Franklin Graham (son of Billy), who got in a bit of a tangle over the “blessing” of Sarah Palin past presidential time around, has pronounced Republican hopeful Mitt Romney’s Mormonism a nonproblem. Graham said:
Yes, the fact that Mitt Romney is a Mormon doesn’t bother me. I think when we are voting for president we need to get the person who is absolutely the most qualified. You can have the nicest guy and he can be a Christian and just wonderful but have absolutely no clue as to how to run a country, you don’t want that.
With that view, Graham put himself opposite the head of the South Carolina Southern Baptist convention and strayed from the more commonplace Southern Baptist view.
“Graham is misleading Christians to vote against Scripture for Mormon Mitt Romney. God cannot bless us for betraying Jesus and voting for a non-Christian. No one comes to God except through Jesus-this includes the USA,” said Pastor Steven.
Pastors are concerned. Scripture forbids hosting false teachers in our homes and Graham wants one in the White House?
For Romney as for Palin, Graham may have had little political effect. Except on himself. as Charles W. Dunn, a professor of government at Regent University’s Robertson School of Government suggested to Chad Groening:
“We can understand the political nature of the statement; we can understand the constitutional nature of the statement,” he states. “But from a practical standpoint of his being a religious leader, that statement I think was unwise because he didn’t have to make it.”
With a Mormon and a twice-divorced Catholic leading the Republican field, this debate among conservative Christian activists seems destined to become more strenuous.
Burned by Richard M. Nixon, whom he advised in various ways and for whom he wrote at least one speech, Southern Baptist evangelist Billy Graham no longer endorses those who would be president. Still, the big spin is that he gave something of a blessing to Sarah Palin after she dined with the family last week.
The elder Graham is 91 and apparently still speaks for himself. After dinner with Palin he issued the following circumspect statement:
It was an honor having Governor Palin and her family in our home this evening. I, like many people, have been impressed with her strong commitment to her faith, to family and love of country. I appreciated hearing her speak of her own spiritual journey and her life in Alaska. I shared with her my own memories of preaching in the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage in 1984. We had an opportunity to pray together. Life in the spotlight is not easy and I pray that whatever lies ahead for this family that their faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, would remain strong and that God would put a hedge of protection around her and all those she holds dear. Sarah and her family will always be welcome in the Graham home.
That’s circumspect in contrast with the Raleigh News & Observer’s suggestion Sunday that Palin had received Graham’s blessing.
The N&O spin was drummed up out of son Franklin Graham’s statement to The Charlotte Observer that his father has “followed her career and likes her strong stand on faith. Daddy feels God was using her to wake America up.”
Which seems too circumspect by far to be called a “blessing” from the Billy Graham Jr. we’ve all heard shake the foundations from pulpits around the world.