Television viewers will have noticed how some companies and organizations are using rainbow symbolism in their commercials to send a message. Three such commercials readily come to mind: In one, a child carries six balloons in the six rainbow colours; in another, a child runs across a field flying a rainbow-coloured kite; and in a third commercial, the camera focuses for a brief moment on a rainbow-striped pedestrian walkway. To LGBT viewers, the company or organization is saying: We are gay-friendly and we want your business. To heterosexual viewers, the message is: We are an LGBT supporter and you should be one, too.
One business recently took their support a step further. The Wells Fargo Bank produced a commercial which depicted two lesbians learning sign language in order to communicate with the deaf girl they were adopting.
Upon viewing the commercial, Franklin Graham, son of world-renowned American evangelist Billy Graham, withdrew the not-insignificant funds of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association (BGEA) and those of the charity Samaritan’s Purse from the Wells Fargo Bank and moved them to another bank. Franklin, CEO of the two Christian organizations, offered this explanation for his action:
“The decision to move the BGEA’s banking business away from Wells Fargo is based on the bank using corporate advertising to promote lifestyles that are counter to what God’s Word teaches. This is not about a business being gay friendly, it’s about whether the business is using stockholders’ money to promote a lifestyle that is not biblical.”
For doing what most of us have done at one time or another–changing banks–Graham has been vilified by LGBT activists and their supporters. How could Graham, a Christian, react to such a “beautiful,” “touching” commercial in this way, they howl. Of course the commercial is beautiful and touching–as it was intended to be. You’d have to be a hard-hearted bigot to disapprove, right?
Dean Obeidallah’s June 11 article in The Daily Beast, an American news-reporting and opinion website, is a prime example of the ugly vitriol now being directed at Graham personally. In his piece entitled “Franklin Graham Hates for Jesus,” Obeidallah, lawyer turned stand-up comedian, wants his readers to know that Graham is a hater. Just to make sure everyone gets it, Obeidallah used the word “hate” or some variation of it nine more times in the body of the article: “a hater,” “stoking the flames of hate,” “hate spewed,” “spewing hate,” “haters,” “hate,” “hate mongering,” and “spew all the hate.” After reading this vile diatribe, there’s no doubt in my mind who the hater is, and it’s not Franklin Graham.
A second-generation American, Obeidallah is the son of a man born in British Mandate Palestine and a Sicilian mother. One would think that Obeidallah, an American of Arab descent and a Muslim, would direct his hate-filled harangues at those who hang homosexuals from cranes or hurl them to their deaths from the rooftops of buildings. But, no. In Obeidallah’s mind, those who reject same-sex marriage, based on their Christian convictions, are the real haters. For the record, I support traditional marriage, not because I hate gays and lesbians, but because of what I believe the institution of marriage to be.
Graham’s detractors have not even attempted to disguise their great amusement upon learning that the bank to which Graham transferred his organizations’ finances itself recently contributed funds to a Gay Pride Parade. The number of businesses–big businesses–that support LGBT activists financially is legion, and continuing to expand. Graham moved his organizations’ finances, he said, “to fight the moral decay that is being crammed down our throats by big business.” But, as Graham has learned, finding a business that is not engaged in LGBT social activism is hard, and going to get harder.
Remember when advocates of gay marriage claimed that ‘marriage equality’ would change nothing–even though no previous society in history had ever redefined marriage; that it would merely grant to gays and lesbians the right to marry that heterosexual couples currently enjoyed. Tell that to Franklin Graham and those of us now labelled as ‘haters’ for supporting traditional marriage.