Nation & World

Franklin Graham urges Christian boycott of gay-friendly companies

Christian evangelist Franklin Graham.
Christian evangelist Franklin Graham. AP archives

Franklin Graham is calling on Christians to boycott gay-friendly corporations. And he says he’s doing his part by moving all the bank accounts for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association out of Wells Fargo because of its ad featuring a lesbian couple.

“This is one way we as Christians can speak out — we have the power of choice,” Graham, who heads the Charlotte-based BGEA, wrote on Facebook over the weekend. “Let’s just stop doing business with those who promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards. Maybe if enough of us do this, it will get their attention.”

As of Monday morning, more than 92,000 people had approved of Graham’s message by clicking “Like.” More than 41,000 people had shared his message with their Facebook friends.

But Graham’s call to “fight the moral decay that is being crammed down our throats by big business” also brought negative reactions on Facebook.

“In my opinion, moral decay is using the pulpit to spread bigotry and hate,” wrote one Facebook commenter, who then alluded to Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament. “Perhaps you should take some time and chip away at that block of wood sticking out of your own eye.”

Reached Monday morning, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo said that the bank values the diversity of its customers and employees and has proudly supported the LGBT community for a long time.

“At Wells Fargo, serving every customer is core to our vision and values,” said Christina Kolbjornsen. “Diversity and inclusion are foundational to who we are as a company. Our advertising content reflects our company’s values and represents the diversity of the communities we serve.”

Graham objected to a Wells Fargo TV and online ad that features a lesbian couple learning sign language for their adopted daughter. “Hello beautiful,” the couple in the ad tell the little girl in sign language, “We’re going to be your new mommies.”

Graham and BGEA officials could not be reached for comment Monday morning. Graham’s social media posts didn’t say to which bank he was moving his money.

In his Facebook post, Graham singled out another company – Tiffany & Co., which sells jewelry — for advertising wedding rings for gay couples.

“There are plenty of other jewelry stores,” Graham wrote.

Graham also heads Boone-based Samaritan’s Purse. It and the BGEA raise millions of dollars.

Christian call to action

It was too early Monday to determine whether Graham’s call for a boycott will have much impact.

On Twitter, where Graham also announced that “we’re moving all the @BGEA bank accounts from @WellsFargo to another bank,” he got some supportive tweets.

“Yes, I have moved mine to another bank,” wrote @garystreet1. “Not a lot but it will add up. It’s time to move in unison!”

Corporate America has increasingly come to the defense of gays and lesbians. Republican governors and legislatures in red states such as Indiana and Arkansas retreated this year from “religious liberty” legislation after corporations in those states opposed the measures as discriminatory against the LGBT community.

In recent weeks, Graham has been using Facebook and Twitter to urge mass action against same-sex marriage. He called, for example, for Christians to pray for the U.S. Supreme Court justices – whose nine members are Jewish and Catholic – to make what Graham considers the right decision in what could become a landmark case involving the rights of gays and lesbians to marry their partners.