Famed evangelist Franklin Graham's announcement that he is moving funds for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association from Wells Fargo to BB&T in protest of the former's recent inclusion of a same-sex couple in a video ad has sparked both support and furor.
But amid the wide-ranging responses, Graham's critics have been quick to claim that there's a glaring problem with the preacher's decision: the new bank that he chose reportedly has a history of supporting pro-gay causes.
According to Right Wing Watch, BB&T sponsored this year's Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade as well as a celebration for same-sex couples who have been together for 10 years or more.
This news comes after Graham appeared on the Family Research Council's "Washington Watch" radio show, where he announced that he would be moving funds to BB&T.
Rev. Franklin Graham (AP)
"I want a bank to tell me what the interest rates are going to pay, what my services charges are and I don't think they should be getting involved in these kind of issues. They ought to stay focused on banking," he said of Wells Fargo. "We're closing our accounts at Wells Fargo and we're moving them to another bank here in North Carolina — BB&T, that is a good bank."
In a statement issued to the Miami Herald earlier this year, a representative for BB&T said that the company was "proud" to sponsor the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade. But a representative for BB&T said this week that, while the bank does have a strong history of supporting various causes, this does not mean that the company endorses the messages espoused by those organizations.
“Our mission is to help our clients achieve economic success and financial security regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity," bank spokeswoman Cynthia Williams told the Charlotte Observer. "BB&T embraces diversity and inclusion for our associates and in all aspects of our business. However, we do not take formal positions on non-banking or social issues."
As TheBlaze previously reported, Graham posted a Facebook message on Friday that encouraged Christians to use the power of their purchases to make their views and values known.
“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? Every day it is something else!” Franklin wrote. “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.”
With some companies openly supporting homosexuality, Graham said that he’s been considering ways in which he and other Christians can make their voices heard and push back against the actions and messages coming from these businesses.
It was then that he announced that his organization — the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association — would be moving its funds to another bank, using the Facebook post to encourage other Christians to take similar actions.
“Guess what — we don’t have to shop at Tiffany & Co., there are plenty of other jewelry stores. This is one way we as Christians can speak out—we have the power of choice,” he wrote. “Let’s just stop doing business with those who promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards. Maybe if enough of us do this, it will get their attention.”