Franklin Graham, evangelical pastor and president of international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse, said this week President Donald Trump's attempt to protect America from harm is "not a Bible issue." During an interview about Trump's executive orders issued on Friday to impose a four-month refugee freeze into the United States, Graham said there is a difference between showing love and putting lives at risk.
"We want to love people, we want to be kind to people, we want to be considerate, but we have a country, and a country should have order and there are laws that relate to immigration and I think we should follow those laws," he added. "Because of the dangers we see today in this world, we need to be very careful."
Graham said despite the length of the process for vetting refugees, experience has shown it needs to be better.
However, Trump's new vetting procedures for anyone allowed into the United States are meeting stiff criticisms, with two Christian, visa-approved Syrian families unexpectedly turned away at the Philadelphia International Airport Saturday, and major technology company leader expressing major concerns about safely getting their employees returned back to families in the United States. Protesters in cities across the United States continue Sunday to express disdain about the travel ban.
Graham, son of the famous evangelist Billy Graham, has stood firmly behind Trump's administration since the election, joining the president's "Thank You" tour and offering a Bible reading at the inauguration.
Some people this weekend are questioning Graham's true values as it pertains to those in need of security from persecution, as his Samaritan's Purse organization takes its name from the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan, who went out of his way to help a stranger whose life was in danger.
Facebook friend Imran Khan, for example, posted on Graham's page: "What's your take on situational ethics? How would Christ handle the situation of Syrian refugees? By driving them away on the suspicion of terrorism or extending his merciful arms to receive those who have been wronged and driven away from their country? Would he endorse Trump's brand of Christianity where, as long as you vote against abortions, you can turn a blind eye to oppression against Muslim women and children, cast suspicion on others simply because they practice a different religion and turn them away in their hour of need?"
"Christianity divorced from love and empathy of fellow human beings is no Christianity," stated Khan.
The United States admitted about 18,000 Syrian refugees since conflict erupted in Syria in 2011. Those who come into the U.S. must submit to a rigorous vetting process that takes from 18 to 24 months and requires the involvement of multiple law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies. Just a little more than 50 percent of applicants reportedly pass this screening process, the majority of whom are women and children. The other half include both denials and cases that are pending.
Graham said he thinks vetting process isn't good enough. "There are some very dangerous people in the world today, especially coming out of the Middle East. We need to be very careful."