A petition that has garnered over 12,000 signatures is calling for the removal of Franklin Graham as Samaritan’s Purse‘s CEO and Chairman over his support of President Donald Trump. The petition explicitly cites the prayer Franklin offered at the Republican National Convention (RNC) as a point of contention.
Faithful America’s petition slammed Graham for using “Jesus’s name to give thanks for ‘the many blessings we have received these past four years,'” at the RNC. The authors continue, “We would hardly consider family separation, the deadly federal COVID-19 response, rampant corruption and authoritarianism, or ongoing systemic racism to be ‘blessings.'”
It appears that Faithful America is blaming President Trump for a lot of the bad things happening in America right now, namely “separating families, rejecting refugees, repealing health care, slowing COVID-19 testing, spreading homophobia and Islamophobia, or supporting anti-Semitic neo-Nazis,” and positing that Graham is guilty by association. Further, the group believes Graham “justifies his partisanship and hatred by hiding behind the credibility of Samaritan’s Purse, the 50-year-old humanitarian-aid organization he runs” and says the non-profit organization is sacrificing it’s reputation by “propping up Graham’s hateful politics.”
The petition Faithful Americaa is asking people to sign reads as follows:
Franklin Graham’s pro-Trump RNC appearance and subsequent interviews show that his partisanship knows no bounds. As fellow Christians, we write to say that if Samaritan’s Purse takes its “purpose of sharing God’s love” seriously, then it is time for you to find a new chairman, president, and CEO. Samaritan’s Purse needs a leader who is not complicit in separating families, rejecting refugees, repealing health care, slowing COVID-19 testing, spreading homophobia and Islamophobia, or supporting anti-Semitic neo-Nazis.
Unless and until you cut ties with Franklin Graham, his right-wing politics can only damage your credibility as a loving, Christian humanitarian organization. If the full Board will not vote to remove Graham as chairman, president, and CEO, then individual Board members can take a personal stand for the Gospel and offer their own resignations.
(This petition will be sent to Board members Sterling Carroll, Michael Cheatham, James Furman, Michael Harwood, Skip Heitzig, Thomas Hodges, Felix Martin del Campo, James Oliver, Brian Pauls, Phyllis Payne, Donna Pierce, Paul Saber, John Scott, Robert Shank, and Paula Woodring.)
Samaritan’s Purse emailed a statement to Newsweek in response to Faithful America’s petition:
Franklin Graham does not tell people who to vote for, but he does encourage everyone to pray and to vote. If the Democratic National Convention had asked him to pray, he would have prayed at the DNC as well. The most important thing any of us can do for our nation is to pray for our leaders, regardless of their political affiliation. Franklin Graham continues to lead Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association with the purpose of sharing God’s love and the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with hurting people around the world,” the organization said. “Under Franklin’s leadership, Samaritan’s Purse is committed to providing spiritual and physical aid to victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine, as evidenced by our relief efforts in more than 130 countries over the past 50 years.
Franklin Graham Often Faces Opposition
Graham has faced opposition before. Usually that opposition stems from his stance on homosexuality. Just recently after Samaritan’s Purse set up an emergency hospital in Central Park to aid with COVID-19 patients, LGBTQ activists protested them being there due to Franklin Graham’s disapproval of same-sex marriage. Faithful America’s site calls preacher Franklin Graham “notoriously homophobic.”
We believe God’s plan for human sexuality is to be expressed only within the context of marriage, that God created man and woman as unique biological persons made to complete each other. God instituted monogamous marriage between male and female as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female. Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5-6; Mark 10:6-9; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9.
In 2020, in addition to helping overwhelmed hospitals in New York City, Samaritan’s Purse also set up a field hospital in Italy, they are providing medical care for Beirut explosion victims, and currently they are giving assistance to Louisiana after it was hit by hurricane Laura.
Not even Faithful America disagrees that Samaritan’s Purse does good things. The petition page states, “Samaritan’s Purse certainly does important work for the sick and poor—which just makes it that much sadder that the non-profit’s board would sacrifice its reputation by propping up Graham’s hateful politics.”
Samaritan’s Purse was founded by Bob Pierce in 1970 “to meet emergency needs in crisis areas through existing evangelical mission agencies and national churches,” according to their website. Franklin Graham and Bob Pierce met in 1973 and after Pierce’s death to leukemia in 1978, Graham became President and Chairman of the Board for Samaritan’s Purse, and has been ever since. Their mission statement can be read here.