(Photo: Reuters / Allison Shelley)
Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, said during a television interview aired Sunday that Pope Francis, who appears to have a more accepting view of gays, is not the judge on homosexuality, but God is and He says it's a sin.
"I want to warn people: I think the pope is right when he says he's not the judge," Graham said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "He's not the judge. God is the judge."
Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said this after he was asked about the pope's views on homosexuality. Francis made headlines earlier this year when he said, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge them?"
Graham was asked, "Would there be a shift for you?"
"God would have to shift, and God doesn't. God's word is the same yesterday, today, and a million years from now. It's a sin," Graham replied. "To wink at sin, to tell somebody that it's OK? I know the consequences of what will happen one day when they have to stand before God," he added.
However, many believe the comments of the pope were taken out of context.
Bishop Charles Scicluna of Malta told Times of Malta earlier this month, of his meeting with the pope on Dec. 12: "We discussed many aspects… and when I raised the issue that's worrying me as a bishop [the right for gay couples to adopt] he encouraged me to speak out," according to The Independent.
In September, the pontiff affirmed the views of the Roman Catholic Church on social issues, identifying himself as "a son of the Church. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time," he said.
Francis said in an interview with La Civilta Cattolica that the catechism, or the Catholic Church's official doctrine book, condemns homosexual acts, but he called on the Church to love gays and lesbians, who "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity."
Graham also spoke about his father's health in the interview aired Sunday. Billy Graham celebrated his 95th birthday last month. "He's very weak," his son said, adding, "His vitals are good, and he's eating a little bit but he's just extremely weak."
"People keep saying different things, some good and some not so good," Citizen-Times quoted spokesman Mark DeMoss as saying earlier this month. "But he's about the same. I think everybody's intentions are good. The family members want everybody to pray for Mr. Graham, and I understand that."