One-on-one: Franklin Graham talks HB2, President Trump and Rev. Billy Graham's health

Published: Feb. 15, 2017 at 4:12 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2017 at 6:19 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - From Samaritan's Purse to his Decision America tour last year, 64-year-old Reverend Franklin Graham has put in a lot of mileage traveling the world.

During that time, many issues were dividing his home state - the bathroom bill, a contentious presidential election. Graham, who doesn't shy away from giving his unvarnished stance, sat down only with WBTV's Christine Sperow to address some of these issues through the eyes of this man of faith.

He will be the first to tell you he is not a politician, but he is no a stranger to politics either.

When asked about the Charlotte bathroom bill and House Bill 2 Graham says without hesitation, "I blame the mayor [Jennifer Roberts]. I blame the mayor for that. Everything was fine in Charlotte. There wasn't a problem in Charlotte. If a transgender person wanted to use the bathroom they could find a way to use the bathroom. She is the one who passed this ridiculous ordinance. And the governor [Pat McCrory] had no choice and the legislators had no choice but to protect women and children from what I would call sexual predators." He goes on to say, "The safety of our children is far more important than the weirdos that want to force themselves into girls' locker rooms and into women's bathrooms. That's just a shame."

When asked how he feels when people hear a certain tone or rhetoric to his words that may come across as not "very loving" Graham said that "Jesus wasn't real loving sometimes. He called the Pharisees vipers, snakes, white wash tombs. So you have to understand the world in which we live is dangerous."

EXTENDED VIDEO: Click here to hear more from Franklin Graham about HB2 and the Charlotte protests/riots

Danger is no question what their chaplains and volunteers face on the ground when there is a crisis. Whether it's in Mosul where Samaritan's Purse just built a trauma hospital to treat innocent civilians wounded in the fight with ISIS, or when chaplains were on the streets of Charlotte when protests turned violent after the officer-shooting that killed Keith Lamont Scott.

"This is where President Obama made a huge mistake in his presidency. He did not stand behind the police the way he should have," says Graham.

"Do you think the president alone backing law enforcement, verbally saying he's behind law enforcement, would have solved everything?," Sperow asked.

"Not solve everything but sends a message out. That I'm not going to stand by and let y'all do this. You all want to riot and burn your streets guess what we're going to come in there with the federal officers if need be we're going to put a stop to this," Graham replied.

"Obviously there is a trust factor between certain communities and law enforcement," Sperow stated. "There is no question and I understand that," Graham said. "That's something that we work on. How can we, when there is a crisis, how can we respond to a crisis but do it in Jesus' name? Because I think the only one who can heal is the Lord Jesus Christ."

Graham offered his prayers recently at President Donald Trump's inauguration. The presidency so far that has had its share of fireworks.

EXTENDED VIDEO: Franklin Graham on the presidential election and inauguration

"If you were on the phone with him right now would you tell him to tone it down a bit? We're here to unify behind you now," Sperow asked.

"No, I'm not going to tell him to tone it down," Graham responded. "My goodness, he got to where he is by being who he is."

No matter where his travels take him, Graham says every single week he makes time to see his father, Reverend Billy Graham.

"He eats well. His lungs are good. His heart is good. But he's just 98 years of age. He doesn't hear. He can hear some things. He doesn't see very well so communication is difficult with him. So as a result of not being able to understand what people are saying he just kind of shuts down," Graham explains.

EXTENDED VIDEO: Franklin Graham on Rev. Billy Graham's health

"Does he speak when he needs something?" Sperow asks.

"It's very short. Just maybe one or two word kind of sentences:

  • 'Daddy how did you sleep last night?’ He doesn't say anything.
  • 'Daddy how did you sleep last night?? (pauses) ‘Okay’

Of course, you would like to see him like he was 20 years ago. But this is part of life," says Graham.

For Franklin Graham himself, he has no immediate plans to slow down when so many in the mission field need a message of hope.

EXTENDED VIDEO: Click to listen to Franklin Graham's message of Hope

"It takes God. Our nation needs to look God for healing. And we need to look to God for help when it comes to solving problems," says Graham.


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