Published on August 7th, 2016 | by Cliff Kincaid0
Franklin Graham Flip-Flops on Putin
Vladimir Putin once graced the cover of Franklin Graham’s Decision magazine:
But now, Graham admits that Russia has “passed a law that severely limits Christians’ freedoms.” As a result, he’s pulled a conference on behalf of persecuted Christians out of Russia.
The propaganda from supporters of Vladimir Putin has been that he supports Christianity around the world and in Russia.
- Graham is the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and of Samaritan’s Purse.
But on August 2, on his Facebook page, Graham announced, “Earlier this year I announced that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association would hold the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians–the first event of its kind in Moscow. We were looking forward to this significant event being held in Russia because no one knows modern Christian persecution better than the church that suffered under communist rule. However, just a few weeks ago Russia passed a law that severely limits Christians’ freedoms.”
Franklin Graham and Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill.
Christianity Today reports: “Proposed by United Russia party lawmaker Irina Yarovaya, the law appears to target religious groups outside the Russian Orthodox church.”
Back in February of 2014, Graham suggested Putin was a friend of Christians. He said Putin had “taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda” through passage of a law “to protect minors (children) in Russia from homosexuals promoting their lifestyle.” Graham explained, “Specifically, the law bans the ‘propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors.’”
Graham said the following about Putin:
“Putin’s father has been described as a militant atheist, his mother was a devout Orthodox, and his grandfather was a personal cook for the Marxist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin.
“Putin himself was an officer in the Soviet Union’s notorious KGB security agency from 1976 to 1991. In fact, he was in charge of monitoring foreigners in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) when my father preached there in 1984. If he was eavesdropping on our meeting, which I hope he was, he heard the Gospel!
“When the USSR collapsed in 1991, Putin moved into politics, and in 2000 he replaced Boris Yeltsin as president of Russia. Term limits forced him to step aside in 2008, but he was re-elected in 2012 for a six-year term.
“I have never heard Putin quote the Bible, but during his 2012 election campaign, he met with church leaders in Moscow and vowed to protect persecuted Christians around the world. That is one justification for his support of the Assad regime in Syria.”
David Satter expresses the hope that democratic forces in Russia could one day help lead a “moral revolution” inside the country. But he discounts any notion that such a campaign could be led by the Russian Orthodox Church, which has become “a kind of cult” that serves the interests of the regime.
Satter has written in depth on Russian government control of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is seen by some conservatives such as Franklin Graham in the U.S. as a force for conservative and moral values. Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, had announced a World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians, to be held in Moscow later this year, in association with the Russian Orthodox Church.
Satter says the Russian Orthodox Church is dominated by identified KGB agents such as Head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill. Graham met with Kirill in 2015 in Moscow to coordinate their efforts.
Graham said in 2014: “To be clear, I am not endorsing President Putin. To survive in the KGB and rise to power in Russia, you have to be tough. His enemies say he is ruthless. To some, he is a modern version of a czar. His personal life has its own controversies.”
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will now hold the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians in Washington, D.C., on May 10-13, 2017.