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Over 16,000 Christians Want Franklin Graham Fired for 'Helping Incite' Capitol Riot

Over 16,000 Christians Want Franklin Graham Fired for 'Helping Incite' Capitol Riot

By Jason Lemon
NEWSWEEK
Januray 19, 2021

More than 16,000 Christians have signed a petition calling for evangelical leader Franklin Graham to be fired as the head of Samaritan's Purse and his father's namesake non-profit Billy Graham Evangelistic Association after he endorsed President Donald Trump's conspiracy theories that the election was "rigged or stolen."

Graham said in December that he believed Trump when he said that the election was "rigged or stolen." Graham later tweeted his support for Republican lawmakers planning to object to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's win in multiple battleground states. The petition argues that Graham's support of Trump's false claims helped to incite the mob of the president's rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol while Congress convened to count the Electoral Votes on January 6.

"As long as Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association stand by Franklin Graham, it must be said that these once-vaunted organizations have forgotten their original Christian missions, abandoned the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and are complicit in the spread of dishonest, discredited election conspiracy theories and the deadly, unpatriotic, white-nationalist terrorism at the U.S. Capitol incited by those lies," the petition launched by Faithful America says.

"Our faith in Jesus Christ demands that we do better than this. Your fellow Christians from across the country call on you to fire Franklin Graham, or to resign from the Board in individual protest," the signatories add. The petition will be sent to board members of both organizations.

Faithful America describes itself as the nation's largest online community of Christians organizing for social justice. The organization, backed by thousands of supporters, previously called on Samaritan's Purse to remove Graham as its CEO after he prayed at the Republican National Convention in late August of last year.

"The petition is in response to Graham's discredited and incendiary claim that the 2020 election 'was rigged or stolen,' the type of misinformation rhetoric that inspired the failed coup of January 6 and likely contributed to the presence of signs like 'Jesus 2020' and 'Trump is my savior, Jesus is my president' at the preceding 'Stop the Steal' rally," Nathan Empsall, Faithful America's campaigns director, wrote in a Tuesday email to Newsweek.

Newsweek reached out to Samaritan's Purse, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Graham for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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