One should expect that parents would lose their minds long before their children. But in the case of the famed evangelist Billy Graham’s son, Franklin, it may be the other way around.
In a post on his Facebook page this past Friday, the younger Graham proclaimed that all Muslims should be barred from immigrating to America and treated like the Japanese and Germans during World War II. Muslims who come to America have the “potential to be radicalized” and participate in “killing to honor their religion and Muhammad,” he said in response to the murders of four Marines in Chattanooga on Thursday.
This is only the latest disturbing comment from Franklin Graham, a man whose rhetoric seems to be growing more extreme and whose behavior seems to be growing more erratic. The son of America’s most prominent evangelist was once known as a leading humanitarian, but he has now traded that legacy for a pot of partisan porridge.
In 1979, Graham became president of Samaritan’s Purse, a global humanitarian organization whose mission since 1970 was “to meet emergency needs in crisis areas.” Under Franklin’s leadership, the organization swelled in size and began developing its own relief programs. It provided much needed medical care in the wake of military conflicts in places such as Somalia, Sudan, and Kosovo. It worked to repair infrastructure after the El Salvador earthquake. And it built large-scale feeding programs in places like Darfur. By the end of the 20th century, Graham had established a reputation independent of his famous father—one that was centered on confronting the needs of people ravaged by war, disease, hunger, and famine.