Franklin Graham is in the newspapers this morning, giving an interview in which he said that he's just been mouthing his father's opinions on gays and Vladimir Putin and that he's merely trying to help people get to heaven, that's all.
I knew preachermen like Franklin Graham all my life growing up in West Texas, slick hucksters who sold repentance while wearing tailored suits and driving great big new cars. None of them that I remember also had multiple private jets at their disposal, so Franklin Graham has shown 'em all up. What a role model!
I also knew pharisees, men who liked to stand in the center of church and proclaim their own knowledge of God's will. They wafted their own righteousness among the pews like over-cologned car salesmen. They pointed their fingers at sinners in their midst and always said they weren't criticizing, just trying to insure that those sinners made it to heaven (along with them, naturally!).
Franklin Graham is such a one. That he would now lay his hateful utterances at the feet of his dying father is not only cowardly. It's also reminiscent of the religious leaders that Jesus preached against: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness."
If Franklin Graham was not directly responsible for the recent uproar over banning books at Watauga High School, he certainly was standing by holding the coats for those who were fanning those flames. Rather than the Gospel, he preaches division. Rather than love, he inspires resentment and back-biting. He seems far more interested in building a center of power for himself in Republican circles than in advancing the Kingdom of Heaven.
Franklin Graham has a form of godliness all too popular these days, from Pakistan to Deer Valley. St. Paul advised, "From such, turn away."