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Franklin Graham Slams Fort Riley's 'Sickening' Decision To Drop Delta Force Hero from Prayer Breakfast after Atheist Complaint

( [email protected] ) Jun 06, 2016 11:00 AM EDT
Evangelist Franklin Graham has criticized Fort Riley's decision to postpone a prayer breakfast that would have featured retired Lt. General William "Jerry" Boykin, an original member of Delta Force, because of his Christian faith.
William G. "Jerry" Boykin was the United States Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under President George W. Bush from 2002 to 2007 and is a conservative Christian AP Photo

Evangelist Franklin Graham has criticized Fort Riley's decision to postpone a prayer breakfast that would have featured retired Lt. General William "Jerry" Boykin, an original member of Delta Force, because of his conservative Christian values.

According to a report from Fox News, Boykin, an executive with the Family Research Council, accepted an invitation to deliver remarks at the June 6 prayer breakfast in conjunction with the 1st Infantry Division's Victory Week celebration back in March.

However, last week, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation filed a protest with the military base in Kansas, calling Boykin "homophobic, Islamophobic, fundamental Christian extremist."

"He sows hatred and heinous divisiveness with his sickening screed of fundamentalist Christian supremacy, primacy, exclusivity and triumphalism," Military Religious Freedom Foundation founder Mikey Weinstein wrote in a complaint to Fort Riley.

Within 24 hours, Fort Riley said the prayer breakfast would be rescheduled without Boykin "in an effort to ensure everyone in our broad and very diverse community feels welcome at any event on Fort Riley."

In a message shared on Facebook last week, Graham called the decision "sickening" and accused Weinsten of being an "anti-Christian bully."

"It is unbelievable that our country has fallen to this point and that Christianity is the only thing it's okay to be intolerant of and discriminate against," he wrote. "Excuse me, General Boykin's first amendment rights still exist, and so do those of everyone who wants to hear him speak."

Weinstein also told the Army Times that his group fielded 131 complaints against Boykin, saying "I have clients of ours weeping on the phone about this."

However, Boykin told Fox News contributor Todd Starnes that the move is "just another reminder of the incredible discrimination against Christians in our armed forces."

"I sincerely doubt that America can expect to win wars if the people who are tasked to do so are frightened by an old retired general with biblical views and a testimony of faith," Boykin said.

This is not the first time Boykin has found himself at the center of a controversy: Earlier this year, Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia reversed its decision to fire the retired Army Lt. as a visiting professor after reports that he had been removed over his comments on transgender bathrooms.

According to reports, the all-male college was pressured by LGBT groups to fire Boykin due to his comment, "... the first man who goes in the restroom with my daughter will not have to worry about surgery."

"Because some of you already know and are contacting me about it, let me make it official and let you all know that I have been terminated from teaching at Hampden-Sydney College after nine years there," Boykin wrote on Facebook in May explaining the case.

"Hampden Sydney is the 10th oldest college in America and is one of the two men's colleges left in ‪#‎America. ... The bottom line is that I oppose these so called '‪#‎Bathroom‬' bills that let men go into women's locker rooms, showers, and toilets and I have been very public about it. When I said in Orlando that '... the first man who goes in the restroom with my daughter will not have to worry about surgery,' the LGBT community once again came after me, claiming that I was calling for violence against ‪#‎transgender‬ people."

He explained, "Well, that is simply not the case and I have never called for violence against anyone. I was referring to perverts who will use these policies to get into locker rooms with girls and women, and I object to that. ... Nonetheless, I gave the LGBT community just what they needed to pressure the college leadership to terminate me and they did."

The college reportedly reversed its decision after numerous people publicly defended Gen. Boykin.

"There is strength in unified numbers," Boykin was quoted as saying after the college reversed its decision to fire him. "The radical left and LGBT activists completely underestimate the impact of freedom-loving Americans banding together to protect our First Amendment freedoms."

He continued, "Never cave in when you know that you are standing for what is right and true, for these are the principles that made this nation great. Stand, even if it means you lose your job. Stand, even if it means you lose your life. The founding principles of this nation are worth defending, even if it costs you."