Many attached to the liberal religion agenda have expressed concern, and in some cases hard objection, to what were allegedly Mr. Graham's politically incorrect comments in recent years. It would seem that Mr. Graham ran afoul of the Vancouver liberal cultural elite which feels little obligation to extend tolerance toward anyone who does not fit their worldview.
To be clear, this post is not a mere defence of Franklin Graham and his Festival of Hope. There are, from the authoritative perspective of Apostolic Christianity, many things sorely lacking in the evangelical protestant religion which Mr. Graham represents. It is the contention of this blogger that, while elements of truth exist outside the Catholic Church, the fullness of truth resides solely in the Catholic Church (cf Lumen Gentium). Therefore, do not read into this commentary any attempt to justify Mr. Graham's religion nor any comments of Mr. Graham which contradict charity and the Truth.
This post is a criticism of the unfair treatment of Mr. Graham by those self righteous charlatans who would elevate liberal religion above orthodox Christianity, those who attempt to defend a liberal fascism by denigrating religionists of another flavour who claim to love Jesus and who reject the lazy witness of formerly "mainstream" (c)hristians who too often have become willing agents of an oppressive secular hard-left political ideology.
Anglicans v Graham
People from many faiths met twice early in March in Vancouver (BC) to show support for one another at two well-attended (compared to what?) public meetings that celebrated diversity (Anglicans celebrated diversity; Graham's event celebrated salvation in Jesus Christ) and took a stand against acts of hatred.
FYI - Attendance
Two gatherings by an Anglican sponsored anti-Graham coalition: 100 to 150 people on one night, depending on which source you believe; no figures given for the other event. By appearances, the 150 person event involved mostly senior citizens.Three nights of the Festival of Hope: 34,406 people attended in person; 65,429 people from seventy-six countries watched the Festival online. Nearly half of those who attended in person were under the age of 18.
(The Anti-Graham) gatherings were in reaction to concerns about an upsurge in anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of social conflict that seem to have accompanied the inauguration of the new administration in the United States. (For the record, the "social conflict" mentioned has largely amounted to violent protests by liberal supporters of the former American regime against conservatives and Trump supporters. Financial support for that unrest has been linked directly or indirectly to prominent leftist billionaire George Soros.)
That American political problems have spilled into Canada was suggested by a bomb threat the previous week which resulted in the evacuation of Vancouver’s Jewish Community Centre (no bomb was found), and by controversy surrounding a three-day campaign in Vancouver led by Franklin Graham, an American evangelist who once called Islam “a very evil, a very wicked religion” and supported a ban on Muslim immigration (Clarifications. The Anglican Journal is guilty of perpetuating a myth. Readers of the facts can discern for themselves whether or not there has been an attempt to ban muslims, per se, from entering the USA. The facts contradict the mainstream media's and activist judges' characterization of the United States President's executive orders (here and here). The Orders attempt to restrict the movement of individuals who are potential terrorist threats from states that sponsor terrorism: "Executive Order 13769 did not provide a basis for discriminating for or against members of any particular religion. While that order allowed for prioritization of refugee claims from members of persecuted religious minority groups, that priority applied to refugees from every nation, including those in which Islam is a minority religion, and it applied to minority sects within a religion. That order was not motivated by animus toward any religion, but was instead intended to protect the ability of religious minorities -- whoever they are and wherever they reside -- to avail themselves of the USRAP in light of their particular challenges and circumstances.") in the U.S. (1. Who was responsible for the bomb threat against the Vancouver Jewish Community Centre? Do we know? 2. To juxtapose Graham, a bomb threat and American political problems in the same sentence is a cheap editorial device aimed at demonizing someone to rob him of a fair hearing and to falsely lend weight to a contrary campaign. 3. The Anglican Journal from which this excerpt is taken has done little to persuade the informed reader that Anglican journalists are capable of representing the issues in a reasonable manner. Both Jews and Christians should be offended by the Anglican Journal's careless rendering of the news. 4. Could it be that Anglicans merely fear Mr. Graham's impact on their flocks, i.e., his "poaching" of members from their flocks, and so they attack him personally to stem the potential loss of their parishioners? 5. The AJ could be correct about the unacceptability of some of Mr. Graham's comments. However, the AJ has merely undermined its own credibility by attempting to associate in a far too general manner Mr. Graham with American social unrest and a bomb threat of undetermined origin.
Anglicans were involved in sponsoring both (anti-Graham) gatherings. The first took place on March 7 at Vancouver’s Or Shalom Synagogue. It was sponsored by the synagogue and the diocese of New Westminster and featured talks, chants, songs, meditation, and even dancing, from a wide variety of faith traditions.
It was followed two days later by a presentation at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church involving a rabbi, an imam, and a (pretend) bishop entitled "Hope Amidst the Politics of Fear: Conversations for Creative Resistance.” This event was organized by St. Andrew’s and Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver. (Speaking of hope, one might read Bishop: Iraqi Christians 'celebrated when Trump won' @ The Busy Catholic for a better appreciation of the politics of hope.) [...]
The Rev. Dan Chambers of St. Andrew’s-Wesley, in introducing the speakers at the church, suggested many people are concerned not only with recent events but about the state of the world in general.
“When we consider the critical issues of a global nature—climate change (link to manipulated climate data: here; and here), the widening gap between the wealthy and the not very wealthy (the working poor? the affluent middle class? comfortable clergy?), the rise of the threat of nuclear weaponry—hope flickers in the distance,” said Chalmers. “It’s no wonder that for many, despair is right outside our door, and for some it has moved into the house. How do you speak of hope in such a way that it’s not Pollyanna, that’s grounded in reality and the generally possible?” (Imagine if Mother (Saint) Teresa of Calcutta thought as liberal religionists do. It is difficult to imagine that she and her sisters and those millions they have helped would have framed her God-given mission by using the words "generally possible". Liberal religion may produce critics, but it does not produce saints who do the will of God and who often suffer at the hands of wicked men for so doing.)
That challenge was taken up by (pretend) Bishop Michael Ingham, retired (pretend) bishop of the (schismatic) Diocese of New Westminster, whose talk touched on the theology of hope (... like the "hope" which emptied Anglican pews under his watch?). Ingham said that biblical hope is neither a passive optimism nor unrealistic wishful thinking. (Does a "bishop" who has all but abandoned the Apostolic Faith have anything of importance to say about biblical hope?) [...]
The earlier (anti-Graham) gathering attended by about 100 people, focussed more on celebrating Vancouver’s religious diversity.
Fifteen faith leaders spoke, sang, chanted, or in the case of a Sufi devotee, twirled. Represented were Muslims (Sunni, Shia, and Sufi), two Hindu communities, Baha’i’s, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Quakers, Lutherans, and Anglicans, as well as the Jewish hosts. (One wonders what happened to all the other members of those communities, presumably more than 100 in total, who didn't attend the protest meetings. Could it be that there is not as much support for "diversity", as defined by liberals and progressives, as liberals and progressives imagine?)
“We are asked to be tolerant with each other,” said Firdosh Mehta of the Zoroastrian Society of B.C. “But tolerance is not enough. We need to elevate the understanding of each other for acceptance beyond tolerance—acceptance based on common values.” (Beware of liberals bearing gifts of tolerance. Tolerance/translation: accept what liberals believe or be marginalized at work, fired, fined by an HRC, or sentenced to jail.)
Graham, who typically uses blunt language, language not unfamiliar to Catholics familiar with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the language of the Saints, refers to behaviour that is considered by Christians to be sinful (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9). This is not to say that everything (verified to have been) said by Mr. Graham has been sensitive and engaging. In this era when feelings attempt to trump facts, however, labelling a behaviour or lifestyle (such as living in an adulterous union) sinful is considered unfeeling and uncaring, and therefore anathema. One cannot help but conclude that, because of the condescending attitude toward Apostolic Tradition which the Anglican Chooch of Canada and the United Chooch of Canada and other liberal religionists take, Jesus would be unwelcome among so-called Christians who parrot the secular left's anti-Christian ideology.
Many of Mr. Graham's comments on hot-button issues, unvarnished comments though they may have been, are nevertheless not alien to orthodox Christian beliefs about human sexuality and the identity of Jesus Christ. Where Mr. Graham falls short is by remaining separate from the Catholic Church which Jesus Christ founded.