January 16, 2017
Donald Trump and Rev. Franklin Graham have one thing in common: they're not easily intimidated. Apparently, that memo never made it to the extremists at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who seem intent on pressuring the new administration to drop Billy Graham's son from the inaugural program. "If President-elect Trump truly seeks to unite our nation as he promised in his acceptance speech," the controversial group ranted, "he will limit the list of those offering prayers at the inauguration to religious leaders who work to bring us together, not to create divisions between faiths. Rev. Graham's ill-informed and extremist views are incompatible with the Constitution...."
And what views are those exactly? That religious freedom exists for people of all faiths? That every person has a right to life and liberty? Franklin Graham's views aren't incompatible with the Constitution -- they're in the Constitution.
Thankfully, but not surprisingly, CAIR's complaints have fallen on deaf ears in the Trump team, where they respect and appreciate Franklin's role in mobilizing evangelicals to vote in November. The president-elect himself hasn't been shy in pointing to Graham as one of the major factors in his election success. "I want to thank so many great people, but having Franklin Graham, who was so instrumental -- we won so big -- with evangelicals." And for the Grahams, Friday's event is a continuation of a longstanding family tradition. Ninety-eight year-old Billy Graham prayed at the inauguration of several presidents -- including Democrats.
If anything, CAIR should be praising Franklin's participation. After all, his charity, Samaritan's Purse, just finished work on an emergency field hospital in Iraq -- where the same Muslims CAIR accuses Graham of disparaging, are getting life-saving treatment. So perhaps it isn't the accused we should be looking at, but the accuser. As FRC's own Lt. General Jerry Boykin pointed out, "CAIR has been labeled as a terror group by the governments of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, yet we let them operate freely in the U.S. as a credible voice; they are in fact an evil group that has no good intentions for this nation." In other words, when it comes to the inauguration, Trump shouldn't care about CAIR!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.