Strange Bedfellows: Franklin Graham and the Problem with Boycotts

By Jim Meisner Jr. 6-11-2015
Image via Lichtmeister/shutterstock.com
Image via Lichtmeister/shutterstock.com

 

This is awkward.

In a June 5 Facebook post, Franklin Graham suggested that it’s time to “fight the tide of moral decay that is being crammed down our throats by big business, the media, and the gay & lesbian community.”

Because Wells Fargo uses a same-sex couple in its advertising, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association moved their accounts to another bank.

“This is one way we as Christians can speak out — we have the power of choice,” Franklin wrote on Facebook.

“Let’s just stop doing business with those who promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards.”

Franklin’s popular autobiography, Rebel With a Cause, was published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian publishing company. Thomas Nelson’s publicity is handled by a company called Rogers & Cowan. One of the largest public relations firms in the world, Rogers & Cowan also is the publicist for ...

... Caitlyn Jenner.

Whoops.

So, the same company that promotes some of Franklin Graham’s books and the books of his father also promotes Caitlyn Jenner, and helped to turn around the careers of Robert Downey, Jr. and Britney Spears.

Awkward.

To his credit, Graham is one of the few conservative Christians not to have rained criticism down on Jenner’s Vanity Fair magazine announcement.

Graham simply pointed out that “changing the outside doesn’t change the inside.”

But the conservative Christian community has been overwhelmingly opposed to Jenner’s lifestyle choices.

Public relations makes strange bedfellows.

Or as the Wizard of Oz said, as Toto pulled back the curtain to reveal the man working the controls behind a massive green head, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

In our modern world, controversial actresses like Lindsay Lohan and the dozens of Women of Faith conferences around the country are represented by the same PR company — also Rogers & Cowan.

Sometimes we have to do business with people with whom we disagree. The example of Jesus is that we eat with, talk with, and be around people who are different from us, or who have different faith traditions, or who aren’t where we are morally, physically, or emotionally.

But it’s not just our modern world. Jesus was all about being with people outside his faith tradition and spending time with those on the fringe of the faith. He constantly interacted with the dominant culture — the Roman occupiers — as well as the ostracized on the edges of society: women, adulterers, criminals, the sick, and the infirmed. Sinners.

Jesus was the exact opposite of boycotting others. His entire message was about loving those who are different. What good is loving those who love us, Jesus asked, when it’s much harder and more important to love those who don’t love us, who don’t understand or stand for God’s laws and standards?

Jesus wouldn’t boycott anyone, so why should we?

And besides, as Graham is learning, sometimes those big businesses cramming moral decay down our throats are also the same businesses that help spread the Good News and cram money into his pocket. 

Jim Meisner Jr. speaks and writes about faith at www.faithonthefringe.com

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