Notorious anti-LGBT+ preacher Franklin Graham is insisting that he’s really not anti-LGBT+, despite all evidence to the contrary.
The pastor made the unlikely claim as he defended Tallahassee police chief Lawrence Revell for publicly speaking at a law enforcement conference hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), of which Graham is president.
Revell’s decision to speak at the event was condemned by a coalition of activists, including Equality Florida and members of the Tallahassee mayor’s LGBT+ advisory board.
“Chief Revell’s public leadership as chief of police at such an event furthers an atmosphere of discrimination, intimidation and harassment against the LGBTQIA+ and non-Christian population in Tallahassee,” the coalition said, as reported by WCTV.
They called on the city to “denounce and demote” the officer for taking money from “one of the nation’s most notorious anti-LGBTQ+ Christian right groups” – a characterisation Graham fervently denies.
In a call to prayer on Facebook, the pastor insisted that neither he nor the BGEA is homophobic, and actually, their anti-LGBT+ rhetoric is “the most loving thing” of all.
“These activist groups say that BGEA is anti-LGBTQ – that is just not true. We are not anti-anybody. We love people enough to tell them the truth of God’s Word,” Graham said.
“I want everyone to know the same truth that changed my life – that God loves us. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to earth to die for our sins, and anyone who repents of their sin and puts their faith in Him can be forgiven and made right with God.
“Sharing the hope and truth of God’s Word isn’t hateful, I think it is the most loving thing we can do.”
Unfortunately, in reality Franklin Graham’s record on LGBT+ issues is far from loving.
In the past the preacher has praised Vladimir Putin’s cruel anti-gay laws and applauded his leadership for “protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda”. He also told a Russian newspaper that homosexuals “take other people’s children”.
Back in 2016 he accused LGBT+ activists of “trying to cram down America’s throat the lie that homosexuality is OK”, and claimed that anti-discrimination laws would mean that “your children, and your grandchildren will be at risk to sexual predators and perverts”.
Just this month, Graham praised North Carolina’s lieutenant governor Mark Robinson – who unapologetically called LGBT+ people “filth” – for “having the guts to stand up and tell the truth”.
When faced with these facts Graham somehow still maintained he was not anti-LGBT+, telling the Tallahasee Democrat that “we love gay people”. Really.