Shockingly, Franklin Graham Not Best Guy To Come To About Domestic Violence!

Shockingly, Franklin Graham Not Best Guy To Come To About Domestic Violence!
Franklin Graham 2016.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Franklin Graham, son of the late Billy, is a bit of an asshole. For decades, he has encouragedhatred of LGBTQ people and Muslims (and further insisted Barack Obama was a secret Muslim because his father, an atheist, had given him "the seed of Islam"), repeatedly cozied up to Vladmir Putin (largely because of how terrible he is to LGBTQ people), and generally been the worst. He's suggested that those who criticize Donald Trump are demonically possessed.

Thus, it's hardly surprising that the Washington Post is reporting today that when a victim of domestic violence came to Franklin Graham for advice, his response (which he stands by) was to accuse her of cheating on her abuser and then pressure her to get back together with him.

It all began when Naghmeh Panahi started advocating for her husband/abuser Saeed Abedini, a Christian Pastor, to be released from prison and contacted Graham for his help. He had previously been severely abusive and had even pleaded guilty to domestic battery in 2007 after assaulting Panahi while she was pregnant — but although she was scared of him, she still didn't think it was acceptable that he was sentenced to an Iranian prison for eight years for "allegedly compromising Iran’s national security by leading illegal house churches."

Her then-imprisoned husband, Saeed Abedini, had abused her physically and emotionally for most of their 13-year marriage, she said, and when Graham first heard, he called her in November 2015.

“Naghmeh, are you cheating on him?” he asked. Panahi replied strongly that she was not.

Graham, son of the evangelical titan Billy Graham,confirmed in a phone interview with The Post that he asked the question, saying he suspected an affair because Panahi had been advocating so fervently for her husband’s release only to “go cold on him.”

“It was a good question to ask,” Graham said, “and I would have asked it again.”

Narrator: It was not a good question.

In hopes of getting Panahi to reconcile with her husband, Graham also tried to convince her that she had not really been abused, because what happened between them did not jive with his very After School Special idea of what an "abusive husband" is like.

According to the recording, Graham said the marriagecould “be fixed easily,” and he seemed to dismiss the severity of her abuse. “I’m not here to defend him calling you bad names, yelling at you, whatever,” he said.
“Beating me,” Panahi interjected.

Graham told her that abuse is a “gray area,” that an abusive husband was someone who “comes home and he takes a six-pack of beer and he jumps off the chair because the kids are making noise and beats his wife and beats the kids and that’s something that goes on almost every day.”

And that was not her situation, Graham told her, because he felt an abusive husband was someone who “stomped” on his wife every night.

“I was beaten,” she replied.

But hey, it wasn't every night, and there probably weren't even any six-packs involved, so it's hard to say if she was really abused. Hell, he probably wasn't even wearing a white ribbed tank-top when he assaulted her.

None of this is especially uncommon in churches. Just last month a 400-page report on sexual abuse cover-up in the Southern Baptist Convention came out, detailing (among other things) the ways victims of this abuse were ignored and the way abusers were able to go from church to church without anyone finding out about their past history or problems with molesting children. And we all know about the Catholic Church, The Church of Latter Day Saints, the Amish, the Church of Scientology, the Jehovah's Witnesses ... and probably a thousand other different churches out there. This is not a dig at religion, but rather an acknowledgement that organizations, particularly especially patriarchal organizations, do not, as a rule, tend to be great about handling abuse. Especially when they are led by hateful patriarchal misogynists like Franklin Graham.

Graham, by the way, will be going on his "God Loves You" tour this fall, so you'll want to be sure to miss that.

[Washington Post]

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Robyn Pennacchia

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


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