The author of Rebel with a Cause is now a rebel with a clause: "In the name of Jesus." Franklin Graham, who embraced the rebel identity in his 1997 autobiography, is stirring fresh controversy with his latest book, The Name (Nelson). Graham says Christians have a duty to pray publicly in Jesus' name. He says churches are avoiding ministry to people with HIV/AIDS. On his summer book tour, Graham reiterated his view that Islam teaches violence.
Graham, president of the relief and development agency Samaritan's Purse and chief executive officer of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), recently sat with Christianity Today editor David Neff and deputy managing editor Timothy Morgan.
Your book The Name defends your use of Jesus' name in public prayers. How surprised were you by the reactions to your prayers at Columbine High School and the 2001 presidential inauguration?
I can't say I was surprised, because I've seen this before. We as Christians should not be afraid of mentioning the name of Jesus Christ. The freedoms other religions enjoy in this country are because of Christians, who came to this nation searching for freedom. Jews have had more freedom in this country than in any nation on the face of this Earth outside of Israel. A Muslim has more freedom in this country than he has in a Muslim country. Christians gave them this freedom.
Why do you think some people say they're offended, then?
Because they are. Listen, if I mention the name Muhammad, people go: Okay. You mention the name Buddha: Oh, that's nice. You mention the name of Jesus Christ, and it divides a room. People scowl. People breathe a sigh of relief. This is more evidence that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that Satan wants to do everything he ...