Right-wing preacher Franklin Graham says celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride is like celebrating “lying, adultery, or murder.”
Graham’s comment came in a Facebook post Saturday, marking the end of Pride Month. He quoted the BBC as saying “Pride has gone mainstream” and went on to lament that fact. “This is an entire month set aside to celebrate a lifestyle that God defines as sin,” he said.
“The Bible also tells us that God hates pride,” he continued. “Shame on the nation that celebrates and glorifies sin.” He noted that everyone sins, but added, “Instead of celebrating and taking pride in our sin, we should come to God, our Creator, in repentance, asking Him to forgive us and cleanse us.”
Graham, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, founded by his late father, has a long history of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, delivered supposedly in the name of Christianity.
In 2015, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality, he said the decision could result in punishment by God and that Christians who oppose it will be persecuted. That same year, he criticized President Barack Obama for promoting LGBTQ+ equality during a visit to Kenya, saying Obama was endorsing sin, and he praised Russia's anti-LGBTQ+ policies.
In 2018, Graham asserted that Jesus Christ would oppose same-sex marriage and warned that same-sex couples would face destruction as in the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible. The following year he condemned presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg for being an out and proud gay man.
Graham’s Samaritan Purse organization operated a field hospital in New York City at the height of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, and many were outraged that a homophobic and transphobic group would have such a major role in a city noted for its diversity. Samaritan’s Purse requires employees and volunteers to endorse a “statement of faith” laying out conservative Christian values, among them that “marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female.” It also includes a statement against abortion, a belief in the infallibility of the Bible, and the assertion that non-Christians will spend eternity in hell. Graham contended that many New Yorkers share those values.
He has been an ardent supporter of Donald Trump; he argued that Trump was chosen by God to lead the United States, and he publicly thanked God for Trump’s four years in the White House. In January of this year, he denounced the 10 Republicans in Congress who supported articles of impeachment against Trump, likening them to Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus. But in March he said Trump may not be healthy enough to run for president in 2024, and in May he said Trump’s attacks on the media were a mistake.