Today, Billy Graham ended his long run on this earth at 99 years of age. I have seen a number of posts from beloved Christian conservative friends who idealize the man. I have seen posts from beloved LGBT+ friends (Christian and otherwise) villainizing the man.
Both groups have made some really good points.
When I heard the news of his passing, I got a little emotional but the overall sense of peace realizing Mr. Graham is home with the One he loves the most, Jesus. I spent too much time hating Mr. Graham the first time I was out in the ’80’s. However, while I was in the church closet from ’92 to ‘2015, I actually read a LOT about his life story and teachings. I fell in love with his heart for Christ. I forgave him his ignorance toward the gay community and God’s love for us but of course while in the closet I agreed with him about “sexual sin and brokenness.” Since I came back out in 2015 I forgave him the bad and hold on to the good I had learned about him. It’s what I hope people will do with me so it’s important to extend the same.
It is public record that Mr. Graham dishonored the image of God in LGBT+ people (saying we are disordered and sinful) and disrespected the deaths of our HIV+ friends as possible “punishment from God.” I can completely understand the broken hearts further tortured and stigmatized by those words wanting to dishonor his death with similar curses. I don’t agree with doing that unless it is for a beneficial end of getting to a point of releasing, forgiving, and working toward the greater good. Meaning, if a wound needs to be vented and cleaned, do it. I am here to help if you want.
I am a Christian. I am Gay. Today instead of dishonoring an imperfect man, I would rather visualize what I believe to be true. That today Mr. Graham met Jesus face to face and his tears were wiped away with peace and joy. I choose to believe that meeting is the most beautiful moment of Mr. Graham’s passing. I also choose to visualize LGBT+ saints who have passed from this earth before him are greeting Mr. Graham with open arms. That the ones who passed from AIDS are extending loving embraces of forgiveness to a man who was, on earth, seen as an enemy. I choose to believe that Billy Graham has experienced his first day of complete peace including the truth that we LGBT+ people are as much a part of God’s family as he is.
Being free is good,