Military foundation objects to Franklin Graham’s invitation to address Pentagon on National Day of Prayer
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation recently objected to an invitation that was sent to Reverend Franklin Graham to address the Pentagon on National Prayer Day.
The MRFF said they were objecting on behalf of members of the Pentagon’s Muslim community who wrote to the organization and objected to Graham’s invitation.
After the 2003 attacks of 9/11 Graham described Islam as “evil” and “wicked.” In a forthcoming letter to the Wall Street Journal Graham wrote, “As a minister … I believe it is my responsibility to speak out against the terrible deeds that are committed as a result of Islamic teaching.”
President of the MRFF, Mikey Weinstein said in a letter that inviting evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at the National Day of Prayer on May 6 “would be like bringing someone in on national prayer day madly denigrating Christianity” or other religious groups. It would also endanger American troops by “stirring up Muslim extremists.”
The MRFF’s Web site is headed by a quote by Weinstein which says, “When one proudly dons a U.S. military uniform, there is only one religious symbol: The American flag. There is only one religious scripture: The American constitution. Finally there is only one religious faith: American patriotism.”
Weinstein also objected to the Pentagon’s “noxious” affiliation with the National Day of Prayer Task Force which is headed by Shirley Dobson, although he stressed he does not object to the Pentagon Chaplain’s Office hosting an NDP event.
Graham is the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham and president and CEO of both Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian international relief organization in Boone, N.C., and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, in Charlotte, N.C.
Graham, through a spokesman said, “As the father of a son serving in his fourth combat tour, I’d be glad to know someone was leading a prayer service at the National Day of Prayer, or any other day.”
The spokesman also said Graham will be a guest of the Pentagon and will speak only if he’s still invited. A military spokeswoman said she was locating officials to respond to the criticism.
A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled last week that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional because it amounts to a call for religious action. The judge did not bar any observances until all appeals are exhausted.