I was chatting with a friend the other day about the surreal aspects of the Trump era. We began to muse whether the planet had passed through some kind of a cosmic cloud, a sort of political Mutara Nebula, an aberrant location where nothing functions normally, and good luck trying to survive the thing in one piece.
Well, things have gotten even weirder still. Here’s what is going on tomorrow, June 2, as Franklin Graham puts out a call to his flock on FoxNewsRadio, asking them to beseech the almighty to deliver Donald Trump from evil — or something.
Do you know the definition of the word "sophistry" Sir? It means making fallacious arguments with the intent to deceive. It is a form of lying and that is all that you do when you speak. You have no business calling yourself a Christian. You are a sell out to all Jesus taught.
— Ursula Faw (@ursulafaw56) June 1, 2019
Thank you so much, Franklin! https://t.co/LK7sHUGrZ7
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2019
His arguments are pure fallacy. “No president has been attacked more than Donald Trump,” says Graham. If the word “attack” is now defined to mean, “has disgraceful, disqualifying facts about himself and his behavior revealed,” why then yes, under that definition, Trump is the most “attacked.”
“If his enemies are allowed to destroy him and pull down his presidency, it will hurt our entire nation.” Man, they must be freaking out big time in GOP-land over this past week’s conga line of negative Trump stories, to put this horse and pony show on the road! WOOOOT! This reeks of desperation, to me. Unindicted Donald as Victim, nay Christian Martyr and thousands of churches, we are told, and we may infer legions of Christians, are going to rally to Trump’s side to fight those evil godless Democrats with thots and prairs. Take that Democrats! Except guess what? It’s already blowing up in Graham’s face.
While Franklin Graham once more misrepresents himself as a Christian and as a man of faith, a real Christian pastor, John Pavlovich, published an article entitled “Selling The Soul Of Franklin Graham” in January, and he re-tweeted it today. It’s a long article. Here’s the part I find interesting, where Pastor Pavlovich points out the similarities between Donald Trump and Franklin Graham. Hang onto your chair, because this is an epic take down of them both.
These men end up spending their entire lives breathing solely in the intoxicating air of sycophant’s praises; never protected from their own hubris, never cautioned against their recklessness, never alerted to the ways they’ve lost the plot or begun leasing off large sections of their credibility for temporary rewards.
Surrounded on all sides by genuflecting yes-men and women lacking the intestinal fortitude to push back against the toxic sludge pouring from their lips, they begin to feel more and more comfortable and even emboldened in it. As they do, the teachings and the words of Jesus become less and less useful, because those things begin to testify loudly against them, they start to clearly voice their opposition—and so they begin to silence them too.
They learn instead, to bask in the applause of the salivating multitude, who gladly amen their every bitter word, no matter how reckless or incendiary—when they should be teaching them how to love more expansively. As the hateful choir cheers their ramblings, they grow more and more delusional, more and more comfortable bowing before the golden idols of their ego and ambition. With each day they slide further down the slope that leads to Hell, distracted by the buzzing noise of the crowds and unaware of the flames licking their heels.
And then one day, these professed men of God, find themselves campaigning for a predator in Alabama, disputing the value of black lives, celebrating the expulsion of refugees, vilifying an entire religious tradition, justifying the separation of families, going to battle for the NRA, passionately defending an endless parade of lies from a President—and all the while still imagining themselves fully righteous.
These are such days for men like Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr, and for those who emulate them. This is how far they have drifted, and it’s going to be almost impossible for them to make their way back, because to do that, they would have to do something they have proven unwilling or unable to do: own their mistakes, admit their failings, cop to their poor alliances, and confess their present sins in the ascension of this President.
These men need Jesus.
They need repentance.
They need to have the scales fall from their eyes, and to see accurately the horrors they’ve manufactured against so many people made in the image of God.
They need to own and confess the ways they’ve denied Jesus, the millions of millstones they’ve tied around the necks of their followers.
They need to lament becoming beholden to Donald Trump and the Republican Party and Fox News, and to the supremacists and bigots who now compromise the lion’s share of their ever-shrinking but increasingly militant white base.
Now Pavlovich is the most eloquent about what’s really going on, but he is far from being the only one to call out this propaganda ploy of Graham’s exactly for what it is. He’s trying to spin the news cycle to something positive because of what a devastatingly bad week it’s been for Trump. In effect Graham is weaponizing religion to serve his own selfish temporal needs and he’s being called out on it.
According to CNN, the day seems to be designed to give President Trump positive media coverage.
Graham plans to post on Facebook and have a television appearance on Fox News on Sunday.
According to CNN, some have accused Graham of “weaponizing” prayer and turning it into propaganda for President Trump.
“He’s doing so much to discredit the Christian witness,” said Peter Wehner, an evangelical who also helped two Republican presidents in the White House.
A final thought I wanted to share with Graham — yes, an act in futility, but maybe somebody will read it and think.
I hope you meet Jesus one day, Mr. Graham, I truly do. Because what he will say to you is, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’Matthew 7:21-23. Look it up, then look in the mirror.
— Ursula Faw (@ursulafaw56) June 2, 2019
Nothing is more evil than a wicked man who has somehow deluded himself that he is a servant of the Lord.