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.
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.
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.