Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced that it invited controversial evangelist Franklin Graham — who has called Islam a “wicked and evil religion” — to speak at its National Day of Prayer event. In the past week, groups like the Military Religious Freedom Foundation have been criticizing the Pentagon for inviting Graham and have called on the military to rescind its invitation.
During an appearance on Fox and Friends yesterday morning, Graham reiterated his hateful beliefs, saying that he was speaking out “for those enslaved under Islam.” Later that day, the Army announced that it had finally decided to rescind its invitation to Graham over his remarks about the Islamic faith:
Graham, who said a prayer at the inauguration of President George W. Bush, said he regretted the Army’s decision but stood by his comments. [...]
“It’s a part of the world I love very much,” Graham said. “And I understand it. But I certainly disagree with their teaching. I want to express my strong support for the United States military and all our troops,” he said. “I’m very proud of them and it’s just unfortunate that I won’t be able to participate on May 6th.”
She elaborated on her Facebook page, writing, “It’s truly a sad day when such a fine patriotic man…is dis-invited from speaking at the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer service.” “I think again we are getting to the point in the country where we are trying to exclude everybody from speaking if I disagree with what they are going to say,” lamented Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA). Conservative blogger Allahpundit implied that the Pentagon is afraid of extremists, writing that the disinvite is “South Park redux: Silence the critic or risk being bombed. ‘Tolerance’ is nothing but a garnish.” And despite Graham’s admission that he stands by his remarks, Fox and Friend’s Peter Johnson said this morning that he is “sure” that the evangelist regrets them.
As the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Cynthia Tucker writes, the “Pentagon was right to withdraw Franklin Graham’s invitation to speak … His vehement attacks against Islam are the result of both ignorance and prejudice, betraying a narrowmindedness that only inflame tensions between Muslims and Christians.”