Franklin Graham, an evangelical pastor whose group Samaritan’s Purse required workers to sign an anti-gay pledge at the COVID-19 tent hospital in Central Park in April, took to Facebook on Monday to denounce a Supreme Court ruling stating that it is illegal for businesses to fire people for being gay or transgender.
A set of cases that came before the court had asked the justices to decide whether Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination on the basis of “sex,” applies to gay and transgender people.
Joined by fellow conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s progressive wing, Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Neil Gorsuch issued a landmark 6-3 ruling that Title VII forbids employers from discriminating against workers because they are gay or transgender, paving the way for breakthrough employment protections for LGBTQ people around the country. Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas dissented from the decision.
“As a Bible-believing follower of Jesus Christ, my rights should be protected,” Graham wrote on Facebook about the SCOTUS decision. “Even if my sincerely held religious beliefs might be the minority, I still have a right to hold them. The same holds true for a Christian organization. These are the freedoms our nation was founded on.”
“I believe this decision erodes religious freedoms across this country,” the evangelical Christian preacher continued. “People of sincere faith who stand on God’s Word as their foundation for life should never be forced by the government to compromise their religious beliefs.”
“Christian organizations should never be forced to hire people who do not align with their biblical beliefs and should not be prevented from terminating a person whose lifestyle and beliefs undermine the ministry’s purpose and goals,” he added.
Graham also falsely characterized the landmark Supreme Court ruling, claiming it “enacted a new law that adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the 1964 Civil Rights Act as ‘protected classes.’”
He then linked to a Rolling Stone article about the landmark ruling, which ironically called it “a victory for LGBTQ people and for all Americans who care about justice and fairness.”
The anti-LGBT pastor also told the New York Times on Monday: “No question it is going to make it harder to defend our religious freedom, as far as an organization being able to hire people of like mind. I find this to be a very sad day. I don’t know how this is going to protect us.”