Leading evangelist and humanitarian Franklin Graham has chastised Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton for saying last week in a meeting with Black Lives Matter activists that she doesn't believe changing hearts is the way to true racial reconciliation.
Earlier this week, CNN released video it had obtained showing a behind-the-scenes meeting between a group of leading Black Lives Matter activists and the former secretary of state after one of her campaign events in New Hampshire.
In the video, Clinton is seen arguing with Julius Jones, the founder of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Worcester, Massachusetts, about what should be done to help establish racial justice for African-Americans in the country.
Jones says something to the effect of Black Lives Matter protesters need to "change white hearts." Clinton replies by saying the Black Lives Matter movement will only get "lip service from as many white people you can pack into Yankee Stadium and a million more like it."
"Look, I don't believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate," Clinton said. "You are not going to change every heart. You are not."
"But, at the end of the day, we can do a whole lot to change some hearts and change some systems and create more opportunities for people who deserve to have them, to live up to their God-given potential safely without fear of violence in their own communities, to have a decent school to have a decent house, to have a decent future," Clinton added. "So, we can do it one of many ways. You can keep the movement going, which you have started, and through it you may actually change some hearts. But, if that is all that happens, we will be back here in 10 years having the same conversation."
Clinton's comments drew the ire of Graham, the CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and president of Samaritan's Purse humanitarian organization. Graham took to Facebook to proclaim that with God's help, hearts can be changed.
"Changed hearts do make a difference — and God is in the heart-changing business!" Graham wrote. "All lives matter to Him, regardless of the color of our skin."
Graham asserted that changing laws and systems won't alone bring about racial justice, adding that racial reconciliation will only come by way of changing hearts.
"The way to true reconciliation between the races is through hearts changed by the One who created all of us, Almighty God," Graham argued. "His Word says, 'Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you' (Ezekiel 36:26)."
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh also weighed in on Clinton's remarks by saying during his show on Tuesday that the former New York senator would rather "bully" people than change their hearts or minds through debate.
"What Hillary Clinton is saying here is she's not interested in persuading people," Limbaugh said. "She's not interested in debating people. She's not interested in trying to get to people's hearts and minds because she doesn't think it's possible. What she wants to do is bully them."
"She doesn't want to try to talk to people and make them better. She is not interested in engaging people and having them improve, and maybe get rid of prejudice or whatever," Limbaugh continued. "If they don't, then they're going to deal with new, tougher laws, because Hillary doesn't have time for it."
When asked by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer what he thought of Clinton's remarks during their argument, Jones stated he was not satisfied with Clinton's answers.
"I got that answers that I expected but I didn't get the answers that I wanted," Jones said. "She chose to focus on how much work she has done to advance the lives of children pursuing their dreams but she didn't want to take any personal responsibility for the danger that their families are in by putting their parents in prison and in jail. ... She wanted to focus on policy solutions and such without addressing how she, personally, felt and her personal emotions are affecting the lives of many black people around the United States."