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July 27, 2012Andrew Walker
Famed evangelist Billy Graham, who possesses a ministry now spanning over six decades, has made headlines in 2012 with his support for traditional marriage.
Graham is again in the news this week as he offered support for Chick-fil-A, a national restaurant chain whose founder, Truett Cathy, has received media criticism for affirming his belief in traditional marriage in an article with Baptist Press, the news agency of the Southern Baptist Convention. In what has become an infamous phrase, when asked whether his company supported traditional marriage, Truett replied with “guilty as charged.”
The fall-out from Cathy’s remarks have ignited an unprecedented media campaign over gay marriage, homosexuality, and civil rights. The mayors of Boston and Chicago have gone so far as to propose restricting Chick-fil-A’s rights to open restaurants in the respective cities.
Graham, who has typically removed himself from America’s so-called “Culture Wars,” entered the debate over Chick-fil-A’s stance on traditional marriage by releasing a statement on Thursday saying, “I want to express my support for my good friends Truett Cathy and his son Dan Cathy, and for their strong stand for the Christian faith. I've known their family for many years and have watched them grow Chick-fil-A into one of the best businesses in America while never compromising their values. Chick-fil-A serves each of its customers with excellence, and treats everyone like a neighbor. It's easy to see why Chick-fil-A has become so popular across America.”
Graham continued, “Each generation faces different issues and challenges, but our standard must always be measured by God's word. I appreciate the Cathy family's public support for God's definition of marriage.”
Graham also expressed appreciation for Governor Mike Huckabee’s declaration of August 1 as “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day.” Said Graham, “As the son of a dairy farmer who milked many a cow, I plan to "Eat Mor Chikin" and show my support by visiting Chick-fil-A next Wednesday.” At press time, the event on Facebook has approximately 250,000 attendees.
Graham’s support of Chick-fil-A comes only days after his organization released an essay written by Graham titled, “My Heart Aches for America.” In it, Graham laments the decline of morality in America, saying, “I wonder what Ruth would think of America if she were alive today. In the years since she made that remark, millions of babies have been aborted and our nation seems largely unconcerned. Self-centered indulgence, pride, and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle.”
He continued, “Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone—except God. Yet the farther we get from God, the more the world spirals out of control. My heart aches for America and its deceived people. The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance. In Jonah’s day, Nineveh was the lone world superpower—wealthy, unconcerned, and self-centered. When the Prophet Jonah finally traveled to Nineveh and proclaimed God’s warning, people heard and repented.”
Larry Ross, a Graham spokesperson, told CNN, “Considering Mr. Graham's age and limited mobility, his statement today was more an expression of sentiment and solidarity with the Cathy family and their cause than actually a commitment to go to a Chik-fil-A himself.” “But he does plan to ‘Eat Mor Chikin’ on Aug. 1, which I expect someone will be able to get for him to enjoy at home.”
Graham attracted criticism earlier in 2012 when he came out in support of North Carolina’s Amendment 1 in May, a constitutional measure defining marriage between one man and one woman. Graham’s support for the amendment was touted as a major endorsement for the campaign to preserve traditional marriage. Amendment 1 passed overwhelmingly by a 61%-39 margin.
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