Rev. Franklin Graham
Commenting on the Oregon mass shooter’s targeting of Christians and the anti-Christian forces in the media, the courts, and the Obama administration, Rev. Franklin Graham said “intolerance and hate against Christians has been rising” across the nation” and that people “who confess loyalty to Jesus Christ” are now the objects of “ridicule and even persecution.”
Franklin Graham, son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, also drew a parallel between the Christians killed by the Oregon shooter and the Christians martyred by the Romans in the first centuries of the Church, in his commentary for the November issue of Decision magazine.
He further asked whether believers are brave enough to “stand up for Jesus Christ,” even in the face of death.
Noting that one eyewitness at the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon said the killer ordered students to stand up and state whether they were Christians, Rev. Graham said that, “Within five hours of the shooting, the president of the United States stood up and passionately pleaded for stricter gun control laws, saying, ‘Our thoughts and prayers are not enough.’”
“Here’s what I know: This was not about gun control,” said Rev. Graham about the Oct. 1 shooting. “It was about a man filled with hate, especially for those who bravely and boldly confessed they were Christians.”
“The shooter, who listed ‘organized religion’ as a dislike on his Facebook page, perpetrated a hate crime against the Name of Jesus Christ and those who follow Him,” said the reverend.
“The culture of intolerance and hate against Christians has been rising at an alarming rate across this nation,” he said. “From the media, to the courts, to this current administration, there has been a flagrant, disturbing mockery of Christian values and beliefs.”
The White House illuminated in the gay rainbow
colors the evening of the Supreme Court decision
making homosexual "marriage" legal. (AP)
“Those who adhere to the Bible’s definition of marriage, who uphold the sanctity of life, and who confess loyalty to Jesus Christ as the only way to Heaven have become the objects of broad-scale ridicule and even persecution,” said Rev. Graham.
The evangelist, who runs the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, then cited the case of Christian bakers in Oregon who were fined $135,000 because they refused to make a wedding cake for a homosexual couple, and a florist in Washington who was prosecuted and fined for not providing flowers to a gay “wedding.”
“Who would ever have thought that a U.S. president would light up the White House in the colors of the gay rainbow, flaunting an iniquity that the Bible says is an abomination?” said Rev. Graham.
He continued, “Who would have thought that, here in our own country, there would be less empathy for Christianity than for any other faith? That God-fearing people who stand up for their biblical faith would be called bigots and be vilified while those who harass and mock Christians draw approval and applause?”
The reverend, who also runs the international Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse, mentioned the ongoing persecution of Christians in the Middle East, including the imprisonment in Iran of American pastor Saeed Abedini, and the murder of Christians by the Islamic State and other Islamists.
“Countless other Christians are threatened, beaten, denied jobs, disowned by their families and persecuted in so many other ways because they follow the Savior and confess their allegiance to the one true God,” said Rev. Graham.
“This should not be surprising,” he continued. “For millennia, Christians have been the target of God haters. Martyrdom has long been the powerful legacy of Christians who have refused to bow down to false gods and godless tyrants through the ages.
The widespread persecution of Christians is no surprise, said Rev. Graham, because “men hate the Name of Jesus Christ. They love darkness rather than light. They love their sin rather than the only One who can forgive their sin.”
One of the victims of the Oregon
community college shooting on
Oct. 1, 2015, is taken to an
The question now is whether Christians are truly brave enough to stand up and defend their faith, despite the persecution and ridicule.
“Here’s what I know we can do,” he said. “Like the courageous men and women at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Oregon, we can stand up for our faith by unashamedly confessing Jesus Christ. They knew they would be killed when they stood and faced the gunman, and they stood anyway.”
Like the “Christians [who] were severely persecuted by the Roman empire,” said Rev. Graham, “would you stand up for Jesus Christ?”
Franklin Graham, 63, is married and has five children. He regularly leads evangelical rallies and Bible crusades in the United States and abroad, and frequently comments on cultural and political issues on television and radio. Franklin Graham lives in Boone, N.C.