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Yes, indeed, he’s the son of Mega-Evangelist Billy Graham, ‘Pastor to Presidents’, as he’s often been called. It’s likely that you’ve heard him foaming at the mouth about Islam since the day after 9/11, including on WCOS TV9: “For ten years, it’s been the Muslims that have been fighting and destroying and burning the Middle East, and they’ll destroy the whole Middle East.” No, it’s not the Occupying forces of the US, NATO, and ISAF, shock-and-aweing with depleted uranium, drone-murdering, ‘turning the desert to glass’, sending millions into diaspora and death; but those Muslims who are destroying the Middle East.
I borrowed the diary title from Reverend William E. Alberts who wrote at Counterpunch about how Graham’s extreme invective against Islam seems to relate to the three murdered students in Chapel Hill, NC. That his hateful diatribes were part of the atmospherics in the county was something I hadn’t known, and am sick to know now. That it’s another Christian minister, in this case, both United Methodist and Unitarian Universalist, who’s called him out on his hypocrisy and Islamophobia so epically, pleases me, as I sometimes forget that not all Christian ministers are monolithically self-serving.
Sixty-four of Reverend Alberts’ essays that had been published at Counterpunch were bound into a book titled ‘The Counter-punching Minister-Who Couldn’t be Preyed Away’.
Alberts said that post 9/11 was a time that a nation should have been doing some heavy soul-searching as prophets in the Bible ‘might have done’, but immediately, Graham and his international ‘aid’ group, Samaritan Purse, blamed the events on Islam, calling it a ‘very wicked and evil religion’, and ‘a violent form of faith’, adding that ‘nowhere in its history gives proof of peace’.
Rev. Alberts then offers many examples that give lie to those contentions of Graham’s. He quotes Graham on his Facebook page speaking of the murders of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya:
“Where is the universal condemnation by Muslin leaders around the world? As we mourn with the families of these 21 martyrs,” he wrote, “we’d better take this warning seriously as these acts of terror will only spread throughout Europe and the United States.” His closing words: “If this concerns you like it does me, share this. The storm is coming.”
Alberts then gives case after case of opportunities for Graham to have already learned what he’d pretended to wish for via open letters by Muslims worldwide blasting the ideology (if there is one, I’d add) of IS, and indeed has scrupulously avoided dialogues with organizations like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Nations). He goes as far as saying that of course Frank doesn’t want to clear up any of his misconceptions of Islam as not only monolithic, barbaric, and evil: it’s his stock in trade.
“The political, military, industrial, energy, intelligence sectors are not the only ones profiting from endless war. Rev. Graham’s Islamophobia indicates that much of evangelical Christianity can be added as another sector to that complex. It is about making profits, not being prophets. About winning Christian converts, not creating human community.”
He’s referring especially to Frank’s and other evangelical organizations’ support for, and profiteering from the War on Iraq, and its potential for creating ‘new prospects for proselytizing Muslims’, not the horrific war crime that it was.
Yes, it makes me as angry as it makes Rev. Alberts, especially with the hypocrisy shown by Franklin, who purports to believe in the ‘peace, love, and forgiveness taught by Jesus’.
But what might the Undeserving of Reverence Graham’s anti-Muslim rants have to do with the three Muslim students murdered in Chapel Hill Deah Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19? Was it really just over Craig Hicks’ obsession with the apartment complex’s parking spaces? Maybe this, who can say?
‘Duke, a United Methodist-affiliated institution, flirted with real affirmation of its 700 Muslim students by deciding [on Jan. 13] to allow them to issue their call to prayer on Fridays from the chapel bell tower. According to the vice president for student affairs and government relations Michael Schoenfeld, the aim “was meant to be unifying,” but “was turned into the opposite.” He said that “the university received hundreds of calls and e-mails, many of which were quite vitriolic . . . unlike any other controversy we have seen here in sometime.”
Rev. Graham spearheaded the “vitriolic” reaction against Duke University’s attempt at interfaith respect and unity. His wrote words on his Facebook page that were not about “peace, love and forgiveness”: “As Christianity is being excluded from the public space and the followers of Islam are raping, butchering and beheading Christians, Jews and anyone else who doesn’t submit to Sharia Islamic law, Duke is promoting this in the name of religious pluralism,” Graham said, and called on “donors and alumni to withhold their support from Duke until this policy is reversed.”
And the policy was indeed changed hastily: no Friday bells announcing Muslim prayers. Thank you so much, IrReverend Graham; I hope that you and your ilk, be forced one day to see the harm you’ve done to the world with your malignant verbiage. And to the leaders of the United Methodists and other faith leaders that Rev. Alberts said were silent in the face of Pastoral Islamophobia: phooey on you, too.
It’s hard for me to believe that Hicks was unaware of the Chapel Hill ‘call to prayer in the bell tower’ kerfuffle, or Graham’s bile, but there’ no proof that, even though the local PD is ‘searching his computers’ for evidence that this was a hate crime. The man was said to have loved puppies, too.
But let’s look at the conventional MSM and police to declare that these three students were executed in their own apartment, shot in their heads, in fact….solely due to the ongoing imbroglios created by Hicks’ by-now legendary parking spot zealotry. That seems well-documented by now, but here are a few things that neighbors and the family members have claimed, even while telling the world via Facebook that he was an atheist, hated all religions, and wished ‘they’d all exterminate each other’.
“Residents said Mr. Hicks’s apartment was adjacent to the main parking lot; the students lived on the other side, where little parking could be found. Mohammad Yousif Abu-Salha, the father of the two women who were killed, said Yusor had told him that she and her husband had been harassed for their appearance by a neighbor who was wearing a gun on his belt. On his Facebook page, Mr. Hicks recently posted a photograph of what he said was his .38-caliber, five-shot revolver.
A friend of Yusor said she knew that Mr. Hicks had complained to the couple before about making noise and the use of parking spaces by their visitors, and that he once came to their door carrying a rifle.”
“”We have no doubt that the way they looked and the way they believed had something to do with this,” Mohammad Abu-Salha said.
When his son-in-law lived alone in the condominium complex, the family never had any problems. But once his daughter moved in, wearing a headscarf that clearly identified her as Muslim, trouble started, he said.
“My daughter, Yusor, honest to God, told us on more than two occasions that this man came knocking at the door and fighting about everything with a gun on his belt, more than twice,” her father said. “She told us, ‘Daddy, I think he hates us for who we are and how we look.'”
Learning from the police how his two daughters and son-in-law were killed has only made him more convinced.
“Now that we know from the police that they were shot in the head, very quickly, the three of them, one bullet each, in a very small space inside in the apartment. That’s execution-style. I don’t know, if that is not hate, what that would be.” [snip]
In one post widely shared online, Hicks, who claimed he is an atheist, allegedly wrote: “When it comes to insults, your religion started this, not me. If your religion kept its big mouth shut, so would I.”
CNN couldn’t independently confirm the authenticity of the post or his Facebook page.”
In the CNN video at the link, tensions with Hicks began when Razan, who wore headscarves, moved into the apartment, according to the young women’s father.”
Noting the disparate treatment Muslims rate, Rania Khalek’s Why can’t media describe Chapel Hill murders as terrorism?. Barack Obama’s cavalier attitude is noted, of course, and this:
“As Suzanne Barakat pointed out, it is “open season” on Muslims in the US, thanks in large part to incitement from politicians, vilification in the media and the dehumanization of Muslims in movies like American Sniper, which inspired a deluge of death threats aimed at Muslims and Arabs.”
Bring it on home, Rev. Alberts, first quoting Graham on the teevee:
“I want all Muslims to know that God loves them and cares for them. . . . I care for the Muslims, love them very much.”
Oh yes, Frank, in the same faux Christianist credo: “Love the sinner, hate the sin”. Or the millions of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), preaching that they must support an undivided Israel in order to hasten the Second Coming of Christ, and whoopee, will there be a lot of Jewish converts!
““I love the people of Islam.” How can Rev. Graham love a person who professes a different belief—or 1.6 billion such persons? It is easy. He loves that they could believe and become like him—which would further legitimize him, increase his power over people and extend his evangelistic enterprise.”
About the President of the United States he says:
“President Obama’s summit on “Countering Violent Extremism” must focus on this apostle of hatred, and other Christocentrics like him—and their patriotic “American exceptionalism” counterparts – if it is to really combat violent extremism. Sadly, I do not believe the aim is to “Counter Violent Extremism”—but to cover it up. The focus is primarily on people who oppose America’s imperialistic foreign policy, which conveniently serves to distract attention from the criminal violence that Washington has unleashed against Afghanistan and Iraq and other countries in the Middle East, and elsewhere.
If President Obama really wanted to “counter violent extremism,” George W. Bush and warmongering members of his administration would have been in the docket years ago. Obama himself would also be there, and held accountable for continuing America’s so-called “war on terrorism” with his drone warfare, that violates the national sovereignty of other countries, fills their skies with constant fear, and kills innocent children, women and men. All of which guarantees unending war and endless profit for the political/military/industrial/energy/ intelligence/religious complex.”
Rev. Alberts reckons that the Bible verse that informs Frank’s bigotry is “John 14: 6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Yeah, that one’s always bugged me, too. It’s the basis of the extreme hubris of missionary work. Meh.
Frank’s love for Muslims on display:
Yes, Frank; just pray for the Christians; that’ll take care of things. We’ll remmber that, you betcha.
On a lighter note, let’s end with Chris Rock:
Alternet: 7 Anti-Muslim Incidents That Happened Since the Chapel Hill Murders; The past week has shown a sharp increase in Islamophobia – which has put many communities on edge.the Past Week Has Shown a Sharp Increase in Islamophobia- which has put many communities on edge
You might also like The Power of Love Versus the Love of Power, A Challenge for Faith Leaders, by Mel King and Rev. William E. Alberts; an excerpt and ending:
“From Iraq to Gaza to Ferguson and beyond, the love of power is having its devastating ways. But we can stop that devastation by demanding that the political, economic, legal, military and religious powers that be practice the transforming power of love. Love that honors every nation’s sovereignty, and every person’s sacred rights. Surely, faith leaders and their congregations, with their commonly shared Golden Rule’s power of love, can and should lead the way.
Power of love
Love of power
In the love of power we worship idols
In the power of love
We worship humanity.
Love of power
Power of love
For other interest
Love of power builds fences
Power of love
Love of power is ideology based
And the power of love
And builds community
The love of power sets limits
The power of love is infinite.