The Right Wing

Trump Invited Notorious Anti-Muslim, Anti-Gay Rev. to Pray at Inauguration

Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, is one of six religious clergy invited to give a reading.

Photo Credit: Anthony Correia / Shutterstock, Inc.

President-elect Donald Trump has invited Rev. Franklin Graham, a notorious anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQ campaigner, to deliver a prayer at his inauguration ceremony.

Graham was invited alongside five other clergy members to give a reading at the inauguration, which will not include formal prayers from any Islamic religious leaders. The son of the prominent evangelist Billy Graham, Franklin Graham was also invited to deliver a prayer at the inauguration of George W. Bush in 2001.

Graham brings a long history of statements attacking Muslims and LGBTQ people. In an interview with CNN Newsroom in 2015, Graham proclaimed, “I think we should put a halt on immigration, because our borders are broken, until we have a proper system to vet people. I think [that applies to] all immigration, but especially those coming from the Middle East right now.”

That same year, Graham announced that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was withdrawing its accounts from Wells Fargo over the bank’s advertising campaign featuring a same-sex couple.

In one widely shared Facebook post published in 2015, Graham made the outrageous statement, “We are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad. We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled.”

In a CNN interview conducted in 2009, Graham declared, “[T]rue Islam cannot be practiced in this country. You can't beat your wife. You cannot murder your children if you think they've committed adultery or something like that, which they do practice in these other countries… I don't agree with the teachings of Islam and I find it to be a very violent religion."

Graham issued a lukewarm defense of Trump after the president-elect was outed for boasting about sexually assaulting women. “The crude comments made by Donald J. Trump more than 11 years ago cannot be defended,” said Graham. “But the godless progressive agenda of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton likewise cannot be defended.” He continued, “The most important issue of this election is the Supreme Court. That impacts everything.”

Ibrahim Hooper, the national communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told AlterNet, “By inviting an individual like Franklin Graham, who has a long and notorious history of anti-Muslim bigotry, [this] sends the message that Islamophobia will be encouraged, promoted and accepted by the Trump administration.”

Sarah Lazare is a staff writer for AlterNet. A former staff writer for Common Dreams, she coedited the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahlazare.

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