Conservative Christian leader Franklin Graham accused Pope Francis of trying to “normalize homosexuality” for coming out in support of civil unions for same-sex couples.
Yesterday, the Pope made headlines when he said that same-sex couples “have a right to a family” and are “children of God.”
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“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” he added. “I stood up for that.”
Graham is the son of the 20th century’s most powerful evangelical, Billy Graham, the CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and the head of the nonprofit Samaritan’s Purse – where he draws a six-figure salary and bans LGBTQ people as volunteers.
One of the most anti-LGBTQ religious activists in the nation, Graham does not agree with the Pope, the leader of the largest Christian church in the world.
“I find these comments from the Pope unthinkable in light of the Word of God,” Graham wrote in a Facebook post.
But he went further, effectively accusing the Pope of not believing in the Bible: “For Pope Francis to attempt to normalize homosexuality is to say that Holy Scriptures are false, that our sins really don’t matter, and that we can continue living in them.”
“If that were true, then Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection wouldn’t have been needed. The cross would have been for nothing. No one has the right or the authority to trivialize Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf,” Graham wrote about the Pope.
But he saved his most harsh words for LGBTQ people: “The consequence of an unrepentant, unbelieving heart is also clear in the Word of God — eternal death. Unless we repent and receive His offer of forgiveness, surrendering our lives to Him, we will spend eternity as part of a different family when we leave this earth — the family of the condemned.”
Graham has a history of clashing with more liberal Christians when it comes to LGBTQ people’s humanity. Last year he had pointed words for then South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), who is gay and Christian.
“Mayor Buttigieg says he is a gay Christian,” Graham wrote at the time. “But as a Christian I believe what the Bible says. God’s Word defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised, or politicized.”