Saturday, December 18, 2004

Franklin in the Lion's Den

The MSM, and in particular, NEWSWEEK, is at it again. Not satisfied with the mere, usual denigration of Christmas, which was the topic of Vox Blogoli VI (via Hugh Hewitt), NEWSWEEK decided it needed to stoop to an even lower low with this insipid and one-sided interview with Franklin Graham, son of Evangelist Billy Graham, and president of Samaritan's Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian program founded in 1970 that serves the poor, refugees and others at home and abroad. He recently spoke with NEWSWEEK about his work in Iraq, gay marriage and the role of evangelism.

Below are some excerpts from the interview conducted by NEWSWEEK's Brian Braiker, but I’ve taken the vulgar liberty to respond myself; so although the responses from The Senescent Man are NOT published in NEWSWEEK, they are here, unfortunately, in this exclusive for your media entertainment pleasure -- after all, it is ONLY entertainment, isn't it? It most definitely is NOT news:

NEWSWEEK: Do you think that the media and entertainment industry is not reflective of the religious values people say they have? Twenty-two percent of voters put moral values as their top concern in this election yet “Desperate Housewives” is a hot show. Do you see any disconnect there?

Franklin Graham: …No question: there is a disconnect with the entertainment industry and the values of America.

The Senescent Man: What kind of stupid question is that? Of course the MSM is out of whack with the rest of the world. Where have you been?!?!

NEWSWEEK: The president seemed to signal that he was OK with civil unions in the last weeks of the campaign. Is your objection to marriage as a word?

Franklin Graham: This was an issue that I think in this election where people finally said, “I’ve had it. I don’t want that agenda being forced and pushed and mandated on me.” You can’t legislate morality. A homosexual’s sins are no different than a heterosexual’s sins. If I go out tonight and I sleep with someone who’s not my wife, it’s just as great a sin as gay people [having sex]. Sin is sin.

The Senescent Man: First of all, the President is opposed to gay marriage, get that straight. As to the second question in this question, no, it is not merely a word. If there is a word I do object to it is NEWSWEEK.

NEWSWEEK: Some people have said that the evangelical community has a disproportionate amount of interest about what goes on people’s sex lives as opposed to spending more time fighting poverty, healing the sick, feeding the hungry and trying to do more that is in line with Jesus’ teachings.

Franklin Graham: I don’t have an interest in what goes on in other people’s bedrooms. I think it’s a fascination by the media….

The Senescent Man: Indeed, I am interested in what goes on in EVERY bedroom in America. What’s happening tonight in yours? Nothing, I presume. What kind of stupid question is that?

NEWSWEEK: How do you respond to critics you say your work [in Iraq] has convinced already skeptical Arabs that you’re out to convert Muslims?

Franklin Graham: We don’t want to make anyone a Christian. We were there at the invitation of the churches of Iraq who said “We need your help. Some of our neighborhoods are blown up; our hospitals are not working.” The first thing we did was go in and help a couple of the large hospitals open up some clinics. These were not Christian hospitals or Christian clinics. These were just government-run facilities run by Muslims that needed intensive-care units, needed operating rooms….

The Senescent Man: Don't let the Door hit you on the way out.

NEWSWEEK: It hasn’t helped having the more mediagenic leaders—Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell, you yourself—making inflammatory comments about Islam.

Franklin Graham: The problem with our country is that we do not understand Islam. We still don’t. You get into Islamic countries, there is no separation between the government and between the religion. Islamic law, like in Saudi Arabia, is the law of the land. It’s not a secular law, it’s a religious law based on the religious faith. It’s a strange concept for us, to live under a religious law. Religion and government is one and the same [in Islamic countries]. As far as the teaching and faith of the people, I think since 9/11 there has been a strong debate in America over Islam. There are millions of Muslims in this country who have fled Islamic law; they have fled Islamic law but they have kept their faith but they want to live in peace. They want the American dream and they have every right to it. We as a nation, our values system is based on a whole different set of principles.

The Senescent Man: It hasn’t helped having nincompoops like you asking really dumb and inflammatory questions like this one. It is no wonder the MSM’s days are numbered.

NEWSWEEK: You were quoted a couple years ago as calling Islam an “evil and wicked religion.” Would you care to revisit that comment?

Franklin Graham: Those comments started a debate in this country. I don’t know what I can add to it. I respect the people of the Islamic faith that have come to this country. I have Muslim friends. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to help them. That doesn’t stop me from loving them. I certainly don’t believe the way they believe, and they don’t believe the way I believe, either. That doesn’t make me dislike them, and I love them very much. I want to do all I can to help them. In Khartoum, we have been working for years in a mission in the south. I want to demonstrate to those Muslims that my love for them is sincere. I want them to know about God’s son, Jesus Christ. I want them to know but I certainly don’t want to force it on them. I would like some day for Muslims to know what Christians do.

The Senescent Man: If you don’t mind my asking a question with a question, what did you think of the religion of David Koresh? Or Sun Myung Moon? Or the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’ll bet you’re not a big fan of any of them. Hey, everyone has their pet peeves about the multitude of “religions” out there, including NEWSWEEK.

NEWSWEEK: Do you support a constitutional ban on gay marriage?

Franklin Graham: Under normal circumstances, no. But the way judges are rewriting laws. I don’t know how else you can stop them.

The Senescent Man: Yes.

NEWSWEEK: Was Brown v. Board of Education a case of activist judges making their own law?

Franklin Graham: I don’t know; I’m not familiar with it…. But I do believe that the majority of people, people of Christian faith, are under attack. No question about it.

The Senescent Man: What kind of stupid question is that? How about Roe v. Wade? Graham is not a politician, but obviously you are. Let me formulate a similar question a la fallacy of “complex question:” Did you consider Bill Clinton a moral president despite his lurid affair with Monica Lewinsky? Keep it up NEWSWEEK, this kind of garbage won’t last too long.
You can read the whole, real interview here.

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