A diverse group of more than a dozen North Carolina Christian pastors and theologians (including state NAACP President, Rev. William Barber) have authored an open letter to Rev. Franklin Graham and the broader evangelical Christian community in light of Graham’s recent controversial statements regarding (and rather tepid apology to) President Obama.
It is a long, powerful and obviously heartfelt letter. You can read it in it’s entirety by clicking here.
Here are a few passages:
“You encourage us with [your]apology. Few people find it easy to critically examine our own language and motives, even though most of us know that we do not always fully understand ourselves. Surely the Bible teaches that we are all made of earthly clay and now see but through a glass, darkly, but one day face to face. This gives us hope that our letter, even in this political season, will point toward a more positive and permanent dialogue in our common faith community.
It seems to us that your apology is helpful and yet narrow and almost grudging. And we feel a reluctant confidence that you and many other Evangelicals will continue to disparage President Obama and the faith of other Christians through a critique that pushes him and many of us outside the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith.”
“Further, Rev. Graham, we also request that you cease the condemnation of Christian engagement with Islam. Before you publicly condemn our President for having conversations with leaders of hostile nations and other faiths, please recall that the name of your organization is Samaritan’s purse! Jesus set the example for us by positively interacting with Samaritans, Syro-Phoenicians, and Romans – the vilified and hated infidels of his day. In the parable from which your organization gets its name, Jesus used the account of the hated Samaritan enemy to serve as an example. It validates Jesus’ instruction to “love your enemies.” It validates the merits of regular peaceful contact with one’s enemy.”
“We are hopeful that your desire is for reconciliation. We invite you and your other Evangelical allies to join us in dialogue at your earliest convenience. We would like to have a conversation that explores Scripture, our American Christian heritage, and a way forward that celebrates our brotherhood and sisterhood in Christ. Perhaps, if we are all faithful to our common Savior, we can begin to mend not only the tear caused by historical and recent events; but also, begin to live into Paul’s assertion that we are no longer Jew or Gentile (separated by race), slave or free (separated by class and social status), or male and female (separated by gender), but we are all one in Christ Jesus our Lord!”
Let’s hope Graham responds.