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Pentagon Rescinds Invitation to Franklin Graham

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist Complaints about comments made about Islam by evangelist Franklin Graham in the wake of Sept. 11 have caused the Pentagon to rescind its invitation to the preacher to attend its May 6 National Day of Prayer event. The Culture and Media Institute is reporting that Army spokesman Col. Tom Collins told ABC News that “this Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue.” The complaints against Graham were brought by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation which stated in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that Graham called Islam “wicked” and “evil” and has refused to apologize for the comments. The letter also complains about the Pentagon’s association with the National Day of Prayer Task Force (NDPTF), headed by Shirley Dobson, the wife of Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson, which it claims is a violation of the Joints Ethics Regulation that prohibits preferential treatment given to any non-federal entity. It also refers to the NDPTF as the “de facto ‘official’ sponsor of the National Day of Prayer and, by its comprehensively exclusive restrictions and blatantly sectarian requirements, has made all NDPTF affiliated events exclusively fundamentalist Christian in scope, message and nature.” The letter claims as proof of the group’s exclusivity their requirement that all volunteers sign a “Statement of Belief” professing faith in Jesus Christ and the Bible, “his virgin birth, his sinless life, his miracles, the atoning work of his shed blood, his resurrection and ascension, his intercession and his coming return to power and glory.” The NDPTF chose Rev. Franklin Graham as this year’s National Day of Prayer Honorary Chairman. Family Research Council president Tony Perkins called the Army’s decision “further evidence that the leadership of our nation’s military has been impaired by the politically correct culture being advanced by this Administration. Under this Administration’s watch we are seeing the First Amendment, designed to protect the religious exercise of Americans, retooled into a sword to sever America’s ties with orthodox Christianity.” © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®