INDIANAPOLIS — Rev. Franklin Graham, the keynote speaker at Sunday’s prayer breakfast at the NRA’s annual meeting, responded to calls for him to express his previously stated support for universal background checks on gun purchases by deferring to a higher power.
“I’ve been asked to pray at the opening session of the NRA Annual Meeting and for their prayer breakfast,” Mr. Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham, said on his Facebook page.
“There’s been an ad circulating asking me to call on the NRA to support universal background checks. I want you to know that God has already done a universal background check on every one of us. He created you and knows everything about you. Nothing is hidden from His eyes.”
Pastor Michael McBride, director of the PICO National Network’s Lifelines to Healing Campaign, said in a statement that he prays Mr. Graham will “speak truth to power” Sunday morning “and remind the NRA leadership that support for Second Amendment rights goes hand in hand with keeping guns away from young people, criminals and other dangerous people who shouldn’t have them.”
Mr. Graham told Time Magazine last year that he and Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission supported President Obama’s efforts to increase background checks in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. school shootings in December 2012. Legislation to increase the checks fell victim to a filibuster in the U.S. Senate last year.
“As ministers, we agreed together that we could stand on a united front for universal background checks,” Mr. Graham said. “We think that’s reasonable and responsible.”