Reverend Franklin Graham is condemning the National Football League for taking a bold stance against Christians in its support of LGBT activists, who are pressing the NFL to bypass Atlanta, Georgia, as a future Super Bowl host over a religious freedom protection bill.
Gov. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) is currently debating signing the bill that would protect a number of religious freedoms across the Peach State, and Graham has called Christians to pray for Georgia’s chief politician to make the right decision.
The son of iconic the world evangelist, Billy Graham, argues that it is unconscionable that the NFL is threatening to remove Atlanta from its list of potential Super Bowl locations — as it continues to succumb to the political pressure applied by those ascribing to the homosexual agenda.
"Atlanta is a great location for the Super Bowl, but the NFL has come out against Georgia's religious exemptions bill, threatening that it could impact Atlanta's consideration in the Super Bowl selection process for 2019 and 2020," the younger Graham shared via a social media post, according to Charisma News. "LGBT forces and corporate super powers are using this threat to try to stop the bill that would protect pastors from performing same-sex marriages and give faith-based organizations permission to deny use of their facilities for things outside their religious beliefs."
An influx of LGBT activists and corporate interests have expressed that they are outraged at the city of Atlanta for even considering the religious liberty bill. They insist that moving forward with the legislation will likely take the capital city out of the running to be a Super Bowl host in the near future.
Many Christians view the bill as necessary in order to protect their freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution — a right that allows them to live out their faith despite the recent awarding of special protections given to the LGBT community that forces believers to violate their sincerely held Christian beliefs … or be punished.
“House Bill 757, also known as the Religious Freedom Protection Act and the Pastor Protection Act, would protect pastors, faith-based organizations and business owners with sincerely held religious beliefs from being forced to violate their conscience,” Charisma News reports. “The bill has passed the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate, and is supported by a number of conservative and faith leaders.”
LGBT rights over religious rights?
But despite the centuries-old protection guaranteed to people of all faiths, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell communicated through his spokesperson that professional football will continue to mold its policies to put LGBT rights ahead of religious freedom rights.
"NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or any other improper standard,” Goodell’s spokesperson stressed in a statement. “Whether the laws and regulations of a state and local community are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites."
This sentiment was reciprocated by the owner of the Atlanta Falcons, Arthur Black, who has made it a priority for years to have the Super Bowl return to his home stadium. His desire for a future Super Bowl with potential home-field advantage has motivated him to join LGBT activists and other corporate interests that are pressing for the legislation —that protects people of faith — to be defeated.
"I strongly believe a diverse, inclusive and welcoming Georgia is critical to our citizens and the millions of visitors coming to enjoy all that our great state has to offer," Black expressed. "House Bill 757 undermines these principles and would have long-lasting negative impact on our state and the people of Georgia."
The front offices of the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons were not the only corporate interests opposed to the religious freedom legislation. Joining the chorus of dozens of corporations throughout Georgia — who are condemning the acts as promoting discrimination — are the Walt Disney Company, which often films in the state, and the Atlanta-headquartered Coca-Cola Company, which is the largest beverage company on the planet.
Free to live out their faith?
Many in Christian circles have argued that the LGBT agenda has deceitfully and erroneously turned the issue over so-called “LGBT rights” into a civil rights issue, when it actually works to give special privileges to the LGBT community while undermining the rights of Christians.
According to Graham, supporting the Religious Freedom Protection Act and the Pastor Protection Act does not advocate taking constitutional rights away from anyone. Rather, he argues, those promoting the acts want Christians to retain the ability to freely practice their biblical beliefs — as they have since America’s founding.
"It does not legalize discrimination as opponents are trying to say,” the Christian leader contends. “Rather, it helps contain the growing discrimination against Christians who simply want to live out their faith. The bill has already passed both houses of the Georgia legislature and has the support of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle."
Graham maintains that Christians should not stand on the sidelines while the NFL, Disney, Coca-Cola and other major corporations around the country look to straight-arm past legislation that undermines their right to live out their faith. He encourages Christians across America to pray with him that God will lead Georgia’s governor to stand up for religious liberty and protect the constitutional rights of Georgians.
"Let's pray that Gov. Deal will protect the religious freedoms of Georgians," the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritans Purse urged his followers. "Write him and let him know how you feel about this — stand up against this NFL blitz!"