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Franklin Graham’s Border Tour Draws 20,000 Signers Demanding Its Cancelation

Por Yonat Shimron
franklin graham signers border tour
Franklin Graham speaks in Israel on Jan. 23, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Samaritan's Purse)

A liberal Christian organization has launched a petition against the Rev. Franklin Graham’s southern border tour, calling on venue organizers to withdraw their invitations.

los petición, drafted by Faithful America, has so far garnered nearly 21,000 signatures.

The social justice ministry has gone after Graham with several previous petitions, mostly calling out Graham’s LGBTQ views and his support for former-President Donald Trump, who is running for reelection.

This time, Faithful America is denouncing what it says are Graham’s “anti-immigrant” views.

“The upcoming ‘frontera’ iteration of Graham’s tour feels especially distasteful and hypocritical given that, in an effort to dismiss criticisms of Donald Trump’s immigration policies, Graham once falsely claimed that immigration is ‘not a Bible issue’ — yet there are few topics the Bible addresses more,” the petition reads.

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“Frontera,” which means “border” in Spanish, is the latest of Graham’s “God Loves You” tours. The tour, a kind of Christian worship event, features Christian musicians, prayers from local pastors and a short sermon from Graham.

The 10-city tour begins Feb. 24 in Brownsville, Texas, and then heads to McAllen, Laredo, Eagle Pass, Del Rio, Presidio and El Paso, before heading to Arizona and concluding March 9 in Chula Vista, California.

“We are taking the God Loves You Tour to the southern border this year because it is one of the neediest areas of our country at this time, and people need to hear a message of hope from God’s Word,” the 71-year-old Graham said in a statement.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress is hoping to strike a deal with the Biden administration that would enact sweeping new border controls, including the authority to pause asylum processing — a move the former president also enacted.

But in recent days, Trump has vowed to kill the measure, if it ever passes.

“It’s not going to happen, and I’ll fight it all the way,” Trump said Saturday in Nevada.

Graham does not typically speak about political or social issues during his preaching tours, a fact Faithful America acknowledged.

“He won’t say a lot of these conspiracy theories during his events,” said the Rev. Nathan Empsall, Faithful America’s executive director. “But every time he goes to one of these cities we’ve noticed he gives all sorts of local, radio and TV, news and newspaper interviews where the politics does come out.”

The group is planning some on-the-ground events in some of the same cities Graham will be speaking in, but it has no specific dates yet.

Several of Graham’s recent U.S. events have been named after the regions where they take place, such as the Tidewater Tour and the Route 66 Tour.

In a statement, Graham denied he was going to the border because 2024 is an election year.

“I’m not going to welcome people to the U.S. or to tell them to go back,” Graham said. “I’m not going there to speak against our policies at the border. The politicians know these policies are broken. There are a lot of hungry hearts and hurting people, so I’m going to the border to tell them about God’s Son Jesus Christ and how He can make a difference in our lives if we put our faith and our trust in Him.”

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is sponsoring the tour and partnering with 1,000 churches in Texas, Arizona and California, according to the press statement. Graham is president and CEO of the association.

Yonat Shimron es reportero nacional y editor senior de Religion News Service.



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29 Respuestas

  1. Julie, why do you post stories like this? It undermines your credibility as an unbiased journalist who is only interested in restoring the truth and the church. This is nothing but a hit job on a faithful preacher of the gospel. And let’s not pretend the RNS doesn’t have its own agenda.

    Franklin Graham has strong political views, yes, but he’s a faithful gospel preacher. That a small group of liberal progressive EINOs (evangelical in name only) think he should go away and NOT preach the gospel anywhere reveals who they really are — they aren’t people who love Jesus or care that people (legal or illegal) are going to hell, probably because they don’t believe in a literal hell anyway.

    1. It’s a valid news story, regardless of its source. As for Graham, he takes an exorbitant salary as CEO of two Christian ministries. Here’s an excerpt from an earlier TRR article:

      “In 2014, Graham made more than $880,000 as CEO of both the BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse. According to the Charlotte Observer, Graham’s 2013 salary for Samaritan’s Purse alone ($622,000) made him the highest paid CEO of any international relief agency in the U.S. at the time. (In 2018, Graham’s compensation for Samaritan’s Purse had risen to $696,193.)

      “When the BGEA received its new IRS classification in 2016, it promised to continue publishing Franklin Graham’s salary, but has not done so. I reached out to the BGEA more than two weeks ago, asking about this discrepancy and requesting Graham’s current salary. Media Relations Manager Mark Barber responded on January 3, letting me know that he had received my inquiry, but did not provide any of the requested information.”

      Graham also bullied Naghmeh Panahi to take back her abusive husband. You can read about that by following this link.

      1. Julie, while I understand that such a large salary may raise eyebrows, I’ll also say without any question as a believer no organization does as much good (biblically defined) for the poor as SP.

        If the article was about the high salaries of Christian non-profit execs, this information would be relevant. But that’s not what the article is about, so your response is a textbook example of ad hominem. “He must be a bad guy because he takes such a large salary.”

        I simply don’t understand how an irrelevant organization of left wing activists using the cover of an ecumenical “Christian” organization demanding someone stop preaching the gospel is the slightest bit newsworthy. How is it news? Why would any biblically faithful evangelical care about what Nathan Empsall thinks and demands?

        Julie you have done much great work, uncovering the blatant hypocrisy of James McDonald. None of us would have had any idea what a fraud he was were it not for your dogged and fearless attempts to bring the truth to light. Abusive men masquerading as shepherds should shiver when you come calling.

        But Franklin Graham isn’t Mike Bickle, and articles like this don’t bring people to Jesus, and do nothing for the good of the Kingdom or the glory of Christ. Do better.

        1. I was responding to your comment that Franklin Graham is a “faithful gospel preacher” but “liberal progressives . . . aren’t people who love Jesus or care that people (legal or illegal) are going to hell.” If you’re going to uphold Graham as a model of faithful Christian service, then his exorbitant salary and bullying of abuse victims is relevant.

          That said, neither Franklin’s alleged faithfulness nor the alleged unfaithfulness of “liberal progressives” influenced our decision to run this article. We ran it because we believe the controversy is newsworthy.

      1. Tim:

        Your words: “Anyone who supports and promotes Trump is NOT a faithful preacher of the gospel.”

        Would you like to reconsider your statement? I will give you that opportunity.

        1. Interesting how those who have all but said the same thing when it comes to Christians supporting Democrats suddenly have an issue when that same judgment is aimed at them.

          Just an observation.

    2. I have no idea if Franklin Graham is a faithful preacher of the gospel or not. I really don’t follow his ministry. But, if he is shouldn’t his ministry, be able to stand up to a little transparency.

  2. This from “Faithful America’s” website:

    “Evangelist Franklin Graham is preaching his partisan, anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, Christian-nationalist agenda in communities all along the southern U.S. border this February and March — and social-justice Christians need to push back now.” It goes on to urge people not to support Franklin Graham and his tour.

    Someone should tell this “Faithful America” group they DO NOT represent the God of the Bible. For this reason alone, they should not dare to call themselves Christians. God’s Word speaks for Believers and it does not support sin. Let me repeat: God does NOT support sin. Franklin Graham bases his words on the Bible. He knows that sin is real and must be dealt with. Apparently, “Faithful America” has missed the part about God’s wrath…

    May God Himself deal with them accordingly.

    1. This is the consequence of pastors, churches, and ministries wading into politics: an otherwise needed outreach with a Biblical message is tainted and overshadowed.
      Franklin Graham may have Biblical, Godly intentions. But his open support of Trump – that bordered on a message of “real Christians support Trump” – has led to this unfortunate backlash. When one acts, one can’t solely make others’ reactions the problem.

      1. Even though his father had his failings and schmoozed with Presidents Billy was a much better example of a Christian than Franklin.

        OT/ I hope someday Evangelicals can get out of their Trump Trance and move onto better things.

        In the meantime may God Himself deal with them accordingly.

        1. George:

          Our government generally gives us two choices when the general election rolls around: You can usually vote for either a Democrat or a Republican. Period.

          Are you saying Hillary would have been a better choice?

          1. I’ll say it. Hillary would have been a better choice. And I am not a Democrat. (Not a Republican either but I used to lean that way) I don’t see either party representing the teachings of Jesus. That frees me from being locked into one choice.

      2. Indeed Marin
        Mr. Graham should not be immune to criticism. He constantly tries to have it both ways: Openly spouting and embracing far right politics and engaging in some really sketchy behavior (remember Naghmeh Panahi?) while maintaining a preaching ministry that draws folks to his defense and provides defense from his critics. Julie has thankfully drawn attention to this sort of nonsensical dichotomy on several occasions.

        Can a preacher who has said “Immigration is not a Biblical issue” really be credibly be said to be a biblical preacher? My bible says alot about it…

        1. Where does your Bible say that governments are not allowed to have enforceable borders, or that prosecuting lawbreakers of immigration or other laws is outside the realm of Christian faithfulness?

        2. Karl:

          Could you define what you mean by “far right politics” and the ways those politics do not comport with Biblical truth? Thanks.

          1. Sure thing, Dr. Norbeck. Here you go! Leviticus 19:34
            Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

          2. Jesus tells a parable in Matthew 25:35, where he speaks about welcoming strangers, feeding the hungry, and clothing the naked. This parable shows how God’s mercy is open to all outsiders, and it emphasizes the importance of showing love and compassion to those in need, including refugees and foreigners.

    2. Dear. Dr, Norbot,

      NOBODY is above criticism (Religious, political, conservative, liberal ect.) Even if you claim to speak for God that does not automatically place you on the “Don’t question me” list.

      1. Dear King Arthur,

        You are correct: Nobody in the world is above criticism. Indeed, the Bible says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). However, you may find yourself running into problems when you fail to take the log out of your own eye before going after specks.

  3. It should not come as a surprise that Franklin Graham fully supports Trump, as his father Billy Graham fully supported the Nixon Administration.

    Though one has to think what Jesus the large majority of white U.S. evangelicals are exactly talking about when they support a presidential candidate who does the following:

    – Is liable for sexual assault and defamation
    – Parrots fascist dictators
    – Seeks to destroy his opponents like vermin
    – Wishes to send a bunch of different people to rot in Hell

  4. “I’m not going to welcome people to the U.S. or to tell them to go back,” Graham said. “I’m not going there to speak against our policies at the border. The politicians know these policies are broken. There are a lot of hungry hearts and hurting people, so I’m going to the border to tell them about God’s Son Jesus Christ and how He can make a difference in our lives if we put our faith and our trust in Him.” Franklin Graham

    James 2:16-17 NIV
    If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

    Let the reader understand.

  5. I’m glad to see others share my ambivalence about Franklin Graham. I have to admit there have been moments when I was envious of his large salary. That sin required repentance on my part. I don’t like his opinions about Trump and politics in general. But there’s no denying Samaritan’s Purse does a great work. I’m not privy to the operations of his mind (as others seem to be), so I don’t know his “real” motives for this trip. Faithful America represents a far-Left Progressive brand of Christianity detached from the Bible and the tenets of the historic Christian faith. As far as quoting Leviticus 19:34 for immigration out of context, since when have Goyim been required to follow Torah? If we Goyim followed the rest of Leviticus 19, as verse 37 says, ‘Keep all my decrees and all my laws and follow them. I am the Lord’, well, read it and see what we’d have to do. Unless “all” doesn’t mean all.

    1. sure sure. If you don’t think Leviticus is binding, maybe the story of the good Samaritan after Jesus is asked the question “Who is my neighbor?” I mean, it’s really hard to make a case for not sacrificially loving anyone using the words and life of Jesus- the only people he calls to account are the pious religious folk who use religion as a shield to treat people poorly. So the concept is certainly there, if not a direct chapter and verse.

  6. These comments show the division that can exist among us when Christian leaders become political. We are called to “make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit” (Eph. 4:3) and in response to the horrific leaders of the Roman empire in the first century Christians were told to “honor the king” (1 Pet. 2:17). There is a little known movement (sad that it is little known) called “Election Day Communion” which brings Christians together on presidential election days to repent of everything mean spirited said during the election, to celebrate our unity in Jesus amid political diversity, and to acknowledge our one and only true king, Jesus. Hopefully this movement will grow in 2024, because this kind of unity among us lifts up and honors Jesus, who alone is worthy. In an era of Christian leaders being exposed for sexual immorality, ministry as a means of getting rich, abuse of power and other kinds of abuse, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus.

  7. This is all the Far-Left thinks is required to cancel a spiritual event, twenty thousand signatures opposed to it? In a nation of over 3.5M that only 0.006 of the nation. If we allow them to get away with this, they can cancel any Christian event. Therefore we must stand in their way and Not Back Down. Press On Without Compromising

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Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “Hurt and Healed by the Church” by Ryan George.