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“Kind Of Like His Decision To Change Banks”: Franklin Graham Tries To Vote With His Feet (Again)

The last time evangelist Franklin Graham tried to vote with his feet, it didn’t go very well. The story of Graham’s choice of banks gained national attention over the summer when he was so outraged by a Wells Fargo television commercial featuring a couple adopting a deaf child that he took action: Graham moved his ministry’s considerable assets out of Wells Fargo altogether, as part of Graham’s effort to fight “moral decay.”

The funny part came when we learned the evangelist moved his money to BB&T, overlooking its sponsorship of gay-pride events and its 80% score in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.

Six months later, Graham is voting with his feet again, this time he’s marching out of the Republican Party. Alabama Media Group reported today (thanks to my colleague Laura Conaway for the heads-up):

Evangelist Franklin Graham announced Monday that he left the Republican Party and is now an independent over the GOP’s failure to defund Planned Parenthood in last week’s omnibus spending bill.

Graham, the son of legendary preacher Billy Graham, compared the controversy over Planned Parenthood allegedly discussing selling fetal tissue to the Nazis in a Facebook post explaining why he quit the Republican Party.

“There’s no question – taxpayers should not be paying for abortions!” Graham said by way of an explanation. “Abortion is murder in God’s eyes. Seeing and hearing Planned Parenthood talk nonchalantly about selling baby parts from aborted fetuses with utter disregard for human life is reminiscent of Joseph Mengele and the Nazi concentration camps! That should’ve been all that was needed to turn off the faucet for their funding.”

For the record, whether Graham realizes this or not, taxpayer funding of abortion is already prohibited under federal law. What’s more, there is no evidence, video or otherwise, of Planned Parenthood ever “selling baby parts.”

Or put another way, the evangelist appears to have walked away from the Republican Party for reasons that don’t make a lot of sense – kind of like his decision to change banks.

Postscript: My wife works for Planned Parenthood, but she played no role in this piece.


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, December 22, 2015

December 23, 2015 Posted by | Franklin Graham, GOP, Planned Parenthood | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Anti-LGBT ‘Minister’ Franklin Graham Hates For Jesus”: Denigrating A Faith To Further His Own Agenda

My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of thieves!

I often think of this famed passage from the New Testament when I hear hate spewed by so-called Christian ministers. This Bible story in Matthew explains how Jesus observed that some had denigrated a house of worship, causing him to flip over the tables of the “money lenders” and others selling wares.

Franklin Graham’s stoking the flames of hate against a minority group in America over the past few days has again brought this Bible verse to mind. Not that Graham is a “thief” but because he, too, is denigrating a faith to further his own agenda.

Graham announced last Friday that he was pulling the $128 million account for his nonprofit organization, The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, out of Wells Fargo bank. (It’s truly astounding that it has that much money in the bank—you would think that the Christian thing to do is spend at least a few million on those in need.)

So why did Graham pull this huge sum of money from Wells Fargo? Did bank executives burn down a church or sponsor an abortion-a-thon? Nope. The bank simply ran an ad that featured a lesbian couple.

This really outraged Graham. So in a moment of What Would Jesus Not Do, he posted on Facebook, “Have you ever asked yourself: How can we fight the tide of moral decay that is being crammed down our throats by big business, the media, and the gay & lesbian community?” Graham’s answer: Don’t do business with Wells Fargo.

And then on Monday, Graham took to the airwaves of the Family Research Council’s radio program to call on other Christians to follow his lead and boycott any business that “promotes the gay lifestyle,” including Wells Fargo, Starbucks, Tiffany’s, and Nike. (Interestingly ISIS also recently banned Nike again proving that religious radicals share much common ground.)

Not content to simply advocate a boycott, Graham added during his radio appearance that “practicing” gays and lesbians, if accepted by Christian churches, will not only destroy the church in our nation, but also hasten the end of times. (Not sure what defines a “practicing” gay in Graham’s mind but I bet he’s pictured it.)

But Graham’s demonization of the LGBT community is nothing new. For example, last year he publicly applauded Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s horrific anti-gay laws, stating that the Russian president “has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.”

And Graham has often sought to stir up hate against LGBT community members who want to adopt children by warning that this was their was way to “recruit” children to be gay. He also supports discrimination against gay teens from being able to join the Boy Scouts.

Let’s be clear. Graham’s anti-LGBT words, including his new call for a boycott of Wells Fargo, is not just about opposing marriage equality. It is more than that. He doesn’t want gays and lesbians to be viewed as typical Americans with the same hopes and dreams as the rest of us. Instead he wants Americans to view them and their “agenda” as a threat to our nation. He wants them to be shunned, vilified, and marginalized. (Much the same way he has demonized Muslims, even warning that Muslim Americans in our government are in essence are a threat to Christians.)

And worse, in my view, Graham’s words have radicalized other good Christians. Just this weekend we saw a conservative Christian member of the Arkansas legislature lash out against a local gay-pride parade using words very similar to Graham’s. Arkansas GOP State Senator Jason Rapert objected to the 12th-annual gay-pride parade in his part of the state, claiming it was “truly one of the most offensive public displays against Christians you will find anywhere.” And as if channeling Graham, he added that the organizers specifically chose to hold the parade on a Sunday in order “to try and intimidate people who believe in the Word of God.”

It would, however, be unfair to say Graham is the only evangelical leader spewing hate in the name of Jesus. There’s a veritable league of extraordinary haters including, Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association and more. They justify hate in the name of Jesus, a person who instructed his followers to love one another.

My prediction is that the shrillness of the attacks by Graham and his ilk toward the LGBT community will escalate as same-sex marriage becomes even more accepted. And if the Supreme Court decides later this month that marriage equality is the law of the land, don’t expect them to accept this defeat quietly. Instead, expect an increased dose of fear mongering, a push for even more onerous “religious liberty” laws, and even organizing support for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Look, there’s nothing anyone can say to stop their hate mongering. But there’s a consequence. No, I’m not talking anyone’s soul burning in eternal hell fire.

Polls shows younger Americans are moving away from organized religion. While there are various factors for this, one-third of millennials polled last year indicated they had left their religion because of “negative teachings” about gays and lesbians.

So bottom line is that Franklin Graham can continue spew all the hate he wants but it will be to an increasingly smaller flock. And hopefully one day we will see some younger evangelical leader truly following the teachings of Jesus and call out Graham for turning a “house of prayer” into a house of hate.

Oh, and there’s another bottom line. The joke’s on Graham because the bank he transferred the money to, BB&T, has a longstanding association with Miami Gay Pride. It looks like it’s just a matter of time until the only place Graham has left to deposit his money is in his own mattress.


By: Dean Obeidallah, The Daily Beast, June 11, 2015

June 12, 2015 Posted by | Discrimination, Franklin Graham, LGBT | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Too Big To Exist”: Wall Street Hogs Still Running Wild

Wall Street is a beast.

And proud of it! In fact, a pair of animals are the stock market’s longtime symbols: One is a snorting bull, representing surging stock prices; the other is a bear, representing a down market devouring stock value.

But I recently received a letter from a creative fellow named Charles saying that we need a third animal to depict the true nature of the Wall Street beast: a hog.

Yes! And we could name it “Jamie.” Jamie Dimon — I mean the multimillionaire, silver-haired, golden-tongued CEO of JPMorgan Chase, America’s biggest bank.

For years, Dimon has wallowed in the warm glow of America’s financial, political and media limelight, hailed as a paragon of sound management and banker ethics. He’s been publicly lauded by President Obama, celebrated by The New York Times and courted by leaders of both parties.

But, suddenly last summer, a big “oink” erupted from Chase, and Jamie’s inner hoggishness was revealed. It started when one of Chase’s investment arms went awry and lost $2 billion. At first, Dimon haughtily dismissed this as “a tempest in a teapot.” But the loss of investors’ money soon grew to a staggering $6 billion. Criminal probes began, investors squirmed, media coverage grew testy, and then came the revelation that took all the glitter off of Dimon.

On March 14, a U.S. Senate committee issued a scathing 300-page report documenting that the loss was not a mere “trade blunder” by Chase underlings, but the product of a systemic corporate culture of recklessness, greed and deception. An internal email from Jamie himself, with the words “I approve,” traced the stench all the way to the top. Not only did Dimon know what was going on, he enabled it.

JPMorgan’s mess stems from the same dangerous combo that rocked America’s financial system in 2007 and crashed our economy: ethical rot in executive suites, sycophantic politicians and reporters and willfully blind regulators. Meanwhile, Jamie is still Boss Hog at the giant bank and still drawing millions of dollars in annual pay and perks. Also, only one week after the Senate report came out, he was even given a media award for best 2012 performance by a CEO facing a corporate crisis. E-I-E-I-O!

For a better performance on containing banker narcissism, our lawmakers might look to Europe. I know that it’s considered un-American to like anything those “namby-pamby” European nations do, but still: Let’s hear it for the Swiss!

In a March 3 referendum, the mild-mannered, pacifist-minded Swiss people rose up and hammered their corporate executives who’ve been grabbing ripoff pay packages, despite having made massive financial messes.

Two-thirds of voters emphatically shouted “yes” to a maverick ballot proposal requiring that shareholders be given the binding say on executive pay. Violators of the new rules would sacrifice up to six years of salary and face three years in jail. That’s hardly namby-pamby.

Indeed, America’s lawmakers and regulators are the ones who’ve been squishy-soft on banksterism. Jamie is not the only one being coddled — none of the Wall Street titans whose greed wrecked our economy have even been pursued by the law, much less put in jail.

It’s no surprise, then, that those bankers have gone right back to scamming — and gleefully enriching themselves. Hardly a week goes by without another revelation of big-bank fraud, yet the banks simply pay an inconsequential fine and the culprits skate free.

Forget about too big to fail, banks have become “too big to jail.” Our nation’s top prosecutor, Attorney General Eric Holder, recently conceded that finagling financial giants are being given a pass: “It does become difficult for us to prosecute them,” he told a Senate subcommittee, “when we are hit with indications that if we do prosecute — if we do bring a criminal charge — it will have a negative impact on the national economy.”

Meanwhile, just four giants — Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo — put nearly $20 million into last year’s elections, mostly to back Republicans promising to weaken the few feeble restraints we now have on banker thievery. With such Keystone Kops overseeing them, why would any Wall Streeter even think of going straight? Nothing will change until officials gut it up, go after lawless bankers and bust up the banks that are too big to exist.


By: Jim Hightower, The National Memo, April 3, 2013

April 5, 2013 Posted by | Big Banks, Wall Street | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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