News & Politics

Franklin Graham Tells Evangelicals to Lay Off President Trump or God Won’t Be Happy

The right-wing Christian leader's hypocrisy is stunning.

Photo Credit: Matt Johnson

When President Bill Clinton had an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the 1990s, right-wing evangelist Franklin Graham—son of the late Rev. Billy Graham—was not happy. As he saw it, Clinton had disgraced the presidency. And he wasn’t about to keep quiet about Clinton’s infidelity because the president’s “sins are not private.” But in 2018, Franklin Graham has a very different set of rules for President Donald Trump—and this time, he is ordering fellow Christians as well as the media to lay off the president or face God’s wrath and judgement.

When adult film star Stormy Daniels alleged that Trump paid her hush money to keep quiet about a sexual affair with her, Graham asserted that it was “nobody’s business”—which was a definite departure from his 1998 stand on Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky. And with Trump also being alleged to have paid hush money to Playboy model Karen McDougal to keep quiet about an extramarital affair, Graham is using scripture to explain why it is sinful to criticize the president.

In a newly released recording obtained by CNN, Trump and his attorney, Michael Cohen, are heard discussing what appears to be hush money for McDougal—who Trump allegedly had an affair with about a decade ago.

Today on Twitter, the 66-year-old Graham posted, “Everyone in the media is talking about the just released tape and what the president said or didn’t say, what he meant or didn’t mean.  It is a good moment to point out that everyone should realize that every word that is spoken or thought is recorded by God.”

In other tweet today, Graham elaborated on why Christians should leave Trump alone: “The Bible says it is appointed unto man once to die and then, the judgment. We won’t be judged by media spin masters or forensic audio analysts, but you will be judged by truth and righteousness—by God Himself. Have you ever thought about what His verdict will be on your words?”

Graham also tweeted, “Here’s a sober warning from God’s word: ‘What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs’ (Luke 12:3).”

Graham has been great at rationalizing the obvious double standard between his enthusiastic, unwavering support for Trump and his condemnation of Clinton. Back in January, Graham told CNN’s Don Lemon, “The difference is what happened with Bill Clinton, he did this while he was in office—and that’s the difference...These alleged affairs—they’re alleged with Trump—didn’t happen while he was in office. This happened 11, 12, 13, 14 years ago. And so, I think there is a big difference.”

Despite allegations that Trump has had extramarital affairs with a porn star and a Playboy model—and even though he isn’t known for attending church, unlike his predecessor in the White House, Barack Obama—Trump courted the Christian Right vote aggressively in 2016 and remains popular among white evangelicals. In a Public Religion Research Institute poll released earlier this year, 75% of white evangelicals had a favorable view of the president. And even though Trump doesn’t have high approval among the overall population, his approval ratings among Republicans remain high.

In contrast to 41% overall approval in Gallup’s tracking poll in late June, his approval among Republicans has been hovering around 90% recently.

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Alex Henderson is a news writer at AlterNet and veteran political journalist. His work has also appeared in Salon, Raw Story, Truthdig, National Memo, Philadelphia Weekly, Democratic Underground, L.A. Weekly, MintPress News and many other publications. Follow him on Twitter @alexvhenderson.