MSNBC's "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough took evangelist Rev. Franklin Graham to task Thursday, calling him a "disgrace" for recent statements over 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s sexuality.
Scarborough's comment was made in response to tweets by Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organization, where he condemned Buttigieg’s claim of being a “gay Christian,” saying that that Bible “defines homosexuality as sin.”
Scarborough said Thursday: “Oh shut up, just shut up Franklin Graham! You are a disgrace! You are a disgrace for normalizing Donald Trump’s behavior.”
Graham tweeted on Wednesday, “Presidential candidate & South Bend Mayor @PeteButtigieg is right—God doesn’t have a political party. But God does have commandments, laws & standards He gives us to live by. God doesn’t change. His Word is the same yesterday, today & forever.”
Graham posted the tweet in response to a CNN article called “Pete Buttigieg: 'God doesn't have a political party'”
Graham also tweeted, “Mayor Buttigieg says he’s a gay Christian. As a Christian I believe the Bible which defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized. The Bible says marriage is between a man & a woman—not two men, not two women.”
He concluded: “The core of the Christian faith is believing and following Jesus Christ, who God sent to be the Savior of the world—to save us from sin, to save us from hell, to save us from eternal damnation.”
Scarborough said in response: “Here’s a man, who along with so many people in my community, the evangelical community, attacked Bill Clinton for his personal failings.”
“They are now using their position, these evangelical leaders, like religious leaders of Jesus’ day, they are now using their positions to gain political power and apologize for Donald Trump.”
Buttigieg, the South Bend, Ind., mayor, came out as gay during his mayoral re-election campaign in 2015. Earlier this month he discussed his sexual orientation during an event hosted by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, saying: "If me being gay was a choice, it was made far, far above my pay grade”
He added: “If you got a problem with who I am – your problem is not with me, your quarrel sir, is with my creator."
Scarborough said Thursday: “Now suddenly Franklin Graham’s talking about lifestyles and sinning, and a guy who has gone through a very difficult personal journey to figure out who he really is, he’s criticizing them for that? Cause it’s not a lifestyle choice. And anyone who’s heard Pete Buttigieg talk knows that.”
The Democratic presidential candidate has seen a major surge in the polls in recent weeks, now coming in fourth place in the Real Clear Politics polling average.