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Lawrence O'Donnell nails Franklin Graham to the wall in interview; Graham nearly endorses Donald Trump

Lawrence O'Donnell nails Franklin Graham to the wall in interview; Graham nearly endorses Donald Trump

In an interview with Lawrence O'Donnell Sunday, Franklin Graham, whose remarks supporting the birthers were condemned by the White House Monday, came within a hair's breadth of endorsing Donald Trump for the 2012 Presidential campaign.

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Trump, who appeared to use his NBC platform to solicit support for his own presidential campaign by asking Meatloaf, of all people, if he should run for President (Meatloaf replied "Absolutely!") And then there was the good Reverend Franklin Graham, who claims to be a minister of Jesus Christ, nothing more.

The OpEd News reports:

Trump, Birtherism, and Obama's religion. O'Donnell laid them all out for Graham to expound upon, but he steadfastly hammered away at the talking point of Obama being a Christian: airing Graham's previous interview with Christine Amanpour, O'Donnell focused on Graham's perception of Obama as a Christian as opposed to his own definition of a Christian. The exchange led Graham to put up his shield and say that only God could be the judge of that. The sign of retreat, however, came when O'Donnell posed to Graham what was probably the most contemptuous question of his career as leader of the Christian Right:

O'Donnell: "Listen to what Jesus Christ said is the definition of a Christian: Jesus Christ said 'Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.' Have you given up everything you have to be a disciple of Christ?"

Graham went on a rambling aside that included his being born again, the wages of sin, and hell. He tried valiantly to fend off a direct hit at his comparatively lavish lifestyle of private jets and several homes (one in Alaska, near Sarah Palin).

Graham spent the rest of the interview disseminating and hiding behind religion when it came to criticizing Obama's faith.  O'Donnell kept nailing Graham to the wall saying "Only God knows who the Christians are, and saying you are a Christian is not enough for you."

O'Donnel then issued the coup de grace to a noticeably shaken and defensive Graham:

"Reverend Graham, you said uncontested yesterday [in an ABC interview] that "for me, the definition of being a Christian is whether we have given our life to Christ and are following him in faith and we have trusted him as our Lord and Savior.'  O'Donnell took it further saying:  "Listen to Jesus. I want you to listen to what Jesus' definition of a Christian is:  'Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple."  Have you given up everything you have to be a disciple of Christ?

Graham, who looked as if he were positively sweating by this time replied after a few beats of silence:

I have given my life to Christ when I was ….uh…22 years old, I got on my knees one night and I just asked God to forgive me of my sins and that night I told God that I believed that Jesus Christ was his son, that he died for me on Calvary's cross, and that God raised Him to life.  And I asked Christ to come into my heart. And when I gave Christ my life I meant it, and I said that You can take my life, you can spin me however you want to spin me; my life is Yours, and it's the greatest decision I ever made.  And Lawrence, he can do the same for you, or anyone who is watching this television. God loves us, and he wants us to be saved from Hell.  There is a hell. There is a punishment for those who reject Christ.

Lawrence O'Donnell said "You have convinced me you are a Christian, just as President Obama has said he is a Christian."  One wonders if Christ meant that people should give up the money that comes along with fame and prestige.  With the face time Franklin Graham has been getting lately, it leaves one thinking that Graham is hoping not.

About Dakota O'Leary

Dakota O'Leary is a freethinker, and often sassy, scholar of theology and literature. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theology from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and her Master of Arts degree in Theology and Literature from Antioch University-Midwest. She is a contributing writer focusing on eschatology, biblical prophecy, and general religious news. Dakota is a co-host of the God Discussion radio show, offering insight to the news stories of the week. We like to call her "our in-house Biblical prophecy expert" as her articles on eschatology have received over 200,000 views on God Discussion.
  • joan nicholas

    Mr. O'Leary, you appear to not have a clue as to the meaning of being a Christian, based on your selective quoting of Mr. O'Donnell and Mr.Graham. Even more evidence is your bias shown by your statements following a quote. For example: "One wonders if Christ meant that one should give up the money that comes along with fame and prestige…….."

    I assume you are not familiar with Scripture interpretation, as that meaning (above) is incredulous. Next time you try to determine what Christ meant, please ask an informed Christian. Your article is really quite laughable.

    • It's Ms. O'Leary, thank you very much. Never assume. I hold advanced degrees in theology, and after twenty years immersed in a fundamentalist church, I can assure you I have learned to be open minded about Biblical interpretation. I commented on selected items, (the entire last half of the interview), compared and contrasted it to what other news agencies were saying, and appended the entire interview for your perusal. I fail to understand exactly what your problem is. Your response is appreciated, and equally laughable, as you cite absolutely nothing to support your argument, but make ad hominem remarks.

      • For some reason, simply quoting interviews and news is considered to be "your opinion" in the minds of some commentators.

        The whole point of this is Graham's insinuations about Obama's faith … which should be a personal thing that has been transformed into a circus of innuendos and, not necessarily in Graham's case, outright lies.

        I enjoyed the article. Thank you for writing it!


  • And Ms. Nicholas, since you opened the conversation, exactly which parts of the video did I skip that showed Mr. Graham in a favorable light?

  • For a country that supposedly has no religious test of office, there sure is a lot of attention to Obama's faith. If the religious right and Franklin Graham, in particular, did not have so much influence, I would say it is petty.

    It's a pretty sad state of affairs.


  • Great article Ms. Dakota! The only positive thing I can say about the dominionist Christian movement is that as people wake up there will be more intelligent minds to shine a light on what I believe is the undercurrent of bigotry and racial and gender bias in the country. Graham is a great example of what's wrong in America!

  • Natalie Rosen

    Larry you let Graham the money making fraud off the hook. He NEVER answered your question. Has he given up EVERYTHING i.e. EVERYTHING, his money, his property, the millions the ministry his father made has given him? He is just what Christ taught against when he overthrew the money changers. Graham the son is simply a money inhaler who has given up NOTHING to believe in Christ. Christ said give it ALL up meaning your worldly possessions. As far as I can tell Republicans are nothing more than a money collection box. That is what they are about. Has Graham Jr. asked Trump if he has accepted Jesus and devoid his life of worldly possessions. This is where even O'Donnell let's them off the hook TOO easily!

    I would LOVE to interview Graham and quote the humanity of the New Testament which Republicans LOVE to over look..HYPOCRITES. I think Jesus detested HYPOCRITES and that is just what Graham is…you blew it Larry just when I thought you would get another chance from me!

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