Franklin Graham recently made a stir with his 2.1 million fans on Facebook when he posted about the murder of four US marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He wrote,
Four innocent Marines (United States Marine Corps) killed and three others wounded in #Chattanooga yesterday including a policeman and another Marine–all by a radical Muslim whose family was allowed to immigrate to this country from Kuwait. We are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad. We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled. Every Muslim that comes into this country has the potential to be radicalized–and they do their killing to honor their religion and Muhammad. During World War 2, we didn’t allow Japanese to immigrate to America, nor did we allow Germans. Why are we allowing Muslims now? Do you agree? Let your Congressman know that we’ve got to put a stop to this and close the flood gates. Pray for the men and women who serve this nation in uniform, that God would protect them.
Franklin Graham is the “mouth piece of God” for many Christians throughout the world – a modern day prophet for his millions of fans. But, sadly, Franklin misunderstands the very nature of God.
I share Graham’s concern for the victims of this violent act and pray for their families, but his statement about how Christians should respond to that violence also concerns me. Graham’s understanding of God is contaminated by fear and exclusion that responds to violence with more violence. He believes that Islam is a great threat to America and that we should respond by excluding Muslims from the United States because “they do their killing to honor their religion and Muhammad.”
I’m pleased that many Evangelicals have already critiqued Graham’s misunderstanding of Islam, but here I’d like to offer a progressive alternative to his understanding of Christianity.