Raleigh, N.C. — After meeting with Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney earlier this month, the Rev. Billy Graham bought newspaper advertisements widely viewed as a tacit endorsement of the GOP nominee.
"I strong urge you to vote for candidates who support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms. The Bible speaks clearly on these crucial issues. Please join me in praying for America, that we will turn our hearts back toward God," reads copy from one version of the ad.
The North Carolina NAACP will hold a news conference in Charlotte this morning to push back against this message. The group says that Graham's "ultra-conservative" version of Christianity is not the only one that ought to inform the electorate:
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President of the North Carolina NAACP, and a diverse group of statewide religious leaders, will conduct a News Conference on Monday, 10 A.M. in Charlotte, NC. The ministers will present a values perspective that sharply differs from those espoused in recent full-page ads paid for by Franklin Graham's "Billy Graham Evangelistic Association."
Rev. Barber said, "While we love and respect our brothers and sisters in the faith, the ultra-conservative Religious Right's perspective on values is often incomplete and devoid of a justice critique that ought to dominate any serious examination of the Christian faith and the teachings of Jesus Christ."
Joining Rev. Barber are Rev. Dr. Gregory Moss, president of the Lott Carey Foundation, Rev. Dr. John Mendez of the General State Baptist Convention, leaders of the NC Council of Churches and representatives from other denominations who will be announced at the news conference, collectively representing thousands of churches in North Carolina. The group will also release an Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham, CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which bought the paid advertisements.
"The values people ought to consider when voting this year are: 1) economic sustainability, addressing poverty, full employment and labor rights, 2) educational equality for all students and children, 3) healthcare for all and ensuring access to Medicare and Medicaid, 4) addressing the continuing inequalities in the criminal justice system for black, brown and poor white people, 5) protecting, defending and expanding voting rights for all people," Rev. Barber said.