Franklin Graham Calls Sanctuary Cities “just a little picture of hell”


From Relevant magazine:

Evangelist Franklin Graham has made some incendiary comments about cities in California. Graham was speaking on a radio show when he was asked about the evangelical “fight to win back California,” as The New York Times called it.

Though Graham told host Todd Starnes that he isn’t working with a political party, he said, “We are staying out of the politics part of it but I do want Christians to vote and I want them to ask God before they vote, who they should vote. But, I don’t think the Christians should be silent. The Christian voice needs to be heard,” referencing his 10-city tour through California to encourage Christians to run for office, because he said “California is sinking.”

He then said this about “sanctuary cities” (cities that don’t enforce some immigration laws): “People are leaving the state. The tax base is eroding. They are turning their once beautiful cities into sanctuary cities, which are just a little picture of Hell. Just go to San Francisco and go to this once-beautiful city and see what has happened to it.”

Read the entire piece here.  Can Graham’s statement here be read in a way that is not racist or discriminatory?

As I wrote last week in the context of Graham’s tour of California:

Billy Graham believed the church needed to be “wakened” to the good news of the Gospel and the re-dedication of individual lives to that Gospel.  Franklin Graham wants the church to be “wakened” to vote.  The political captivity of evangelicalism doesn’t get any clearer than this.

Perhaps Graham’s “little picture of Hell” is better represented by his own politically-captive evangelicalism.  But don’t take my word for it.  Here is what the demon Screwtape said to his nephew Wormwood in C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters.

Let him begin by treating the Patriotism…as part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important.  Then quietly and gradually nurse him to the state at which the religion becomes merely a part of the “cause,” in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce…Once [he’s] made the world and end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing.”

Let’s remember that Wormwood seeks his uncle’s advice for the purpose of leading a British man (“The Patient”) to hell.

4 thoughts on “Franklin Graham Calls Sanctuary Cities “just a little picture of hell”

  1. I recommended this to friends. Read C.S. Lewis to kids and they theirs. And read bout wormwood in church seminar. Just read Kathryn Shulz tweet in which she said she just remembered despair was a mortal sin so don’t despair. She followed with a reference to her upbringing with Old Testament virtues preached. Virtue seems not a worthy adventure in politics. At a meeting where two young college students ts were interning and one had a sweatshirt from Grace colleg. “ we all need grace.”


  2. I think it sounds a bit extreme but not discriminatory (at least not necessarily). I think you’re assuming he doesn’t like them because they are Hispanics, whereas the fact is he doesn’t like them because they are illegal. I know some Hispanics who are very much opposed to illegal immigration and feel that it is hurting our cities and communities because the people who come are afraid to interact with law enforcement. They are also usually rather poor and end up in poor communities here in the US, and many of them commit a whole set of violations just by being and working here (including tax evasion). It’s also impossible to tell how many of the people are decent people trying to make a way for their families and how many are opportunistic criminals (I suspect any numbers you might give are most likely just a guess based on assumption).
    It’s a fact that the dangerous and violent neighborhoods in the USA are usually minority communities. We can talk about white-collar crime and about causes, factors, etc., and we could also mention that if the poor neighborhoods were white, it seems to me that they would be the dangerous neighborhoods, but it’s a fact that the poor neighborhoods (almost always minority) are the dangerous ones.


  3. Does describing a place where men and women, created in the image of God with worth and dignity, “a little picture of hell” not sound discriminatory to you? Isn’t he talking only about people of color here? There seems to be a bit more than pizza delivery going on here.


  4. I was recently talking with a friend who delivers pizza. He told me that there are certain neighborhoods they don’t deliver to at all, or only during daylight hours. Those are mostly government housing areas and minority neighborhoods. It’s a fact that minority neighborhoods are usually higher in crime and violence. The reason for that is not because of the race of the people in those places, but the poverty. Poverty contributes greatly to crime, and it’s a sad but true fact that in this country poverty is very high among minorities. So I don’t think this is a racist comment, or at least there are non-racist interpretations of it that are legitimate. I don’t think it’s fair to say there is no other way to take this but as discriminatory or racist. I think you should make your case rather than merely making an assertion like that, because those kinds of assertions don’t lend themselves to civil discourse.


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