Franklin Graham and Richard Land Support Universal Background Checks


March 17, 2013, 10:43 AM
Let's not turn this into a religious discussion please. Keep all potentially inflammatory comments to yourself, they're counter-productive and the mods have already deleted a few. If you send a message, please be polite, informative and respectful as always.

Dr. Richard Land, ethics chief of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee, and Franklin Graham, founder of the successful Samaritan's Purse relief and charity program, have come out in support of the President's call for Universal Background Checks.

Please take some time to write a professional, informative, and well-intentioned letter asking Land and Graham to withdraw support from the President's proposal, on the grounds that it violates American's God-given civil liberties as protected by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

South Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission;

Message via their facebook page;

Message via their website;

Nashville office; (615) 244-2495

Washington office; (202) 547-8105

Samaritans Purse. This one is really difficult for me because I've been an active participant for years. This organization really does great things and is one of the few charities I personally feel confident supporting every year.

Contact form for Franklin Graham Festivals;

Contact form for Samaritans Purse;

Quote: As TIME Magazine notes, Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham and the head of Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief organization, and Land, who heads the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, have been persuaded to back Obama on universal checks. Their decision comes following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

“As ministers, we agreed together that we could stand on a united front for universal background checks,” Graham noted.

But Land cautioned that the checks are not being widely embraced by evangelicals and that Obama will need to tackle the entertainment industry and mental health if he wants additional to support. He also seemed to indicate that universal checks look better on paper than they do in practicality.

Dr. Richard Land, the Southern Baptist Convention’s ethics chief (Credit: AP)

“We’re not going to oppose universal background checks — it’s a nice idea but only law-abiding citizens follow that,” he said. “The more the president can make this a multi-pronged the more support he’s going to receive from evangelicals.”

And, perhaps most intriguing, Land suggested that a tax on entertainment violence could be used to help alleviate the violence problem.

“You could tax violence and that money can be used for a special fund to help people who are victims of gun violence,” he suggested.

Despite these issues, Graham and Land decided to stand united in an effort to back universal background checks, with the former telling TIME that the proposal is “reasonable and responsible.”

“There needs to be an all out effort to curtail the culture of violence that effects all of us,” Graham added.

Here's a form letter, feel free to use it as a platform for your own.

Dear _______

As someone who respects the Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees, I am deeply disappointed by your recent decision as a respected dignitary to support President Obama's proposal for Universal Background Checks. The President's proposal would indefinitely result in a de facto assumption of criminality of decent law abiding Americans. Furthermore, such a proposal would have no value in moving the needle on violent crime since it is based on the logical fallacy that criminals would abide by it. As such it could lead to the next logical fallacy consistent with the incorrect assumption that firearms somehow cause violent crime, national firearms registration and ultimately to the confiscation of privately-owned firearms.

Weakening the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in this way further weakens all of our God-given civil liberties; including freedom of religion. I would ask, in a show of respect for our nation's founding moral principles, that you publicly withdraw your support for the President's proposal.

Thank you and best regards,

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March 17, 2013, 02:47 PM
Why should they weigh in on that issue at all? It seems awfully removed from their purview of religion.

March 17, 2013, 03:28 PM
And that is a point that can be made, that they're involving themselves and their organizations in a political instead of a religious matter (worse yet, allying themselves with a politician that their supporters are at odds with politically and morally on other issues) at their peril.

March 18, 2013, 08:58 AM

I am writing this as a Christian and a Baptist to ask that you WITHDRAW your support for Obama's "universal background check". The title may sound encouraging but the actual law would infringe on American's Constitutional Rights. We have the Second Amendment Right to protect the rest of our Rights, including the freedom of religion. Today the focus is on firearms and law abiding citizens, tomorrow the mainstream media could be calling for regulation of Bibles because it can inspire conflict. Once one freedom becomes 'outdated and unnecessary' the rest will soon follow suit and we will have lost our Constitution by our own doing.

I am not sure why this is an issue pertaining to religion but if you're going to have a view please stand up for Liberty and Freedom.

March 18, 2013, 09:26 AM

I'm writing to inform you that, due to your stance on gun control in the US, specifically your support for the current President's agenda, my family will no longer be providing any support whatsoever for Samaritan's Purse or any associated ministries.

This is quite distressing as we've been contributors every year for many years, and my children have been introduced to Christian charity through your organization.

But as you cannot keep your politics out of your ministry, you'll be doing your good works without any support or encouragement from us and ours.

Please cease all mailings and solicitations sent to our address below.

Good day,

March 18, 2013, 09:55 AM
I agree that UBC cannot work without retroactive registration and that retroactive registration is clearly a prelude to confiscation, but that doesn't mean that a person who heads a religious organization has no right to chime in. Religious leaders have the same freedom to express their position on political/cultural matters as anyone else, even when I personally disagree with that position..

The concept of "separation of church and state" is not mentioned in 1A. All that's there regarding religion is that Congress cannot establish a national religion.

The right of a person to opine on UBC is protected by 1A, and the fact that such a person has a high position in a religious organization doesn't change that. I don't see any prohibition of organizations taking an "official" position on political/cultural matters either, even if doing so risks alienating many of the persons of faith they represent. Can anyone show me where it is?

March 18, 2013, 10:00 AM
but that doesn't mean that a person who heads a religious organization has no right to chime in. Religious leaders have the same freedom to express their position on political/cultural matters as anyone else, even when I personally disagree with that position.. Certainly true! They have the right to say what they want. And the right to incur whatever fallout taking such a stance might bring down upon them, their organization, and the beneficiaries of their charity.

(Freedom of speech =/= freedom from the repercussions of your words and actions.)

In this case, may it fall HEAVILY upon them.

March 18, 2013, 10:12 AM
Sam, I agree with you completely that this is a risky stand. But what if these guys had come out in opposition to UBC?

OP or anyone, if Land and Graham had publicly expressed opposition to UBC, would this thread even exist?

March 18, 2013, 10:13 AM
This was a heart-breaker for us.

My wife and I have long been joyful contributors of our time and assets to Operation Christmas Child. It is a ministry that we hold dear and have committed so much of our resources to. My wife has become a hub for others in our community who wish to be involved in your ministry.

It is extremely troubling that Franklin Graham decided to enter the political push for gun control in America. Unfortunately, my wife and I also hold dear our God-given rights as Americans and this does include the unchallengeable right to own and carry arms for the preservation of a free society.

We regretfully have to discontinue our participation with Operation Christmas Child due to Mr. Graham's political involvement that goes against the purpose of the 2nd Amendment.

Please forward this message to Mr. Graham's office so that he can hear my household ask that he discontinues the anti-freedom behavior and comments that we've witnessed.

Also, please cease all mailings and solicitations to our home address.

Thank you,

March 18, 2013, 10:15 AM
What if they'd come out against Obama's plan? Well, I'd like to think this thread would indeed exist -- in that that someone would have noticed that and posted a "Hey, Support these guys!" thread.

They have the right to speak. The repercussions which follow may be good for them, or bad. They chose ... poorly.

March 18, 2013, 11:25 AM
This was a heart-breaker for us.

It was for me too. It's really going to be difficult for me to pass the word around on this one, the Samaritan's Purse Program has done awesome things. I'm particularly supportive of their Christmas charities.

They have the right to speak.

From 1954 to the present only one church has ever lost its IRS tax-exempt letter ruling, but even that church did not lose its tax-exempt status for opposing then-Governor Bill Clinton for President in 1992. Pulpit Freedom Sunday has been going on for years and the IRS won't touch it with a ten-foot pole, likely because it knows that it doesn't have a case.

So that said; yep, this thread would still exist but in its opposite form.

March 18, 2013, 03:35 PM
Both of those individuals have a right to express themselves and I have the right to no longer support their endeavors.

March 18, 2013, 04:20 PM
The problem with these kind of endorsements is the same as what we encounter with our present legislators in that they take counsel from underlings that have a bias or are just uninformed of the ramifications of the supported legislation.
On its face it is hard to say that sorting out those who would behave as criminals is a bad idea until one looks at the loss of liberties that the honest man will be subject to.
UBC can never work without registration to know who presently has the guns, this goes for all transactions including those within an estate. The press won't report on that fact anymore than they will report the lies I have heard from Bloomberg and the rest when they claim guns are being bought online and through the mail.

March 20, 2013, 03:14 PM
No apologies.
Dear ,

Thank you for contacting us about Franklin Graham's recent statements about universal background checks. We appreciate your support as well as your concerns.

In an interview with TIME magazine, he said, “As ministers, we agreed together that we could stand on a united front for universal background checks,” noting he had many conversations with other religious leaders on the subject. “We think that’s reasonable and responsible.”

Franklin has also stated the tragedies we have faced recently are not because of guns specifically, but because of the culture of violence in the entertainment industry and that our society is bombarded with extreme violence through television, movies, music, and video games. In speaking with the White House, his first recommendation was that manufacturers of such violent products be taxed as a deterrent. He agrees that persons who have criminal backgrounds or are mentally ill should not be able to purchase weapons. He does not believe that universal background checks are the final solution, but rather one part of what needs to be a multi-faceted solution.

I have removed you from our mailing list as requested. Please continue to pray for our country and its leaders, as they have so many important issues with which to contend.


Aaron H. Shuford
Donor Ministries
Samaritan's Purse
PO Box 3000
Boone, NC 28607
(828) 278-1565

“For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.” Psalm 36:9

March 20, 2013, 10:44 PM
SO WHAT?? They stick their noses into an issue they have no stake in or will loose either way. The Southern Baptist Convention offices in Dallas posted 30.06 signs in 1996 when concealed carry came to Texas. I wrote them a scathing letter and told them they should stick to religion and stay out of politics and issues that didn't concern them. Never got a reply but did get numerous calls from folks all over the state sharing my views.

March 20, 2013, 11:08 PM
Wow. Did he really just respond with a basic summary of everything we already know? What kind of response is that?

Time for another email.

March 21, 2013, 09:06 AM
Weak response. If they are going to stand on the other side of the line when it comes to freedom they're going to need to do better than that.

March 21, 2013, 11:48 AM
I almost replied to Shuford's email. I didn't quite know if or why I should reply. Would it make a difference? Are they interested in hearing what I have to say? Anyway... here's what I almost sent Shuford:
Thank you for fulfilling my request.

I wholeheartedly agree that the issue is evil in our culture. What's disappointing is that Mr. Graham believes universal background checks could be even a slight deterrent to those who would do evil. And evil after all, is where the problem is, right? The truth is that evil cannot be predicted nor controlled. If Mr. Graham believes otherwise, it appears that he believes something that is not at all true. I don't suppose that he believes there should be a universal background check for Americans to practice the religion of their choice. Or a universal background check to participate in his ministries. Or a universal background check for me to freely speak my heart. No, I don't suppose he does.

Mr. Graham does not realize that universal background checks would only encroach upon the God-given rights of innocent and honest Americans who are willing to abide by the law requiring it. They are not the individuals who promulgate evil in our culture, yet they will be the ones hassled by such laws. I wish he knew that the fact is that it will not produce, not even in part, any solution to the evil we see today. I can at least agree with him on the culture of violence, but I simply do not understand how he can imagine that hindering law abiding Americans will impact that culture of violence.

I am heartbroken that Mr. Graham took such a misguided position that will ultimately be used to harm the innocent Americans who will be bound by it. If only he knew that evil follows no rule and abides by no law.

Thanks you again. God bless.

March 21, 2013, 11:55 AM
Excellent and heartfelt. You took the time to write it up, you may as well send it even if it falls on deaf ears.

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