A petition that started on August 28, 2020 by Faithful America that has over 12k signatures is calling for the removal of Franklin Graham as Samaritan’s Purse‘s CEO and Chairman because of his support for President Donald Trump. The petition explicitly cites the prayer Graham gave at the Republican National Convention.
Samaritan’s Purse was founded by Bob Pierce in 1970 ‘to meet emergency needs in crisis areas through existing evangelical mission agencies and national churches,’ according to their website. Franklin Graham and Bob Pierce met in 1973 and after Pierce’s death to leukemia in 1978, Graham became President and Chairman of the Board for Samaritan’s Purse and has been ever since. Their mission statement can be read here.
Faithful America’s site run by Episcopal priest Rev. Nathan Empsall, slammed Graham for using “Jesus’s name to give thanks for ‘the many blessings we have received these past four years.’ We would hardly consider family separation, the deadly federal COVID-19 response, rampant corruption and authoritarianism, or ongoing systemic racism to be “blessings,” their petition page reads.
It appears that Faithful America is blaming President Trump for all the wrong happening in America and petitioning that because Franklin Graham supports the President he is unfit to lead Samaritan’s Purse.
The petition site claims that Graham “justifies his partisanship and hatred by hiding behind the credibility of Samaritan’s Purse, the 50-year-old humanitarian-aid organization he runs.” The petition says the non-profit organization is sacrificing its reputation by “propping up Graham’s hateful politics.; ”
The petition reads as follows:
Franklin Graham’s pro-Trump RNC appearance and subsequent interviews show that his partisanship knows no bounds. As fellow Christians, we write to say that if Samaritan’s Purse takes its ‘purpose of sharing God’s love’ seriously, then it is time for you to find a new chairman, president, and CEO. Samaritan’s Purse needs a leader who is not complicit in separating families, rejecting refugees, repealing health care, slowing COVID-19 testing, spreading homophobia and Islamophobia, or supporting anti-Semitic neo-Nazis.
Unless and until you cut ties with Franklin Graham, his right-wing politics can only damage your credibility as a loving, Christian humanitarian organization. If the full Board will not vote to remove Graham as chairman, president, and CEO, then individual Board members can take a personal stand for the Gospel and offer their own resignations.
(This petition will be sent to Board members Sterling Carroll, Michael Cheatham, James Furman, Michael Harwood, Skip Heitzig, Thomas Hodges, Felix Martin del Campo, James Oliver, Brian Pauls, Phyllis Payne, Donna Pierce, Paul Saber, John Scott, Robert Shank, and Paula Woodring.) “
Graham has faced opposition before. Just recently after Samaritan’s Purse set up an emergency hospital in Central Park to aid with COVID-19 patients, LGBTQ activists protested them being there due to Franklin Graham’s disapproval of same-sex marriage. Faithful America’s site calls preacher Franklin Graham ‘notoriously homophobic’.
The attack on Franklin Graham’s spiritual convictions about homosexuality seems also to be an attack on Samaritan Purse’s convictions based on their statement of faith‘s point #9 which reads, “We believe God’s plan for human sexuality is to be expressed only within the context of marriage, that God created man and woman as unique biological persons made to complete each other. God instituted monogamous marriage between male and female as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female.
Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5-6; Mark 10:6-9; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9.”
Samaritan’s Purse emailed a statement to Newsweek that stated:
‘Franklin Graham does not tell people who to vote for, but he does encourage everyone to pray and to vote. If the Democratic National Convention had asked him to pray, he would have prayed at the DNC as well. The most important thing any of us can do for our nation is to pray for our leaders, regardless of their political affiliation. Franklin Graham continues to lead Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association with the purpose of sharing God’s love and the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with hurting people around the world,’ the organization said. ‘Under Franklin’s leadership, Samaritan’s Purse is committed to providing spiritual and physical aid to victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine, as evidenced by our relief efforts in more than 130 countries over the past 50 years.’ “
Just within this year, Samaritan’s Purse traveled to New York to help with the COVID-19 crisis, they are providing medical care for Beirut explosion victims, and currently they are in giving assistance to Louisiana after it was hit by Hurricane Laura.