The sins of Cardinal Quinn

Franklin Graham dared to affirm this in the context of Islam a few years back when he suggested that the Muslim fundamentalists who preach “evangelism by the sword” and speak of their desire to see Sharia law blanket the world have not “hijacked Islam” — as every politician dutifully says — but rather are faithfully practicing it.

Of course, all hell broke loose, and Graham was pilloried by the Religious Left as a vicious slanderer of the teachings of the Qur’an and other sacred Islamic writings (as if they’d ever read them).

ABC’s Christiane Amanpour even invited Graham to defend his position at her televised town hall on Islam’s place in America, perhaps anticipating an intellectual skewering by some of the program’s more scholarly panelists.

What she got was Graham’s respectful but resolute defense of his long-held views on the dangers of Islam.

So Amanpour produced, by satellite feed from London, U.K. Muslim leader Anjem Choudary, inviting him to confront Graham to his face. “Do you agree with Reverend Graham that Americans should fear Islam?” she asked. Choudary didn’t hesitate. “We do believe, as Muslims, the East and the West will one day be governed by the Sharia. Indeed, we believe that one day, the flag of Islam will fly over the White House.”

Maybe if Amanpour had the clairvoyance of Quinn she could have avoided that interview altogether.

But probably not. The temptation to demonize Christian evangelical leaders like Franklin Graham is just too great, even for the most disciplined journalists.

Quinn, for her part, claims to be simply concerned about protecting the legacy of a “great man” in Billy Graham, and exposing the undermining of that legacy by his son.

What she and the rest of the Religious Left will never understand is that Graham’s legacy is not counseling presidents, shaking hands with leaders of other faiths, or “staying above the fray.”

Billy Graham’s legacy is, and will always be, a lifetime of boldly proclaiming the hard truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as St. Peter and St. Paul did before him, unto the salvation of millions of lost souls.

In as much as Franklin Graham preserves and continues that legacy, God bless him!

Timothy Philen is an author and songwriter, and served for 15 years as a Ruling Elder of the Presbyterian Church in America.