Franklin Graham faces backlash for telling Pete Buttigieg to ‘repent’ sexuality

President Donald Trump with Franklin Graham

Christian preacher Franklin Graham is facing backlash after telling presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg he will face “eternal damnation” unless he “repents.”

Graham, who preached at President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, hit out at Buttigieg in a Facebook post on Tuesday (April 23), claiming: “God’s Word defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised, or politicized. The Bible defines marriage as between a man and a woman—not two men, not two women.

“The core of the Christian faith is believing and following Jesus Christ, who God sent to be the Savior of the world—to save us from sin, to save us from hell, to save us from eternal damnation.”

Evangelical preacher Franklin Graham branded a ‘disgrace’

The comments were slammed by pundits including Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough, an evangelical Christian, who branded Graham a “disgrace” for attacking Buttigieg while hailing Trump as a “defender of the faith”

Scarborough said on Thursday’s (April 25) Morning Joe: “Just shut up Franklin Graham! You are a disgrace!

“You are a disgrace for normalising Donald Trump’s behaviour… here’s a man, who along with so many people in my community, the evangelical community, attacked Bill Clinton for his personal failings.

Franklin Graham hit out at Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg is an openly gay Presidential hopeful. (KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

“They are now using their positions, these evangelical leaders, to gain political power and apologise for Donald Trump.

“Now suddenly Franklin Graham’s talking about lifestyles and sinning, and a guy who has gone through a very difficult personal journey to figure out who he really is, he’s criticising them for that?

“It’s not a lifestyle choice. Anyone who’s heard Pete Buttigieg talk knows that.”

Franklin Graham views condemned as ‘extreme’

George H W Bush biographer Jon Meacham described the comments as “extreme statements,” adding: “They are extreme at this point, given where the country is on these issues, this is no longer a mainstream view, and thankfully so.

“If you’re a religious believer, one of the points of God’s universe is it does reveal itself, and you are able to change and grow and react to shifting data.

“Reverend Graham is actually disproving that, he’s going the other way.”

Ross Murray, a Lutheran deacon and senior director of the GLAAD Media Institute, also hit out at Graham.

He said: “Franklin Graham’s relentless attacks on Christians who are a part of the LGBTQ community, while excusing the very un-Christian actions of President Donald Trump, demonstrates that he has been seduced by worldly power and fallen prey to sin.

“As a Deacon, my calling is to LGBTQ advocacy through GLAAD. I’ve also worked with LGBTQ youth through The Naming Project for 15 years. These youth years have weathered similar attacks and roadblocks to them living abundant life.”

Graham is the son of evangelist Billy Graham and heads the international Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse.

Franklin Graham has anti-LGBT record

Graham has previously praised Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws and told crowds in Russia that homosexuals “cannot have children, they can take other people’s children.”

He said in 2015: “I very much appreciate that President Putin is protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda. If only to give them the opportunity to grow up and make a decision for themselves.”

He has also claimed there had been a “moral 9/11” in America due to homosexuals  and has declared that gay people are “the enemy” of civilisation.

In 2016, Graham accused LGBT activists of “trying to cram down America’s throat the lie that homosexuality is okay,” alleging that anti-discrimination laws will mean that “your children, and your grandchildren will be at risk to sexual predators and perverts.”