Evangelist Franklin Graham is being deluged with criticism over an appearance on Fox News Digital, where he suggested to host Maureen Mackey that prayer might influence Russian President Vladimir Putin and "change his heart."
Making his appeal on Good Friday, the Christian leader praised the people of Ukraine, whose country Putin has invaded, and told the host, "I admire them, and we want to do all that we can to help them. It’s a mess. It’s going to get worse, I’m afraid. And what President Putin’s end game is, I don’t know. But I think we just need to pray that God can change his heart.”
Taking to Twitter, he wrote, "From Good Friday through Orthodox Easter on April 24, I’m asking Christians to join me in 10 days of prayer for the people of Ukraine and an end to the conflict."
However, asking Christians to pray for Putin -- and calling the unprovoked Russian invasion a "conflict" -- was a bridge too far for some of his critics who piled on him as you can see below:
It\u2019s NOT a conflict. It\u2019s a WAR initiated by autocratic Putin, your apparent buddy.— Kristina (@Kristina) 1650057925
I say this freely and without pressure from any outside source, Franklin Graham and ALL the \u201cchristians\u201d on the right and faux news can F*#K all the way off!— John Turley (@John Turley) 1650131022
I think it'd be best to pray for Franklin Graham, so that God May illuminate Franklin as to what Putin is all about...— Roberto Sonnenberger (@Roberto Sonnenberger) 1650130713
Why don\u2019t you preach to your Killer Friend Putin\u2026he\u2019s committing the biggest sin by Killing innocent people. Tell him to stop this war instead of asking him to cease fire which was a ridiculous request! How did that go?— Vangie Curry (@Vangie Curry) 1650129000
It's a WAR, Frankie. Are you that afraid of Putin? What tapes does e have on you?pic.twitter.com/qE3lcVY5Tr— Dan Ceppa (@Dan Ceppa) 1650060574
You pervert the word of God. No man who praises Putin can say he has the lord in his heart. Repent you charlatan.— Ant Langley (@Ant Langley) 1650125672
A hypocrite giving a sermon on a show that is part of the Russian propaganda news agency. No thanks— Richard Salas (@Richard Salas) 1650131899
.@Franklin_Graham buddying up to Putin since at least 2015, just before Trump's run for Presidency. #Coincidencepic.twitter.com/JFSu4gBtB7— Bill Wong (@Bill Wong) 1650129435
I\u2019m not going to to waste one prayer for Putin\u2019s \u201cchange of heart\u201d. My prayer is for Putin having his heart removed by Ukrainians, head on a stick.— FenderBender901 (@FenderBender901) 1650146372