Where was this energy for Obama, though? A closer look at Franklin Graham’s Day of Prayer for Trump
Article By Kim Whitaker // Faith & Politics
Back in 2011, African-American Christian luminary Bishop T.D. Jakes took prominent white evangelical leader Franklin Graham to task for calling into question former President Barack Obama’s Christian faith—a misstep for which the conservative figure later apologized.
However, since Donald Trump became president, despite the Commander-In-Chief’s bad behavior, Graham has been highly protective of him, recently leading the charge to set aside a day of prayer for the Republican leader—a move that has left some asking, where was with energy for Obama, though?
“We need to pray for God to intervene. We need to ask God to protect, strengthen, encourage, and guide the president,” 66-year-old Graham, CEO of Christian charity organization, Samaritan’s Purse, said. He asked the Church to intercede for the 45th president on June 2nd, officially designating it a “Special Day of Prayer for the President.”
Dozens of other prominent leaders like Pastor Paula White-Cain, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, and Dr. James and Shirley Dobson, joined Graham in earnestly praying for the president’s protection from political enemies.
No doubt, interceding for leaders is a biblical command. 1 Timothy 1:1-2 says pray for all those in authority. The act of praying is not the problem. What has left many scratching their heads over Franklin’s nationwide call to prayer is the seeming double standard that exists in light of Graham’s failure to drum up the same level of support on behalf of America’s first African-American president.
If you recall, in a controversial 2010 interview with CNN (that upset many African-American faith leaders, by the way), Graham was sadly the one taking aim at Obama, all while stoking the flames of fear rooted in xenophobia.
“I think the president's problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name,” Graham asserted.
"Now it's obvious that the president has renounced the prophet Mohammed, and he has renounced Islam, and he has accepted Jesus Christ. That's what he says he has done. I cannot say that he hasn't. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said," Graham continued, adding that, "the Islamic world sees the president as one of theirs."
On another occasion, when asked about Obama’s Christianity, Graham further said, “For him (Obama), going to church means he's a Christian. For me, the definition of a Christian is whether we have given our life to Christ and are following him in faith, and we have trusted him as our Lord and Savior. That's the definition of a Christian; it's not as to what church you're a member of. A membership doesn't make you a Christian.”
In an interview with TV One’s Roland Martin, Dallas-based mega pastor Jakes responded by expressing that he found the comments of the son of the late Evangelist Billy Graham “insulting.”
“We didn’t question the Christianity of President Bush when he said he accepted Christ, and I’m disappointed in Rev. Franklin Graham in that regard,” pointed out the New York Times best-selling author in a scathing rebuke.
Jakes added, “Because if the President’s faith is suspect, then all of our faiths are suspect, because the Bible is quite clear about what it takes to be saved, and the president has been quite open about his accepting Christ and him openly confessing it before men. And if it’s good enough for the Bible, it ought to be good enough for the rest of us.”
It is not merely speculation that Graham has a lot more grace when discussing Trump’s salvation. When CNN reporter, Don Lemon, pointed out the president’s moral failings and shortcomings, this is what Graham had to say:
“Well, you take American Presidents in the past. Bill Clinton wasn’t the first man to have an affair in the White House. We’re all flawed, and the Bible says we’re all sinners. And the Bible tells us that God sent his son to take our sins, to die for our sins. And America needs a heart transplant. And we need to put our heart and faith and trust in Jesus Christ, because every politician—I don’t care who they are, what party you put in there—they’re flawed men or flawed women.”
Graham also clearly stated that, for all Trump’s flaws, he is in office mainly because “God put him there.”
Whether or not you agree with Graham’s views, here’s the point of this whole article: It is important that Mr. Graham, and all other Christians, keep the same energy for everyone. Last time we checked, God’s grace—and the church’s need to pray for leaders—wasn’t selective.