COMMENTARY: Franklin Graham shows his character without being a character

by Karen L. Willoughby, |

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Christian Examiner) – A Graham once again topped Newmax Media's 100 most influential Christian leaders list, but it was Franklin, not his world-renowned evangelist father Billy (who was named fifth on the list).

Franklin Graham is president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association founded by his father, and leads the international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse. But the younger Graham seems as comfortable wearing blue jeans as he does a dark suit. He visited South Asia with Greta Susteren (and her husband) of Fox News to see for himself the scourge of human trafficking. But he is at ease as well visiting politicians and dignitaries.

But Graham might also be a fit in the flowing robes of Old Testament attire.

Wherever he speaks, his articulation of strong convictions evince images of a biblical prophet warning of the dangers of falling away from God.

Graham posts spiritual and cultural observations almost daily, and sometimes more often, on Facebook.

In April, alone, he commented on:

-- Marvel Comic's descion to develop a gay superhero "to indoctrinate our young people to accept this destructive lifestyle."

-- The exposé on Hillary Clinton's supposed "cash for favors" behavior while serving as Secretary of State. "We need candidates who are honest and support biblical morality," he said.

-- Militant Islam: "Can it be that the world is no longer as shocked by Christians having their heads cut off and then ISIS proudly promoting this on video?"

-- "Almighty God and His Son Jesus Christ" as the only hope for America's trouble. With a preceding post about the irony of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder having to remind Department of Justice not to break the law.

Graham even had the courage to challenge President Obama, who tried to soften hard feelings about Islamic terrorists by referencing the Catholic inquisitions and crusades from 1,000 years ago (as if those actions represented all of Christianity today).

"Mr. President, many people in history have used the name of Jesus Christ to accomplish evil things for their own desires," he wrote. "But Jesus taught peace, love and forgiveness. He came to give His life for the sins of mankind, not to take life. Muhammad, on the contrary, was a warrior and killed many innocent people. True followers of Christ emulate Christ—true followers of Muhammed emulate Muhammed."

In its press release announcing the list of 100 top Christian leaders, Newsmax wrote of "today's world of instantaneous information transmissions" and "a kind of high-tech return to the medieval wars between the two faiths" [Christianity and Islam].

Graham, with words akin to the shepherd boy's "smooth stones," uses that high tech as he attacks the Goliaths of this day. And for that high character, Newsmax named Franklin Graham America's top Christian leader.

They could not have made a better choice!