Franklin Graham Prays at Pentagon

As promised, Franklin Graham prayed outside of the Pentagon yesterday before joining other National Day of Prayer events in the Capitol area.

At least one organization that opposed Graham’s invitation applauded the “religious freedom” that allowed Graham to pray on the sidewalk:

Rev. Franklin Graham may not have had all the bunting and military brass of an official Pentagon event backing him, but he managed to pray today anyway, and in what I consider a more suitable venue: impromptu on the sidewalk. There, any American of any faith can pray, without needing an invitation, without appearing to speak for the government, and without compromising their prophetic voice. Religious freedom is alive and well in America.

They are not the only ones to presume that Graham’s presence would be “speaking for the government,” and they are also not the only ones to forget the “religious freedom” of the men and women in the military who wanted to hear Rev. Graham minister to and pray with them.

The statement above, published under the auspices of the Baptist Joint Committee, would essentially proscribe any Christian leader who preached the exclusivity of Chrisianity from speaking to the military — notwithstanding the fact that Christians in the military may share those theological views.

Religious freedom in the US military means one can continue to hold to the tenets of one’s faith, even if they are offensive to another.

Albert Mohler has an interesting commentary on this controversy in which he notes the selective amnesia of the media.  He highlights, for example, that Graham was disinvited from yesterday’s event over comments he made in 2001 — yet he was allowed to speak at the Pentagon in 2003, despite the same controversy over the same comments.  (Many have objected to Graham’s comments on Islam without noting Graham’s own “clarification” of those remarks years ago.)  In 2010, the Army called his views “not appropriate.”  In 2003, the official spokesman for the same Army said

While I, personally, would not agree with some of Rev. Graham’s comments and observations, I would defend his right to have his religious views as part of the freedom we have as Americans.

The content of the controversy was the same; the only difference was the government’s reaction.  Kind of makes you wonder what changed.


  • I am in the camp that says, “kudos” to Rev. Graham for participating on the sidewalk – on equal footing with others choosing to participate. Christians don’t need the imprimitur of the government to have their religious freedom respected.

    The history of the National Day of Prayer Task Force is one of exclusivity. Their record is not good. It isn’t the National Day of Christian Prayer.

    No Christian religious leader has been prohibited from speaking to members of our military, and no Christian members of our military have been stripped of their right to hold to whatever tenets they choose, JD. If anything, it is members of faiths other than Christianity that need fair representation and respect in the military. That’s what I’ve heard, anyway.

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