Picture of Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

10 Ways The Ideologies Of ISIS and Franklin Graham Are Near-Identical

There are two things I can expect to show up in my newsfeed each morning: Franklin Graham, and ISIS.

Franklin Graham has risen to prominence in the past few years, though in a far different way than his father. While Billy was an Evangelist, Franklin Graham has achieved notoriety as more of a commentator who espouses a religion where God and country, church and state, are paired off in a strange and unholy marriage. These days, Franklin is actually touring the country state by state– not to preach the Gospel like his father, but to rally a political force ahead of the November election (something his father, a Democrat, never did).

A key theme in the daily antics of Franklin Graham is overt Islamophobia. Not more than a day or two go by without him spreading fear about our Muslim neighbors, as if every Muslim is a card carrying member of ISIS.

His hyper fixation on Islam and ISIS led me to wonder: is there really much difference between what ISIS is trying to do, and what Franklin Graham is trying to do? I found a few commonalities, but I’ll let you be the judge:

10. They both believe that culture has become too liberal and turned away from God.

If you listen to Franklin or an Imam who is affiliated with ISIS, you’ll hear a very similar definition of the problem of our time: culture has grown too liberal and needs to return to the ways of God. In fact, if one were to look at their list of complaints about culture,  you’d find they agree in more areas than they don’t. Sure, Franklin and ISIS may hate each other, but they sure do hate a lot of the same things.

9. They both want their religious views enshrined into law.

Neither side is content with quietly living out their own religious beliefs and adhering to their own religious laws. Both sides want their own version of Sharia law– they just derive that law from different places. Franklin has his 50 state Decision America tour, and they have their quest for a caliphate– but both aim to accomplish the same thing: making their own religious views the law of the land.

8. They both want to punish those who refuse to follow their religious laws.

One cannot have laws if those laws are not enforced, and all laws are ultimately enforced by violence or the threat of violence. Whether it’s a public beheading or throwing someone in jail for 30 years, the principle is the same: punishing those who do not follow your own moral code.

7. They both do outrageous things on social media to draw more attention to themselves and their cause.

ISIS relies heavily on using social media to spread their ideology, and you know who else does? Franklin Graham, that’s who. They’re both playing the same game, and using the same tool.

6. They both want culture to reflect their own personal views on gender and gender roles.

Both ISIS and Franklin Graham seem obsessed with gender roles. One side polices who can go to school based on their gender, while the other wants to police who can pee depending on their gender, or which color toy they can play with. The obsession is the same, folks: both want dictate their own versions of gender-appropriate behavior.

5. They both want to push LGBTQ individuals into the shadows of society.

You’d think the issue of how to treat LGBTQ individuals would be an area where the two would come together and openly high-five each other. Franklin Graham believes that being LGBTQ is a horrible sin that God instituted the death penalty for, and says we must protect our kids from other LGBTQ children– not even allowing them in church. ISIS believes the same thing, and is more faithful to the OT than Franklin is in this case. Either way, both openly advocate that LGBTQ people be denied the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

4. They both want to keep Muslims out of America.

Now, here’s where the two sides really come together and work as a cohesive team. ISIS is trying to build a caliphate, and need all the people they can get. One of their main goals is to convince countries to refuse Muslim refugees so that these people have no place to turn but to the caliphate. Franklin Graham has played right into this goal of ISIS, and has openly advocated that the United States close its doors to Muslim immigrants. I’ll be surprised if he hasn’t received a thank you card yet.

3. They are both willing to use violence to destroy the other.

ISIS, of course, is waging war– but so is Franklin Graham. The only difference between the two is that ISIS is fighting directly, and Franklin is fighting by proxy. Franklin wants them dead just as much as they want people dead, but he is doing it by encouraging the government to do it on his behalf. Both wage war, both are okay with the collateral damage of war (innocent people dying), and both see violence as the ultimate solution.

Both are rooted in the same broken ideology– they just go about it slightly differently.

2. They are both desperate to recruit like-minded people to their cause.

Franklin Graham and ISIS are both involved in a heavy campaign to recruit larger numbers. ISIS does it by force and propaganda, while Franklin is a bit more cunning. Instead of by force, Franklin’s building his alliance via tours to all 50 states, and plenty of social media propaganda of his own– the force part will come later when they are strong enough to take over. But let us be clear: both sides are doing the same thing. They are both trying to amass a following large enough to take this show on the road.

1. They both want to spread their ideology across the globe.

I have no doubt that the end goal of ISIS and that of Franklin Graham is the same: they both want to spread their ideology across the globe. Since both sides are in a quest for power, it’s an easy call to predict that no amount of power will ever be enough for either one of them. Neither will be satisfied until everyone finds themselves under their religious laws.

And to all that I say, no thanks.

The question I’m wrestling with is, “What’s the difference between the ideology of Franklin Graham and that of ISIS?”

The best answer I can come up with is, “Not much.”

Picture of Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

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12 Responses

  1. Not sure how I got to your blog. I’m thinking I was looking for some information about church history or some other type of theological insight, ended up in your blog. Which I have to say, interesting blog. Just began reading some of your stuff. Not sure if I understand your point of view, or what your intentions are??, again, just got here.
    In regards to this post, I don’t know much about F.G, I knew more about his dad, but who hasn’t. And to be honest, I seen him on tv a few times and I don’t think I like him too much, I guess that’s why I do not know a lot about him.

    Now, I consider myself a “semi conservative libertarian” if there is such thing.
    My opinion on points 4 and 4.
    #4. Not all muslims are the same and I’m thinking F.G meant banning muslims from the U.S not America. America is not the U.S but the U.S is in America. Just like christianity, Islam is divided into many different ideologies, and as you know, one is the radical Islam which is not different from roman catholicism crusades. can we ban radical muslims terrorists? I think we have enough terrorism in the U.S of A. Maybe that would be a better idea.
    #5. I agree that all U.S citizens have the right to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So what is really the point here??, and I go back to the lack of respect for individual liberties from both sides. Anyone can be what they prefer to be in this country, I really don’t care. But, the problem is the extremes. FG may be a extremist conservative and then we have the extremist liberals who want everyone else to accept their ideologies as well. So where do we find the balance?? Do I care that everyone is treated with respect? you bet I do. Do I care about LGBTQ idelogies, no I don’t. Why? because is all wrong and based on_____?, love is love?? really? but we live in a free country, so be who you want to be, i have nothing to do with it.
    The rest of the points in the article, I either don’t know much about or just really, find them just not appealing, or not interested in them.

    Thanks. I will continue to read your blogs.

  2. Thank you for your sharing. I am worried that I lack creative ideas. It is your article that makes me full of hope. Thank you. But, I have a question, can you help me?

  3. Thank you for speaking out against Franklin Graham. I believe he has sights on the presidency. He is a religious xenophobe, and the most dangerous man in America.

  4. The ignorance of Islamic doctrine by those on this site is only matched by the ignorance of what Franklin stands for. Dumbfounding!

  5. Fundamentalism all stems from the same set of beliefs. They are just evidenced differently, depending on the religion.

  6. Ben, if you really think Graham’s ‘ideology’ is the same as Isis, why dont you just stop listening to what he says? Seems like a bit of a waste of time. I have no interest in barbarians like Isis, so I don’t listen to them.

  7. No religion is innately peaceful or violent: It is merely a tool. Take an extremist ideology, change the religion and beliefs and it is still the same. Americans have been taught to be scared of Muslims and Sharia but that has blinded us to the ideology within.

  8. An excellent commentary as always, Dr. Corey.

    Who will dare tell Franklin Graham and his defenders about Jesus? Will they listen? Let’s look for evidence:

  9. Ok, comparing Franklin to ISIS is just ridiculous. I mean he can be a blowhard, but comparing him to ISIS is just blowing things out of proportions. You guys get mad when the right does these kinds of comparisons, so doing the same makes you not so different from your opponents.

    1. For real? It’s not like he made some general, baseless statement that these two were the same. He actually focused on their core beliefs and goals, and laid out a specific case where they share ten things in common. He’s backed up his comparison with ten examples. If you disagree, fine, but explain why these ten examples are wrong.

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