Billy Graham’s children and grandchildren are split over Franklin Graham’s ardent support for Donald Trump. Both sides of this debate are claiming the legacy of the family patriarch. Here is Tom Feidler’s piece at The Charlotte Observer:
Aram [Tchividjian, Graham’s grandson] and Jerushah [Duford, Graham’s grandaughter and Aram’s brother] concede that their criticisms make them outliers in both the extended Graham family and among many evangelicals. Their mother, Gigi, staunchly supported both Trump and Franklin. His daughter, Cissie Graham Lynch, was among the speakers at the Republican National Convention heaping praise on the president and vilifying the Democratic candidates. “The Biden-Harris vision for America leaves no room for people of faith,” she said in painting a dystopian portrait of the nation if Democrats gain control. (She didn’t respond to a request to comment for this article).
But Jerushah said she has private support from other cousins who have thanked her for speaking out while they feel they cannot. And she said she is confident that her positions on such issues as gay rights, the treatment of refugees and respect for “the most marginalized” are those that not only resonate with the future generation, but that align with those of her grandfather.
“I have spoken out as much as I have because I feel that some of these evangelical leaders are tarring (Christianity) with shame,” she said, in a pointed reference to her uncle. “People who don’t know Jesus are not being introduced by the leadership to the Jesus I know.”
Billy Graham’s granddaughter Jerushah Duford is making some waves in this election cycle. She is the topic of Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times column today. A taste:
A granddaughter of the Rev. Billy Graham, Jerushah Duford is a committed evangelical Christian who describes herself as “pro-life.”
For most of her life, she voted Republican. Yet this year, she is voting for Joe Biden and is encouraging fellow Christians to distance themselves from a president who she says is trying “to hijack our faith for votes.”
“The Jesus we serve promotes kindness, dignity, humility, and this president doesn’t represent our faith,” Duford said.
She made clear to me that she is not speaking for her grandfather, the famous evangelist who died in 2018. But she added: “I think he would be sad. I think his greatest desire had nothing to do with policies but to introduce people to a loving Jesus, and the division this administration has caused I believe has hurt this effort.”
“Trump’s attempt to hijack our faith for votes, and the evangelical leaders’ silence on his actions and behavior, has presented a picture of what our faith looks like — that’s so erroneous it’s done significant damage to the way people view Jesus,” she said on a press call through the group Not Our Faith, a PAC that focuses on faith voters.