Samaritan's Purse

Not surprisingly, Franklin Graham's political views are an issue with the New York Times

Not surprisingly, Franklin Graham's political views are an issue with the New York Times

With the Rev. Billy Graham dead and –- as I write this –- on his way to lying in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, lots of eyes have turned toward his eldest son, the Rev. Franklin Graham. The New York Times on Monday came out with a piece that lauded Billy for his non-involvement with politics (at least later in life), then trashed Franklin for embracing President Donald Trump.

I get peeved when certain media purport to have great concern for the future of evangelical Christianity when at the same time criticizing the movement when some of its members embrace conservative politics. The same folks who find Franklin Graham to be an unworthy son wouldn’t think of going after the (more liberal) daughters of George W. Bush for not carrying on his legacy.

Graham is a major annoyance to many in the media for his unabashed Trumpism. I don’t claim to be a big fan of Franklin’s, but I have to laugh at his elephant skin. Haven't reporters figured out that Graham the younger doesn't give a rip about their opinions?

After the piece begins with a quote from the late evangelist about the dangers of political involvement, it then pillories the younger Graham.

Among Mr. Trump’s most vocal evangelical supporters, few are as high-profile as Billy Graham’s eldest son and the heir to his ministry, the Rev. Franklin Graham, who is 65. Though admired among evangelicals for his aid work in hardship zones with the charity he leads, Samaritan’s Purse, he has drawn criticism for his unstinting support of the president.
Franklin Graham has defended the president on television and social media through the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., the crackdowns on immigrants and refugees, the Stormy Daniels scandal, and the slur against Haiti and Africa.
“People say that the president says mean things. I can’t think of anything mean he’s said. I think he speaks what he feels,” Mr. Graham said in a wide-ranging telephone interview last week. “I think he’s trying to speak the truth.”

Well, Trump has actually said plenty of mean things and on that, Franklin Graham and I would disagree. But why has his conservative politics become this major harbinger of where evangelicalism -- as a whole -- stands right now?

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A Falwell in St. Martin? Religious charities' aid gets little coverage in post-hurricane news

A Falwell in St. Martin? Religious charities' aid gets little coverage in post-hurricane news

As everyone from President Donald Trump to politicians of all stripes try to make sense of the mess that is Puerto Rico, I’ve noticed little has been written about all the religious groups heading down to the U.S. territory to help.

Why is this? Information about these efforts is all over the place on Twitter and in social media.

So, along with the city of Chicago sending some two dozen firefighters, paramedics and engineers to Puerto Rico, there’s a group of Chicago Catholics sending down supplies as well. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which uses its storage centers in Atlanta as a staging ground for emergency relief, is also sending folks to Puerto Rico.

Seventh-day Adventist students and professors from the Adventist-affiliated Andrews University in Michigan are likewise showing up. The Catholic Diocese of Providence, R.I. is chipping in 10 grand. The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams were finally given permission by FEMA to move in.

You may have heard about President Trump tossing towels at a Calvary Chapel in Guaynabo, but here’s a story about a Calvary Chapel-affiliated church in California that’s trying to get supplies to their brethren some 3,500 miles away.

That story was from the NBC affiliate in San Luis Obispo, but most of the stories I’ve seen are from the religious press. Case in point is this Charisma News post about everyone ranging from Paula White Ministries to Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse racing to get thousands of pounds of supplies to the island.

It does seem ironic that while so many have problems with Graham’s style or politics, there’s much less coverage when Samaritan’s Purse pours relief supplies into a devastated area.

Christianity Today also did an overview of which religious charities are doing what.

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Franklin Graham: Another Trump? Yes and no, RNS profile says

Franklin Graham: Another Trump? Yes and no, RNS profile says

The Religion News Service takes a skeptical but fair-minded look at Franklin Graham -- his beliefs, his politics, his differences from his famed father, Billy Graham -- in a satisfyingly long profile rolled out for Super Tuesday week.

And no, that’s not a chance coincidence, as Godbeat veteran Cathy Lynn Grossman crafts the story:

While Donald Trump campaigns to "Make America great again," Franklin Graham, facing a nation where conservative believers are losing cultural clout, wants to make it Christian again. Week after week, he stands on winter-wind-swept statehouse steps and exhorts crowds like a biblical Nehemiah, warning people to repent to rebuild Jerusalem — with a gospel twist. He urges them to pray first and then vote for Bible-believing evangelical candidates.
But you can’t vote for him.
"No, no!" he is "absolutely not" running for office, said Graham, who tends to rat-a-tat-tat his points.
Instead, he exhorts his listeners to run themselves, starting with local city and county offices. Imagine, he says at every tour stop, the impact on society if "the majority of the school boards were controlled by evangelical Christians."

This sweeping, 2,200-word article is impressive, though not without a couple of issues. It tells of Franklin's rise in building the Samaritan's Purse charity, from a small medical mission into one of the largest disaster relief and development agencies in the U.S. And it adroitly parallels the presidential primary campaigns with Franklin's $10 million "Decision America" barnstorming tour, which often "takes him into town just ahead of a primary or caucus."

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Franklin Graham's $880,000 annual compensation: Charlotte Observer asks how much is too much

Franklin Graham's $880,000 annual compensation: Charlotte Observer asks how much is too much

Usually, wherever two or three microphones are gathered, Franklin Graham seems to be there.

The voice of Graham — son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham — is missing, though, from an investigative report this week by the Charlotte Observer.

The North Carolina newspaper reports that it made repeated requests to interview Franklin Graham last week but that he was not available.

However, Graham's lack of availability did not prevent the newspaper in his home state from producing a fair, solid piece of journalism:

Six years ago, Franklin Graham decided to give up his pay as head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
“I feel that God has called me to this ministry and that calling was never based on compensation,” he wrote then in a memo to the BGEA staff.
But since 2011, at the urging of the Charlotte-based ministry’s board of directors, Graham has been receiving a salary again.
That’s in addition to the more than $620,000 he receives for his other full-time job, leading Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief agency based in Boone. His 2013 compensation from Samaritan’s Purse alone made him the highest-paid CEO of any international relief agency based in the U.S., according to data provided by GuideStar, the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations.
Graham’s total compensation last year from the two charities was more than $880,000, including $258,667 from BGEA.
That total is less than the $1.2 million he received in 2008, but it’s still more than some nonprofit experts consider appropriate.

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A medical miracle on NBC News: 'The hand of God at work' in saving Ebola patient Dr. Kent Brantly

A medical miracle on NBC News: 'The hand of God at work' in saving Ebola patient Dr. Kent Brantly

The hour-long NBC News special "Saving Dr. Brantly: The Inside Story of a Medical Miracle" aired Friday night.

The report by NBC's Matt Lauer features an exclusive interview with Dr. Kent Brantly, who contracted the often-deadly Ebola virus while serving as a medical missionary in Liberia.

It's an incredible piece of journalism that includes additional reflections from Brantly's wife Amber, Samaritan's Purse CEO Franklin Graham and doctors and nurses involved in his care at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. 

As the special begins, Lauer emphasizes that Brantly's faith will play a major role in this story:

He may be one of the luckiest men alive, and Dr. Kent Brantly probably thinks there are two very good reasons for that.
He attributes his victory over the deadly Ebola virus to a combination of faith and science. 
As a devout Christian and a physician, he’s a man of both.
He was serving as a missionary doctor in Liberia when he became infected, and tonight in an NBC News exclusive, Dr. Brantly and the brave medical team that helped to save his life tell for the first time the extraordinary story of how he was cured.

Seconds later, Lauer begins delving into Brantly's faith.

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