On the left, with his father Billy Graham
July 14, 1952 |
Asheville, North Carolina
|Spouse(s)||Jane Cunningham Graham|
|Children||William Franklin IV
Jane Austin “Cissie” Graham Lynch
Ruth Bell Graham
William Franklin Graham III (born July 14, 1952), known as Franklin Graham, is an American Christian evangelist and missionary. He is president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief organization.
The fourth of five children of evangelist Billy Graham and wife Ruth Bell Graham, Franklin Graham was born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. As a teenager, Graham attended The Stony Brook School, a Christian private school on Long Island, New York, and finished high school in North Carolina.
In 1971, he attended LeTourneau College in Longview, Texas, and was expelled from the school for keeping a female classmate out past curfew. Also while at LeTourneau, Franklin was the mastermind of an elaborate shower flood. He and other students in the Tyler Hall West dorm took bookcase shelves and blocked off the opening to the community shower on the top floor. They then proceeded to plug the drains and fill the shower with water several feet deep. After a few days however, the shelves broke and flooded the entire building. To this day, the top floor of that dorm is known as "Flooders".
In 1974, 22-year-old Graham became a Christian in a hotel room while on a trip to Jerusalem. He married Jane Austin Cunningham of Smithfield, North Carolina, later that year. They have four children: William Franklin Graham IV (Will), born in 1975, Roy Austin Graham (1977), Edward Bell Graham (1979) and Jane Austin Graham Lynch (Cissie) (1986). Lynch is now married to the NFL's Corey Lynch, safety for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Graham and his wife have five grandchildren.
As a young man, Graham was actively mentored by two senior members of the Billy Graham Team; Roy Gustafson and John Wesley White. These men worked alongside Billy Graham and had a desire to positively affect the life and ministry of the eldest son of their longtime friend and colleague. Franklin began conducting events for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 1989 and became the CEO in 2000 and its president in 2002. Each year, he conducts at least five Graham Festivals around the world as an evangelist associated with the BGEA. Since 1989, he has preached to more than three million people in 126 evangelistic events.
On January 23, 1990, Graham was a guest on 100 Huntley Street.
He went to Hong Kong from November 29, 2007, to December 2, 2007, to host the Hong Kong Franklin Graham Festival, the first major evangelistic rally in Hong Kong since its 1997 transfer of sovereignty, which drew more than 420,000 attendees.
Work with Samaritan's Purse
Shortly after becoming a Christian, Graham joined Bob Pierce, founder of Samaritan's Purse, on a six-week mission to Asia. It was during this trip that Graham decided to focus on world relief. In 1979, after the death of Pierce, he became the president of Samaritan's Purse. Graham now also serves as the organization’s CEO, and heads efforts on behalf of the organization in more than 100 countries, including programs such as Operation Christmas Child and the "Children’s Heart Project".
Samaritan's Purse reported gross receipts of $414,031,085 during the 2010 federal tax year. According to public records filed with the Internal Revenue Service, Graham was compensated $409,851 as chairman of Samaritan's Purse and received $156,566 from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association as CEO.
Graham, a supporter of the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, came under criticism for comments he made about Islam in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks when he referred to Islam as "a very evil and wicked religion." Further criticism came on April 18, 2003, when he preached at a Good Friday service at the Pentagon. Graham has made controversial remarks against Islam saying "True Islam cannot be practiced in this country," Graham told CNN's Campbell Brown in December 2009. "You can't beat your wife. You cannot murder your children if you think they've committed adultery or something like that, which they do practice in these other countries." On April 22, 2010 after objections from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and the Muslim group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Pentagon rescinded his invitation from the Christian conservative National Day of Prayer Task Force to speak at a Pentagon National Day of Prayer event. He still attended the National Day of Prayer meeting at the Pentagon, but outside in the parking lot with about a dozen people.
In the August 30, 2010 issue of the Time magazine, "Does America Hate Islam?" Graham reportedly said that Islam "is a religion of hatred. It's a religion of war." Building the cultural center near Ground Zero, he says, means Muslims "will claim now that the World Trade Center property ... is Islamic land."
On Iraq, Graham says he is, "poised and ready" to send representatives of the charity he runs to Iraq as soon as possible. While the purpose is humanitarian aid, Graham also admits, "I believe as we work, God will always give us opportunities to tell others about his Son. ... We are there to reach out to love them and to save them, and as a Christian, I do this in the name of Jesus Christ."
On August 19, 2010, when asked by CNN correspondent John King if he had doubts that President Barack Obama is a Christian, Graham stated, "I think the president's problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name." Franklin continues to say, "Now it's obvious that the president has renounced the prophet Mohammed, and he has renounced Islam, and he has accepted Jesus Christ. That's what he says he has done. I cannot say that he hasn't. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said." In a March 2011 interview with the conservative internet publication Newsmax, Graham claimed that Obama had "allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to become part of the US government and influence administration decisions," asserting that:
The Muslim Brotherhood is very strong and active in our country. It's infiltrated every level of our government. Right now we have many of these people that are advising the US military and State Department on how to respond in the Middle East, and it's like asking a fox, like a farmer asking a fox, "How do I protect my henhouse from foxes?" We've brought in Muslims to tell us how to make policy toward Muslim countries. And many of these people we've brought in, I'm afraid, are under the Muslim Brotherhood.
Graham has also been criticized for refusing to participate in 1994 peace negotiations between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Sudanese and Ugandan governments. When Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court in March 2009, Graham argued in an op-ed in The New York Times that Bashir should not be indicted for alleged genocidal acts because the indictment would lead to the collapse of the 2005 peace agreement. People for the American Way, among others, criticized Graham for downplaying Bashir's war in mostly Muslim Darfur because of peace in the mostly Christian south of Sudan and because Bashir has allowed Graham and his Samaritan's Purse latitude in operating in Sudan. In September 2010, Graham stated on ABC's This Week with Christiane Amanpour that building churches and synagogues is forbidden in most countries in the Islamic world, when in fact most Islamic countries excluding Saudi Arabia allow the construction of such buildings.
In April 2011, Graham told ABC's This Week program that Donald Trump, who had recently declared an interest in the Republican nomination for the 2012 US presidential race, was his preferred candidate. During an interview with "Morning Joe" on MSNBC on Feb 21, 2012, Reverend Graham said that Rick Santorum was most closely aligned to Christian values in his words and deeds and that Senator Santorum was certainly a Christian at heart. On President Obama, Reverend Graham said that he is "a fine man" but could not know whether the President was a Christian in his heart. Asked about Mitt Romney, Reverend Graham said that, most Protestants do not view Mormonism as a Christian faith.
On February 28, 2012 Franklin Graham responded to a one-page letter sent by the NAACP as: "Open Letter from Leaders of Faith Regarding Statements by Franklin Graham." In the introduction to the one-page letter the fourteen signatories stated: "we are greatly troubled by recent attempts by some religious leaders to use faith as a political weapon. We were disturbed and disappointed by statements made by Rev. Franklin Graham during an interview on MSNBC that questioned whether President Obama is a Christian." In closing, the open-letter stated: "We call on Rev. Graham and all Christian leaders to exemplify this essential teaching of Jesus and refrain from using Christianity as a weapon of political division." 
In his open-letter response, Graham apologized to President Obama stating: "I regret any comments I have ever made which may have cast any doubt on the personal faith of our president, Mr. Obama. The president has said he is a Christian and I accept that." In the open-letter closing Franklin Graham stated: "In this election season and challenging economic time I am praying for our country and for those who lead it—for we are commanded in Scripture to do so." 
Graham supported North Carolina Amendment 1, which was passed by a voter referendum on May 8, 2012, prohibiting same-sex marriage and all domestic partnerships. Graham responded to Obama's May 9, 2012, statement of support for same-sex marriage, saying, "President Obama has, in my view, shaken his fist at the same God who created and defined marriage. It grieves me that our president would now affirm same-sex marriage, though I believe it grieves God even more."
In October 2012, Billy Graham publicly endorsed the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Shortly after, references to Mormonism as a cult were removed from Graham's website. Observers have questioned whether the support of Republican and religious right politics on issues such as same-sex marriage coming from Graham—who no longer speaks in public or to reporters—in fact reflects the views of his son, Franklin, head of the BGEA. Franklin has denied this, and says that he will continue to act as his father's spokesperson rather than allowing press conferences.
- A Wing and a Prayer (2005)
- All for Jesus (2003), with Ross Rhoads
- Kids Praying for Kids (2003)
- The Name (2002)
- Living Beyond the Limits: A Life in Sync with God (1998)
- Rebel With A Cause: Finally Comfortable Being Graham (1995), autobiography
- Miracle in a Shoe Box (1995)
- Bob Pierce: This One Thing I Do (1983)
- "Franklin Graham". Franklin Graham Biography. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- "Franklin Graham - Early Years". Experiencefestival.com. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
- "Sign In" (members only). Appalachian Alumni Association, Appalachian State University. Accessed November 29, 2013.
- "Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients". Alumni Association, Appalachian State University. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
- "Billy Graham's son takes the pulpit, his own way". USA Today. March 7, 2006. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- "Presidential Inaugural Prayers and Sermons of Billy and Franklin Graham". Billy Graham Center Archives. Wheaton College. 2005. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
- Samaritan's Purse, IRS Form 990 for 2010. guidestar.org. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
- "Evangelist's views on Islam draw critics in Winnipeg". Cbc.ca. October 22, 2006. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
- "Muslims at Pentagon Incensed Over Invitation to Evangelist". Commondreams.org. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
- CNN: Graham disinvited from prayer event over Islam comments. April 23, 2010.
- "No-name radicals vs. 'South Park' just a distraction - CNN.com". CNN. April 26, 2010. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- "Pentagon's Preacher Irks Muslims". CBS News. April 16, 2003.
- "Franklin Graham conducts services at Pentagon". CNN. April 18, 2003. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- Montopoli, Brian (August 19, 1010). "Does America Hate Islam?". CNN. Retrieved August 20, 1010.
- "Graham: Obama born a Muslim, now a Christian". CNN. August 19, 1010. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
- "The Rev. Franklin Graham Says President Obama was 'Born a Muslim'". ABC News. August 20, 2010. Retrieved March 19, 2011.
- Corn, David (March 22, 2011) Franklin Graham's New Obama-Muslim Conspiracy Theory, Mother Jones
- The Peace Wager The Walrus Foundation
- ""Put Peace Before Justice," ''The New York Times,'' 2 March 2009". Nytimes.com. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
- "People for the American Way, "Right Wing Watch," 8 April 2009". Rightwingwatch.org. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
- "Rev. Franklin Graham says churches and synagogues are forbidden in most Muslim countries". PolitiFact. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
- "Franklin Graham: Japan Quake, Tsunami Feels Like End Times". Newsmax. March 18, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 1011.
- "US religious figure backs Donald Trump White House bid". The Daily Telegraph (London). April 22, 2011.
- "Obama Seen as Son of Islam". MSNBC (New York). February 21, 2012.
- "Faith Leaders Speak Out on Rev. Franklin Graham". NAACP. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
- "Franklin Graham Response to NAACP Faith Leaders". NAACP. February 28, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
- WXII12.com: Franklin Graham backing N.C. marriage amendment. April 28, 2012.
- Billy Graham Evangelistic Organization: Franklin Graham Response to the President's Support of Same-Sex Marriage. May 10, 2012.
- O'Keefe, Ed (October 11, 2012). "Billy Graham to Mitt Romney: ‘I’ll do all I can to help you’". Washington Post. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
- "Billy Graham site removes Mormon 'cult' reference after Romney meeting – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs". Religion.blogs.cnn.com. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
- "Billy Graham Website Removes Mormon 'Cult' Reference After Romney Meeting". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
- Gordon, Michael (October 24, 2012). "Billy Graham speaks with his own voice, son Franklin says". Charlotte Observer.
- "Franklin Graham wants Obama to step in on Prayer Day slight" USA Today, May 5, 2010.
- Official site of Franklin Graham Festivals
- Billy Graham Evangelistic Association - Franklin Graham biography
- People magazine – timeline history
- Samaritan's Purse
|President of Samaritan's Purse
|President of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association