Graham takingdifficult, butcorrect path

Franklin Graham, the son of Evangelist Billy Graham and president/CEO of the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, took a bold step this week when he called on Christians to boycott gay-friendly corporations — following that up with announcing he would move all of the BGEA bank accounts out of Wells Fargo because of its commercial featuring a lesbian couple adopting a child.

By a fairly wide margin, Graham’s decision has been met with an overall approval by those who understand his position. Those who disapprove, naturally, just don’t get it.

Graham says he is calling for Christians to stand up and “fight the moral decay that is being crammed down our throats by big business.” Simply put, he is asking that those who truly believe in God’s word — those who will not only speak the word but will also live it — turn away from the daily pressures applied by those who will in some way glorify and perpetuate a sinful lifestyle simply for their own gain.

Those who oppose Graham, however, have quickly fallen back on the only defense they can find — by claiming that Graham and like-minded Christians are relying on bigotry and hate to promote God’s word.

But what they are missing is this: Graham and true Christians have never issued a call for anyone to hate another person. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. God’s word calls for Christians to love others regardless of the choices they have made, but to not accept those decisions as correct and godly.

We understand what Wells Fargo and other businesses are doing. It would be bottom-line suicide to publicly claim they are not gay-friendly — the very same reason elected state and federal leaders in this region jump on the Lumbee Tribe’s recognition efforts. Diversity helps give businesses more customers; recognition assistance gives political candidates more votes.

And that is exactly the kind of thing Graham wants Christians to avoid — taking the easy road to gaining success, rather than understanding what the Bible says and putting it into practice in every case.

We have been very clear where we stand on same-sex marriage and the homosexual lifestyle over the years. But there is no hate among us toward anyone who engages in it — only a prayer that they will soon understand they have turned away from God and are living a perverted and sinful life. True Christians only want to guide them away from such sin.

Perhaps what bothers us most about the opposition to Graham’s decisions is this: When a group like the NAACP, gay rights or any other zealot organization calls for a boycott of anything, they are not attacked as being hateful or whatever-phobics. But when Christians do it, they are immediately labeled all kinds of negative things.

We applaud Graham’s decision. He is stepping out with his Christian faith as his guide and urging other Christians to follow. It’s not an easy decision nor an easy path to take. But in God’s eyes, we believe it’s the right one.