'A Deliberate Attack Against the Name of Jesus Christ'
Franklin Graham on America as a Christian nation, his father, Islam, and how he prays
BY: Interview by Deborah Caldwell
But if a Christian speaks publicly to say "This is what Jesus Christ means to me, this is what he's done for my life. I owe everything in my life to the Lord Jesus Christ," Whoa. You know, the sparks fly. When I prayed in the name of Jesus Christ at President Bush's inauguration, the President got sued. The same man who sued over the Pledge of Allegiance filed a lawsuit against the President because I mentioned the name of Jesus Christ publicly.
What do you make of the dust-up over your comments about Islam in October?
I think every time there's another suicide bomber who detonates himself on a bus, I think there may be more people inclined to understand my comments. People say, "Well this is just a fringe element of Islam." There is this whole notion that it's a peaceful religion. Let me give you an example. If a Roman Catholic strapped dynamite on himself, walked into a mosque in Saudi Arabia and said, "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and Catholics around the world, I do this," then detonates himself and blows the mosque and himself up--the pope would be on television within minutes denouncing this man denouncing this act and having a fund-raising appeal, not for the family of the man who did this but for the families of the victims who got blown up in the mosque. Every cardinal, every bishop, every priest the next Sunday would denounce this man from the pulpit. Every Protestant minister would join the Catholics and denounce this.
But there has been silence from the Muslim clerics. There has not been denouncing of what happened here in New York City at the World Trade Center or what happened in Israel. And I link all of this together. There has not been condemnation by the clerics. Saudi Arabia has had fundraising appeals for the families of the suicide bombers, but not for the families of the victims. This is more evidence that something is wrong here.
Are you saying the faith itself is flawed? Is it the people or the faith, or both?
I believe the Qur'an teaches violence. It doesn't teach peace, it teaches violence. But nowhere in Scripture do you ever hear the Lord Jesus Christ instructing violence, and when they came to arrest him in the Garden of Gethsemane and Peter pulls his sword and says he's going to defend Jesus-Jesus tells Peter to put it away. Jesus would never have a part in that sort of activity.
This is the greatest name in all of history and has stirred up more controversy, more division. You get into a group of people and mention Muhammad, you'll have some nice discussion. But you mention the name of Jesus Christ, now you're gonna have a very lively discussion and maybe heated arguments and it will divide. Because it's the name of God's son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
How do you think people respond to the notion that the name of Jesus is under attack? I think a lot of Christians might agree, but what does the general public think?
A lot of people didn't think about it--but since 9/11, people were so caught off guard and had never thought much about Islam. And then here were men cutting the throats of pilots and stewardesses with box cutters, grabbing hold of controls [of airplanes], yellingAllahu Akbar,
"God is great," and in the name of Islam took the lives of thousands of Americans. I don't think the American people knew how to react. And all of a sudden there's all of this hoo-rah around Islam being a peaceful religion, and then you start having suicide bombers and people started thinking, "Well, wait a second, something doesn't add up here."