Homophobic preacher Franklin Graham has sought to distance himself from a career of anti-queer persecution following a boycott by the Seattle Police Department.
Graham had planned a special benefit for the Seattle PD, a dinner wherein members of the force could attend free of charge. Unfortunately, given Graham’s hostility toward LGBTQ people, the Seattle Police and the city itself have criticized the event, going so far as to boycott it.
Graham, for his part, insists the allegations of homophobia are unfounded.
“We’re wanting just to have a dinner, and we’re inviting the police and their spouses … regardless of their religion or their sexual orientation or whatever,” Graham told Christian Headlines. “If you’re a police officer, you and your spouse are invited,” Graham said. “And we’re gonna just have a great time for fellowship, one with another. We’ve got a great speaker. We’ll have live music. But it’ll be just an evening for them. And we’re paying the bill. There’s no charge to them. We just want to encourage them and let them know that we love them, and we support them.”
“I’m not anti-gay,” he then added.
While Graham may feign ignorance of his own long history of homophobia, administrators for the city of Seattle and its police department are better informed.
Upon hearing news of the benefit, Seattle city council president Lorena Gonzalez, called on Police Chief Adrian Diaz and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to boycott the event.
“By promoting this anti-LGBTQ and far-right religious group’s invitation, the Seattle Police Department is undermining Seattle’s LGBTQ community, alienating our own LGBTQ officers, and further eroding public trust and confidence in law enforcement to protect everyone regardless of their religion or identity,” Gonzalez said in a statement, according to local Seattle station KIRO.
Police Chief Diaz shared Gonzalez’s view. In an email to the force, he rescinded the invite on behalf of Graham, in essence, ordering officers not to attend.
“Based on Graham’s history and affiliations, the [invitation] has raised concerns that the SPD may not be committed to the equity of our community’s LGBTQ members,” Diaz wrote. “I want to make clear the department fully supports the equity and just treatment of all people. The SPD did not sponsor this event and is not connected in any way to its hosts. Today I sent a department-wide email to rescind the invitation because its hosts do not share the inclusive values of the SPD.”
Graham may protest allegations of homophobia, but history overrules him. As the son of prominent televangelist Billy Graham, Franklin Graham has spent his career attacking LGBTQ people. Graham had previously praised Donald Trump for barring the pride flag to be flown outside embassies, declared the proposed Stonewall Monument to be a “monument to sin” and called queer people “truth-phobic.” In 2019, he also said that then-Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg would face eternal damnation for being gay. Graham has also advocated conversion therapy in the past. Further proving his disconnect from reality, Graham also attacked Dr. Anthony Faucci during the COVID-19 pandemic for saying Americans should depend on science to survive.