CAL Executive Director says he ‘has something to say about that’
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
November 1, 2012
RALEIGH — “Why is it wrong for Billy Graham to encourage people to vote biblical values?” Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, demanded this week in response to the NAACP’s verbal attacks on America’s most well-known evangelist.
Leaders of the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held a press conference Monday in Charlotte denouncing Franklin Graham, CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, as well as his father for recent full-page ads placed in newspapers across the nation urging people to vote for “candidates who support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and woman, protect the sanctity of life, and defend our religious freedoms.”
The NAACP said the ads, which did not mention any party or candidate, included “transparent insinuations” and that the message signed by Billy Graham was “a clear endorsement of the President’s opponent because he was more of a Christian than the president.”
Read the NAACP statement by clicking here
Rev. William J. Barber, NAACP president, accused Franklin Graham and other conservative Christians of “cherry-picking easy parts of Christianity” — speaking out against sexual immorality, etc., but neglecting the Bible’s messages about the poor.
“Well I’ve got something to say about that. Billy Graham has always preached forthrightly about the sins of mankind. In fact, any preacher worth his salt will do the same,” Dr. Creech said. “Interestingly, I have never once heard Rev. Barber speak out against any sin. The only thing he ever seems to speak out against is the possibility of the end of a government check. He reminds me of those that the apostle Paul warned about in Philippians 3:19, describing them as false prophets ‘whose God is their belly.'”
Read Dr. Mark Creech’s response in its entirety by clicking here
Dr. Creech further pointed out that Barber and other religious leaders at Monday’s event, who issued an open letter to Franklin Graham, might want to reconsider their position that Graham is missing the heart of the Christian faith contained in Scriptures that emphasize caring for the poor.
“Franklin has done more for the poor and the needy than any of those ministers who fault him combined. I remind you that he is the head of Samaritan’s Purse — a Christian benevolent agency that reaches around the world,” he said, adding that the ministry’s Operation Christmas Child has provided “unprecedented help and blessing to countless children in numerous countries.”
Even now, Samaritan’s Purse and the BGEA’s Rapid Response Teams are providing aid to people in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
The NAACP said Franklin Graham had been “seduced by the sirens of money and power,” and told him he should remember that “in the deepest traditions of our faith … is the requirement that we as a society as a government remember that our responsibility to the poor, vulnerable, those on the margins, is at the top of God’s agenda.”
“Contrary to the accusations by Rev. Barber and his ilk, conservative evangelicals are doing much to help the poor and the underprivileged. We just don’t believe addicting the needy to government public assistance is the way to go about it,” Dr. Creech explained. “The government has a God-given mandate to protect the private property of its citizens. Taking money away from its citizens to give it to someone the government believes it should be given to as an act of charity is not charity at all — it’s a violation of the Eighth Commandment – Thou shalt not steal.
“Conservative evangelicals of the religious right don’t believe there is any social justice to socialism.”
Dr. Creech also defended the Grahams’ right to speak out on political issues.
“It is well-known that Rev. Barber and many other black congregations, though certainly not all of them, have either publicly stated their support for the president’s re-election, or at the least have done no different in giving ‘transparent insinuations’ of their support for him, so why shouldn’t Graham be able to urge people to vote based on their biblical values?” he asked.
Although the NAACP letter chided Franklin Graham for spending BGEA funds to buy “expensive ads” to “arouse unwarranted suspicion about the President’s personal faith,” in truth the full-page appeals published in newspapers in more than a half dozen states were funded by friends of the ministry who were asked specifically to contribute to the effort.
“The ads intentionally do not mention any candidate, political party, or contest, urging instead for readers to cast votes for candidates, at all levels, based on their support for biblical values,” the BGEA said in a statement.
Billy Graham spokesman, A. Larry Ross, told the media, “[Graham] is challenging citizens, particularly the faith community, on how to vote, rather than for whom to vote.”
“Against the backdrop of moral decline and a cultural shift in our nation that reflects timely issues, Mr. Graham’s quotation in the ad is an extension of his faithful preaching of a timeless message and strong stand on biblical values for more than six decades,” he added.
Having seen similar ads published by Billy Graham in advance of North Carolina’s successful vote for a Marriage Protection Amendment in May and following a recent visit with the Grahams, pastor and author Dr. David Jeremiah said he suggested to Franklin Graham that a print campaign urging evangelicals to take part in the national election could also be helpful. He said Graham reported back that his father loved the idea and wanted Jeremiah to make it happen. The well-known televangelist and pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., said he was overwhelmed by the financial support that poured in — more than $3.8 million — as he and Franklin began to contact like-minded friends and organizations with the idea.
A video of Dr. Jeremiah explaining how the ads came about as well as PDFs and bulletin inserts of the ads can be found by clicking here