Rev. Franklin Graham has issued a reminder that "all lives matter" because all people are created in the image of God in response to the execution of Deputy Darren Goforth, who was shot in the back Friday night in what authorities described as an unprovoked killing.
CNN reports that Deputy Goforth was shot multiple times by 47-year-old Shannon J. Miles while he was pumping gas in Houston, Texas. The 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff's Office, who is believed to have been targeted only because of his uniform, died at the scene in "an unprovoked, execution-style killing," Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said.
"I have been in law enforcement (for) 45 years," the sheriff said. "I don't recall another incident this cold-blooded and cowardly."
Graham, who is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, took to Facebook on Monday morning to extend his condolences to Deputy Goforth's family and offer a sober reminder regarding eternity.
"The Bible says, 'Blessed are the peacemakers.' That's what our police and law enforcement officers are-and I thank God for them," the 63-year-old evangelist writes. "Without them there would be anarchy. Hickman said there was a 'dangerous national rhetoric' regarding police. Do black lives matter? Absolutely. Do white lives matter? Absolutely. Every life matters because Almighty God created all of us, and every soul will spend eternity in either heaven or hell."
Billy Graham's son concludes: "Where your soul spends eternity depends on one thing-whether or not you have trusted Jesus Christ in repentance and faith as your Lord and Savior. Make sure of your eternal destination today."
Graham's comments reflect those made by Hickman, who, at a press conference following the shooting, charged that the rhetoric of the national protest movements over the death of several unarmed black men at the hands of white - and sometimes black - police officers have sparked anti-police sentiments and racial tensions.
"When the rhetoric ramps up to the point where calculated, cold-blooded assassination of police officers happen, this rhetoric has gotten out of control," Hickman said.
"We have heard 'black lives matter,' 'all lives matter.' Well, cops' lives matter, too," Hickman said. "Why don't we just drop the qualifier and say, 'lives matter?' Take that to the bank."
Goforth, who leaves behind a wife and two children, was white. Miles, who is black, has been charged with capital murder.
Over the weekend, Goforth's wife, Kathleen, released a statement remembering her husband as "fiercely loyal" and "ethical" man whose "internal compass" was guided by the "right thing to do."
"I admired this quality, perhaps the most. For that's what made Darren good and he was good," she writes. "So, if people want to know what kind of man he was....this is it. He was who you wanted for a friend, a colleague and a neighbor. However, it is I who was blessed so richly that I had the privilege of calling him my husband and my best friend."
Meanwhile, more than thousand people lined West Road in Cypress Sunday evening, walking in support of Goforth. Additionally, donations have added up to nearly $50,000 so far to be given to the Goforth family, ABC News reports.