Billy Graham’s granddaughter: Evangelical leaders are failing us by supporting Trump

The granddaughter of late evangelical Christian leader Billy Graham is accusing current church leaders of spitting on his memory with their continued support of President Trump.

“I have spent my entire life in the church, with every big decision guided by my faith. But now, I feel homeless,” Jerushah Duford wrote in an op-ed for USA Today. “Like so many others, I feel disoriented as I watch the church I have always served turn their eyes away from everything it teaches. I hear from Christian women on a daily basis who all describe the same thing: a tug at their spirit.”

Duford wrote that she often feels that unpleasant “tug” when listening to Trump’s rhetoric, citing his recent comments about scraping an Obama-era rule meant to quash segregation and provide low-income housing. 

“Jesus said repeatedly to defend the poor and show kindness and compassion to those in need. Our president continues to perpetuate an us-versus-them narrative, yet almost all of our church leaders say nothing,” she wrote.

Duford also wrote that the silence from church leaders shows that marginalized communities are “no longer valued by individuals claiming to uphold the values my grandfather taught.”

She specifically noted Trump walking through Lafayette Square to St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C., after tear gas was used on peaceful protesters in front of the White House.

“He held a Bible, something so sacred to all of us, yet he treated that Bible with a callousness that would offend anyone intimately familiar with the words inside it,” Duford wrote. “He believed that action would honor him and only him. However, the church, designed to honor God, said nothing.”

She wrote that the church that she was raised in has become a “laughing stock,” recalling other female members of her family expressing their own discomfort with their family’s support of the Trump administration.

“We represent God before we represented any political party or leader. When we fail to remember this, we are minimizing the role He created for us to fill,” she wrote. “Jesus loved women; He served women; He valued women and we need to give ourselves permission to stand up and do the same.”

Graham, an ordained Southern Baptist minister from North Carolina, died in 2018 at the age of 99 after having risen to national prominence for his televised sermons and crusades. He served as a counselor to a dozen presidents and was known as “America’s Pastor.”

His second-youngest son Franklin Graham — Duford’s uncle — took over his father’s ministries in 2002 and is a loyal supporter of Trump.

Duford told Newsweek that she hasn’t spoken to her uncle, who is scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, but “his voice was a large reason for my speaking out.”

The op-ed comes after she joined the Lincoln Women, the new coalition of Republican women formed by the anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project.

The organization opposes Trump and calls for other women to cast votes for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). 

“Honored to have met and to stand with powerful women who can no longer ignore the tug in their spirit when they look at our country,” she wrote on Twitter.

Tags Billy Graham Billy Graham Christianity Donald Trump evangelical leaders Franklin Graham Jerushah Duford Joe Biden Lincoln Project Lincoln Women St. John's Church

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