Franklin Graham: The next Jerry Falwell?
As he gives sound bites condemning Islam, promoting top Republicans and raising questions about President Obama’s Christianity, North Carolina’s Franklin Graham is sounding less these days like the next Billy Graham and more like the new Jerry Falwell.
In the younger Graham’s controversial comments - offered recently and over the years on a host of TV news shows - religion scholars, political historians and even some of Graham’s fellow evangelical Christians say they hear strident echoes of the combative Falwell.
Throughout the 1980s, as head of the Moral Majority, Falwell lambasted liberals, forged alliances with the GOP and elevated issues such as abortion, homosexuality and public prayer.
The 58-year-old Graham, who came of age in a more religiously pluralistic America than the one that made his father famous, has spoken out against Islam in a way that American Muslims say encourages prejudice - and worse - against them. And though Billy Graham lost some credibility for promoting Richard Nixon during a time of American discord, his son readily mixes theological commentary with doses of political punditry.