The world is mourning the victims of the U.S.’s deadliest terror attack. Forty-nine people were killed and more than 50 others were injured in a shooting at an Orlando nightclub. Authorities, including President Obama, have said the shooting was an act of terrorism. The shooter reportedly called 911 during the attack to pledge his allegiance to ISIS. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the shooting.
The Rev. Franklin Graham posted on his Facebook page after the shooting, saying that “My prayers are with the many victims and family members who lost loved ones in the senseless shooting—now being called an act of terrorism—at a gay nightclub in Orlando early this morning. Life is precious, and we only have one chance to live our lives here on this earth.”
Although the evangelist extended support for the victims, he criticized President Obama’s speech after the shooting, in which the president said it was an “act of terror.”
Graham wrote that, while he appreciates Obama speaking to the nation after Sunday’s tragedy, and agrees that the shooting was an act of terror and hate, he doesn’t think the president went far enough in condemning the shooting.
“Mr. President, how many more American lives have to be lost before you understand the threat radical Islam is to every freedom-loving person?” wrote Graham.
Graham also cited other recent instances of terror attacks perpetrated by those affiliated with radical Islam. He listed the Boston marathon bombing, the San Bernardino shooting, and the 9/11 attacks.
“What do they all have in common?” Graham asked. “They were all Islamic terrorists carrying out their treachery in the name of their religion. Mr. President, your administration has cut our military to the bone and some experts say we're the weakest we have been in modern times. It’s time we were rebuilding our military force worldwide to take on this enemy. It’s time we tighten America’s borders until we can clearly vet those we’re letting into the country.”
Although Graham came down hard on Obama, he and the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team were at the forefront of sending aid to the city of Orlando.
In a press release, the ministry said it is sending to Orlando those who can minister to families of victims and who will come alongside to help local churches.
“We grieve for the victims, for the families who lost loved ones, and for the survivors who will carry physical and emotional scars for the rest of their lives following this horrific attack,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Team.
“The trauma from a terror attack – especially one on such a large scale – impacts the entire city and beyond,” Munday continued. “People felt safe, and now that security is shattered. We’ll be there to offer hope and comfort as the community adjusts to a new normal.”
Publication date: June 13, 2016