In a scathing, and what many might call unexpected, missive posted to his Facebook account, the Rev. Franklin Graham fired back at critics who would blame President Trump for the attack in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.
That attack claimed the life of one counter-protester, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, in addition to two Virginia State troopers who died in a helicopter crash while monitoring the white supremacist demonstration that started the unrest.
Posted Sunday night, Graham’s statement said that if earthly political figures don’t want to put the blame where it belongs — on evil itself — that there’s plenty of it to go around among themselves, and that’s the unexpected part.
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I doubt anyone expected Graham to attack the local — activist and feckless — politicians eager to score cheap points for being anti-Confederate monument. What a strange phrase to type — “being anti-Confederate monument” — as if monuments to local heroes are somehow responsible for inner city violence or urban illegitimacy rates.
In his attack, Graham made points few others have the guts to make, let alone defend in this day of knee-jerk reactionism and insta-boycotting.
“Shame on the politicians who are trying to push blame on President Trump for what happened in Charlottesville, VA,” the outspoken evangelist wrote. “That’s absurd.”
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“What about the politicians such as the city council who voted to remove a memorial that had been in place since 1924, regardless of the possible repercussions?” he continued, referring to the statue of Robert E. Lee that was put forth by organizing groups as the impetus for the demonstration.
“How about the city politicians who issued the permit for the lawful demonstration to defend the statue?” he added, getting specific about the blame. “And why didn’t the mayor or the governor see that a powder keg was about to explode and stop it before it got started? Instead they want to blame President Donald J. Trump for everything.”
While some conservatives have brainlessly defended the rally and others — equally brainlessly — attack Trump to prove they’re not racists, Graham boldly said what few others have been willing to say, that evil is responsible for Saturday’s tragedy and foolish politicians were its unwitting tools. And nothing will infuriate liberals like that claim (well, that and maybe his refusal to blame Trump).
In their world, politics is everything, man is perfectible, and evil is something that springs from adolescence spent in the wrong environment. But they’re wrong and Graham is right. Politics can’t save us, man is completely fallen, and evil lurks in the heart.
“Really, this boils down to evil in people’s hearts,” Graham said. “Satan is behind it all. He wants division, he wants unrest, he wants violence and hatred. He’s the enemy of peace and unity. I denounce bigotry and racism of every form, be it black, white or any other.
“My prayer is that our nation will come together,” he concluded. “We are stronger together, and our answers lie in turning to God. It was good to hear that several Virginia and Charlottesville leaders attended church today at Mt. Zion. CNN said, ‘The racial divides that fueled Saturday’s violence were replaced by unity Sunday…’ Continue to pray for peace and for all those impacted by Saturday’s tragedies.”
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Indeed, at times like this it’s worth remembering that the real enemy is division and hate. Our thoughts and prayers ought to be with the people of Charlottesville at this trying time, not aimed toward apportioning blame for the unspeakable evil of one individual and the contemptible causes so many gathered under the banner of this weekend.
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