Rev. Graham: Gays ‘Absolutely’ Can Go to Heaven But They Must ‘Repent'

By Michael W. Chapman | April 21, 2014 | 12:08 PM EDT

Rev. Franklin Graham. (AP)

( – Homosexuals can be forgiven and can go to Heaven if they repent and turn from their sins, and this is “the same for any of us,” said Rev. Franklin Graham on the Easter Sunday edition of ABC’s This Week, adding as an example that “a person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God.”

Graham, son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, also defended his comments about Russia protecting its children from gay propaganda and noted that with President Barack Obama,  “We used to have a president in this country that did what was right for this country, but we don’t seem to have that right now.”

On the April 20 program, hosted by ABC’s Martha Raddatz, footage was shown of Franklin Graham telling the Charlotte Observer recently that gays can “recruit” children to their cause and that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support for a law banning gay propaganda was prudent. “I think I agreed with Putin, I think protecting his nation’s children I think was probably a pretty smart thing to do,” said Graham.

Raddatz then asked, “I suspect you still support that, what you said.  You still support Putin?”

Graham, said, “No, I think Putin is going to do what’s right for Russia, not what’s right for America, but for Russia.”

“We used to have a president in this country that did what was right for this country but we don’t seem to have that right now,” said Graham, who heads the international Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse.  “Putin is going to make these decisions that he thinks is best for the Russian people and he thinks taking advantage of children, exploiting children, is wrong for any group, and so it passed a law.”

A homosexual couple and their adopted daughter. (AP)

As the panel discussion continued in the program, Graham said, “When we talk about families and when we talk about gay people – many people and maybe gays that are watching will want to know, ‘Can God forgive me?’ or ‘Can I go to Heaven as a gay person?’ Absolutely.  But the same for any of us, we have to repent of our sins and turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God.”

ABC’s Raddatz then, in reference to gays adopting children, asked, “What would you say to those children? What would you say to those children of gay parents – about their parents?”

Graham answered, “Of gay parents?  That like any parent who’s living in sin, if we repent – Franklin Graham is a sinner, I’m no better than a gay person. I’m a sinner. But I’ve been forgiven, and I’ve turned from my sins. And for any person who’s willing to repent and turn, God will forgive. And you can be gay and go to Heaven, no question.”

Regular ABC panelist Cokie Roberts then commented, “A lot of gay people feel that they are sinners but not because they’re gay.”

In addition to being CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham oversees the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which was started by his father, Pastor Billy Graham, who is 95 years old and largely confined to his bed now.  Franklin Graham, 61, is married, has five children, and lives in Boone, North Carolina.

Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman