Franklin Graham on Religion & Politics

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 23, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

Watch "The O'Reilly Factor" weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and listen to the "Radio Factor!"

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly.

In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, legendary preacher Billy Graham (search) is holding a huge crusade here in New York City over the weekend. About 200,000 people are expecting to attend. And with us now is his son, Franklin Graham (search), who works closely with his father.

You know, you're an interesting guy. This is the first time we have ever had a chance to talk with you. And I do want to talk about the holy war aspect to this terror business. You know, in the scripture it is predicted that there will be a holy war and all of these things seem to be coming into play. Do you see it that way?

FRANKLIN GRAHAM, SON OF BILLY GRAHAM: Well, first of all, Bill, I don't see the United States fighting a holy war against terrorism. I believe there are many terrorists who are fighting a holy war with us, but certainly, I don't see our nation looking at this as a holy war at all.

As we look at the end of time, we know that there is going to be a war against God, and as people reject his son, the lord, Jesus Christ (search), as the king of kings and the lord of lords, and we know the whole world at some point, there will be a one war, called Armageddon. It's going to be the last war of all time.

O'REILLY: Do you believe that? Do you take that literally?

GRAHAM: Sure, absolutely. Yes.

O'REILLY: OK. So you believe that literal story in the Old Testament (search).


O'REILLY: Now, the problem that many of us — I'm a Christian. I'm a Catholic. And the problem that we have is that our enemy, our primary enemy, is centered around Allah. And most media people sweep that under the carpet.


O'REILLY: But if Islam didn't exist, there wouldn't be a war on terror. That's the fact. Now, we know that Islam has been hijacked by extremists and that most Muslims aren't terrorists and don't wish us ill. We know that. But how do you deal with an enemy that is religious-centric?

GRAHAM: It's tough, Bill, very, very difficult. And I think a lot of our politicians and many in our military discount the religious fervor that these men have, who are willing to take their life. And they believe that, if they take their life, strap dynamite on, blow themselves up, and blow...


O'REILLY: Yes, they're going to heaven.

GRAHAM: ... they're going to heaven. And so they believe not only are they going to heaven, but this is the only way that they can assure that they're going to heaven. The God that I worship is not the same God that they worship.

O'REILLY: But you can't convince them that your god doesn't want them to kill themselves and others. We can't seem to do that.

GRAHAM: I'm not sure we can convince them.

O'REILLY: Right.

GRAHAM: But what I want the American audience to understand, the god that they worship is not the same god that we worship. The God that I worship gave his son for me.

O'REILLY: Everybody knows that.

GRAHAM: His son, Jesus Christ...


O'REILLY: I mean, everybody knows that the Christian God is not a God of vengeance.

GRAHAM: That's right.

O'REILLY: All right, so I mean, anybody who studies any theology. But I don't think Allah is a god of violence, either. See, I think they perverted that, that they've taken some of the tracks of the Koran (search) and then used it for their own hateful methods. It's almost like a perversion of Christianity that some extreme fascists have done.

Now, would you advise the government to change its tactics on the war on terror based upon a religious aspect?

GRAHAM: I think we have to understand the religious aspect. And we're going to have to continue this war on terrorism. And it's not going to be finished this Iraq.

There are a number of other countries that are harboring terrorists right now that support terrorists, that give aid to terrorists...

O'REILLY: Yes, Iran.

GRAHAM: Islamic fundamentalists.

O'REILLY: Absolutely.

GRAHAM: Yemen, and there are plenty out there. I have worked in the Sudan (search), where, in the southern part of the country, the government itself bombed a hospital that Senator Frist (search) comes and operates in, one of our hospitals — has bombed it on seven separate occasions.

And now we see the tragedy that's occurring in Darfur. They're doing the same thing to those people that they did to the Christians. Two million Christians were killed.

O'REILLY: All right, so you're basically saying we have to confront this Islamic extremists?

GRAHAM: You have to fight it head-on. Absolutely.

O'REILLY: You have to confront it? I agree with you. I just don't know how to do it. I wish I did. What role should religion play in American politics?

GRAHAM: Well, I think Christians have every right to be at the table when it comes to politics. I think we have every right to give our voice, to give our opinions, to work for a change, and to use biblical standards.

Everybody else is at the table. The gay-lesbian community, they have their advocates at the table. Various politicians, different groups have their advocates at the table. And I think Christians, just because they're Christians, should not be prevented from having a voice in government and having their standards heard, and hopefully...


O'REILLY: But once you say, Jesus wants this law passed, you're out of it, right?

GRAHAM: Well, first of all, I can't say that Jesus wants this law passed, but I certainly — we can say, "This is God's standards, and if these are God's standards, maybe we ought to adopt them and obey them."

O'REILLY: But somebody says, "That's not my God. I believe in Buddha."

GRAHAM: Well, that's fine. But that's fine. They can believe in whatever they want to believe in. But Christians should not be prevented from government. They should not be prevented from giving their voice.

O'REILLY: Do you think there's an anti-Christian bias in the media?

GRAHAM: Yes, sir, absolutely. No question about it.

O'REILLY: Where does that come from?

GRAHAM: I don't know. But there's a lot of secularists that want to take God out of our society. They want to take him out of government. They want to take him out of our schools. They want to erase God and his standards completely out of American...

O'REILLY: And why do they want to do that, in your opinion?

GRAHAM: Because they reject him. They do not want God telling them what they can do and not do.

O'REILLY: Do you think they fear God because it goes against their...


GRAHAM: I don't think they fear God at all. I think they thumb their nose at God and feel that they can go on and live their lives without him.

O'REILLY: Yes, well, they're non-believers. Do you see this as pervasive in the mainstream media?

GRAHAM: I do, yes. Well, when you say pervasive, no question it's there and it's an undercurrent in many of the areas of the media. No question about it.

O'REILLY: Does it anger you?

GRAHAM: Does it anger me? It disappointments me. But at the same time, it's a reality of life. Jesus said that wide is the road that leads to destruction and narrow is those that to life everlasting. And there's a narrow road that not everybody's going to be on that road.


O'REILLY: It's a struggle between good and evil. That's the whole...


GRAHAM: That struggle's going to be there forever.

O'REILLY: Right.

GRAHAM: My hope is in the lord, Jesus Christ. And guess what, Bill? He's going to come back one day. And the Bible says — listen, here's...

O'REILLY: I hope he comes on "The Factor."

GRAHAM: Every knee in heaven and every knee on Earth and under the Earth will bow.

O'REILLY: Well, I hope so. You know, listen, we all want the best for everybody. And we respect all religious beliefs. But I think we're in a struggle here, a culture war, a very intense culture war.

GRAHAM: It is. No question about it.

O'REILLY: And I see it everyday. I fight it everyday. I try to be honest and I try to be upfront.

GRAHAM: But I know who wins, Bill, at the end. And you read the last pages of the scripture. The lord, Jesus Christ, comes back to this Earth and he establish his kingdom here on Earth. And you know what? For those who put their faith and trust in him will be with him and reign with him.

O'REILLY: All right. Spoken like a true preacher, Mr. Graham. Thanks very much. Good luck with the crusade. Best to your father.

GRAHAM: Come. Come one night, if you can.

O'REILLY: Thank you, sir.

Content and Programming Copyright 2005 Fox News Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, L.L.C.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.