Sarah Palin is defending evangelist Franklin Graham after he was uninvited to chair a major Pentagon event next month, in light of his inflammatory remarks against Islam.
“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s truly a sad day when such a fine patriotic man, whose son is serving on his fourth deployment in Afghanistan to protect our freedom of speech and religion, is dis-invited from speaking at the PentagonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s National Day of Prayer service,” Palin wrote in a Facebook post Friday.
The same “fine patriotic man” said in 2001: “We’re not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He’s not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a different God and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion.”
Five years later he told ABC News his views hadn’t changed, reiterating the position last year on CNN. Yesterday, he appeared on Fox News and commented, “I want Muslims everywhere to know that Christ can come into their heart and change them… They don’t have to die in a car bomb to be accepted by God. They can be free through faith in Jesus Christ and Christ alone.”
Palin claimed said his comments were “aimed at those who are so radical that they would kill innocent people and subjugate women in the name of religion” and lamented as a “shame” America’s “hyper-politically correct” culture.
In her defense of Franklin Graham, she also referred to his son as “serving on his fourth deployment in Afghanistan to protect our freedom of speech and religion.”
An Army spokesman confirmed Thursday that evangelist Franklin Graham’s invitation to chair the May 6 Pentagon event was withdrawn over objections to his statements on Muslims.
“This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue,” Col. Tom Collins told ABC News.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) praised the Army’s decision.
“We applaud this decision as a victory for common sense and good judgment,Ã¢â‚¬Â Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement. “Promoting one’s own religious beliefs is something to be defended and encouraged, but other faiths should not be attacked or misrepresented in the process.”
The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent critiqued the media’s relative lack of interest in Palin’s defense of a sweeping generalization about Muslims. “Palin attacks Obama = huge news. Palin attacks entire Islamic religion = crickets,” he Tweeted.
“How would conservative pundits, shouting heads, bloggers and politicians react,” wondered David Corn of Politics Daily, “if a leading American imam decried Christianity as an “evil” religion and then was invited to participate at a National Day of Prayer event at the Pentagon”?
–Sahil Kapur contributed