NBC News has an article chronicling Billy Graham’s “painful legacy” for LGBT people. Here’s the lede:
Evangelicals across the country are mourning the death of Billy Graham, an influential preacher who died in his home in Montreat, North Carolina, on Wednesday. But while some are celebrating his legacy, others are grappling with the lasting damage his actions have done to their communities.
Over the course of Graham’s 99 years of life, he reached millions of Christians around the world and had an outsized impact on the national political landscape. For many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, however, Graham was a crusader against them, one whose efforts shaped the religious right into an anti-LGBTQ political force.
I guess coverage like this shouldn’t be surprising anymore. Increasingly in popular media, moral virtue always boils down to a person’s embrace (or not) of homosexual immorality and transgenderism. Those who embrace them are the good guys, and those who do not are the bad guys. Even Billy Graham—who only died on Wednesday—will not be spared from this censure. He was on the wrong side homosexuality, therefore, he was a bad guy. At least, that is how the moral calculus goes in articles like the one above.
In the face of this, I think it good to remind our progressive friends that Billy Graham was a Christian—a follower of Christ. That means—among other things—that he believed what Christ teaches us in the Bible about sexuality and about male and female. Jesus’ teaching on this score is not optional for Christians. It’s required. To forsake this teaching is to be excluded from the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Billy Graham believes what all faithful Christians believe about these things. This is basic Christianity, and it will never change. Ever.
For this reason, to call Graham’s beliefs “harmful” (as the NBC News story does) is the same thing as saying Christianity itself is “harmful.” It is the same thing as saying that Jesus’ teaching is bad for people. It is to indict the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). It is to declare open hostility to the faith of countless millions across the world. Yet this is the regular line taken by progressives against Christians. This observation is not alarmism. It is the new normal, and all of us (including our progressive neighbors) would do well to see it for what it is.
But my question to progressive friends and neighbors is this. Do you really want to pursue this hostility against your Christian neighbors? Must they abandon their faith in order to escape your public censure and sanction? You need to know that it looks to many of us like the answer to these questions is yes.