Franklin Graham would like everyone to know that he doesn’t “hate” gay people. He just disagrees with their “lifestyle.”
Graham, son of the late televangelist Billy Graham, posted on Facebook about a court case in California in which a Christian baker denied to furnish a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding. David Lampe, a judge with the Kern County Superior Court, declined the state’s request for a restraining order in the case, claiming he wasn’t able to make that decision based on the information provided to the court.
The evangelical minister lamented the fact that Cathy Miller, owner of Bakersfield’s Tastries Bakery, was put in this position to begin with.
“Why can’t Christians have the freedom to say ‘No’ to what they want to say no to?” Graham claimed in a Wednesday post linking to a news report from Las Vegas station KTNV. “The LGBT community continues to target Christians to try to get us to accept their lifestyle. It ain’t gonna happen. God calls homosexuality sintake it up with Him if you don’t like it. He is the one who defines sin, not me.”
Graham added that his opposition to same-sex relationships isn’t motivated by bigotry.
“As a Christian of course I don’t hate gays, I love them and want them to know the truth,” the 65-year-old told his Facebook followers, which number more than 6 million. “If they choose to live that lifestyle, they certainly have the freedom to do so in this countrybut don’t tell me what I have to believe or participate in.”
Graham’s post was “liked” 81,000 times.
The California court battle is strikingly similar to Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case heard before the Supreme Court earlier this month. Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Masterpiece, Color., declined to offer services to Charlie Craig and David Mullins in 2012. He claimed that baking a cake for a same-sex wedding would be an affront to his Christian faith.
Mullins and Craig brought the incident to the attention of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and won in 2013, with Phillips ordered to undergo sensitivity training. But his attorneys argued before the Supreme Court on Dec. 5 that the ruling violated Phillips’ rights to freedom of speech and artistic expression.
Miller’s lawyers have argued similarly. The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, a San Diego-based firm, has claimed that creating wedding cakes for LGBTQ individuals “would violate her sincerely held religious beliefs.”
But for Graham, this is about more than a debate over Constitutional rights. Contrary to what he says on Facebook, he just really doesn’t like queer people.
The minister has claimed that the LGBTQ rights movement is the literal work of the devil, called same-sex marriage “detestable,” believes gay people “recruit” kids into homosexuality, and supports Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws, which have caused hate crimes against queer and trans people to double since 2013.
Graham has also claimed he loves the LGBTQ folks “enough to… warn them that if they want to continue living like this, it’s the flames of hell for you.”