Conservative Christian leader Franklin Graham is defending his boycott of Wells Fargo over its LGBT-inclusive advertising, and he's also among numerous religious right figures signing on to an ad in which they pledge to defy any U.S. Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality.
"Wells Fargo went beyond being gay-friendly to being a public advocate -- through a national TV advertising campaign -- for a lifestyle we, as a Christian organization, believe to be biblically wrong," Graham writes in a column in USA Today, published online this morning. The ad included a lesbian couple and their child.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, where Franklin Graham is CEO (it was founded by his famous father), has moved its accounts from Wells Fargo to another bank, BB&T. That company, like Wells Fargo, scores high on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index and has sponsored LGBT events, but Graham sees no inconsistency in doing business with BB&T but not Wells Fargo. All businesses and individuals should be gay-friendly, Graham asserts, but "there is a difference between being friendly and being a public advocate."
In spite of that view, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow was positively giddy about Graham's move from one LGBT-friendly bank to another. Click here to watch that report.
Christians, Graham says, "are not called upon to accept or endorse anything that runs contrary to what Scripture teaches, which means we can oppose a TV ad promoting a home with an adopted child and lesbian parents while still loving those represented in the ad."
He also notes that if the Wells Fargo ad had featured a crisis pregnancy center (most of which seek to persuade women not to choose abortion), some liberals would object, and he goes on to cite the call for a boycott of Chick-fil-A because of the owner's "personal views on same-sex marriage" (actually, it was over the company's funding of antigay groups). "In a free market economy these things work both ways -- as they should," he writes.
Meanwhile, Graham is one of the signatories to an ad in The Washington Post and USA Today contending that "any judicial opinion which purports to redefine marriage will constitute an unjust law."
"We will not honor any decision by the Supreme Court which will force us to violate a clear biblical understanding of marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman," the ad continues, adding, "We implore this Court to not step outside of its legitimate authority and unleash religious persecution and discrimination against people of faith. We will be forced to choose between the state and our conscience, which is informed by clear biblical and church doctrine and the natural created order."
The ad is sponsored by a group of religious right leaders under the umbrella Defend Marriage. It invokes Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s call to disobey unjust laws, although King's associates and most of his family members say the martyred civil rights leader opposed antigay discrimination. His niece Alveda King is an antigay activist, though, and she signed on to the ad.
Other signatories include well-known anti-LGBT figures James Dobson, Don and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, E.W. Jackson, Harry Jackson, Alan Keyes, John Hagee, David and Jason Benham, and former congressman Tom DeLay.