Evangelist Franklin Graham called for a boycott of the Wells Fargo banking chain because he was offended by a commercial featuring a same-sex couple, the Charlotte Observer reported.
“It’s promoting a godless lifestyle,” Graham said. “A bank 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.”
“Have you ever asked yourself–how can we fight the tide of moral decay that is being crammed down our throats by big business, the media, and the gay & lesbian community?” he wrote. “Every day it is something else! Tiffany’s started advertising wedding rings for gay couples. Wells Fargo bank is using a same-sex couple in their advertising. And there are more. But it has dawned on me that we don’t have to do business with them.”
In response, Graham said he was directing his organization, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and supporters currently using Wells Fargo to switch to another bank. The Observer reported that the group reported an income of $107.7 million last year.
Graham said on Monday that he has already identified which bank he intends to use for the association’s finances going forward, but that he has not contacted it. He also defended using Facebook — which has expressed public support for same-sex marriages — to announce his anti-LGBT campaign.
“It’s free,” he told the Observer. “I want to be a good steward of our monies.”
While Graham said he has found a new bank to cater to his followers, The Daily Dot noted that several of the country’s biggest bank and credit card companies, including American Express, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, US Bank and others, have been identified by the Human Rights Campaign as being supportive of the LGBT community.
Economist Ken Thomas also told the Observer that Graham could put the bank he chooses to work with in an awkward position because of the fallout of being associated with his group.
“The bank that takes this account will be in a higher visibility position because you’re going to ask them, ‘What do you think of that ad?'” Thomas said. “They will face some potential reputation risk.”