure has ever opined on whether a mutually loving same sex relationship precludes God’s blessing that relationship. That’s a fact. My inference? God cares a whole lot more about the way these wonderful individuals care for each other raise their children and serve their neighbors than their sexual techniques. I base that inference on Jesus’s life and ministry as well as the priorities of God he expresses in his parable of the last judgment in Matthew 25.

        Furthermore, while I understand why Jesus would not give us a complete catalogue of sins in his parable, don’t you think that he would give us the big ones? If a sin is so offensive to God that God would burn up a couple of cities to punish it, I would expect that to be at the top of the list, wouldn’t you? What better time than the last judgment to put God’s priorities up front and center? Well, Mel, I think God’s priorities are up front and center in Jesus’ parable. God’s priority is the care we give our neighbors. As I told Rev. Graham, there are no questions asked about sexual orientation, how many times one was married, who did or who didn’t have an abortion or any of the other issues he thinks are paramount. (I know, I just gave you a springboard for your favorite issue. Have at it-again.)

        And as far as the petition to remove Rev. Graham as CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, you bet your sweet life its political. Rev. Graham stepped into that circle when he threw his public support behind Donald Trump. I doubt anyone would have cared (or even known) how Rev. Graham voted or the political views he might have expressed about the 2016 election to his friends and family. But not only did he publicly throw his support behind Trump, he actively campaigned for him and went so far as to say that Trump was “God showing up on election day.” I can well understand why people who only want to support a ministry to the hungry, poor and needy would object to that ministry’s leader using his position to deify as God’s “champion” for Christianity” a man whose moral example is-let’s just say not what one would expect from a “born again” Christian. For reasons best known to himself, Rev. Graham decided to enter into the thick of presidential politics. When you play football in the big league, you don’t get to cry when you get hit.

      30. First of all, Rev Franklin Grahsm is not “crying” as you falsely allege. He knows perfectly well what is at stake. He is prepared for the fallout and has chosen to remain faithful to his beliefs, regardless of the consequences. To accuse him of “crying” is just another straw man that you’ve managed to find. Rev Graham should be lauded for standing his ground despite the groundswell of hatred and incited animosity aimed at him. Jesus warned us that this would happen when we stand for His principles. I’m sure Rev Graham is quite aware of this! Just like the early believers who refused to comply with the Emperor’s edict amd who insisted on saying that Jesus, not Caesar, is Lord, Franklin is remaining true to his beliefs.

        God’s decision to judge Sodom and Gomorrah occured before the “rape” incident in Genesis 19. So that “detestable” act could not have been the determining factor. The previous chapter tells of how Abraham tried to bargain with God to get him to relent from His decision. The quest to find righteous people in the cities is the very reason the “aliens” were visiting there. So these “detesable things” must have been taking place before that dreadful night when the men of the town attempted to rape the “aliens”. I suggest you take your own advice — read the actual text.

        You talk disparagingly about my (and Rev Graham’s) attitude about your “gay and lesbian friends, who are productive members of society, wonderful parents and, … deeply committed disciples of Jesus”. But if it were these types of people who were involved, this blog would never have developed. The incident which precipitated this entire discussion was not sparked by honest, neighborly people of noble character, (gay or otherwise). This is about two men who engaged in a malicious set up, launching an unprovoked attack against an innocent and honest Christian businessman in order to falsely portray him as being bigoted. It was a mean spirited attack on an innocent man in order to gain political mileage for a cause. These men were not ones who could “agree to disagree” on a matter of faith as any noble person should be able to do. Instead, they wanted to use the heavy hand (and misuse of) the law and a public trial to force others to believe the same way they do. They wanted to destroy the right of other people to disagree with their ideas and beliefs on what they hold to be sacred. When the state legal system backed this form of malice it did make it a form of persecution. The fact that Rev Graham recognized that for what it was (and you obviously didn’t) is what triggered you into writing your infamous letter.

        I do agree with you that God’s priorities are front and center. That “helping our neighbors” is paramount, especially if those neighbors happen to be among “the least of these”. Those who care about their neighbors and “the least of these” will, in that day of judgment, be on the Right side of God, considered His sheep. Those who don’t, will be on His Left. Their lack of concern is evidence that their hearts are not where they should be, and when that happens, it leads to all kinds of evil. Where you and I obviously differ, is in who we regard as “the least of these”. Based on the teachings of Scripture, biological evidence and the historic witness of the professing church, I view the unborn child in America who is slated for death as certainly qualifying. For you, it would appear, that child is too “least” to qualify as “the least of these”.

      31. You are right, of course, that the attempted gang rape in Genesis 19 comes after God has already heard that “the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is grave.” Moreover, there is not mention whatsoever of which specific sins are involved. As there is an “outcry” against them, I suspect they were oppressing the poor-just as Ezekiel tells us. No evidence that sex of any kind was involved. The Bible simply doesn’t say what you want it to say.

        I also do not believe there is anything “malicious” about insiting that you be treated with the same dignity and respect as everyone else, nor do I think one is being “forced” to agree with anything simply be complying with the rules governing commerce. There was a time, of course, when denying recognition to same sex couples was dominant in our culture-just as it was once customary to deny people of color services offered to white people. But that’s no longer the case. Once again, white, straight males are used to having the playground to themselves. Now they have to learn that it’s for all the kids. That’s not persecution. That’s life.

      32. Once again you are on very thin hermeneutical ice. You state: ” Moreover, there is no mention whatsoever of which specific sins are involved. As there is an “outcry” against them, I suspect they were oppressing the poor-just as Ezekiel tells us. No evidence that sex of any kind was involved.”. But that simply is not the case. Jude 1:7-8 clearly states that there was “sexual perversion”. Let me quote it again: “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion”. For sure, ignoring the plight of the needy was going on, as was arrogance, haughtiness and gluttony. And that, like the “love of money”, was the gateway to all kinds of evil. But Jude specifies “sexual perversion” Nor could this “sexual perversion” be referring solely to the attempted rape of the “aliens”. That is certain because that incident occurred only in one of the towns mentioned. But both towns which were condemned were listed in the passage in Jude.

        Nor was the legal case in question which triggered you one of discrimination against any group of people. Once again, the issue was about “what” not about “who”. If a heterosexual couple or anyone else from any group had made the same request, they would have been treated exactly the same. That “what” was the firm belief in the Scriputure teaching on the sanctity of marriage which compliance with the request would have violated. It was not about refusing to serve homosexuals. The court records show that the baker who was sued had served homosexuals willingly on many previous occassions. It was the particular request to make a cake which would celebrate something which violated the direct teaching of Jesus Christ on the sacred marriage union.

        Suppose someone from any minority group — one which is protected under whatever various “discrimination or hate laws” may exist in your state — comes to you and asks you, as a pastor, to bless their upcoming membership with Ashley Madison’s group in order to have a “blessed” time with their legal and often lauded program of adultery. Would you do so? And if not, and that person — from a protected minority group — sued you for discrimination and the state legal apparatus pursued you with ruinous legal fines, would you not object?

        I have lived much of my life in countries where there are different cultural and religious beliefs in what constitutes a marriage. In many countries, polygamy is viewed as quite normal, certainly legal, quite desireable (at least for the men). I have many friends who believe that this is great and I have been invited to participate in the celebration of a man marrying his 2nd, 3rd, or 4th wife. I have always declined based on my firm belief that this is not good and is not what God intended as His ideal for marriage. Would you agree? Yet never — not once — did any of these folk regard my refusal to participate as being odious. They simply understood that I believed differently than they did. They could “agree to disagree”. Never was a lawsuit foisted on me for discrimination or hatred because I didn’t agree with polygamy. Why should it be any different with any homosexual “marriage”?

        The question you need to ask yourself is this: “Can Americans in “the land of the
        free” truly practice the belief in the sanctity of marriage as defined by Jesus Christ (one man with one woman as cited in Genesis 2 and Matthew 19, til death do us part) without facing legal censure? If not, then it is the state, not the church, which defines what one can believe and not believe about what is sacred. And that is a clear violation of the separation of church and state.

      33. Oh Mel – just responding to your last paragraph – I do not see anyone preventing you from engaging in a “one man one woman” marriage but if you do, please advise. You are free to marry any woman who will freely choose to marry you, assuming you do not already have a wife. If you don’t believe in gay marriage, feel free not to marry a man.

        And if you have a gay friend who is getting married and invites you to the wedding, I am certain your friend will not be surprised if you decline to attend. 🙂

        I wonder if you have any gay friends.

      34. I am quite sure there was sexual perversion in Sodom and Gomorrah-among other things. But that hardly makes it “the last straw” as you asserted earlier. As I said before, Jesus doesn’t even mention it in his parable of the last judgment. Furthermore, same sex attraction is not a “perversion” of human sexuality. At least that is what the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Pediatric Association, the American Psychological Association and every other professional medical and therapeutic board whose specialties come close to this issue. Moreover, you cannot point to a single passage of scripture that addresses the question of whether a mutually loving and committed same sex couple cannot be afforded the blessings of marriage. Not one. All you have is “inferences.”

        And no, I would not bless anyone’s upcoming induction into Ashley Madison (and I cannot imagine any alternative reality in which I would get such a request.) A church, as you know, is a religious institution and it’s right order its practices in accord with its teachings is protected under the First Amendment. We don’t advertise our sacraments and rites or “charge” people for weddings, baptisms or funerals. Now, if I were running a for profit wedding chapel offering my services to the public for a fee, the rules are different. What I offer to one, I offer to all. I can’t refuse to marry interracial couples, same sex couples or religiously mixed couples based on my personal beliefs. So to, if you bake wedding cakes for a living, you participate in commerce and commerce is governed by rules. Nothing unfair about that. If I pay taxes to pave the roads that carry your cakes to market, provide police and fire protection for your business, you don’t get to refuse your services to me just because you object to the perfectly legal but, in your personal opinion, morally odious purpose for which I want them.

        Finally, as Judy said, if you are against same sex marriage, then don’t marry someone of the same sex. Problem solved. I have heard all of the hysterical screaming that legalization of same sex marriage will undermine the sanctity of marriage, by which I suspect they mean heterosexual marriage. After a couple of decades of legalized same sex marriage in my state, my own heterosexual marriage is just fine, thank you. I also have to wonder what desecrates marriage more: a same sex couple living together faithfully, raising their children and being productive citizens-or God’s “champion” for the Christian faith who ended his first two marriages through adultery and cheated on his third wife with a porn star even as she was bearing his child.

      35. Well at least you are now acknowledging that there was “sexual perversion” in Sodom and Gomorrah. Before you stated that there was no Scriptural evidence that the “detestable things” done in Sodom and Gomorrah were sexual in nature. So we are making progress. So if there was “sexual perversion” (as Jude clearly indicates there was), what kind of perversion and “detestable things” were they doing? Do you suppose that it as only “aliens who were being raped” in all of the cities? There is no indication that there were any other “aliens” who visited the other towns in the plains which were also judged. What was it? Are you prepared to base the health of your very soul on your hope that this sexual pervesion does not mean what the church and scholars throughout the ages have declared it to be? Are you really willing to put your faith in the American Medial Association and all the other pseudo-scientific bodies who canbe as politically motivated, (sometimes bought), as anyone else, and are often contradicting themselves? By the way, how many genders are there now? I heard, that there were 36, but then I heard it was over 72…I’ve even heard there is over 100 from these “experts”. The state of America’s medical community (as the Covid “pandemic” has demonstrated), leaves a lot to be desired It has been shon to be as easily manipulated by political forces as it is incompetent.. Sorry, when it comes to integrity, I’ll take the Word of God any day over these feuding bodies.

        Also, you forget that there are highly qualified and competent professionals who strongly dissent with the rulings of these supposed “medical authorities” but their voices are suppressed.

        You also stated: “Moreover, you cannot point to a single passage of scripture that addresses the question of whether a mutually loving and committed same sex couple cannot be afforded the blessings of marriage. Not one. All you have is “inferences.” So let me just throw that one back at you with respect to polygamy. Can you find any text in the Bible which condemns polygamy? or child brides? And there are many who would love to use that same argument you are using to promote these forms of “marriage” and sexuality.

        Jesus gave us His ideal. It is not merely an “inference”, it is a very specific description: “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’. In that passage (Matthew 19:5) Jesus was quoting from Genesis 2:24, a passage which predates the Mosaic Law, and which Jesus quoted to show God’s original purpose and design for that sacred union.

        But that is not the point here. You are free to believe what ever you want to believe about what God’s purpose for marriage is. And I (and the baker and everyone else) should be free to believe whatever we see as the Biblical teachings on the sanctity of marriage. When there is freedom of religion, we are to respect one another’s beliefs, and people should not be forced to violate that which is sacred. We should not be forced to declare that “Caesar is Lord”, or bow down to the “golden image”, or be forced to violate anything which to us is sacred.

        Nor is it just churches who enjoy the privilege of the First Amendment. Everyone is entitled to freedom of religion, freedom of thought, and freedom of expression. To say that an official of the church can refuse to endorse something to which they object but the common person on the street can not is simply to entrench a form of fundamental injustice. I, as a layman, should be just as free to refuse to bless a membership in Ashleigh Madison as you are. The Supreme court, fortunately, did not agree with your logic (or lack thereof) with respect to what business owners can be forced to do. Again, it is about “what”, not “who”. No one should ever be forced to violate something which goes against what they consider to be sacred.

        And Judy’s argument (to which you refer) is not what is at stake here. I’m totally able to love and be friends with people whose theological beliefs about marriage and a host of other things are completely different than mine. The “agree to disagree” and get on with life and happiness argument, in fact, is MY (and Rev Graham’s) point of view which I am advocating for you. I am quite willing to live in peace with someone who is a polygamist, or someone who is in a homosexual relationship. But I will NOT participate in anything which promotes these. Why should I or anyone else have to do something which violates what they consider to be sacred?

        And when you say to me: ” if you have a gay friend who is getting married and invites you to the wedding, I am certain your friend will not be surprised if you decline to attend” you are, in fact, admitting that the actions of those who sued the baker were not normal and were not cordial. This baker was “invited” to participate in their “wedding” by designing a cake for it. He declined. But, based on your own words, the men who sued him should not have been surprised. That proves my point that this was a set up. It was a predetermined move to gain political mileage out of something they knew would be a normal (and proper) response from someone who believed differently than they did. That is clear malice. It contradicts the neighborly ethic of “agree to disagree”, and it violates the Constitutional right of Americans to live according to their own consciences and respect their own firmly held religious beliefs.

      36. Sorry, Mel – being invited to celebrate your gay friend’s wedding and being asked to bake a cake for it are not at all comparable. Celebrating the wedding is not your business – it is a privilege extended to one’s friends. But a baker is in business and has an obligation to serve customers. Two entirely different things.

      37. You said: ” But a baker is in business and has an obligation to serve customers”. So a black baker who is asked to bake a cake for a party celebrating the election of a candidate who is a KKK member and outspoken anti-semite is legally require to do so? A first nations baker is required to bake a cake for an oil company celebrating the drilling for oil on his ancestral burial grounds? A gay baker is required to bake a cake for Westboro Baptist Church celebrating their legal successes? Standard Oil was right to sell oil to Nazi Germany, enabling it to strengthen its war machine? Business is business? Morality should never affect it? Really? Is that your view? Honestly?

        Participating in any event which violates ones conscience, whether through attendance or the supplying of resources should never be a legal requirement for any business. Again, it is about “what”, not about “who”.

      38. Your examples are a little far-fetched. The comparison between the KKK and a committed sane-sex couple? Seriously??

        And I still wonder so I will ask – DO YOU have any gay friends?

      39. Hello Judy. I figured it wouldn’t be long before you would show up.

        Far fetched? Not at all. For one, I strongly suspect that the “couple” who were requesting the cake were not a “committed sane sex couple, caring for each other”. (I’m assuming you meant to say “same”, but maybe not). Rather they were activists hell bent on “breaking down the doors” to force their views on others,

        Nor is the celebration of white supremacy unheard of in America. The last Member of Congress who had been a member of the KKK (Senator Byrd) died only a few years ago. He was a Democrat who Hilary Clinton lauded as one of her mentors. I suspect that during his time as a member in good standing with the KKK there were times when their views were celebrated. I certainly would not bake a cake for any such group, nor would I expect any African American to have to do so either. Would you?

        And yes, I do have “gay” friends. One of the reasons I have been persevering on this blog is due to a request from one of them who seriously regrets following the pathway of his peers. He has told me that he has wished that someone would have warned him of the dangers years ago, and not encouraged him to go the direction that he was being told to go.

        I also have “ex-gay” friends. And they tell me the same thing. Do you have any ex-gay friends?

        I have other gay friends who I support, financially, in other countries. I don’t hate anyone. My hope is that everyone can come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and experience His love, and forgiveness. All of us are sinners. If we loved only people who never sin, we would never love anyone, cause “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

      40. You’re too much, Mel. The couple in CO were a set-up? Makes me smile just to imagine it. I find most people are pretty much what they appear to be.

        And they were not trying to force their views on anyone – they didn’t invite the bakers to the wedding. They just wanted a cake, like everyone else.

        And yes, if I were in business to bake cakes, I’d bake the darn cake. We do our jobs, those of us who follow the law. If I didn’t want to follow the law, I’d go do something else. And if I considered principled resistance and it went to court and I lost, I would recognize that the law is the law, and I would hope everyone else would too. Otherwise, what is the point of laws and courts?

        As for your gay (why is that in quotes? Are you trying to denigrate them or their gayness?) friends, no one really knows what is in the heart of another. I would consider it a real possibility that your friends might respond otherwise in a more supportive environment, but in any case, I am glad to know you are willing to be friends with gay people, with or without the quotes. Go you.

        As far as I know, I do not have any ex-gay friends, but then i am not in the habit of inquiring as to my friends’ sexual interests, so maybe I do – who knows?

        I think I’m done here, Mel. You won’t change my mind, and I am certain I won’t change yours. Stay well and wear a mask. Protect yourself and those around you. Cheers!


      41. Thanks for replying Judy. It is always good to hear from you.

        Its interesting to hear you say “I find most people are pretty much what they appear to be.” I think pretty much the opposite….that there is usually far more to people than what appears on the outside. The adage “you can’t judge a book by its colour” is true wisdom. And the fact that this “couple” filed a lawsuit, with all their ducks in order and already lined up, suggests quite strongly that it was a set up.

        And the baker was following the law as he understood it. He believed he was living in the “land of the free”, where religious freedom is guaranteed; that he would not be required to bake a cake specifically for an event which he believed would violate the sanctity of marriage.

        It would be one thing if it were Walmart, where there are cakes already made for any purpose and the couple went to buy one already in stock. But in this case he was being asked to produce a cake for a particular purpose. He was being asked to use his artistic skills to celebrate and create a message for something specific with which he could not agree.

        For example, lets assume that there comes a day when polygamy is openly legal across the USA, and the age of legal marriage is lowered to 12. Suppose some man with 3 wives,already who is about to marry a 4th wife, (who is 12 years of age) asks you, the baker (in business to make cakes) to decorate a cake with the words “welcome my dearest and most beautiful wife number 4 to my family”. Would you “just bake (and decorate) the damned cake”?

        Nor was the baker who was sued “not following the law”. The fact that the Supreme Court over turned the original court’s decision shows clearly that the law is, at best, confusing. And if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Baker, it is difficult to argue that he was breaking any law.

        I use the quotation marks for the word “gay” because it is a usurped meaning of the word. 50 years ago if I said I felt gay, it would have meant I felt happy, joyful, content, or in a good mood. Yes, perhaps it is being pedantic. But words and the meaning of words is important. I also use those quotations when the word “progressive” is used to describe the latest (often inane) idea to come from the fringe elements of the extreme Left. Any time a word is used when it is meant to mean something different from its original meaning, I think it is appropriate to use those quotation marks. Confucius was once asked what it would take to achieve world peace. His reply: “insist on the exact definition of words”. That sounds like wisdom to me.

        Thanks for the discussion. It is always good to discuss important issues in an atmosphere of respect and civility. That is something which is becoming a very rare occurence these days. All the best and if I don’t hear from you for awhile, Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

      42. Mel:

        I can’t have an intelligent argument with someone who denies science and concocts crack pot conspiracy theories in its place. If you really think that our medical professional organizations puppets of some liberal political scheme to undermine your faith, I can’t help you. The fact is, two of the largest “reparative therapy” oranizations, one of them being “Exodus” out in California, have colapsed with their physicians admitting that their theories and methods are invalid. So much for your highly qualified dissenters. Moreover, the science coming out of Covid-19 research has been pretty good. Even God’s “champion for Christianity” admits that, though he doesn’t have a clue how any of it works. And as for what the church has taught for centuries, the church insisted long after the death of Gallileo that the sun rotated around the earth. Bad science doesn’t become good science just because it has been believed for a long time by a lot of smart people. I also maintain, as does the scientific community that same sex attraction is not a disorder and you have yet to point me to any scripture stating that the love of a same sex family is not as blessed as that of a heterosexual couple. And you won’t, because there are none.

        Churches and religious organizations are treated differently under the First Amendment than businesses. That may not comport with your opinion about what the law should be, but that’s how it is. Furthermore, that’s how it has to be. Imagine trying to go through the check out at Walmart and having the clerk tell you, “Sorry, can’t ring up your ham because I’m a Muslim and facilitaiting your consumption of ham is against the tenants of my faith. You will have to go to the next line, but you can’t get your christmas cards rung up because the clerk there is a Jehovah’s Witness and she doesn’t believe in celebrating holidays. So perhaps you sould go to line 7. But wait, he’s an atheist who believes propagating religion is dangerous. He won’t ring up that religious magazine or yours. And on it goes. If you want to live in a world where you never have to deal with people whose acts, opinions or faith you don’t agree with, I guess you can get together a group of like minded people and start your own community-sort of like the Amish. Otherwise, you have to figure out how your are going to live with the rest of us. Fact is, the United States is not a Christian country. Never has been. But it is becoming ever more diverse and all you white, straight Christian guys are going to have to get used to it. The play room is not yours alone. You have to share the toys. Deal with it.

      43. I do not deny science. I love science and believe firmly in the scientific method.

        Science is a way in which we investigate and discover the wonders of God’s creation. What I do deny is the infallibility of so-called “scientific institutions”, which are man made and which can (and certainly have been) corrupted. That is FACT, Not a “crack pot” conspiracy theory. Science is seldom a settled matter on anything. Try discussing nutrition and alternative healing techniques with any two medical doctors and you are likely to find little agreement. As with institutions — especially those which rely on government grants for their survival, it is not outside the bounds of reason to assume that at times they will do what they are required to do in order to get the government grant.

        The Catholic church in Galileo’s day may have been wrong about the sun, but the Bible has not been. Perhaps a Catholic can explain the teachings of that institution. My spiritual ancestors were highly persecuted by them when they attempted to reform that institution.

        For sure scientists have learned a lot about Covid 19, but they have made very differing and conflicting pronouncements in the process. In the early stages of the pandemic, some of these scientific “experts” were basing their projections on very flawed computer models. The CDC, NIH, WHO, and other medical bodies have altered their recommendations on wearing masks, lock-downs, travel, social distancing, and other aspects several times And the Democrat Governors of several states actually, (apparently on the advice of their medical experts) placed COVID infected patients in nursing homes, forcing these institutions, full of the most vulnerable people — who are highly susceptible to die the most from this virus — to accept them.

        Furthermore, at least one of these governors let a hospital ship with the capacity to hold hundreds of patients sit idly at sea, unused. He also turned away a complete and functioning mobile hospital set up by a competent humanitarian organization which had vast experience in dealing successfully with pandemics (including Ebola) which, after it had been set up, were forced to take it all down and were sent packing. These actions are the antithesis of science and logic itself. They no doubt contributed to many preventable deaths. And this supposedly on the advice of “medical experts”?

        I agree that Trump has made mistakes with Covid. He relied far too heavily on one adviser (a huge mistake) who persuaded him to do inadvisable things. (Although he has never made such a huge error as these Democrat Governors made,) Was a lock-down necessary? According to these scientific institutions, and according to Trump’s special adviser — YES. Yet now the WHO is saying that lock-downs were not necessary. I suspect that the day will come when the truth is revealed. And at that point, I strongly suspect that politics and greed will be seen to have played a prominent role. Would you disagree? My point is that human institutions are fallible. They have made mistakes, and will continue to do so. Medical and scientific opinion does change. And it can, at times, be in grave error.

        How many genders are there now? I must have missed your answer on that. 🙂

        You say: “Churches and religious organizations are treated differently under the First Amendment than businesses”. So what you are saying is that you as a pastor, could refuse to have a cake baked for a celebration of Ashley Madison’s successes, but I, as a common layman and businessman, could not? That is what you are implying. Or that a first nations pastor, would not be required to bake a cake for an oil company celebrating the digging of oil on his ancestral burial grounds, but a lay engineer who also baked cakes for a living would have to? I don’t know if that is true or not, but if it is, then, to quote Shakespeare, the “law is an ass”. Where is the “equality”?

        I suspect that you are wrong on that point. It is not only ministers or officials of the clergy who have the right to freedom of religion.As I said earlier, the Supreme Court over-ruled the lower court decision and ruled in favor of the Baker who was faced with these massive (and unjust) legal penalties. But if you are correct, then you should be advocating for change, rather than accept your elevated position of clergy privilege.

        As for your resort to racism (“all you white straight Christians”!)… you fail to realize that what you are saying would force an African American, whose ancestors were abused and dehumanized by slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow, segregation, mass incarceration, etc, to bake a cake to celebrate the successes of white supremacy? Is that what you are advocating? Does that sound like justice to you? Is that the kind of “inclusive” America you want? Because that is what is coming across.

      44. For someone who claims to love science, you seem to have a pretty low opinion of scientists and their institutions. Scientists do not claim to be infalible. It is arrogant religious types who insist on an infalible Bible (which ususally means their own narrow interpretation of it) that cannot be contested no matter what the evidence to the contrary says. Science is based on the assumption that a lot of mistakes are going to be made on the way to discovering the truth. So when you point to the erros made along the way by the CDC, the WHO and other research institutes in trying to get a handle on Covid 19 and crow as though you had just discredited them, you only display your lack of understanding about the way science works. As I said, science makes a lot of mistakes along the way. A lot of theories turn out not to be accurate or complete. That’s how the empirical method works. But that is not to say that science is so all over the place that you can’t trust anything sciene has established. Over time, science has established some pretty reliable conclusions that have only been strenghthend with time. Of course, even these are not “infalible” and you won’t find any true scientists to say the are. But they are sufficiently proven for us to accept them as true-unless and until overwhelming evidence suggests the contrary.

        Like it or not, your suggestion that our medical professionals and their institutions are politically corrupt and their guidance unreliable is not only a crack pot conspiracy meme, it is also dangeorus. I wish I could tell you about all of the children, teenagers and families I’ve met who have been deeply wounded by “repairative thereapy” designed to “cure” their sexual orientations. I can’t do that though, because to do so would violate pastoral confidences. I believe those stories would break your heart. In most cases, they were referred for treatment to these snake oil peddling quacks by their pastor or other religious leader to “save” them from the wiles of goddless science. I don’t believe God gave us brains for nothing. So if the best brains are telling me that same sex relationships are within the range of normal human behavior and that same sex couples can lead the same happy, productive and fulfilling lives as the rest of us-provided we treat them with dignity and respect-and the Bible seems to say the contrary, well maybe it’s time to take a second look at the Bible. It’s one thing to say that the Bible is true and reliable. It is quite another to say the same about everyone who thinks s/he knows what it means. If more of us religious folks practiced the humility of scientists when we read the Bible, we might have avoided the lunacy of the Scopes Monkey trial and that giant monument to stupidity in Kentucky known as the Creation Museum.

        Despite what you suspect, religious institutions are treated differently under the First Amendment in some respects. That is why evangelical colleges are permitted to discriminate on the basis of race, sex and just about everyting else. Of course, if these private establishments start taking federal money or benefits, then of course they need to follow the rules of equality like everyone else. No, pastors are not the only ones who have freedom of religion. It belongs to all Americans. But no freedom granted under the constitution is absolute and unlimited. You can believe in and worship the sun god if you want to. But you can’t offer up your first born as a burnt sacrifice to the sun god no matter how sincerely you may believe it is your divine obligation. So to you are free to believe that same sex unions are sinful and to express that view. But you don’t get to discriminate on that account in the public market place. BTW, I refuse to engage your silly hypotheticals. If you really think that two people desiring to solomnize their love for one another is the moral equivalent to lynching, then your moral compass is clearly orientated to the north pole of a different planet.

        Finally, I am not an expert on gender studies. What do know is that gender, from both a cultural and biological standpoint, turns out to be a lot more fluid than our binary thinking allows. I could point you to some literature on the subject if you are truly interested. But I suspect that your objective in asking has more to do with jeering at science and scientists than actually learning a thing or two.

      45. You stated: “Scientists do not claim to be infalible. It is arrogant religious types who insist on an infalible Bible (which usually means their own narrow interpretation of it) that cannot be contested no matter what the evidence to the contrary says”.

        Well you just proved my point! True scientists understand what a theory is. Scientific institutions funded by governments, often do not. They are quite capable of issuing proclamations which are seen as “scientific truth” which may or may not be accurate, based on who is funding them and what they need to get their next grant. Remember how many “scientific studies” were produced to prove that tobacco was actually good for people’s health? Very convincing and great for the tobacco industry, until….of course…it was discovered that tobacco actually could be very damaging to one’s health and that the research which “proved” otherwise was paid for by the tobacco industry. There are numerous other examples. And the recent behavior of these institutions during the Covid “pandemic” shows that little has changed since those days. This does not mean that there are not brilliant scientists and medical researchers doing wonderful jobs. But in the last few months we have witnessed an uncanny resurgence of censorship and suppression of any scientific or medical opinions which do not follow the “official truth”! I’ve had more than one post on social media censored by the social media giants. This, despite the accurate empirical scientific evidence which was being presented in the post. It was censored, not refuted! This is the way medical institutions (accompanied by the media and Big Tech) seem to be going. Dangerous. So no, while I’m a big fan of science, I am not a fan of so-called “scientific institutions” which feed from the trough of any vested interest. Nor is it me who is trying to discredit them. It is they who are discrediting themselves by basing their conclusions on politics and those with an agenda, rather than on empirical scientific evidence.

        I do agree with you when you state: “science makes a lot of mistakes along the way. A lot of theories turn out not to be accurate or complete. That’s how the empirical method works”. That’s exactly my point. What is “scientific truth” today, is just as likely to be replaced by the “scientific truth” of tomorrow, especially when it comes to things promoted by those with a fiscal or political agenda. But when you say “your suggestion that our medical professionals and their institutions are politically corrupt and their guidance unreliable is not only a crack pot conspiracy meme, it is also dangeorus”, you seem to be ignoring history itself. I’ve already mentioned the tobacco industry. Need we go back in time to read the “scientific” studies which talked about the inferiority of races? Hitler certainly had many top notch, brilliant scientific minds at his disposal (some of whom found work in the US governement following the WW2). These were men and women who were convinced that the “scientific evidence showed that the Aryan race was the superior race. Similarly there were supposedly “brilliant minds” in America which argued that black Africans were not “fully human”. The “evidence” that these “experts” produced influenced the Dred Scott supreme court decision, and was used to justify slavery. Today there is no shortage of “medical experts” who are quite willing to justify the killing of innocent unborn children in the womb, or now even those requesting euthanasia. The Hypocrattic oath states clearly: “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.” When the medical establishment of today violates its own oaths like this so readily, it leaves little faith in its collective fundamental integrity.

        Again, this is not to demean the many wonderful medical and scientific minds of great people in this field of service. Many have made great strides in progress for humanity. But hypocrisy, corruption and lack of integrity infest the medical and scientific institutions to the point where pronouncements made by them must logically be taken with the proverbial grain of sand.

        You mention the damage done by some so-called “reparative therapy” techniques. I fully agree that there were “reparative therapy” techniques (which, at the time were lauded by some of the medical and scientific institutions which you appear to want us to accept unquestioningly today) which have caused much damage. Similar draconian measures were used to “treat” first nations children who were being forced to accept “western civilized’ values. In Canada, the mainline (supposedly progressive) churches backed the infamous residential schools system which became a nightmare of physical and sexual abuse for native Canadian children. But those who questioned the government’s (and churches’) approach at that time were similarly dissed for being “anti-science”. Science, like any discipline, can be abused or misused or misrepresented to create any “conclusion” however false, one wants. As long as there is hypocrisy and corruption, then its going to continue to happen.

        You say: ” If you really think that two people desiring to solomnize their love for one another is the moral equivalent to lynching, then your moral compass is clearly orientated to the north pole of a different planet”. The point, however which I was making is that you, with your understanding of the law, are compelled to accept that an African American, whose ancestors were forced to undergo slavery, with all its lynching, segregation, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, etc, should be compelled to bake a cake for an event celebrating white supremacy. If “business is business” and there is no moral reflection allowed in choosing what one can promote or refuse in a business decision, then that is the logical result. It is therefore you, not me, who is putting the two issues in the same category. I’m merely pointing out the logical conclusion which your view of US law entails. And if you are correct, then YOU should start working towards doing something to change that.

        Now, regarding gender, I have read many things about the new gender theory. That’s why I’m so confused as to how many genders we are now required to believe that there are. The great “wisdom” of America’s scientific and medical establishment can not seem to come up with a number which is agreed upon. Maybe they will. But let me ask you: “In Genesis 1:27 it is written: “”So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Similarly, in Matthew 19:4, Jesus also said: “Haven’t you read… that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female” As a minister of the church, do you believe these verses? Or were Moses and Jesus both wrong?

      46. “But hypocrisy, corruption and lack of integrity infest the medical and scientific institutions to the point where pronouncements made by them must logically be taken with the proverbial grain of sand.” And that is why millions of people are listening to quacks telling them that masks and social distancing don’t matter; that children don’t contract or die from Covid-19; that “herd immunity” will fix everything. People at high risk (including, by the way, expectant women) are being endangered by this dangerous misdirection given by folks urging them not to trust science or scientists, to open their bars, restaurants and gyms throwing caution to the wind. Let’s get something straight. Scientific consensus is built around peer reviewed research subject to intense criticism and evaluation. The government does not control any of that (though God’s “champion” for Christianity has certaintly tried). Just becausse you can turn over enough rocks to find some quack with a degree who will say something to the contrary, that doesn’t prove that scientific consensus is unreliable and must be taken with a grain of sand. If you have been peddling crap like this online, you were rightfully blocked. Freedom of speech does not give one the right to scream fire in a crowded theator when there is no fire. If you are undermining confidence in science and medicine during a pandemic, you are doing just that. So for God’s sake Mel, cut it out!

        Once again, I refuse to follow you down the rabbit hole of conspiracy clat trap about liberals, the deep state and Democrats conspiring to persecute all you poor little white evangelicals. But on the matter of gender, you are right. The Lord God created them male and female. God also separated light from darkness in day and night. Yet the night is let with the moon and the stars and there are deep places in earth and sea that never see the light of day. Furthmore, God spearated the land from the sea. But there remain, swamps, bogs, intertidal zones, marsh lands and seasonal lakes and streams that are neither entirely water nor land. God created and loves not just the ends of the spectrum and everything in between. Once you lose your limited binary way of thinking, you start to see the true complexity of things. So, once agian, it isn’t the Bible that has the problem, it is its interpreters.

      47. I agree that scientific consensus is built around “peer reviewed research subject to intense criticism and evaluation”. But that is not what is happening these days. Policies related to response to COVID were based on obviously faulty computer models. There was very little opportunity for any criticism or evaluation from those with alternate theories or solid scientific and medical evidence. Many of those who did speak out were simply censored, with some receiving punitive treatment, including malicious attacks on their reputations and loss of employment!

        The lives of people at “high risk”, especially elderly, and those in nursing homes, were placed at seriously high risk (with significantly increased mortality rates) by Democrat governors who forced nursing homes to accept these patients who were afflicted with COVID! And this on the medical advice of the ‘experts’ who you want us to listen to. There was no effort to allow “intense criticism or evaluation”.

        I am not telling anyone not to wear a mask, or not to social distance. The scientific institutions which you laud, are the ones which have gone back and forth on these numerous times. What I was referring to in the posts which I put out (which were censored) were testimonies from qualified and licensed medical practitioners — doctors, epidemiologists, biologists and experts in viral diseases — who were speaking from first hand experience! They had successfully treated COVID patients using cost effect and readily available medications which had already been approved by the FDA. These were true “experts”; definitely NOT quacks! But information on these safe, and cost effective medications was censored by the media and social media, at the behest of the medical institutions you admire, (even though they are being used safely and effectively in other countries). Several supposedly “respected” research groups put out false data about these treatments which was not accurate! One intentionally used extremely high dosages (way above manufacturers recommended amounts), to prove that these treatments were dangerous. Another study, had to be withdrawn from the Lancet when it was discovered that the data had been falisfied. Why such underhanded efforts to discredit treatment protocols which are reportedly so effective at saving lives?

        Nor are vaccines subject to any rigorous criticism or evaluation, even on their safety. Which vaccine since 1986 has undergone “peer reviewed research subject to intense criticism and evaluation”? Can you name any? In fact since that year vaccine makers can not be sued for any damages received by patients who took them, regardless of any clear linkage between the vaccine and the patient’s injuries. Why, under such draconian law, would anyone NOT be highly skeptical of anything coming out of today’s “medical and scientific community”? Why would any manufacturer go through the painstaking and costly efforts to ensure that safety standards are met when there can be no legal repurcussions if they mess up? This attack on patient rights as well as the suppression and censorship of therapies which are reported to be efficacious in treating COVID have resulted in serious morbidity and mortality which could have been prevented. America’s medical community needs to come clean on this! But they are not doing so.

        What I am saying is no “rabbit hole”. It is what is actually happening. And if qualified people with medical and scientific opinions based on objective experience are not allowed to express dissent (which is what is happening), then it is no “conspiracy theory”, it is a violation of the freedom of speech, and freedom of research which theoretically all Americans are entitled to.

        So, along with the abandonment of the sanctity of human life, the trampling of religious (and now scientific) freedom, America, the “land of the free”, is in grave peril! That you can not see this is sad. But as one pundit recently put it:

        “I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you”. 🙂

      48. Well, turns out God’s “champion for Christianity” agrees with you. He just said Dr. Fauci and all of our country’s epidemiology expers are corrupt “idiots” and don’t listen to the scientists. Good advice. They are just a bunch of God denying, America hating East coast intellectuals what thinks their book learnen puts them above us honest, blood washed, born again Christians. And now you are an anti-vaxer too? Well Mel, it’s been great chatting with you and I thank you for your hospitality. But I am going to excuse myself now as I have urgent business to attend to back on planet earth. Peace and be well.

      49. I see that you are still throwing up your straw men. I’m not anti-vax. I recognize the good which proper vaccines have done in the world, saving many lives. What I am against is the current paradigm where the law no longer protects innocent lives from miscreant pharmaceutical corporate greed when vaccines are made.

        Oh, and by the way, it was this same Dr. Fauci who told us at one time that masks were not necessary (which is something you objected to when you inferred that I was saying that). And it is Dr. Fauci who advised Trump to go into major lock-down….something which now the W.H.O. says is not necessary.

        I don’t agree with the way Trump went after Fauci, but it is good to see that Trump has finally figured out what this advisor has been up to. And he is correct that so many Americans are tired of the way this “pandemic” is being used for political gain, ruining people’s lives and livelihoods in the process.

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

      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. Once he was ask if Obama was a christian he said no I don’t think so I thought that was a little string was he judging how did he know .

      2. You’d have to ask him. But one way he might have known is that when Obama gave his speech in Cairo, he let the cat out of the bag. He said something to the effect that he had experienced Islam in many different places before (and I quote) “coming to the place where it was revealed”. If Islam is a “revealed” religion, then who revealed it? If you believe that it was the Creator God who “revealed” Islam, then by definition, that would make you a Muslim. Islam and Christianity are incompatible in their respective theologies. The central message of Christianity is that Jesus died, and rose again from the dead to provide salvation to the world from sin. In Islam, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is strenuously denied, and Muhammad, not Jesus, is the final and most important prophet. You can’t have it both ways. This is not to judge anyone by their character. Obama seems to have made it quite clear by the words he chose to use in his speech.

    2. 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.

    3. 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!

    4. 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. The Reverend Billy Graham fully supported the work and message of his son, Franklin Graham. Furthermore, Rev Billy Graham supported, prayed for, and voted for Donald Trump.

      5. You have said this before. I wonder how you can be so sure of Billy’s vote.

        As for his support of Franklin, maybe. Maybe not. You can’t get in his head. I have to look at Franklin’s behavior and wonder. But then I see 45 differently than you and Franklin do.

      6. I posted a quote from Rev Billy Graham on this blog which he wrote, showing not only that he saw the moral decline in America as a major concern, and echoing the message that his son, Franklin was giving. Also, Franklin wrote an op ed recently in Christianity Today where he stated clearly his father’s views and who he voted for.

        In short I got the information from the “horses” mouth.

      7. Franklin is nothing like his father. I grew up listening to Rev Billy Graham. He not only spoke the word of God..He lived a godly life..

    5. 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.

      7. So it’s perfectly all right with you that we keep killing babies by the millions because it’s a legal law. That is not the way God looks at it. That is one of the major reasons Trump is in the White House. To eventually stop murdering God’s creation. Two of the other major reasons our jobs and safety. He is delivering.

      8. Thanks for your comments. Re-read my letter. You will see that I never said “killing babies by the millions” is “perfectly all right.” What I did say is that depriving babies (and adults too, for that matter) of live saving medical treatment is not OK. Groping women and girls is not OK. Racist rhetoric and discrimination is not OK. Chronic lying is not OK. And, I might add, setting up Kurdish people for ethnic cleansing is not OK. None of this becomes OK just because I believe a leader is delivering on the economy. Millions of Germans looked the other way when Jews started disappearing because, after all, look what the Nazis have done for the economy. If in spite of all this, you vote for Donald Trump, that’s your right. But calling him “God’s champion” as does Rev. Graham, that’s a bridge too far for this pastor. Call me old fashioned, but I still think lust, profanity, greed, selfishness, lies, betrayal and violence are sins.

      9. I can agree with you on some of these things. It is wrong to deprive babies of life saving medical treatment, to discriminate and engage in racist speech and action; to grope women, to lie, and setting up any group for ethnic cleansing. Of course you accuse Trump of doing these things, even though some of these can be credibly contested. Nevertheless, I’m glad you see these as wrong. My question, then,is wny do you only apply these to Donald Trump, and not those on the Left, who are as guilty or far more so than Trump.

        Abortions deny all babies of life itself, and when babies who survive abortions are left to die (or strangled) on the clinic tables in America’s abortuaries, the crime is no longer abortion but infanticide. The Democrat party has consistently voted down legislation to provide special protection for these precious children who have committed no crime, and whose body parts are often sold by the abortion industry. Every Democrat candidate for the 2020 election supports the increase of the killing of unborn children. Some even want to expand it overseas, making it a primary means of population control. Is this wrong? If so, are you writing similar letters of criticism to those religious leaders who support these politicians and the killing which they support?

        As for racism, are you upset that black babies are killed by abortionists at a rate 3 to 5 times higher than those of other races in America? If its wrong to make racist statements, how much more wrong can it be to support the killing of black children in this way. For sure, America’s abortion in dustry has done far more to oppress African Americans than the Ku Klux Klan could ever have dreamed of doing. Does that bother you?

        As for groping women, do you not recall the cigar wielding President Bill Clinton and what he did with a young impressionable intern in the oval office, (not to mention other credible allegations of assault and rape by women such as Juanita Brodderick, Jennifer Flowers, Paula Jones and many others)? Or what Hillary Clinton is accused of doing to Cathy O’brien,(not to mention her insults to her African American chef who she called a *N*)?

        As for “setting up any group for ethnic cleansing”, how can that charge be applied to Donald Trump for pulling out around 50 troops from Syria, followed up by a permanent cease-fire between Turkey and Syria, and the taking out of the top ISIS leader, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi. This ISIS leader who , despite the Washington Post’s absurd attempt to paint as simply an “austere religious scholar”, was one of the world’s most cruel and ruthless dicatators who beheaded little children, persohally raped women, (including American aid worker, Kayla Mueller) and tortured thousands in the most barbaric manner possible. While the jury is certainly out on that charge against Donald Trump it is not with respect to the Obama/Clinton administration arming and providing strategic resources to ISIS, and other radical Islamist groups bent on carrying out ethnic cleansing of our Christian brothers and sisters in Syria and Iraq, as well as Yazidis and other groups.

        And no one holds a candle to what Bill Clinton did in personally when he ensured that the holocaust against the Rwandan Tutsi and moderate Hutus was allowed to proced! Even though so much of the massacres could have been prevented if Bill Clinton had not blocked the change in mandate of the well trained, well armed, UN peacekeeping troops already on the ground from a Chapter VI to a Chapter VII. These troops could have protected civilians. Instead, due to Bill Clinton’s intervention, they were withdrawn and the few who remained were not allowed to protect civilians, only report what they saw. This faciliated a true genocide of over 800,000 cvilians. Have you ever written to any clergy who supported these American leaders responsible for setting up such horrific suffering of ethnic cleansing and genoide? If so, I’m sure many of us would like to hear about that.

        If not, then perhaps it would be good to take Christ’s words seriously when he advised us not to worry about “removing the speck in our brother’s eye, before we remove the log in our own.”

      10. Ah Mel – how you twist and exaggerate things. Amazing.

        I’m not going to take it point by point, and I’m not going to try to explain your exaggerations to you; but I will say that justifying 45’s behavior by calling up other past and gone sinners is pretty silly. You have no way on earth to know whether any of the people reading your words approved of or protested Clinton or any other prior politician, so your comparison of them with 45 greatly lacks relevance.

      11. Hello Judy. Good to hear from you again. Its been awhile. I can see, though, that you are still tied to your old misconceptions. Sometimes it does take time to change. 🙂

        I’m not surprised that you are not going to attempt to describe my so-called “exaggerations”. A good thing, cause I have not exaggerated at all. How can you exaggerate a negligent and racist mindset which facilitated the mostly preventable deaths of over 800,000 civilians?

        BTW, with respect to Pastor Peter’s spurious charge of Trump setting up the way for ethnic cleansing in Syria by withdrawing US troops (all 50 or so of them) from one area of Syria, the Reverend Fanklin Graham, (who has been the subject of such unwarranted demonization and hatred on this site), did write a very strongly worded letter of exhoration to Donald Trump to urge him not to abandon the Christians, Yazidis and Kurdish people in the region and to do what he could to prevent such suffering and abuse. So he is not afraid to confront Donald Trump when there is the perception (whether accurate or not) that he might be doing something amiss. This shows that Graham is holding Trump accountable and does not have a double standard.

        Nor am I justifying President Trump’s alleged faults (emphasis here on “alleged”) by referring to the sins of his predecessors. I readily acknowledge that Trump has led an immoral life in the past (when he was a card carrying Democrat and friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Democrats, Hollywood celebrities, and America’s elite circles loved him since he fit right in with the Left’s way of life!)! But it would certainly appear that Trump is changing his ways and is now looking in the right direction. The same can not be said of the Democrat Party which is obsessing with making the killing of unborn children more readily available and facilitating America’s moral free-fall at breakneck speed.

        Nor is Trump someone who can ever be accused of having smooth or gracious oratory skills. The reason I point out the sins of his colleagues on the Left side of the aisle is not to exonerate number 45, but to point out the hypocrisy of those who hold a double standard to critically important issues. If someone applies different standards of justice and ethics to one person who they hate, and not to others who they like, then that is, by definition, discrimination and injustice.

    6. 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,

    7. 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.

    8. “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”.

      1. Love one another, care for the poor, is not mandated of all Christians? What book are you reading, certainly not the Bible.

    9. 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.

    10. 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.

    11. AMEN! I have said this repeatedly about him—disturbing and disappointing. I wouldn’t take a million dollars to see or hear him speak.

    12. Franklin is more than disappointing. He is a know nothing lacking a true moral compass. I’ll stand with Peter.


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

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

      2. 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!

      3. 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.

      4. 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?

      5. 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.

      6. 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.

      7. 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.

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

    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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

      1. So Carolyn, if you were in public business as a baker and someone asked you to bake a cake to celebrate the succdss of Ashley Madison’s promotion of adultery in America, would you do so?

  24. 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.

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

  26. 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 !

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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…

  35. 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

  36. 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!

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

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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

  43. 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!

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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

  48. 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.

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

  49. 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.

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

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. “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

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

  57. 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.

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

  59. 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.)

  60. 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.

  61. 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.

  62. 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!

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

  64. 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.

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

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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..!!

  69. 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.

  70. 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

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

  72. 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.

  73. 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?

  74. 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.

  75. 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.

  76. “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.

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

    5. 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?

    6. 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?

  78. 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

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

  80. 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.

  81. 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.

  82. 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

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

    3. 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?

    4. 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.

    5. 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

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

  84. Thank you! Beautiful and refreshing!

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

  85. 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! !

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

  87. 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.

  88. 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

  89. 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.

  90. 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.

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

    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.

  92. 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.

  93. 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

  94. 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.

  95. 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 –

  96. 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.

  97. 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….

  98. 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.

  99. 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.

  100. 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. Calling BS on religious ” hypocrisy is the duty of every Christian. It’s the hit dig that howls.

    2. 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.

  101. 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.”

  102. 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.

  103. 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.

  104. 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.

  105. 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. So your saying that you can go to heaven without excepting Jesus Christ?

      5. 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….

      6. 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.

      7. 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.

      8. 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.

      9. 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.

      10. 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.

      11. 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.

      12. 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.

  106. 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.

  107. 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