Last month, the Pentagon decided to disinvite controversial evangelist Franklin Graham from its National Day of Prayer event held today, following revelations that he had referred to Islam as “an evil and wicked religion.” AOL News reports that Graham decided to stand in the Pentagon’s parking lot with a small group this morning and pray there after Pentagon officials told him he would not be allowed to come in the building. When asked about his views on Islam, he stood by his previous inflammatory remarks and explained that they are simply “honest disagreements” with Muslims:
Graham, his wife and three others prayed for about five minutes outside the Pentagon before visiting the nearby 9/11 Memorial and answering reporters’ questions. He thanked President Barack Obama for issuing a National Day of Prayer proclamation and for instructing the Justice Department to challenge a federal court ruling that declared the event unconstitutional.
But Graham did not back down from the views about Islam — that it is an “evil” religion — that got him booted in the first place. “Muslims don’t agree with the Christian faith so we have honest disagreements,” he said, adding that he is “not out crusading” against Islam and has only spoken out when questioned by reporters. Noting that the Pentagon has held Ramadan services, he said, “I don’t complain about those and they ought to have Christian services.”
Graham explained to reporters that he has a son in Afghanistan and wanted to pray for him. Later in the day, Graham headlined a National Day of Prayer event on Capitol Hill. He briefly alluded to the Pentagon controversy, saying, “I know we have people here of other faiths, and I certainly want to say that I love you, but please allow me to speak today as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t want to be offensive to anyone, but the only way I know how to pray and to preach is the way the Bible instructs.”
During an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Graham said that his disinvitation is “a put down, because it seems to be that Islam gets a pass, that a couple of Muslims can complain about a Christian event at the Pentagon, when there’s been Christian events for years at the Pentagon.”