Franklin Graham has decided to put his mouth where his money is.
The son of the Rev. Billy Graham has announced he’s moving all the bank accounts from his two ministries out of Well Fargo because the bank has run ads featuring a lesbian couple.
“This is one way we as Christians can speak out. We have the power of choice,” Graham said on Facebook.
Graham’s choice, he said on a conservative radio show Tuesday, was to take the accounts to BB&T bank, a Winston-Salem-based lender. A BB&T spokeswoman said that the bank would be happy have the accounts of Graham’s ministries, but the bank stays out of issues beyond finance. “We do not take formal positions on non-banking or social issues,” she said.
Shifting the deposits is a bad investment for Graham. The tide is turning hard against intolerance. The Supreme Court may soon rule in support of the legality of same-sex marriage. The verdict from the court of public opinion is already in. A Pew Research poll this week found that 57 percent of Americans now favor allowing same-sex marriage, up from a 42 percent approval just five years ago.
Graham, who serves as CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte and of the charity Samaritan’s Purse in Boone, is already finding it hard to promote his cause without bumping up against businesses that support gay rights. BB&T sponsored a gay pride festival reception this year in Miami Beach. His logical option for a bank would be Charlotte-based Bank of America, which has advertised in programs in LGBT publications and was an early supporter of corporate policies barring discrimination based on sexual orientation. Meanwhile, Graham is trumpeting his campaign on Facebook, another gay-friendly company.
Businesses are shifting along with the public, and even evangelicals are beginning to discuss the issue of same-sex rights. Public opinion is moving so fast on gay rights that Graham may soon find himself leading a crusade without crusaders.