Jon Meacham vs. Franklin Graham

Newsweek has a fascinating conversation between Jon Meacham and Franklin Graham about Graham’s disinvitation from the “National Day of Prayer” ceremony at the Pentagon. To me what was most interesting was Meacham’s open animus towards Franklin’s position—an odd posture for a journalist. Meacham simply tells Franklin that he is offended by the public expression of Franklin’s views on Islam.

Meacham: Would your sense of Christian humility not lead you to see the point of critics who say that, because of the things you have said [calling Islam “wicked” and “evil”], you could possibly be more divisive at a state-sponsored occasion than unifying?
Graham:
Well, sure, someone can try to make that argument. But you have—what is it?—80 percent of America claims to be of the Christian faith. OK, so there may be 20 percent that may be offended, but it won’t be 20 percent.
JM: I’m in the 80 percent, and I’m offended.
FG: That I mention Jesus Christ [in prayer]?
JM: No, sir, by what you said about Islam, because I think it’s more divisive than unifying.

Read the rest here.

14 Responses to Jon Meacham vs. Franklin Graham

  1. David Vinzant May 6, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    It’s Jon Meacham (not John). I don’t think Meacham was approaching this a journalistic interview, but as more of an opinionated conversation.

  2. Dylan May 6, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    This is not surprising to me at all. I used to have a Newsweek subscription and this sort of stance is par for the course in Meacham’s case. He’s a professing Christian but repeatedly takes stances that are antagonistic to historic Christianity and/or demonstrates a lack of understanding of historic Christianity (strangely based on his experience and previous writing positions).

  3. Dylan May 6, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    One other related note: it was Meacham’s very poor representation of Christianity that largely led to my discontinuing my Newsweek subscription. By that, I don’t mean that simply that he disagreed with it but rather that he repeatedly misrepresented and inaccurately portrayed Christianity. At his journalistic level, there’s no excuse for blatant factual errors on a regular basis.

  4. Matt Stokes May 6, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    Meacham is a mainline Episcopalian, a liberal Southerner and a graduate of Sewanee and, I believe, the Baylor School in Chattanooga.

    Just some background information.

  5. David Vinzant May 6, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    In this article, Graham makes the amazing statement: “I think yelling “Allahu Akbar” as you’re flying jet airplanes through buildings and killing 3,000 Americans—that was evil and it was wicked. And I’ve not heard one Islamic leader around the world stand up and say that was a terrible thing”

    In fact, hundreds of Islamic leaders denounced the 9-11 attacks immediately after they occurred. I’m shocked that Meacham didn’t call him out on that blatant lie.

    Examples of Islamic leaders who condemn terrorism:

    http://www.unc.edu/~kurzman/terror.htm

    http://groups.colgate.edu/aarislam/response.htm

    http://home.wlu.edu/~lubint/islamonWTC.htm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3059365.stm

  6. Darius T May 6, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    Yeah, I wondered about that too, David. Obviously, the majority of the Islamic world remained silent after the 9/11 attacks, but there were SOME who spoke against it. Probably not as many as who cheered it publicly, but still, Graham isn’t accurate in his statement.

  7. Nate May 7, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    I think Darius’ point about more who cheered it publicly is pertinent. Also, while it is great that some professors and some clerics have condemned the terrorist attacks, what leaders of Islamic nations have? I think that is probably Graham’s point.

  8. David Vinzant May 7, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Darius, Would you care to provide evidence for your contention that “the majority of the Islamic world remained silent after the 9/11 attacks” and that more “cheered it publicly”?

    Nate, Have you researched what the leaders of Islamic nations said after 9/11?

    Go back and read the links I provided and do additional research. Look at the polling of Islamic nations done by Gallup and the Pew Research Forum and you will find that the majority of Muslims condemn terrorism.

    Gallup published a book called “Who Speaks for Islam?” Here’s a short summary

    “The study took six years of research and more than 50,000 interviews representing 1.3 billion Muslims who reside in more than 35 nations that are predominantly Muslim or have sizable Muslim populations. Representing more than 90 percent of the world’s Muslim community, this poll is the largest, most comprehensive study of its kind.

    “Both citizens of Muslim-majority countries and Americans are equally likely to reject attacks on civilians as morally unjustifiable. Those who do choose violence and extremism are driven by politics, not poverty or piety. And when they were asked to describe their dreams for the future, Muslims don’t mention fighting in a jihad, but rather getting a better job.

    “According to the Gallup study, 93 percent of Muslims who condemn the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, cite the Quran. This supports a major finding, that militant extremism is created not by Islamic principles but by political orientation. In nearly every suicide bombing attack from 1980 to 2004, the primary motive was to overthrow foreign occupation, not further religious views.”

    With regard to Nate’s contention about leaders of Islamic nations, a little research will show that virtually those leaders condemned 9/11.

    The 56 member nations/states of the Organization of Islamic Conference unanimously adopted a statement condemning terrorism at the April 2002 conference of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, The following is an excerpt from that statement:

    “In the name of Islamic solidarity, we, the Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), have gathered in Kuala Lumpur to state our collective resolve to combat terrorism and to respond to developments affecting Muslims and Islamic countries in the aftermath of the 11th September attacks.”

    “We reaffirm our commitment to the principles and true teachings of Islam which abhor aggression, value peace, tolerance and respect as well as prohibiting the killing of innocent people”

    “We reject any attempt to link Islam and Muslims to terrorism as terrorism has no association with any religion, civilization or nationality.”

    “We unequivocally condemn acts of international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including state terrorism, irrespective of motives, perpetrators and victims as terrorism poses a serious threat to international peace and security and is a grave violation of human rights.”

  9. Nate May 7, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    David,

    I think you are missing my point. The President of the United States speaks for this country. If the shoe was on the other foot and the President of the United States did not condemn the attack, that is telling. So, while I did read your links, the heads of state of Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Lybia all said nothing.

    I would be interested to know if you know of any statements where clerics, professors, etc., condemned the heads of state of those countries for not denouncing the attacks.

  10. David Vinzant May 7, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    Nate,

    The statement from the 56 foreign ministers who are members of the Organization of Islamic Conference was on behalf of those governments.

    Here’s more for you. Do a little research on you can find even more.

    From the BBC Sept 17, 2001:
    “Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has strongly condemned the suicide terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.”

    President Muhammad Khatami of Iran:
    “[T]he September 11 terrorist blasts in America can only be the job of a group that have voluntarily severed their own ears and tongues, so that the only language with which they could communicate would be destroying and spreading death.”
    Address to the United Nations General Assembly, November 9, 2001

    League of Arab States:
    “The General-Secretariat of the League of Arab States shares with the people and government of the United States of America the feelings of revulsion, horror and shock over the terrorist attacks that ripped through the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, inflicting heavy damage and killing and wounding thousands of many nationalities. These terrorist crimes have been viewed by the League as inadmissible and deserving all condemnation.”

    “What these people stand for is completely against all the principles that Arab Muslims believe in.” King Abdullah II, of Jordan; cited in Middle East Times, Sept. 28, 2001.

    (Sept 17, 2001) Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has said that he would support “very tough action” in response to unprecedented terror attacks on American soil but warned United States authorities not to jump to conclusions in their investigation.

    “We will support the United States for very tough action taken against terrorism,” Mubarak told NBC News at the weekend.

  11. Bruce Barron May 8, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    Islam is a mixture of occult and pagan religions.It has nothing to recommend it.The very term Allah refers to a kind of demon worship.
    The Moslems do not believe in any kind of personal God.They certainly do not worship the true God.Any Moslem who read the Bible would see the Koran for whatitis,a hodgepodge and mishmash of myths,lies,parts of the Bible useful to him,and his own imaginings.
    And every Moslem is to be considered radical and a jihadist.

  12. Bruce Barron May 8, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    Islam of its very nature is evil and originates from an evil source Franklin Graham is correct in calling it evil and one only needs to know a little history.They have been a horror throughout history.They give the term barbarian a new meaning.
    Of its very nature Christianity and Islam are divisive and worlds apart.Islam began the great divide in the 6th century and hates all of Christianity and Catholics in particular who,by the way, drove them out of Western Europe in the 17th century.And now they have reared their ugly head again and are back in full force.Christianity and Islam are totally incompatable and will be until one exterminates the other.

  13. Donald Johnson May 8, 2010 at 8:03 pm #

    I have read that the Arabic word for God is Allah and as such is used by Arabic speaking Christians.

  14. Trevor May 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    There is a new article on Google that will blow a person away. It is titled “Un-Americans Fight Franklin Graham.” One hot read!
    Trevor

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