Franklin Graham calls PayPal ‘hypocrite’ for canceling Charlotte plans

Franklin Graham speaking in Charlotte in 2014
Franklin Graham speaking in Charlotte in 2014 The Charlotte Observer

Evangelist Franklin Graham called PayPal a “hypocrite” for abandoning its plans to expand into Charlotte because the company opposes North Carolina’s new law limiting LGBT legal protections.

Graham lauded U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, who said the payment processor does business “in 25 countries where homosexual behavior is illegal.” He also praised N.C. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who said the measure protects women and children.

“We need more politicians across the country with this kind of backbone,” said Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham and head of the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, a charity in Boone.

The two organizations list PayPal as a payment option for donations, a check of their websites Thursday showed. Graham representatives didn’t immediately respond to questions about whether they would continue to do so.

North Carolina’s new law, which Gov. Pat McCrory signed March 23, limits legal protections of LGBT individuals by setting a statewide definition of protected classes of citizens. The law means schools and local governments cannot adopt more inclusive rules. Legislative leaders said they were responding to Charlotte’s ordinance, which would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender with which they identify.

Since the bill’s signing, over 100 prominent CEOs, including PayPal’s, have signaled their opposition.

PayPal said in March it was opening a global operations center in Charlotte, a move that would have created 400 jobs. On Tuesday, PayPal Chief Executive Officer Dan Schulman said the company wouldn’t move forward with its Charlotte plans because the new LGBT law “perpetuates discrimination, and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.”

On his Facebook page Wednesday, Graham said PayPal could have set its own corporate bathroom policies. And the company, he said, “only agreed to come to Charlotte in the first place after holding out for millions in corporate incentives.”

Just last month, Gov. McCrory heaped praise on the company as the state promised $2.8 million in incentives. The incentives packages would have been tied to the company hitting job-creation and investment targets, though, so no funds were distributed yet.

“North Carolina is the ideal destination for innovation-based, worldwide companies like PayPal,” McCrory said when the online payments platform said it was coming to Charlotte. “Today’s announcement means that we can add another prominent name to the state’s growing list of technology businesses with major operations here.”

Last summer, Graham pulled his two ministries’ accounts from Wells Fargo after the lender aired a commercial featuring a same-sex couple, and he encouraged other Christians to do the same. Graham also sided with GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump in trying to ban Muslim immigration to the U.S.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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