Nightline report attributed Franklin Graham's denunciations of Islam to a lack of "diplomacy"

››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

In an ABC Nightline segment featuring Rev. Franklin Graham's controversial comments about Islam, ABC News' John Donvan reported: "So, Franklin Graham may not get a diplomacy prize, either. And yet, his message when he's preaching is actually quite positive."

The March 15 broadcast of ABC's Nightline featured a story by correspondent John Donvan on Rev. Franklin Graham, described by Donvan as "more interesting" and "more controversial" than his father, Rev. Billy Graham.

During the report, which included an interview with Franklin Graham, Donvan noted in a voiceover that Graham "refuses to pretend he believes all religions are equal, because he doesn't believe it" and that Graham "has always stood by a remark he made in 2001, in the aftermath of September 11th, that Islam is an evil and wicked religion."

Donvan then showed footage of his interview with Graham, in which Graham stated: "If people think Islam is such a wonderful religion, just go to Saudi Arabia and make it your home. Just live there. If you think Islam is such a wonderful religion, I mean, go and live under the Taliban somewhere."

Donvan then said in a voiceover, "So, Franklin Graham may not get a diplomacy prize, either. And yet, his message when he's preaching is actually quite positive."

In a separate clip from the interview, Graham told Donvan that he did not believe that God had caused Hurricane Katrina as a punishment for New Orleans, adding, "If God was going to use a hurricane to judge sin, there may be other places he might want to strike first. Like maybe Vegas." According to Donvan: "Graham was probably at least half-serious when he said that, because, as a rule, he tends to mean what he says and says what he means. And if it brings in souls for Jesus, that's good enough for him. Just as it was for his dad."

From the March 15 broadcast of ABC's Nightline:

DONVAN: And the truth is, when you compare the two men, in certain ways, Franklin has become the more interesting. Certainly the more controversial. His dad, at civic events such as prayers with presidents, rarely spoke the name of Jesus aloud. For the sake of the non-Christians present, he would reach for broader terms.

[...]

DONVAN: Graham also refuses to pretend he believes all religions are equal, because he doesn't believe it. He has always stood by a remark he made in 2001, in the aftermath of September 11th, that Islam is an evil and wicked religion.

At the time that various Muslim clerical groups reached out to you, in their minds, they wanted to educate you. They wanted to change your mind and to teach you about Islam. Did that happen?

GRAHAM: No. You know, do they want to indoctrinate me? Yes. I know about Islam, I don't need an education from Islam. I've been working in Muslim countries now for, oh, 40 years or more. So I know about Islam. If people think Islam is such a wonderful religion, just go to Saudi Arabia and make it your home. Just live there. If you think Islam is such a wonderful religion, I mean, go and live under the Taliban somewhere. I mean, that's -- you're free to do that.

DONVAN: So, Franklin Graham may not get a diplomacy prize, either. And yet, his message when he's preaching is actually quite positive.

GRAHAM: And with Christ living in your heart, you're going to have the power to turn from your sins.

[...]

GRAHAM: I don't believe the storm was God's judgment. But I believe we could see some great things happen after the storm. I've had African-American pastors and Anglo churches, white churches, say, "We knew each other at a distance. But we never worked together, had never cooperated." This church -- these churches have come together, working for the first time.

DONVAN: And he had another thought. Satan might have done this to New Orleans, destroyed not only homes, but also churches. On the other hand, however:

GRAHAM: If God was going to use a hurricane to judge sin, there may be other places he might want to strike first. Like maybe Vegas.

DONVAN: The thing is, Graham was probably at least half-serious when he said that because, as a rule, he tends to mean what he says and says what he means. And if it brings in souls for Jesus, that's good enough for him. Just as it was for his dad.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Religion
Network/Outlet
ABC
Show/Publication
Nightline
Stories/Interests
Religion
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.