Vladimir Putin fan Franklin Graham, has been busily posted on Facebook about the threat of ISIL, including the claim that ISIL will bow down to Jesus.
Which is great. Don’t get me wrong. We can bring our boys and girls home – not to mention their expensive ordnance.
The exact mechanism of this miracle is not described, and I am certain the sea levels will swallow John Boehner’s fancy new retirement home in Florida well before the Islamic State converts to whatever passes for Christianity in Graham’s mind.
There is not much to laugh about here. This is all serious stuff. I just happen to think it’s funny that Graham believes ISIL will bow down to Jesus but not that human activity is driving global warming.
ISIL is far less a threat to us all than those rising waters, and Christian terrorists are killing more Americans than ISIL. Yet Graham thinks God is punishing us through natural disasters (while most people realize God is playing no part on it) and ignores homegrown terrorists.
If Graham thinks prayer is going to keep his head above rising sea levels, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that he thinks Republican Jesus will take care of the Islamic state. And it’s fine that he has faith in these things. It is just that his faith is not a lot of use to the rest of us over here in the real world.
Down to brass tacks. Here is what he wrote yesterday:
The evil of ISIS really shouldn’t shock us–it is fully in keeping with their ultimate agenda of hastening a final apocalypse. God’s Word tells us that there will be a final battle one day, but it will result in the defeat of Satan and all those allied with him. One thing is for sure—one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Ah, here we go with the “ISIL as a sign of the coming apocalypse” gambit. But Graham suggests this has been ISIL’s goal all along. Which it is not. ISIL wants to re-establish the long-lost caliphate and rule over all Muslims. And according to Graham – not ISIL’s leaders – ISIL serves Satan. Graham is unable to set aside his own religious beliefs long enough to try to understand the world as it is, and not as he wants it to be, a common failing on the right.
In another recent Facebook post, he criticized the CVE Summit because it was not the Muslim bashing fest he was looking for:
After a weekend of terrorism in Libya and Denmark, beginning today the White House is hosting a three-day “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.” I am perplexed as to why our President will not acknowledge the truth and call Islamic extremism what it is.
Never mind that, as I reported here yesterday, a senior administration official explained that,
“Certainly there is — and we remain particularly concerned about the possibility of groups like ISIL recruiting Americans to fight. But, at the same time, the message at the White House and the agenda itself is not entirely focused on ISIL itself. ISIL is the near-term threat that we all are focused on, but we also recognize in the United States there has been violent extremists that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes…
The crux of the matter here for Graham is that, as was stressed in the CVE Monday, “we are not treating these people as part of a religion. We’re treating them as terrorists.”
For the Religious Right – and the Republican Party – the focus seems to be on the idea that the perpetrators of these atrocities are Muslims first, and terrorists second, that the two are somehow synonymous.
Twisting reality to suit your perceptions and prejudices is not a helpful way of interacting with the world, and I am perplexed as to why Franklin Graham cannot open his mouth without uttering a single fact.
This administration has not ignored ISIL (Obama is bombing the hell out of them, after all) or its ideological and religious underpinnings. But it has been very clear that the doctrine espoused by the Islamic State is a perversion of Islam, just as the doctrine espoused by the Religious Right is a perversion of Christianity.
As I pointed out yesterday, Obama can say the word “terrorism” as often as he wants, and it will not be heard by the Right unless he puts “Islamic” in front of it. So we get the crazy Rose Garden episode where, to the right, an “act of terror” is somehow not to be equated with “terrorism.”
And most recently:
President Obama spoke factually when he said on February 15, “The United States condemns the despicable and cowardly murder of twenty-one Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists.” After all, if those had been American citizens who were killed, they would have been described as American citizens, not by their religious preferences.
But the Right Wing has trouble with factual statements. Facts tend not to rile people up, and that’s all conservatives seem to care about any more. So we find Graham protesting:
In a statement the White House even called the 21 Christians who were beheaded “Egyptian citizens,” refusing to identify them as Christians. The truth is–their barbaric murderers openly said they killed them because they were “people of the cross.” Why is the President seemingly continuing to protect Islam and refusing to open his eyes to the truth?
Graham is not alone here: Charles Krauthammer on Fox News is also angry about the president’s choice of words:
On February 16 Graham asked, “Can you imagine the outcry if 21 Muslims had been beheaded by Christians? Where is the universal condemnation by Muslim leaders around the world?”
No, but I don’t have to imagine the silence from Graham and his Religious Right pals when non-Christians are executed by ISIL. They complain Muslims don’t decry ISIL terror but their own silence has been deafening. By far the majority of the Islamic State’s victims have been themselves Muslim, and the Religious Right doesn’t seem to care.
In that post, Graham sounded as though, like Lindsey Graham, that he was ready to hide under the bed:
As we mourn with the families of those 21 martyrs, we’d better take this warning seriously as these acts of terror will only spread throughout Europe and the United States. If this concerns you like it does me, share this. The storm is coming.
Wait.One.Second. Why are we worried about this storm if they’re going to bow down to Republican Jesus and his AR-15?
You would think it would be hard to keep the fear alive while proclaiming that nothing can stand against God, but then the NRA has had white folks convinced for twenty years or more that Democrats are going to take their guns away. They still have their guns, but they still believe it.
Somehow, cognitive dissonance continues to have its way with our Republican friends. As President Obama has already realized, we will just have to carry on without them.
You keep waiting on Right Wing Jesus, Son of Billy. We will handle ISIL.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.