Franklin Graham Tells The Pope How To Catholic
Yesterday, it was revealed that, in a new documentary called Francesco, Pope Francis voiced support for civil unions and for not being shitty to gay people in general.
"Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God," He said. "You can't kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered."
Granted, this view is way behind the times for 2020, but it's a pretty massive step for the Catholic Church, which has certainly had its issues with LGBTQ rights over the years. Of course his opinion doesn't automatically make it church doctrine — the word of the pope is actually only infallible when he is speaking ex cathedra, in his official capacity as pope — but it carries a lot of weight nonetheless. It will also likely mean a lot to a lot of people and a lot of families out there.
This morning, evangelical pastor Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham and notably not a Catholic, railed against Pope Francis's comments on his Facebook page, accusing him of saying that "sins" don't matter.
Franklin Graham, via Facebook:
The news has reported that Pope Francis said in a new documentary that "homosexuals have a right to be part of the family" and is calling for civil union laws for same-sex couples. I find these comments from the Pope unthinkable in light of the Word of God.
The Bible teaches that when God created the human race, "He created them male and female, and blessed them…" (Genesis 5:2). The first family consisted of a male husband and a female wife, then their children, which is how God defines society's most basic social unit, the family. The Bible makes it clear that God disapproved when "women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another…" (Romans 1:26-27).
The Holy Scriptures are clear—the love of God is completely inclusive. He loves each and every person, whatever choices we have made that are contrary to His standard. "All have sinned…" (Romans 3:23) and that includes me. But the Good News is that Jesus Christ came to this earth to save sinners by taking our sins on Himself to the cross where he bled and died, was buried, and God raised Him to life on the third day. In order for us to be saved, God requires that we repent of our sins—that means to turn away from those sins and to leave them—and put our faith and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for sin.
For Pope Francis to attempt to normalize homosexuality is to say that Holy Scriptures are false, that our sins really don't matter, and that we can continue living in them. If that were true, then Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection wouldn't have been needed. The cross would have been for nothing. No one has the right or the authority to trivialize Christ's sacrifice on our behalf.
Yes, God makes it clear that He loves us and does want us to be part of His family, but He also tells us how that can happen. The Bible says, "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19).
I want everyone to know the truth and to find the peace that comes only from fully surrendering our lives to Him and His commands. The consequence of an unrepentant, unbelieving heart is also clear in the Word of God—eternal death. Unless we repent and receive His offer of forgiveness, surrendering our lives to Him, we will spend eternity as part of a different family when we leave this earth—the family of the condemned.
Let us note that Franklin Graham has been a longtime supporter of Donald Trump — going back to when he was considering a run back in 2011. Donald Trump, who has been divorced, who has committed adultery, who has owned casinos, who regularly lies, who "defrauds the workingman of his wages," who has broken basically every one of the Ten Commandments and who commits all seven deadly sins (which you will note do not include "being gay") once a week at least.
Yes, homosexual activity is considered a mortal sin (or grave matter) in the Catholic Church, but so are "drunkenness" and skipping Mass. Technically, these are sins of "equal weight" and — let's be real here — if the Catholic Church decided to treat people who don't go to Mass every week like they have historically treated gay people, there would not be any Catholics left.
Besides — the Catholic Church has certainly changed things far more significant than whether or not they hate gay people before. They got rid of limbo a while back, and who even knows what was supposed to have happened to all of those unbaptized babies. It is, as they say, a mystery.
There are three major things — aside from the sexual abuse scandals — that make it super hard for a lot of people to remain Catholic: the Church's position on abortion and birth control, the Church's position on gay people, and the whole thing where women are not allowed on the altar except to clean it. These issues have led to people leaving the Church in droves, or to joining ex-communicated churches like the one my dad goes to. Pope Frank, being a relatively hip and decent guy, is aware of this and he probably knows that the Catholic Church either needs to get with the times or die of irrelevance.
If Franklin Graham wants to continue being horrible to gay people, and not getting to do any European tours because people there don't like how he is horrible to gay people, that is, I suppose, his business. He will probably continue doing that right up until he gets caught in a particularly hypocritical sex scandal just like practically every other well-known evangelical preacher on earth. But, as Pope Francis made clear, that is just going to be an increasingly lonely road to travel.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse