In a column posted Wednesday night by USA Today, Franklin Graham further explains why he is moving his ministries’ money from one gay-friendly bank, Wells Fargo, to another gay-friendly bank, BB&T.
Under the headline “Why I am boycotting Wells Fargo,” Graham argues that the San Francisco-based bank, which has its largest employee base in the Charlotte area, “went beyond being gay-friendly to being a public advocate – through a national TV advertising campaign – for a lifestyle we, as a Christian organization, believe to be biblically wrong.”
The ad in question features a lesbian couple learning sign language so they can communicate with their adopted daughter.
Graham – CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte and Samaritan’s Purse in Boone – acknowledges in his column that Winston-Salem-based BB&T hosted a fundraiser in Miami this year for a gay group’s program for same-sex couples who have been together for at least 10 years.
“But,” Graham writes, “the bank did not promote the program through a national advertising campaign (or we would still be looking for another bank.”
The evangelist argues that “there is a difference between being friendly and being a public advocate,” adding that he didn’t want his ministries’ money to help pay for national advertising promoting same-sex relationships.
Graham also writes that he is not against banks and other businesses hiring and serving gays and lesbians.
“It may surprise some to learn that I think every business should be gay-friendly,” he writes. “By that I mean businesses – like individuals – should be friendly to gay customers and citizens. We should be friendly to everyone, even if or when we disagree with them.”
Graham’s column, less strident in tone than his previous comments on the issue, comes after his decision to switch from one gay-friendly bank to another bank that turned out to be almost as gay-friendly drew scorn from many. But almost 100,000 people “liked” his Facebook announcement last weekend that he was moving his accounts from Wells Fargo to another bank to “fight the moral decay that is being crammed down our throats by big business.”