The Rev. Franklin Graham expressed his support for a pastor who garnered controversy when he criticized abortion and same-sex marriage during a prayer that opened a Virginia House of Delegates meeting.
Earlier this week, the Rev. Robert M. Grant Jr., senior pastor of The Father's Way Church of Warrenton, gave the provocative invocation before the Democrat-controlled chamber and was heckled and eventually cut off by House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn of Fairfax.
In a post on Facebook Friday, Graham said that he believed Grant was “a guy who’s got guts for Jesus.”
“Democrats in the Virginia House of Delegates treated this African American pastor with contempt. Rev. Dr. Robert M. Grant, Jr., was invited to pray and he took a stand for life, marriage, and biblical principles,” stated Graham.
“They didn’t want to hear the truth. But what Pastor Grant said was truth. He’s right—these are crucial times. He urged lawmakers to honor God’s laws and be aware of His judgment.”
The head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse concluded his post by stating “I just love this guy.”
On Tuesday, Grant gave the invocation prayer before the House of Delegates. During his remarks, he covered multiple topics, including racial inequality and prison reform.
However, he garnered the most attention when he expressed opposition to abortion and support for traditional marriage, asking in his prayer that the legislature not pass laws that provoke God’s anger.
“The unborn has rights and those rights need to be protected. They should never be denied the right to exist, the right to develop or the right to have a family. The word of God has given us a warning: woe to anyone who harms an innocent child,” stated Grant.
“We should never re-write what God has declared … It’s not yours to change or alter its wording. The Bible is the copyright of God’s word. Marriage is to join a biological male and a biological female in holy matrimony, not to provoke the almighty God.”
Eventually, Speaker Filler-Corn gaveled him down and began reciting the Pledge of Allegiance along with other legislators, effectively cutting off the pastor.
Democratic Delegate Luke Torian, the pastor of First Mount Zion Baptist Church of Dumfries, was among Grant’s critics.
In comments made before the chamber that received a loud ovation, Torian denounced Grant’s invocation as “totally wrong and disrespectful to every member in this House.”
“[We clergy] are to respect this House, we are to invoke God’s presence, we are to ask for His blessings, we are to ask for His protection, we are to ask for His guidance,” said Torian.
“We are not to give political speeches and to make people feel bad. That is not what a prayer is supposed to do. And over the years that I’ve been here, on both sides of the aisles, there have been clergy who have not honored the integrity of the request.”