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FFRF Asks Pentagon to Cancel Franklin’s Good Friday Sermon

(Madison, Wis.) The Freedom From Religion Foundation has written Army Col. George Campbell Jr., asking that he cancel a scheduled Good Friday sermon for Pentagon employees featuring the Rev. Franklin Graham.

Muslim Pentagon employees first exposed the situation, criticizing Graham because of his history of inflammatory comments, such as calling Islam “wicked and violent.”

“Certainly, we can be assured the Army would never invite an imam or other nonChristian guest speaker who used such vituperative language in denouncing Christianity,” noted Foundation spokesperson Annie Laurie Gaylor.

“More important, we protest in principle the scheduling of any formal religious services at the Pentagon, on federal property and presumably during office hours. The idea behind chaplains serving the military was presumably to permit access to religious services by soldiers far away from home. There is no shortage of churches in Washington, D.C., where Pentagon and Army employees may go on their own, if they wish to observe Good Friday.”

Campbell, identified as the Pentagon’s deputy chaplain, has refused to cancel the Graham invitation. He told Stars and Stripes on Wednesday: “The service on Friday is not a political service. It is a service of worship. I don’t anticipate Rev. Graham will talk about anything except the death and resurrection of Christ.”

“It is precisely for that reason that the service is unconstitutional and highly inappropriate,” Gaylor wrote Campbell.

The Foundation pointed out that many courts around the country have barred the government from formally observing Good Friday, such as in the case of FFRF v. Tommy Thompson, 95-C-634-S, (February 1996) in which U.S. District Court Judge John Shabaz overturned Wisconsin’s Good Friday state holiday. Shabaz noted the holiday had the “undisputed effect of favoring Christianity over other religions.”

“The controversy around this is more proof of the divisiveness of religion in government. Government should not be sponsoring, observing or endorsing religious holidays. Rev. Graham and his theology should not be receiving the Pentagon stamp of approval,” Gaylor added.

The Foundation also requested information on the honorarium and other benefits offered to Franklin.

Call, fax or email the Office of the Chaplain now:

Army Col. George Campbell Jr.
Office of Chaplain
Headquarters Service
6608 Army – Rm. 1E443
Washington DC 20310-6608
Phone: 703/695-3336
Fax: 703/697-5638

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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