Franklin Graham Backs Bill Clinton in Clash With Black Lives Matter Movement; Says 'All Lives Matter'

Bill Clinton
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton campaigns for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, during a campaign event at the Port of Palm Beach Cruise Terminal in Riviera Beach, Florida February 15, 2016. |

The Rev. Franklin Graham has backed former president Bill Clinton following a recent row with the Black Lives Matter movement over a law that sent more non-violent drug offenders to prison.

"Last night I drove by former President Bill Clinton's Presidential Library. He was in the news a few days ago when he was interrupted by demonstrators with Black Lives Matter as he was speaking. President Clinton had finally had enough and defended himself and his policies as it related to the 1994 crime bill," Graham wrote on Tuesday on his Facebook page.

"I agree with Bill Clinton — he was absolutely right. The crime bill he signed into law in 1994 put a lot of criminals behind bars where they belong," he added.

"There's no question, black lives do matter — but all lives matter, regardless of race or color. God created us all. As human beings we have souls that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to redeem from sin through the shedding of His blood."

The heated exchange in question took place last week at a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign event in Philadelphia, where BLM protesters criticized the former president's 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, and interrupted him repeatedly, claiming that it sent too many black people in jail.

Clinton defended the bill, however, which was backed at the time both by his wife and her Democratic presidential rival Bernie Sanders, and stated:

"I don't know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out onto the street to murder other African-American children."

He added: "Maybe you thought they were good citizens .... You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter. Tell the truth. You are defending the people who cause young people to go out and take guns."

The former president added that he consulted with a number of African-American groups at the time, who also thought that black lives matter.

"They said take this bill, because our kids are being shot in the street by gangs. We have 13-year-old kids planning their own funerals," he said.

The BLM movement began in America in 2015, protesting against racism in the country, including the shootings and deaths of several unarmed black people, including teenagers, at the hands of white police officers.

The movement has also argued that the 1994 law contributed to the high rates of incarceration of black men, as well as the ongoing tensions between black communities and police officers, The New York Times pointed out.

Among other things, the bill increased penalties, including prison time, for non-violent drug offenders. At the time of passage, the bill had strong bipartisan support. Today, there is bipartisan support in the opposite direction — reforming the bill in ways that would lower the number of non-violent offenders being sent to prison.

In a later statement, Clinton said he regretted how he responded to the protesters during his wife's presidential campaign stop.

"I know those young people yesterday were just trying to get good television," Clinton said on Friday. "But that doesn't mean that I was most effective in answering it."

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