Billy Graham. Franklin Graham. The Graham name itself is almost synonymous with religion in America. In fact, it was just recently that President Obama visited the Grahams in North Carolina to pray and swap old Chicago stories. In so doing, President Obama became the twelfth president to seek God's counsel with the Reverend Graham. Bill Burton, White House spokesman, spoke fondly of the family in saying "Rev. Graham has obviously been an important spiritual leader for past presidents and for the American people for decades. He's a real treasure for our country."
So it was no surprise that Franklin Graham was asked to participate in the National Day of Prayer events at the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol building this year. This announcement should have been received with the same shock as learning that Charlton Heston owned a gun. But apparently, cats were chasing dogs, politicians shunned babies and Ann Coulter went on a date with Keith Olbermann as the unthinkable happened. The Pentagon dis-invited Franklin Graham from its National Prayer Day observances. Why would Pentagon officials boot Franklin, when the Commander-in-Chief was praying with his father Billy just a few days earlier?
The reason is because Islamic groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations demanded that the Pentagon rescind its offer to Rev. Graham. You see, a Muslim organization was offended that a Christian believed Jesus is the only way to heaven. Yes, Franklin Graham believes that Jesus is the only way to heaven - just like his father. But don't most - if not all - religions hold exclusive beliefs about their truth claims at some level? Tolerating differing religious beliefs is what the First Amendment is all about. America was built on religious freedom for all, and specifically the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. To exclude Franklin Graham from a public observance because of his orthodox Christian beliefs is the height of a perverted political correct agenda. Let the the theologians do the debating, and let generals fight the wars, not censor pastors, imams, or any other religious leaders.
This post originally appeared here.