For Christians in the Western tradition (the Eastern Orthodox Easter is this coming Sunday), it’s the joyful season of the Resurrection, when sackcloth and ashes are put aside and believers celebrate the redemptive love of God for all of humankind.
But for conservative Evangelical leader and Trump supporter Franklin Graham, intolerance is always in season:
This is hardly a new point of view for conservative Evangelicals, but most are less brazen about telling a fellow Christian he’s not one, and that God wants him to hate his very nature and spurn his spouse. How does Graham rationalize his bigotry? He blames it on the Bible, to which he takes a spiritually barren, legalistic approach that keeps him from seeing forest or trees because he’s scratching around in the pine straw of cultural conservatism, divinizing the Way Things Used to Be. In this, Graham reminds me of former Georgia congressman and Christian right stalwart Paul Broun Jr.:
The Bible, he says, is a “manufacturer’s handbook,” that shows “how to run our lives individually, how to run our families, how to run our churches … how to run all of public policy and everything in society.” What an astonishingly, depressingly unspiritual way to look at the Good Book; what an appallingly illiterate way of understanding it, particularly if you get that the only scriptures people like Broun want to use to control the lives of everyone in the world just happen to reinforce the kind of smug white conservative patriarchal world-view from a bygone era they consider ideal.
Buttigieg, of course, has said to Graham’s religio-political brother-in-arms Mike Pence that when it comes to his sexual orientation: “Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.” Graham has no problem presuming to reject the work of that creator on grounds that he knows better because of sparse and random condemnations of homosexuality (never by Jesus, it should be noted) in a book whose unmistakable themes are God’s unfailing and unconditional love for all of His creation — and the particularly sinful nature of human self-righteousness.
Next time President Trump has press availability, someone should ask him if he agrees with Graham’s belief that all gay people are depraved and cannot practice Christianity without renouncing their orientation or at least heading back to the closet. Granted, the president knows about as much about religion as he does about the U.S. Constitution. But he should at least accept some responsibility for the hateful views of some of his most fervent supporters — or challenge them to repent.