The wrong Easter headliner

THE WRONG EASTER HEADLINER…. Given that it’s Easter, it’s not especially surprising that some of the Sunday morning talk shows would incorporate religious discussions into their public affairs discussions. But it is surprising when programs give a platform to those who don’t deserve them.

ABC News sent out a press release the other day, noting the line-up for today’s “This Week.” It announced a problematic headliner.

This Easter Sunday, evangelical leader Franklin Graham, leader of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelist Association, sits down with Christiane Amanpour in a “This Week” exclusive. During this season of rebirth, has America lost its faith? And what is the role of God in government and politics?

Now, Franklin Graham is, of course, the son of legendary evangelical preacher Billy Graham. But he’s also known for his controversial evangelical relief organization that sought to enter Iraq in 2003 to convert Iraqis to Christianity after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, and then lied publicly about how Samaritan’s Purse operates.

Perhaps most notably, Franklin Graham is also known for hating Muslims. He famously denounced Islam as a “very evil and wicked religion” in 2001 — and then again in 2006. A year ago this week, Graham appeared on Fox News and said Muslims can only be free if they worship Jesus Christ.

Indeed, Graham’s most notable trait seems to be his capacity for making bizarre and offensive public remarks. A few weeks ago, Graham said the recent disasters in Japan may be evidence that the Second Coming is near, and according to advance releases from ABC, Graham will tell Christiane Amanpour how much he likes Donald Trump, and that Facebook and Twitter might play a significant role in the second coming of Christ.

There are plenty of credible, responsible voices in the American religious community, many of whom would be delighted to appear on “This Week” in honor of Easter. So why is Franklin Graham on my TV?