An Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham
(c) 2000 Jordan White
I grew up listening to your father preach on TV. I grew up reading "Decision" and hearing glowing reports from those returning from "Crusades" telling of finding Christ for the first time or of finding new inspiration and hope through the message they heard.
I still have a high regard for Rev. Billy Graham and I am sure he honestly believes in that which he preaches: the Gospel of the love of Jesus Christ for all. Rev. Graham has always emphasized that "...all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and that our only hope for reconciliation with God is through redemption through the blood of Christ. In other words, it is not our job as Christians to condemn anyone. If everyone is a sinner and worthy of hell, then we all are basically bankrupt before God, right?
So I am baffled when I hear that you, his son and successor, delivered a televised address (Oct. 14) in which you labelled all Arabs as hate-filled, murderous enemies of Israel who want all Jews dead. You labelled Palestine, the traditional and legal home of the Palestinian Arab people as land "God gave... to the Jews".
You asked, "Why can't they live in peace?" I'll tell you why there is no peace in the land of Palestine. The Zionists, or "Jews" as you seem to think these people are, seized the land from its original owners. The occupation of Palestine is illegal under international law and is recognized by no nation on earth.
Classifying people who are trying to free themselves from an almost unbelievably oppressive occupying force as murderers and enemies of the will of God shows a lack of understanding of the true situation in Palestine and, even worse, shows a deplorable attitude of hatred and prejudice against people Christ loved and died for. You should be befriending them, eating with them, getting to know them and understand their beautiful, ages-old culture rather than aiding and abetting the theft of their lawful land and possessions.
I have many friends who are Palestinian. I enjoy being around these people, who cherish their families, live moral and upright lives, and exhibit a hospitality seldom seen in our privacy-obsessed culture. They are asking that their illegally occupied lands be returned to those who hold the deeds, who worked the land, planted the olive groves, and whose loss turned them into distraught, dispossessed refugees who will never see their homes again.
I really hoped that some of us born-again Christians could begin to show these hurting people Christ's love, and through that love, lead them to a knowledge of the Prince of Peace who is also "the God of all comfort"(II Cor. 1:3). Your thoughtless, racist, and hate-filled remarks make it difficult for us to overcome the level of mistrust they already feel toward the Christian community.
Please apologize to the Arab people and join with us in extending to them a warm and heart-felt invitation to, with us, "...seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him, and find Him..."(Acts 17:27). Put aside the rhetoric of hatred and learn to speak the language of love.
October 27, 2000