Billy Graham’s Son: I Support Putin, But I’m Not Homophobic
The son of the celebrity evangelist Southern Baptist minister Bill Graham, 95, condemned homosexuality with some pretty ridiculous rhetoric (even by anti-gay standards) in a Tuesday interview with the Charlotte Observer.
In a video clip of the interview, Franklin Graham, 61, talks about same-sex parents adopting children, or as he calls it "recruiting" children, which leads him to laud Russian President Vladimir Putin for signing the country's controversial "homosexual propaganda" measure into law last summer, which aims to "protect" children from gays by effectively banning LGBT information and public Pride events.
"You can adopt a child into a marriage but you can also recruit children into your cause," Graham told the newspaper. "I believe in protecting children from exploitation from all exploitations. That's all it's about."
Graham, who is the CEO of the Bill Graham Evangelistic Association and of Samaritan's Purse (an international Christian relief organization), went on to praise Putin.
"I think I agree with Putin; I think protecting his nation's children was a very smart thing to do," he said. "I was very clear: I supported Putin in his decision to protect his nation's children and I think our Congress needs to do more and protect our nation's children."
Graham also claimed that Congress and President Barack Obama are pushing a "gay-lesbian agenda." When asked what that agenda entails, he said:
"Just look at where we are today. With every turn, a gay and lesbian agenda is being pushed by this administration."
The evangelist then said he's been persecuted and attacked "all the time for my religious beliefs. For what I believe in; what I say."
"There are people who are very quick to demonize you if you disagree with them: the left, the gay and lesbian movement," he said. "If I disagree with a gay person, then I'm a homophobic, I'm intolerant. It's not that I'm a homophobic -- I'm not afraid of them. I'm not intolerant, it's just that a different opinion, a different view."
Graham said he is following his father's footsteps, speaking for his father, even if the views are unpopular.
"You talk about controversy -- my father stood with Martin Luther King in the early 1960s," Graham told the Observer. "My father never worried about polls. I don't care about them, either. And with the issues we are facing today -- if my father were a younger man, he would be addressing and speaking out in the exact same way I'm speaking out on them."
This isn't the first time Franklin Graham has spoke out against LGBT rights. He's supported a measure that banned same-sex marriage and all domestic partnerships in North Carolina and condemned President Obama when he announced his support for gay marriage in 2012.
"President Obama has, in my view, shaken his fist at the same God who created and defined marriage," he said. " It grieves me that our president would now affirm same-sex marriage, though I believe it grieves God even more."
In February, he defend Putin and Russia's anti-gay law in a blog post on Billy Graham's website, saying:
"In my opinion, Putin is right on these issues. Obviously, he may be wrong about many things, but he has taken a stand to protect his nation's children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda."
Watch Franklin Graham's interview below: