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Franklin Graham Has Been Canceled

Franklin Graham has been canceled. The famous son of America’s most famous evangelist, Billy Graham, had a series of summer crusades scheduled in the UK. But starting a couple of weeks ago, the venues began to ban him from speaking due to his supposed Islamophobia and homophobia. One by one, they notified him that he was persona non grata in their cities until this week the last one fell in line. All seven arenas have canceled his reservations and told him he and his “message of hate” are not welcome.

This is a travesty. And highly ironic.

Sheffield city council leader, Julie Dore, said: “Franklin Graham, ...has demonstrated his intent on creating divisions with his discriminatory and repulsive views.” Take a moment to let that sink in. The city is opposed to discrimination -- so it is discriminating against Graham.

It doesn’t sound like they’re really all that opposed to discrimination. Or hypocrisy.

So what about those repulsive and hateful views? It turns out he’s just telling people that all of us are lost and need a Savior. Same as his dad. Basic Christianity.

As in the days of Jesus, that message isn’t always popular, but Graham is the farthest thing from a hater of people.

Yet again, the modern culture has abandoned the meaning of words and replaced the meaning with feelings. Islamophobia and homophobia are supposed to mean either “fear of...” or in this case “hatred of Muslims” or “hatred of homosexuals.” But this doesn’t apply at all to Graham.

“It is said by some that I am coming to the UK to bring hateful speech to your community,” Franklin Graham said in a letter. “This is just not true. I am coming to share the gospel, which is the good news that God loves the people of the UK and that Jesus Christ came to this earth to save us from our sins.”

If you really believe that someone’s sin is separating them from God and they must repent, is it hateful to tell them? Or is it hateful and selfish to let them wander to their destruction without warning?

Obviously, “hate” here depends on one’s perspective of truth.

So, which is true? Is Pete Buttigieg's homosexuality "something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised, or politicized," as Graham said. Or is it a lifestyle that pleases God?

Is Islam another legitimate path to God, or does it lead away from God?

Whichever of those views is true cannot be hateful. The opposing view would be false; not hateful. It’s potentially harmful, but not hateful if the intentions are good. Using the term “phobic” here is an unfair representation of those views.

But those opposed to freedom don’t care. How confident do you have to be in your own interpretation of reality to literally try to ban someone else from speaking? What if you’re wrong and they were right, but no one else found out because you shut down the truth? There is a lot of arrogance in trying to silence others. And a lot of guilt to bear if it turns out you were wrong.

Communist China has already gone down this road. They are destroying churches, tearing down crosses, banning sermons, imprisoning vocal Christians and Muslims, and painting over the 10 Commandments with quotes from President Xi. The only speech is the government's speech. The government is god.

Do we in the west want to follow this totalitarian nightmare? Increasingly, the answer appears to be yes.

Jesus also had something to say about hate. It seems as relevant today as it was when he said it. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light... Everyone practicing evil hates the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (John 3:19-20)

The expulsion of Franklin Graham is not the only example.

Recently, the Super Bowl refused to air a pro-life ad from Faces of Choice, by all appearances due to its pro-life message.

The chocolate manufacturer, Laderach, just lost its contract with Swiss Air due to the owner’s Christian values.

The University of California, Davis, a public university, will not hire faculty that hold to a Biblical definition of marriage.

Both Wells Fargo and Third Fifth Bank will no longer donate to support the education of children who go to Christian schools. They will only donate to those schools who oppose the values of Biblical marriage and sexuality.

The correct position says, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” This used to be popular. This is the view of all just societies. But the arrogant, secular left is rejecting this pillar of western civilization, all while ironically waving the banner of “tolerance.” More twisting of words. More Orwellian newspeak at its finest.

Franklin Graham is working to reschedule his events at other locations in the UK. I truly hope he succeeds. If his message is false, he should still be allowed for the sake of freedom. If his message is true, he should be allowed for the sake of men’s souls. It will be a fight. Those of us who still value free speech, and respect a power greater than government, have our work cut out for us in the coming years. But through it all we take heart. We will have hardship, but He has overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Caleb Backholm is a married father of three and a small business owner. A “political nerd” since childhood, he first started publishing social and political news commentaries in the Jr. High school newspaper and has been writing ever since. He attended Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN where he studied Broadcast Communications, Biblical Studies, and History. Originally from Washington State, he currently lives in Ft. Worth, Texas and is a student at Southwestern Seminary. Caleb can be reached at calebbackholm@gmail.com.

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