The Reverend Franklin Graham has described opposition to President Donald Trump as being “demonic” in a recent interview with author and radio personality Eric Metaxas.
In an interview with Metaxas posted to YouTube last Thursday, Metaxas asked Graham his opinion on the current political climate, especially those opposed to President Trump.
“What do you think of what is happening now? I mean it is a very bizarre situation, to be living in a country where some people seem to exist to undermine the president of the United States,” asked Metaxas.
Graham described what Metaxas was talking about as “almost a demonic power,” which led the radio host to interject and say that he did not believe the term “almost” should be included.
“It is a spiritual battle,” agreed Graham, who then touted the Trump administration’s handling of the economy, saying that the nation has “an economy that is just screaming forward.”
“All of this is because Donald Trump said he was going to turn things around and make American great again. He cut taxes and that cutting added fuel to this economic engine that we’re enjoying right now.”
Peter Wehner, senior fellow with the Ethics & Public Policy Center, denounced Metaxas and Graham’s comments in a column for The Atlantic as “theologically distorted and confused.”
“There is no biblical or theological case to support the claim that critics of Donald Trump are under the spell of Satan. It is invented out of thin air, a shallow, wild, and reckless charge meant to be a conversation stopper,” wrote Wehner.
“Just ask yourself where this game ends. Do demonic powers explain opposition to all politicians supported by Graham and Metaxas, or to Trump alone? Would they argue that all Christians (and non-Christians) who oppose Trump are under the influence of Satan?”
Lisa Sharon Harper, an author and senior fellow with Auburn Theological Seminary, took to Twitter to state that she “can’t believe I actually used to respect” Metaxas.
“He positioned himself as an Evangelical thought leader on daily discipleship. Feels like a horror movie now,” she stated on Saturday.
“All these people seemed so good then. Now we see: It was a mask. Under the mask they were white nationalists.”
For his part, Metaxas took to Twitter to reject the claim that he and Graham were labeling all opposition to Trump as being “demonic” in nature.
“No one called the people opposing Trump ‘demonic’. There can be spiritual forces involved w/o the people themselves being ‘demonic’!” he tweeted on Sunday.
“And you can like a prez w/o agreeing w/everything he ever said or did. That's hardly ‘worshiping’ him as an idol. This is getting icky.”
The Metaxas program controversy comes as Energy Secretary Rick Perry labeled Trump “the chosen one” in a recent interview on the Fox News program “Fox & Friends.”
“God's used imperfect people all through history. King David wasn't perfect. Saul wasn't perfect. Solomon wasn't perfect,” explained Perry to “Fox & Friends,” noting that he also considered President Barack Obama to have been the chosen one for his time.
Perry added that he shared his interpretation of how the kings in the Old Testament should be applied to today's presidency with Trump in a "one-pager."
“I said, 'Mr. President, I know there are people that say you said you were the chosen one and I said, 'You were.’ I said [to Trump], 'If you're a believing Christian, you understand God's plan for the people who rule and judge over us on this planet in our government,’” Perry said.
Perry was likely referring to comments made by Trump in August when he referred to himself as the "chosen one" and looked up in the sky. Trump later clarified that he was being sarcastic.