Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham claims that the National Football League is targeting and persecuting Christians. The always angry and dependably anti-gay Graham needs mood stabilizers. At issue is a threat from the NFL to deprive Georgia of a possible Super Bowl game if Governor Nathan Deal signs what amounts to a license-to-discriminate into law.

According to Graham:

Atlanta is a great location for the Super Bowl, but the NFL has come out
against Georgia’s religious exemptions bill, threatening that it could
impact Atlanta’s consideration in the Super Bowl selection process for
2019 and 2020. LGBT forces and corporate super powers are
using this threat to try to stop the bill that would protect pastors
from performing same-sex marriages and give faith-based organizations
permission to deny use of their facilities for things outside their
religious beliefs.

Regarding the legislation:

It does not legalize discrimination as opponents are trying to say,
rather it helps contain the growing discrimination against Christians
who simply want to live out their faith. The bill has already passed
both houses of the Georgia legislature and has the support of Lt. Gov.
Casey Cagle.

Right. Because the Christian majority is so terrible oppressed. In addition to being insensitive, Graham is inaccurate. Pastors do not require legislation to “protect” them from those nasty gays. Clergy already have the right to determine which marriages they will solemnize and which they will not. The biggest problem with Georgia HB-757 is that – by design – it nullifies non-discrimination ordinances including those in Atlanta. The same Yahoos who scream “states’ rights” whenever they want to discriminate against a minority do not seem to respect the rights of political subdivisions to thwart discrimination. It’s about Christian privilege.

At a time when the NFL is facing criticism for closeting its gay players it is trying to take a stand for diversity. Those “corporate super powers” have more tangible interests. Employees and prospective employees – gay and straight – will not want to work in Georgia. Anything that detracts from hiring the best and brightest has the potential to be expensive. I note that there do not seem to be a representative number of conservative Christians running American businesses.

Graham has different economic levers. In round numbers during 2014, Graham pulled down $260,000 from the Billy Graham operation plus $630,000 from Samaritan’s Purse. According to the IRS filings, some of that is paid as a non-taxable minister’s housing allowance, a further subsidy from the rest of the taxpayers. Both organizations’ IRS filings are begging for an audit that will not happen.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.