A social media post by evangelist Franklin Graham comparing pro-impeachment Republicans to Judas sparked a debate among Christians on Facebook and Twitter this week, with some agreeing with him but others saying he had crossed a rhetorical line.
Graham made the comments on Facebook, one day after 10 Republicans joined 222 Democrats to charge Trump with “incitement of insurrection. The impeachment article passed one week after a mob stormed the capitol following his “stop the steal” speech.
“Shame, shame on the ten Republicans who joined with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in impeaching President Trump yesterday,” Graham wrote on Facebook. “After all that he has done for our country, you would turn your back and betray him so quickly? We have never had a president like him in my lifetime.”
Graham said Trump during his term had “defended religious liberty like no president before him” and was “the most pro-life president we have ever had.” Graham credited Trump for peace initiatives in the Middle East between Israel and four countries, saying Trump deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. He applauded Trump for a strong economy and commended him for other foreign policy accomplishments, saying Trump “defeated the ISIS caliphate in Syria.” Graham also said Trump “has worked to bring prison reform and secured our southern border.”
“But the House Democrats impeached him because they hate him and want to do as much damage as they can. And these ten, from his own party, joined in the feeding frenzy. It makes you wonder what the thirty pieces of silver were that Speaker Pelosi promised for this betrayal,” Graham wrote in a reference to the 30 pieces of silver Judas received for betraying Jesus.
“President Trump isn’t a perfect person,” Graham wrote. “I don’t support or agree with some of the things the President said and did the last couple of weeks. January 6 was a low point in his presidency. We knew he had flaws when he ran for office in 2016. But I, and millions of others, voted for him because of the platform and policies he promised. I still support those. The Democrats have been trying to get rid of the President since the day he took office. What they did yesterday only further divides our nation. I hope President-elect Biden will keep his word and work for unity as he has said.”
As of Friday, the post had received more than 200,000 likes, as well as 51,000 comments and 78,000 shares.
The most popular Facebook comment below Graham’s post was critical.
“Donald Trump could incite an insurrection against the United States, which results in the death of police officers and civilians, and he wouldn't lose Franklin Graham. Which, of course, is exactly what has happened,” read a post that received 1,100 likes.
Others, though, sided with Graham.
“Thank you, Franklin for voicing the truth! I feel the same way,” one person wrote. “So saddened by it all. But continuing to trust the One who is in control of ALL things not Nancy Pelosi or any Republican or Democrat. God our Father and Creator and Protector.”
“I would vote for him again. I pray for him daily,” another person wrote of Trump.
Several well-known Christians spoke out about Graham’s post.
Dan Haseltine, the lead singer of Jars of Clay and the founder of Blood:Water Mission, criticized Graham’s comment.
“I regret spending time on stages with Franklin Graham,” Haseltine tweeted. “I’m sorry to anyone who may have been encouraged to join his tribe because of my presence at his events.”
Dean Inserra, the lead pastor of City Church in Tallahassee, Fla., tweeted, “Franklin Graham in a Facebook post compared Republican lawmakers who voted for Trump impeachment to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. If you would like an example of why people are sounding the alarm against Christian Nationalism. … Behold.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Drew Angerer/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.