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Franklin Graham Offers 'Simple Advice' To Americans Stopped By Police: 'Follow Their Instructions'

( [email protected] ) Sep 26, 2016 02:09 PM EDT
Evangelist Franklin Graham has responded to the racial tensions that have resurfaced over the past two years and shared some cautionary advice for Americans of all races when interacting with authorities.
The Black Lives Matter movement campaigns against what it calls police brutality in the United States against African-Americans AP photo

Evangelist Franklin Graham has responded to the racial tensions that have resurfaced over the past two years and shared some cautionary advice for Americans of all races when interacting with authorities.

In a Facebook post shared over the weekend, Billy Graham's son explained he simply wants to help Americans "survive to live another day."

"Listen up, whites, blacks, Latinos, and everybody else. I've said it before, and I'm going to say it again," Graham began. "If you're stopped by law enforcement, here's some simple advice-Follow their instructions!"

According to Graham, there's "no question" that there are "too many avoidable shootings." However, he urged those who are stopped by law enforcement - no matter your race, the time or the place - to simply follow the officer's' instructions.

In doing so, you can "greatly diminish your chances of getting shot," the leader of Samaritan's Purse contended.

"Just do what the officer says!," Graham wrote. "If they say 'Stop,' then stop. If they say, 'Lie down,' then lie down. If they say, 'Put your hands up,' then put your hands up."

Even if you feel the police officer is in the wrong, the 64-year-old evangelist still advised to follow instructions and "don't argue."

"That doesn't mean mistakes aren't going to be made, but heeding this advice may save your life," he said. "No matter what our skin color, we all bleed red. We're all human beings created by God-and every life matters."

Graham's latest advice comes as issue of police using deadly force continues to divide the United States, sparking protests in a number of cities across the country, including Charlotte, North Carolina, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Last year, the Graham wrote a similar post following the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, drawing criticism from a number of religious leaders who penned a letter accusing the evangelist of being "oblivious to the racial inequity in this country's policing and criminal justice system, which is also still deeply embedded in our American society."

"At worst, your post reflects your own racial biases - unconscious or conscious," read the letter, signed by evangelical leaders including Rev Leroy Barber (CCDA and Word Made Flesh), Gilliard (New Hope Oakland), Dr Brian Bantum (Seattle Pacific University), Micky ScottBey Jones (Transform Network) and Efrem Smith (World Impact).

"Your comments betrayed the confidence that your brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those of color, have afforded your father's ministry for decades," it continued. "Your instructions oversimplified a complex and critical problem facing the nation and minimized the testimonies and wisdom of people of color and experts of every hue, including six police commissioners that served on the president's task force on policing reform."

Last week, Graham urged Christians to unite in prayer amid ongoing racial tension: "What does work is prayer," he said. "And I encourage individuals, pastors, and churches of all denominations across the city of Charlotte, the state and across the country to pray.

"Our city is in trouble not just politically and economically - it's in trouble racially, and only God can fix that."

Graham's organization, the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, based in Charlotte, sent a Rapid Response Team of chaplains to minister to people participating in the violent protests in Charlotte. The evangelist shared a video on his Facebook page showing aid workers talking to marchers and administering hugs.

Tags : Franklin Graham, #BlackLivesMatter, protest, riot, police brutality, Charlotte, Tulsa