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Why my Bible seems to differ from Billy Graham's

By Roland Martin, CNN Contributor
updated 7:29 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
 Mitt Romney speaks with the Rev. Billy Graham at the pastor's cabin in Montreat, North Carolina, on October 11.
Mitt Romney speaks with the Rev. Billy Graham at the pastor's cabin in Montreat, North Carolina, on October 11.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Roland Martin: Those on the religious right have changed their views to support Romney
  • Billy Graham's group once called Mormonism a cult, but has dropped the reference
  • The religious right is boiling the Bible down to only abortion and same-sex marriage, he says
  • Martin: Jesus Christ cares about the poor and the sick. Why no mention of those issues?

Editor's note: Roland Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for the TV One cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, "Washington Watch with Roland Martin."

(CNN) -- To those of my fellow evangelicals who are on the religious right, please, stop your fake trumpeting of biblical values if you're going to run roughshod over your biblical convictions and let your partisan views take center stage.

When Mitt Romney was running for the GOP presidential nomination, many on the religious right were highly critical of his faith. The Southern Baptist Convention and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association characterized Mormonism as a cult.

But Billy Graham's association scrubbed that view from its website in the wake of the Rev. Graham meeting with Romney. And at least one prominent Southern Baptist leader who called Mormonism a cult has put that aside in order to endorse the Republican nominee.

Billy Graham's group removes Mormon cult reference from website after Romney

Roland Martin
Roland Martin

Graham, "America's pastor," has run full-page ads in national newspapers like the Washington Post and USA Today that are thinly veiled endorsements of Romney. In them, he shows he has forgotten big portions of biblical teaching.

The ads read: "I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman."

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In a similar full-page ad that ran in Ohio's Columbus Dispatch on Sunday, Graham said: "We are at a crossroads and there are profound moral issues at stake. ... Please join me in praying for America, that we will turn out hearts back toward God."

Graham is urging Americans to vote for candidates who base their decisions on "biblical principles," "support the nation of Israel," "protect the sanctity of life," and "support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman."

That's it. Nothing else.

The teachings of Jesus Christ are filled with examples of him helping the needy, feeding the hungry, healing the sick and wounded, and taking the haves to task for ignoring the have-nots.

The Bible talks about Jesus spending his time with social outcasts and not basking in the glow of the 1%. So, Rev. Graham, why no mention of the poor, sick or needy in your newspaper ads?

Graham, and so many others on the religious right, apparently want to narrow the Bible's teachings down to only abortion and same-sex marriage. Does the rest of the Bible matter, or are we to tell Bible believers that one or two issues matter more than any other?

I know the history of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, as well as Graham's son Franklin, helping the needy through Samaritan's Purse. But isn't it worth mentioning and advocating these issues to our presidential candidates?

I wonder how Catholic bishops and nuns feel about Graham not advocating that Bible believers cast their ballots on the issue of health care? Should Bible believers not be concerned with Rep. Paul Ryan's proposals to massively cut programs that help the poor?

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Should Bible believers know about the fatherhood initiative launched by President Obama to shore up families and to confront the crisis of fatherless homes?

Should Bible believers be concerned about the candidates' stance on guns and gun violence? Is that not a biblical issue, Rev. Graham? Should Bible believers be concerned about who prefers to end wars across the globe? Should Bible believers vote on who is best able to tear down the `-industrial complex that is destroying this country fiscally? Should Bible believers know who is more concerned about the rich getting richer?

Seriously, Rev. Graham, are these not moral issues that should be considered?

What has happened over the last 30 years is the religious right has perverted the Bible to fit its narrow view of what Christians should pay attention to. Abortion and homosexuality. Nothing else matters.

Well, my Bible is bigger than that. My faith is bigger than that. And my Jesus Christ cares about more than abortion and homosexuality. Please, make your case about those two issues. But don't talk to me, Rev. Graham, Franklin Graham, or any other right-wing evangelical, about the sanctity of life when you are silent about such things as Trayvon Martin being gunned down or police brutality taking the lives of innocent Americans.

I refuse to think the biblical and social justice issues touted by the Revs. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Fred Shuttlesworth, Ralph Abernathy, C.T. Vivian, and countless other pastors during the civil rights movement aren't worth considering today.

Support who you want, Rev. Graham, but don't dare limit the biblical values to what I can count on one hand.

The Gospel according to Obama

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roland Martin.

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