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Rev. Franklin Graham Slams Target for Eliminating 'Gender Specific' Labels, Encourages Christians to Shop Where Gender Differences Are 'Appreciated'

( [email protected] ) Aug 11, 2015 02:33 PM EDT
Franklin Graham has criticized Target for its decision to back away from gender-specific signage and encouraged Christians to let the retail giant know they are "perfectly willing to shop where the genders God created are appreciated."
In a statement released on its website, Target announced it will still divide children's clothing by gender for fit and sizing purposes, but aims to remove sex-specific labels for toys, bedding, entertainment and other areas. Reuters

Franklin Graham has criticized Target for its decision to back away from gender-specific signage and encouraged Christians to let the retail giant know they are "perfectly willing to shop where the genders God created are appreciated."

In a recent post published on his official Facebook page, Graham, who is the son of prominent evangelist Billy Graham and the president of humanitarian organization Samaritan's Purse, first accused Target of "forgetting who has made their stores strong."

"It's not gender-neutral people out there-it's working American families, fathers and mothers with boys and girls they love," he writes. "What's next? Are they going to try to make people believe that pink or blue baby showers are politically incorrect? I have news for them and for everyone else-God created two different genders. Jesus said, 'Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female' (Matthew 19:4). You can't get any clearer than that."

Graham's comments were made in response to the department store chain's announcement that it will soon go "gender neutral" in its stores by eliminating the colors blue and pink in displays and signage and getting rid of the words "boys" and "girls" on clothing and toys wherever possible.

In a statement posted to the corporation's website, Target claimed that it "puts a lot of thought into how things are organized" in its stores and that the corporation is "listening" to customers who want a change.

"Over the past year, guests have raised important questions about a handful of signs in our stores that offer product suggestions based on gender," the statement reads.

"We heard you, and we agree," the statement continues. "Right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance. For example, in the kids' Bedding area, signs will no longer feature suggestions for boys or girls, just kids. In the Toys aisles, we'll also remove reference to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of our shelves. You'll see these changes start to happen over the next few months."

Some, like Rachel Simmons, gender activist and co-founder of the group Girls Leadership, have praised the move.

"It's a huge deal that Target is going gender-neutral because Target is a trendsetter," she told ABC News. "Retailers have an incredible opportunity here. They're opening up a whole world of possibility for these kids."

However, in continuing his Facebook comments, Graham encouraged Christians to "let Target know what you think."

"Let them know that you are perfectly willing to shop where the genders God created are appreciated. (1-800-440-0680) Target is way off-target on this one!" he writes.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the post had been shared over 31,000 times and "liked" another 64, 879 times, with many people writing comments echoing Graham's sentiments.

"I will no longer shop at Target. How sad that they think they have to go along with a few people who obviously don't know the Lord," wrote Linda Kasten Henning.

"I like having the two separate. It's easier to find what I am looking for. I have girls and I don't want to search all over to find what I am looking for. Come on, we were created different, male and female, not the two in one," added Marisol Garcia.