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The Republican Party of Minnesota suggested again on Tuesday that people attend Franklin Graham’s upcoming rally, this time adding, “The recent tragedy in Orlando gives us even more reason to gather together and pray for our communities, our state, and our country. Join us this Thursday.” The full email is below.

The Republican Party of Minnesota is promoting an event on Thursday featuring anti-LGBTQ religious right leader Franklin Graham. Graham has been touring the country, denigrating LGBTQ people and urging conservative Christians to take over school boards and local government in part to halt LGBTQ rights.

In an email on Friday, Republican Party of Minnesota Chair Keith Downey alerted supporters to the event, though the email was strangely lukewarm. Downey wrote:

In the spirit of a long tradition in our state, I encourage Minnesotans to join in a day of prayer next Thursday, June 16th. For those inclined, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is holding a non-partisan, non-political prayer event at the Capitol Lower Mall in St. Paul at noon that day….With a presidential election this year and so many critical issues facing us, there has never been a more important time to join together in prayer for our nation and our state.

On April 6, The Column reported that religious right activist Franklin Graham was bringing his anti-LGBTQ prayer tour to St. Paul on June 16. Since that report, Graham has upped the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and his tour has been met with protesters over the last two months in Sacramento, Austin, Jackson, and Topeka.

In mid-May, Graham told Fox News that “President Obama sold himself completely to the gay and lesbian community.”

He compared LGBTQ equity to terrorism in an interview with Fox’s Todd Starnes, Right Wing Watch reports:

“The country is imploding,” he said. “We are seeing a moral implosion. Just like we saw the World Trade Center on 9/11 when the planes hit the tower, they imploded, they fell from within, and this is what’s happening to our country, we’re falling within. Our foundations have been weakened by immorality and it’s beginning to crumble.”

“I want the school boards of America in the hands of evangelical Christians within the next four to six years,” he said. “And it can happen and that will have a huge impact because so many school districts now are controlled by wicked, evil people, and the gays and lesbians, and I keep bringing their name up, but they are at the forefront of this attack against Christianity in America.”

Also in mid-May, Graham suggested fellow conservative Christians “take a bullet” in opposition to LGBTQ rights, Raw Story reported. He also said, “The president obviously must have no fear of God, who made us and created us male and female. I hope that school districts across this nation will defy President Obama and his administration’s radical progressive agenda to promote and advance the sin of homosexuality and the LGBT agenda.”

He penned a letter comparing the deaths of Christians abroad due to religious intolerance to the “persecution” of Christians in the United States due to LGBTQ rights:

The persecution of Christians is escalating worldwide. A recent survey found that in just the past year, more than 7,100 believers were killed for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In many countries, they are being systematically tortured and slaughtered by Islamic radicals bent on eradicating any vestige of Christianity. Churches are burned, looted and bulldozed. Pastors are frequently targeted and martyred.
In dozens of other countries, Christians are severely oppressed by government authorities and routinely denied any chance at an education and jobs. They live as second-class citizens, shunned and mocked by their neighbors who despise Christ.
And make no mistake, hostility toward Christians in the United States is on the rise and will grow unless we stand up for our freedoms of religion and conscience. Believers in this country have already become the target of a culture that has turned its back on Almighty God. This is being driven especially by progressives, LGBT activists and the anti-God forces of secularism.

Graham then went on to list a litany of instances of Christian bakers refusing to bake cakes for same-sex couples, and states banning transgender people from using the bathroom. He couched the letter in his current tour.

When people called for Elsa from the Disney film Frozen to have a girlfriends instead of a “charming Prince,” Graham took to Facebook, the Huffington Post reports:

In the social media campaign for this, one proponent tweeted, “Little kids need to learn that there’s nothing wrong with being gay.” What a lie! This reveals their agenda to get the LGBT message to young children and influence their lives. God calls His people to be salt and light in a dark world. Pray for our nation, and get involved by standing up for God’s truth and His righteousness.

When President Obama announced that the Stonewall Inn, the site of riots in support of LGBTQ equality, would become a national manument, Franklin took to Facebook calling it a monument to sin, Metro Weekly reported:

“That’s unbelievable. War heroes deserve a monument, our nation’s founding fathers deserve a monument, people who have helped to make America strong deserve a monument — but a monument to sin?”

At his tour stop in South Dakota, he said LGBTQ people have a wicked agenda, the Argus Leader reported:

The son of the Rev. Billy Graham is urging Christians in South Dakota to run for public office and to vote for candidates who stand for biblical truth and principles.
Franklin Graham spoke to a crowd Tuesday from the state Capitol’s steps in Pierre. He says America is being stripped of its biblical heritage.
South Dakota was the 25th stop on the Decision America Tour, a series of prayer rallies scheduled in all 50 states.
Franklin Graham also reminded listeners of the importance of local offices such as county commissions and school boards in calling for Christians to become political candidates.
He told attendees that gay and lesbian people can force their “wicked agenda” on Christians because Christians sit back on the sidelines.

Here’s the Republican Party of Minnesota email:

Download (PDF, 598KB)

Here’s the second email which mentions Orlando:

Download (PDF, 623KB)

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Andy Birkey

Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

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