Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

Posts for June, 2015

Franklin Graham clarifies his bank move

Timothy Kincaid

June 12th, 2015

franklin graham

Franklin Graham is in the process of moving the accounts of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association from Wells Fargo Bank to BB&T Bank. He cited Wells Fargo’s commercial showing a lesbian couple learning sign language so as to adopt a little deaf girl.

Several parties have noted that BB&T also is pro-gay and has sponsored some gay pride events. But as I said then,

But sponsoring a pride entry is not the same as running an inclusive commercial on Franklin Graham’s television set. And this makes me curious as to whether BB&T has made assurances to Graham that they will keep their pro-gay visibility solely to gay venues.

BB&T clarified that while they did do sponsorship within the community so as to increase business from gay customers, this should not be interpreted as being supportive of the goals of the gay community. Nor do they advocate in their advertising for “social issues”, such as the existence of same-sex couples who might want to adopt a deaf girl.

Franklin Graham has now further clarified the reason that Wells Fargo is unacceptable, but BB&T is okay. (USAToday)

It is true that a local BB&T branch in the Miami area hosted a fundraiser for a program called Legacy Couples, which recognizes same-sex couples who have been in committed relationships for 10 years or more, but the bank did not promote this program through a national advertising campaign (or we would still be looking for another bank).

I think there is a difference between being friendly and being a public advocate. By staying at Wells Fargo, we would not only be associating with the promotion of a lifestyle we believe to be wrong, we also would actually be helping to pay for the advertisements by virtue of banking with them — because a bank has no money to advertise with other than the money its customers place in its trust and the interest earned on that money. We simply chose not to continue doing business with a bank that is promoting something that violates our conscience and beliefs.

Graham does not state whether BB&T has given him assurances that none of their national advertising will include same-sex couples. But it certainly seems likely.

I’ve not heard back from BB&T as to whether they have made any assurances to Graham.

This ad is going to give Franklin Graham a headache

Timothy Kincaid

June 12th, 2015

Last week Franklin Graham, the President of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, announced that he’s moving the group’s accounts from Wells Fargo to BB&T Bank because Wells ran a commercial featuring a lesbian couple adopting a little deaf girl.

Well he’s really not going to like this ad from Tylenol.

See that middle finger that Corporate America is waving in your face, Franklin? Get used to it.

Will Franklin Graham’s new bank hide gay support? UPDATED

Timothy Kincaid

June 9th, 2015

bb&T

Yesterday, Franklin Graham announced that he was switching the accounts of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and the charity Samaritan’s Purse away from Wells Fargo because they “promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards”.

It would be hard to find a bank with a longer and stronger commitment to the LGBT community than Wells Fargo. They were there early and they’ve weathered boycotts and attacks during the years in which the right wing actually had some remaining moral authority. And they have made a concerted effort to make certain that gay people are not just a target market, but part of the broader Wells Fargo family.

Currently Wells Fargo is running a television ad by the bank in which a same-sex couple learns sign language in order to tell a deaf girl that they would be her new mommies. And this ad is not just on gay websites, but in the regular rotation of their media visibility.


It is to this broader visibility that Franklin Graham objects.

Graham has made clear that he does not object to businesses that serve gays and lesbians. (Charlotte Observer)

“There’s lots of businesses out there that do business with gay people,” he said. “That’s fine.”

But he doesn’t want to see same-sex couples on his television. He doesn’t want it “shoved down his throat”.

So it is with interest that we learn the identity of the new bank providing services to the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and Samaritan’s Purse. It turns out to be a North Carolina native, BB&T Bank.

At first glace, it would appear that BB&T also “promotes sin and stands against Almighty God’s laws and His standards”. They do have a history of support for community events.

Several websites are declaring that BB&T is “the sponsor of Miami Beach Gay Pride”. That does not appear to be strictly correct.

They do, however, have an entry in the parade and are “Platinum Sponsors” of the event, the fourth tier of support and likely a significant contribution. BB&T also hosted an event at one of their Miami Beach branches in February which honored long-term same-sex couples. (Herald)

BB&T Bank, in partnership with Miami Beach Gay Pride, will host a fundraising reception to honor the popular “Legacy Couples” program established during the first Miami Beach Gay Pride in 2009 and held every year since. Legacy Couples are featured guests of the Miami Beach Gay Pride parade and are celebrated for their committed relationships of 10 years or longer. Special guests at the event will be Frank Petrole and Marc Rudick, together for 55 years, and Mary Maguire and Jackie Emmett, together for 53 years.

But sponsoring a pride entry is not the same as running an inclusive commercial on Franklin Graham’s television set. And this makes me curious as to whether BB&T has made assurances to Graham that they will keep their pro-gay visibility solely to gay venues.

I have emailed the company to inquire as to whether they made these or any other assurances to Graham.

* – Have there been any assurances provided to Franklin Graham, either in relation to your advertising or any other matters?

* – Does your general (not targeted) advertising strategy include using same-sex couples in the future?

I recognize the value of targeted advertising and appreciate BB&T’s support.

When Wells Fargo began their support for the community, it was narrowly targeted. They did not run gay inclusive advertising in general media. In the 80’s supportive companies didn’t even show gay people in the ads they ran in gay publications.

But while narrowly targeted advertising has its place, it’s no longer the 80’s. And that a bank has joined the long long list of companies that want our business is great, but it’s not enough.

If BB&T has promised Franklin Graham that gay people will remain invisible outside of gay venues, that would concern me. Should that prove to be true, perhaps our community and those who support us can reconsider their banking options. Wells Fargo is but one of many many financial institutions which are happy to include gay people as part of the broad and diverse fabric of everyday life.

UPDATE:

In a Charlotte Observer article, BB&T clarified their position on the highly controversial issue of including gay people in advertising just as if they were socially acceptable and equal to everyone else.

BB&T spokeswoman Cynthia Williams said in a statement to the Observer that the bank “has a strong history” of sponsoring community events to help the lender reach prospects and clients. “This does not imply endorsement of these organization’s positions on any or all political or social issues,” she said.

“Our mission is to help our clients achieve economic success and financial security regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. … BB&T embraces diversity and inclusion for our associates and in all aspects of our business. However, we do not take formal positions on non-banking or social issues.”

Translation: we’re happy to have gay customers and will sponsor their little events, but don’t expect us to approve of the filthy homosexuals. And we most certainly will not be showing any nasty gay couples in our advertising. That would be promoting sin and standing against Almighty God’s laws and His standards.

I’m not calling for a boycott. But, for me personally, if I lived in North Carolina there is no way whatsoever that I would bank with BB&T.

Franklin Graham call for boycott of everything

Timothy Kincaid

June 8th, 2015

franklin graham

Until he was into his 90’s, famous evangelist Billy Graham was known for his acceptance and inclusion of people of all walks of life. Never an advocate for gay people, he also made a point of avoiding hostility and a demeaning attitude. And he avoided political advocacy or lending his name to commercial ventures.

But Graham is now in his mid-90’s and suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. And in his twilight years, as his son Franklin took more and more control over the evangelist and his organization, suddenly statements attributed to Billy Graham have become the center of anti-gay political campaigns. His picture was used in full page ads asking people to go to the polls to restrict the rights of gay people. And the tone of “Billy Graham” is harsh and condemnatory.

While many of those who know and have worked with Billy Graham find these statements to appear inconsistent with his history, they were right in line with Franklin Graham, now the head of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association.

And irrespective of the extent to which Billy Graham endorses (or knows about) these actions, the organization carrying his name is now becoming one of the more prominent protestant Christian voices in opposition to gay rights and equality. Lacking his father’s compassion and charisma and recognizing that he will never inherit his father’s position as the Nation’s Pastor, Franklin has chosen to seek relevancy instead by being the Nation’s Scold.

While many conservative Christian denominations have been walking back from anti-gay political advocacy and turning their attention inward, Franklin has been ratcheting up his fiery denunciations against gay people and marriage equality and seeking to influence the public sphere. And each of his rants seems more shrill than the last, revealing a Graham that is confident of his superiority and tone deaf as to how those outside his isolated circle live.

But Franklin’s latest wild-eyed nonsense is truly laughable.

Have you ever asked yourself–how can we fight the tide of moral decay that is being crammed down our throats by big business, the media, and the gay & lesbian community? Every day it is something else! Tiffany’s started advertising wedding rings for gay couples. Wells Fargo bank is using a same-sex couple in their advertising. And there are more. But it has dawned on me that we don’t have to do business with them. At the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we are moving our accounts from Wells Fargo to another bank. And guess what—we don’t have to shop at Tiffany & Co., there are plenty of other jewelry stores. This is one way we as Christians can speak out—we have the power of choice. Let’s just stop doing business with those who promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards. Maybe if enough of us do this, it will get their attention. Share this if you agree.

Ironically, Franklin posted this rant on Facebook, a very vocal supporter of gay rights. And it was likely written either on an Apple product or a computer using Microsoft software, both of which are contributors and advocates for marriage equality.

So I wonder exactly what this boycott of “those who promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards” would look like.

Perhaps Franklin can start his boycott by consulting with the Human Rights Campaign’s Buyers Guide so as to know what companies to avoid.

He could start his day by not using his Keurig coffee machine. Or, if old school, he can avoid his Mr. Coffee or Black and Decker coffee brewer into which he will not load Folgers, Maxwell House, or Seattle’s Best coffee grounds. Or he could just save himself time by not going to Starbucks or McDonalds for his morning joe.

And for breakfast he can enjoy an nice bowl of nothing from Kellogg or General Mills. Nor will he have good ol’ fashioned Quaker Oats with a Hormel meat product and a Pillsbury croissant. But maybe he’d like to toast a slice of bread which he didn’t buy from any of the Kroger (Ralphs, Food 4 Less), Safeway (Von’s, Pavilions), Supervalu (Lucky’s), Mal-Mart, Target, or CostCo stores without I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter nor Smuckers‘ Jam.

Then he’s off to his office in his car which is not a Ford, Lincoln, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, Dodge, FIAT, Jeep, Ram, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Nissan, Infiniti, Tesla, Toyota, Lexus, Scion, Volkswagen, Subaru, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, or Hyundai. Of course, his tires are not Bridgestone or Firestone and he doesn’t get gas at Chevron, Shell, BP, Texaco, 76, or Phillips 66.

As he’s out and about, Franklin will likely stop at whatever bank he’s moved to from Wells Fargo. Because unless it’s some regional or local bank, the Billy Graham Evangelical Association can’t bank there. I think a shoebox might be best.

Franklin’s a busy man so he might want to drop in at lunch time for a quick bite at Chick-Fil-A, which his organization recently endorsed. But you can’t eat there everyday, so maybe instead he’ll try a fast food place that isn’t McDonalds, Burger King, Umami Burger, KFC, Taco Bell, Chili’s or TGI Friday’s. Perhaps Carl’s Jr might work for him. But wherever he eats, I’m sure he won’t want Coca-Cola, Pepsi, A&W Root Beer, or Dr. Pepper. Nor will he choose Snapple, 7-Up or Country Time lemonade.

During the afternoon, Franklin will get some work done on his computer which does not use Microsoft products, does not include an Intel chip, and isn’t from Apple. He’ll want to check his email so he’ll connect to the internet without a Motorola router and through an ISP which is neither Comcast, AT&T, Time-Warner, Comcast, AOL, or T-Mobil. He might print something out but not on an HP or Xerox printer.

And if Franklin gets hungry mid day, he can boycott Hershey’s, Reeses, and Healthy Valley products. He also won’t have any Honey Maid Graham Crackers (irony there) nor Famous Amos cookies.

Careful that he doesn’t accidentally support those who promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards by eating at Outback Steakhouse, Franklin with probably have a fresh salad from his own garden at home. But, of course, it won’t be with Hidden Valley dressing.

Then, after a long day of not shopping at Macy’s, Gap, Nordstrom, Sears, Penney’s, Target, Crate & Barrel, or John Deer, he might read a book that he didn’t get at Barnes & Noble or through Amazon or have shipped by UPS or FedEx. Then maybe catch a movie (at home, not AMC Theaters) on his not-Sony TV, provided that it isn’t Disney, Hallmark, CBS, NBC, ABC, Showtime, Bravo, Netflix, HBO, Columbia, Cinemax, CNN, Turner, History Channel, Nickelodeon, Lifetime, New Line, Paramount, or ESPN. Well, maybe he should just stick to Fox News and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Finally, after a long exhausting day of not promoting sin, it’s time for bed. Gotta get up in the morning and get a fresh start on boycotting more of the companies who “promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards”. Tomorrow he’s planning on tackling the 300 or so companies that signed an amicus brief supporting marriage equality in the Windsor case. And then on to the 379 companies who signed a brief in Obergefell, just to be sure.

Franklin Graham Reacts

Jim Burroway

November 8th, 2012

Don’t blame him if God destroys America:

“Unless we’re willing to repent for our sins, we will stand in his judgment,” Graham said Wednesday, shortly after leaving a birthday party for his father, evangelist Billy Graham, in Montreat.

“I want to warn America: God is coming around. He will judge sin, and it won’t be pretty.”

In particular, Graham was referring to the re-election of Obama, a man he has accused of “waving his fist before God” by supporting abortion rights and same-sex marriage. Voters in four states Tuesday either passed laws legalizing gay unions or blocked moves to further restrict it.

…“We have God’s blessing as a nation. Scripture is clear. God blesses countries, but God also brings bedlam when countries turn their back on him. If we don’t obey his laws, he will withdraw his hand of protection.”

Soulforce Founder Mel White’s Open Letter to American Pastors on Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

Jim Burroway

February 3rd, 2010

Soulforce founder Mel White, Interim Executive Director Bill Carpenter, and Board Chair Chuck Phelan have released this open letter to Jan and Paul Crouch and other American Evangelical pastors who broadcast in Uganda, calling on them to denounce the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is now before Parliament.

An Open Letter from Soulforce to Jan and Paul Crouch, founders of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and the Evangelical Christian broadcasters who are featured on Lighthouse Television, TBN’s affiliate in Uganda, including:  Matthew Crouch, Joyce Meyer,  Andrew Wommack,  Benny Hinn,  Kenneth Copeland,  Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, and Franklin Graham:

By now you are well aware of the anti-homosexual bill pending before the Parliament of Uganda. We urge you to denounce this bill.  Use your personal friendships with President and Mrs. Museveni, with MP David Bahati (your Christian colleague who proposed this bill), and with Stephen Langa, (the Ugandan Christian organizer behind the bill) to take a public and passionate stand against it.

The media are blaming the visit to Uganda by three of your colleagues for this despicable and truly un-Christian law.  In fact, for years you have used your Lighthouse Television programs, your radio broadcasts, and your massive public meetings to warn Ugandans of the so called “threat homosexuals pose to Bible-based values and the traditional African Family.”

In no small part you are already responsible for the current call by Ugandan leaders to enforce the old law condemning lesbian and gay Ugandans to up to 14 years in prison. This new law increases that sentence to life imprisonment and even death by hanging.  Denounce this new bill or the blood of lesbian and gay Ugandans will be on your hands.

It isn’t just the “liberal media” who are condemning the bill.  In mid-November, Exodus International, the ministry that promises to assist homosexuals in overcoming homosexuality, warned,  “If homosexual behavior and knowledge of such behavior is criminalized and prosecuted, as proposed in this bill, church and ministry leaders will be unable to assist hurting men, women and youth who might otherwise seek help in addressing this personal issue.” While Soulforce does not agree with Exodus that lesbian and gay people need to be “cured,” we wholeheartedly agree with their position on this hateful bill.

Warren Throckmorton, a member of the Clinical Advisory Board of the American Association of Christian Counselors warned that this legislation would make their mission “to extend the love and compassion of Christ to all” a difficult if not impossible task.

Your colleague, mega-church pastor Rick Warren, in a very public video appeal to his fellow clergy in Uganda, gives five reasons why Ugandan Christians should not support the bill: (1) it is “unjust, extreme and un-Christian; (2) it would “force pastors to report their pastoral conversations with homosexuals to authorities; (3) “…it would have a chilling effect on your ministry to the hurting… homosexuals who are HIV positive will be reluctant to seek or receive care, comfort and compassion from our churches out of fear of being reported; (4)  “All life, no matter how humble or broken, whether unborn or dying, is precious to God… It would be inconsistent to save some lives and wish death on others…” And (5) “the freedom to make moral choices, and our right to free expression, are gifts endowed by God.” Warren reminds the clergy that Uganda is a democratic country “…and in a democracy everyone has a right to speak up.” Warren concludes by urging them “to speak out against the proposed law.”

The People of Soulforce urge you to take Rick Warren seriously.  It is very possible that your silence on this matter will convince the people of Uganda that it is God’s will to condemn homosexuals to life imprisonment or even death by hanging. Your powerful media voices have made you superstars to Ugandans. We implore you to use your power to denounce this bill. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this time the Christian community became known for love and justice rather than fulfilling the stereotype of the “liberal media” as ‘hate-filled bigots?

You often ask others, “What would Jesus do?”  This is the perfect time to ask yourselves that question. 

The People of Soulforce

Mel White, Founder
Bill Carpenter, Interim Executive Director
Chuck Phelan, Board Chair    

 

ADDENDUM:           EXAMPLES OF OTHERS WHO CONDEMN THE BILL

This bill has been condemned by leaders of Western nations including the Prime Ministers of Canada, Australia, and Great Britain and the President of the United States. The European Parliament passed a resolution against the bill and threatened to cut financial aid to Uganda if it is enacted. They described the bill as “state-legislated genocide.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch urge Uganda to shelve the bill and decriminalize homosexuality.

The 16,000 members of the HIV Clinicians Society of South Africa and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS warned that excluding marginalised groups would compromise efforts to stop the spread of AIDS in Uganda where 5.4% of the adult population is infected with HIV.

The Sunday Times in South Africa warned Uganda that it is in danger of being “dragged back to the dark and evil days of Idi Amin.”

The New York Times stated unequivocally “that such barbarism (in the bill) is intolerable and will make Uganda an international pariah.” 

The Washington Post labeled the bill “ugly and ignorant”, “barbaric”, and “that it is even being considered puts Uganda beyond the pale of civilized nations.”

The Los Angeles Times warned that the bill would cause gay Ugandans to face an “impossible, insulting, historical, cruel and utterly false choice of having to choose between being gay and being African.”

The Anglican Reverend Canon Gideon Byamugisha said that the Bill “would become state-legislated genocide.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has said in a public interview that he did not see how any Anglican could support it: “Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can’t see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades. Apart from invoking the death penalty, it makes pastoral care impossible – it seeks to turn pastors into informers.”

The Vatican legal attaché to the United Nations stated that “Pope Benedict is opposed to ‘unjust discrimination’ against gay men and lesbians.”

ADDENDUM: 

AS IN THE US, PAUL CAMERON IS THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF THE HALF-TRUTH, HYPERBOLE AND LIES ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY AND HOMOSEXUALS UPON WHICH THE BILL IS BASED

Stephen Langa, the March 2009 workshop organiser, specifically cited an unlicensed converstion therapist named Richard A. Cohen who states in a book that was given to Langa and other prominent Ugandans,

“Homosexuals are at least 12 times more likely to molest children than heterosexuals; homosexual teachers are at least 7 times more likely to molest a pupil; homosexual teachers are estimated to have committed at least 25 percent of pupil molestation; 40 percent of molestation assaults were made by those who engage in homosexuality.”

These statements were based on faulty studies performed by Paul Cameron who has been expelled from the American Psychological Association, the Canadian Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association.   Cohen, himself, confirmed the weaknesses of these studies, stating that when the book will be reprinted, these statistics will be removed.

ADDENDUM:   OUR SOURCES

Jeffrey Gettleman, writing for the New York Times,  January 4, 2010, reported on “Americans’ Role in Uganda Anti-Gay Push.” 

Erin Roach, posted on Baptist News, November 18, 2009, the news that “Exodus Opposes Uganda’s Proposed Anti-Gay Law.”

Baptist Press, December 13, 2009, announced that “Mega-Church Pastor Rick Warren Condemns Uganda Anti-Gay Bill.

The editors of Wikipedia have assembled the best history of this bill and the world’s response.

YouTube carries the complete video of Rick Warren’s Open Letter to the Clergy of Uganda.*

*We wish to express our thanks to the Rev. Rick Warren for taking this rather courageous step on behalf of the lesbian and gay people of Uganda.  Pastor Warren did everything in his power to avoid meeting with our gay and lesbian parents and their families in 2009 during the Soulforce American Family Outing.  We have tried on many occasions to help him understand the tragic consequences of his own teachings about homosexuality and homosexuals.  And though we continue hoping that he will meet with a Soulforce delegation to hear the scientific, historic, psychological and personal evidence that homosexuality is one of God’s gifts, we pause in our pursuit just long enough to give him thanks for reaching out to save the lives of our lesbian sisters and gay brothers in Uganda.  Thank you, Pastor Warren.  We are grateful!

Franklin Graham: “You Hate God and It’s Good That You Are Upset”

Timothy Kincaid

December 23rd, 2008

Billy Graham was for decades a spiritual leader with tremendous influence and the ear of every President since Harry Truman. And Billy Graham, while a Southern Baptist and theologically conservative, preached a gospel that was more good news and conciliation than it was a fiery denunciation of the world around him. But he’s now in his 90’s and happily enjoying his retirement from public life.

Franklin Graham, Billy’s son, is a different generation. In his mid 50’s, Franklin Graham entered his ministry in the era of Moral Majority, Christian Coalition, and Culure War. The younger Graham seems to express no desire to reach or understand those who differ, choosing instead to demonize and objectify those he sees as God’s (and therefore his) enemies.

Franklin Graham has now weighed in on those who are upset by the selection of Rick Warren for the Inaugural Invocation:

My advice to Rick is to stay true to your convictions, and don’t back up one step. I don’t think he will. When you have the far left and the gay advocates mad at you, you must be doing something right. I’m proud of Rick. He hasn’t backed down one bit and he shouldn’t.

And as for those “far left” people, he has this to say:

The people on the far left hate God, they hate his standards, and hate the name of his son. The people on the left are not going to support any relationship with people on the other side.

Not all of those who oppose homosexuality are motivated by animus, arrogance or contempt. Some, I’ve found, are truly troubled by conflict between how they would prefer to view sexual orientation and what they see as clear biblical commandments. And so I believe that we should be slow and cautious to identify others as “haters” or “bigots”.

But I have to say that I’m finding it impossible to read these comments by Franklin Graham without seeing overt hatred and bigotry in his words.