Interfaith Leaders Push Back Against Franklin Graham’s Bigotry

Elevating a message of "radical inclusion"

June 1, 2018

Interfaith leaders held a press conference to elevate a message of “radical inclusion” to counter Franklin Graham’s Decision America event at the Rose Bowl. Pictured left to right: Rabbi Joshua Levine-Grater (Friends in Deed), Pastor Sandra Olewine (First United Methodist), Salam Al-Marayati (MPAC), Reverend Mike Kinman & Susan Russell (All Saints Church).
Interfaith leaders held a press conference to elevate a message of “radical inclusion” to counter Franklin Graham’s Decision America event at the Rose Bowl. Pictured left to right: Rabbi Joshua Levine-Grater (Friends in Deed), Pastor Sandra Olewine (First United Methodist), Salam Al-Marayati (MPAC), Reverend Mike Kinman & Susan Russell (All Saints Church).

Earlier this month, in conjunction with All Saints Church, Friends in Deed and First Methodist, we held a press conference to elevate a message of “radical inclusion” to counter Franklin Graham’s Decision America event at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.

The Decision America tour is bringing evangelist Franklin Graham across all fifty states to promote bigoted and polarizing rhetoric. Behind the guise of bringing people together, the hateful messages he is promoting are widening the divide.

Franklin Graham has ridden the coattails of his father Billy Graham’s controversial success as an evangelist preacher by repeatedly targeting the American Muslim and LGBTQ communities. Touting concepts such as Islam being a religion that encourages domestic violence and murder and that LGBTQ couples that adopt children are just “recruiting”, these sweepingly false generalizations about groups of people perpetuate bigotry to the generations of loyal followers of the Grahams’ flavor of evangelism.

Graham is promoting a lie that Islam is at war with the West. It is a lie that keeps on giving us more wars, terrorism, radicalization, ghettoization, and a palpable tension. As All Saints Church Reverend Mike Kinman said, “We will not let Franklin Graham speak for us”.

Just miles away from the Rose Bowl, the interfaith press conference brought together Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders to celebrate a core belief of the three religions - God is love and peace. “Tonight is about us coming together, not being afraid of our differences, not being afraid to talk about things we don’t understand and maybe don’t agree on,” Rabbi Joshua Levine-Grater stated.

The press conference was followed by an interfaith iftar, or breaking of the fast in the month of Ramadan, hosted by All Saints Church. With over 300 attendees from all religious backgrounds and understandings, the event built bridges of understanding.

We will continue to push back against bigotry with our interfaith allies and allies across various communities and amplify our voices so hate has no place in America.




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