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Really, Franklin Graham? This touching ad made you angry?

The TV and online ad for Wells Fargo, shown here, features a lesbian couple who are learning sign language to communicate with their adopted daughter. Franklin Graham has objected to the ad because it features a same-sex couple.
The TV and online ad for Wells Fargo, shown here, features a lesbian couple who are learning sign language to communicate with their adopted daughter. Franklin Graham has objected to the ad because it features a same-sex couple. Courtesy of Wells Fargo.

Just call him the miracle worker.

It’s not exactly on a par with turning water into wine or feeding the multitudes with a loaf and two fishes, but Franklin Graham’s feat of turning a bank with nearly $2 trillion in assets into a sympathetic, caring symbol is still impressive.

By attacking Wells Fargo Bank for its ad featuring two women in a same-sex relationship, Graham, president of his daddy’s Billy Graham Evangelical Association, has made the bank look progressive.

Depending upon the day and the hour and how much I’ve had to drink, I’m just about the most misanthropic person I know. Yet, the ad that has drawn Graham’s ire and persuaded him to punitively withdraw his organization’s millions from Wells Fargo was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen from a financial institution.

Not to Graham. To the perpetually peeved evangelical minister and CEO of the BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse – when was the last time you heard him praising something rather than attacking? – the ad is the bank’s way of “promoting a godless lifestyle.”

Say what?

Um, about Facebook

Graham said he is withdrawing his bucks and hopes to convince like-minded Christians to do the same. That’s the only way, he said, to send a message to other companies that “promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards.”

The irony which Graham has conveniently overlooked is that he went on Facebook to spread his message: Facebook’s co-founder, Chris Hughes, is married to a man and the company is considered one of the most gay-friendly in the world. But hey, why let a little thing like that get in the way when you’ve got a message of indignation and intolerance to get out?

Nor, it appears, did Graham consider that the bank he chose as the recipient of his group’s substantial largess, BB&T, was a sponsor of the LGBT Gay Pride Parade in Miami last year.

Looks like they’ve got you whichever way you turn, eh, Franklin?

If you haven’t seen it, the ad features two women assiduously studying sign language. After they have become conversant in signing to the point where they can say a few key phrases that any good parent needs – “Are you cold?” “I’m so proud of you,” “What did you learn today?” – they are seen meeting a deaf little girl who they are adopting.

“Hello beautiful,” they say. “We’re going to be your new mommies.”

For heaven’s sake, who can see two people welcoming a motherless child into their lives and have the default emotion be rage?

Franklin Graham, that’s who.

Placing children

I asked Rachel Pratt, CEO of AdoptUSKids, if finding homes for children with medical conditions was more difficult than for other children.

“It sounds like a cliche,” said Pratt, whose New York-based organization works with groups that place children for adoption and raises national awareness about the need for adoption, “but there is a family for every child. You just have to find the right family. A particular family may be really equipped to handle” whatever disability a child has, she said, and some agencies work exclusively to place children with disabilities.

Some of the groups with which AdoptUSKids works, she said, “have had a lot of success placing children with medical difficulties.”

There was nothing overtly sexual about the ad. The two women aren’t groping each other or gazing lasciviously into each other’s eyes while “Let’s Get It On” plays in the background. One tenderly touches her partner’s arm while driving to meet their new daughter, and they clasp hands briefly when meeting the newest member of their family.

“A bank,” Graham wrote, “should be promoting the best interest rates they’re going to give me and what they can do for me as a business. But they should not be trying to get into a moral debate and take sides.”

Dang, that seems like a mercenary attitude for a man of God.

The little girl in the ad that rankled Franklin is unable to hear. Frankly, Franklin, you appear unable to feel.

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