- - Friday, January 13, 2017

A strange juxtaposition of headlines rolled through my news feed today. First, a press release from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), denounced Franklin Graham as an “Islamophobe” who Donald Trump should drop as one of the invited ministers who will pray at next week’s Inauguration:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on President-elect Donald Trump to drop notorious Islamophobe Rev. Franklin Graham from the list of those invited to pray at the presidential inauguration.
“If President-elect Trump truly seeks to unite our nation as he promised in his acceptance speech, he will limit the list of those offering prayers at the inauguration to religious leaders who work to bring us together, not to create divisions between faiths,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Rev. Graham’s ill-informed and extremist views are incompatible with the Constitution and with American values of religious liberty and inclusion.”

CAIR’s suggestion will certainly fall on deaf ears with President-elect Trump, who last month said to 20,000 supporters in Mobile, Alabama: “I want to thank so many great people, but having Franklin Graham, who was so instrumental, we won so big, with evangelical Christians, we won so big.”

Then, NPR’s Tom Gjelten wrote a piece titled: “With His Choice Of Inauguration Prayer Leaders, Trump Shows His Values,” saying this about Graham:

By appearing at Trump’s swearing-in, Franklin Graham will be following family tradition: His 98-year-old father, Billy, prayed at the inauguration of several presidents, from Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton, and Franklin prayed at the inauguration of George W. Bush in 2001.
His inclusion as a prayer leader may also signal Trump’s comfort with Graham’s political positions. During his campaign, Trump focused a lot of attention on the threat from “radical Islam,” a theme Franklin Graham also has emphasized.

In other words, how is it surprising that a person with the last name “Graham” would be praying at the Inauguration for a President of the United States? It is not. Billy Graham prayed at Inaugurations, in the name of Jesus Christ. And Franklin Graham will too. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is revolutionary. Christians praying Christian prayers in the public square is not.

Finally, there is this story released by Samaritan’s Purse, the international charitable relief organization run by Graham, telling how a 50-bed field hospital was built recently by the organization.

Franklin Graham officially dedicated the Samaritan’s Purse emergency field hospital in Iraq today. The 50-bed trauma unit is located on the Plains of Nineveh and is designed to treat those injured in the battle between Iraqi and coalition forces and ISIS militants in Mosul. An estimated 3,000 people a day are now fleeing the city—a number of whom have sustained life-threatening injuries from the conflict.
Iraqi government officials and United Nations representatives joined Graham for the ceremony.
“It’s a privilege to be here,” Graham said. “As a Christian, I want all people to know about God’s love for them.
…Lise Grande, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, said that it has been difficult to find organizations willing to provide frontline trauma care.
“We’ve reached out to a number of organizations, asking, begging them to step forward,” she said. “Dr. Graham, Samaritan’s Purse answered that call. We can’t thank you enough.
“You built this hospital in record time. Most of all we want to thank you for saving people. Because Samaritan’s Purse is here, thousands—tens of thousands—of people will survive…”

Building an emergency hospital in Iraq, a nation that is over 95% Muslim, does not seem to be the definition of an “Islamophobe” — even if the builder is also a proselytizer for the Christian faith (in obedience to the “Christ” of the Christian faith).

Field Hospital Director Dr. David Gettle, who has served with Samaritan’s Purse disaster response teams for 17 years, noted that God is giving patients like these a chance to survive because of the hospital’s proximity to the fighting. “We are not only here to save their lives but they will see a difference in the personnel and how they are cared for,” Dr. Gettle said. “We will plant the seeds in the Nineveh plains, and God will cultivate them.”
Graham commended our medical team for the expert care they are providing to severely injured patients in the state-of-the-art facility even as they are ministering to them as well: “[They] pray for them, talk to them, hold their hands, and smile. For most of these people, it might be the only glimpse of Jesus Christ they will ever see, and I want them to leave here with that impression.”


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