Franklin Graham, President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has responded to Marvel Comic's revelation that Bobby Drake, otherwise known as classic X-Men member Iceman, is gay, calling it "another attempt to indoctrinate our young people to accept this destructive lifestyle."
The latest issue of comic All-New X-Men, which hit stores yesterday, reveals a young Iceman to be gay after a long conversation with Jean Grey, who uses her telepathic ability to tell him the "truth."
After first denying it and then considering that he might be "bisexual," Iceman decides that after all, he is gay. In response, Jean says, "It doesn't matter to me or anyone else," and the two hug.
In a statement to ABC News, Brian Michael Bendis, the writer of the book, said, "There are thousands if not millions of stories of people who, for many different reasons, felt the need to hide their sexuality. The X-Men, with the conceit of time travel, give us a fascinating platform in which to examine such personal journeys. This is just the first little chapter of a much larger story that will be told."
While Marvel's decision to reveal Iceman's sexuality has been praised by numerous LGBT groups, prominent Christian leader Franklin Graham has voiced his disappointment over the move.
"Today the Marvel comic character Ice Man, from the "X-Men" series, is coming out as gay," Franklin Graham, CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association wrote on his Facebook page. "This is another attempt to indoctrinate our young people to accept this destructive lifestyle.
Graham, who is also the CEO of humanitarian organization Samaritan's Purse, noted that Christians should be outraged by Marvel's decision, as the Bible clearly states homosexuality is a sin.
"God's Word says homosexuality is a sin, and we are to be on guard against all sin," he continues. "God calls us to repent, turn from our sins, and put our trust in His Son Jesus Christ who died and rose again to pay the penalty for sin."
Iceman is one of the original "X-men" and has been a popular team figure since 1963. According to the Wall Street Journal, this latest announcement regarding his sexuality follows a series of changes to Marvel's classic characters in an attempt to draw a new generation of readers. The company previously announced that Thor would be a woman in a new version of that comic, while Captain America would be black.
This is not the first time Marvel Comics has shown public support for homosexuality. In 1992, the company made headlines by revealing that Northstar, a Canadian superhero associated with Alpha Flight and the X-Men, was gay. Twenty years later, the character married his longtime partner Kyle in Astonishing X-Men #51.
At the time, One Million Moms, a project of the American Family Association, denounced the decision, warning that Comic book companies could influence a child's view of the world.
"Children desire to be just like superheroes. Children mimic superhero actions and even dress up in costumes to resemble these characters as much as possible. Can you imagine little boys saying, "I want a boyfriend or husband like X-Men?," the organization's statement began.
"This is ridiculous! Why do adult gay men need comic superheroes as role models? They don't but do want to indoctrinate impressionable young minds by placing these gay characters on pedestals in a positive light," the statement added. "These companies are heavily influencing our youth by using children's superheroes to desensitize and brainwash them in thinking that a gay lifestyle choice is normal and desirable. As Christians, we know that homosexuality is a sin (Romans 1:26-27)."