Stonewalled but not stopped
Side by SideRev. Franklin Graham has been disinvited from speaking/praying at a Pentagon prayer service on May 6, the National Day of Prayer. That is sad for our nation.
Published: April 29, 2010
Published: April 29, 2010
Controversy now falls into a category about which the Apostle Paul warned his student Timothy: "Guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called 'knowledge'" (1 Timothy 6:20 NAS). Paul knew the difference between a good debate and useless words.
Based on remarks by Graham going back to 2001, when he said Islam is "a very evil and wicked religion," the Military Religious Freedom Foundation deems Graham's presence as "inappropriate for a government agency." Mikey Weinstein, the foundation's president, says someone more "inclusive" will replace Graham. How far back should we go to dissect the remarks of Islam proponents on Christianity? Or, for that matter, on anything "not" Islam? All else are "infidels."
There are those, some represented by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, seeking to wipe the National Day of Prayer off the nation's calendar of events proclaimed by its presidents. A Wisconsin federal judge has just ruled the day unconstitutional, saying it is a "call for religious action"; next stop will probably be the Supreme Court.
The Colorado-based National Day of Prayer Task Force, of which Graham is the co-honorary chair, has worked with the Pentagon chaplain's office for years. Yet, the upper echelon of the military claims to have not known until this last minute that Graham was to appear on the Pentagon platform. It is more likely they bowed to the threats of The Council of American-Islamic Relations, who warned that Graham's appearance "has the potential to harm unit cohesion and morale through the promotion of distorted, intolerant and divisive views within military ranks."
The military is not a religious organization; yet, it knows the troops within have religious backgrounds. In Feb. 2010 the Air Force Academy in Denver, Colorado, set aside an outdoor worship area for pagans, Wiccans, druids, and other Earth-centered believers. The designated space is "part of the school's effort to foster religious tolerance and defend the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom."
Presumably, we are fighting a "war on terrorism" (usually defined as "radical Islam") here and abroad so these folks and all Americans can follow their hearts and consciences. We are not fighting so that Christians can be terrorized at home into believing they are not free to pursue, express, and live their faith.
Graham refuses debate over his blood-bought rights. He has said he loves the Muslim people; that does not mean he must agree with them or apologize for speaking truth as he sees it. He was willing to stand beside them on a platform and pray. The grace he knows can be stonewalled but not stopped by them or our military. After his dismissal he said plainly: "I will continue to pray that God will give them guidance, wisdom, and protection as they serve this great country." Does anyone really want to prohibit that?
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together-side-by-side.
Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com