Hundreds of people gather outside the US SupremeCourt building in Washington, DC on June 26, 2013. (Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images)
People gather outside the Supreme Court building in Washington on June 26, 2013, the day the high court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act. (Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images)

While filling in for Melissa Harris-Perry on her MSNBC show last month, I wagged my finger at evangelist Franklin Graham. The son of revered preacher Billy Graham wrote that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is right” in the actions he has taken against gay men and lesbians in his country.

Isn’t it sad, though, that America’s own morality has fallen so far that on this issue — protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda — Russia’s standard is higher than our own?

In my opinion, Putin is right on these issues. Obviously, he may be wrong about many things, but he has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.

Our president and his attorney general have turned their backs on God and His standards, and many in the Congress are following the administration’s lead. This is shameful.

No, what Graham wrote was shameful. And he compounded that shame yesterday on “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” Before asking Graham whether he still believed what he wrote, guest anchor Martha Raddatz played a clip of another sit-down with Graham where he said, “Yes, they can recruit” when the interviewer noted that gays and lesbians can adopt children.


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Raddatz:  I suspect you still support that, what you said. You still support Putin?

Graham:  No, I think — I think Putin is going to do what’s right for Russia. And not what’s right for America, but for Russia. We used to have a president in this country that did what’s right for this country.  But we don’t seem to have that right now.

Putin is going to make these decisions that he thinks is best for the Russian people and he thinks taking advantage of children, exploiting children is wrong for any group.

Graham is beneath contempt. He praises the autocratic (and expansionist) Putin because President Obama believes that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans and their families should be treated with dignity and respect. Because the president believes that the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law also applies to them. And let’s not forget that the Supreme Court last year invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and permitted same-sex marriages to resume in California by letting stand a lower ruling that Proposition 8, which banned such nuptials, was unconstitutional. 

And offensive does not even begin to describe Graham’s contention that allowing lesbian and gay couples to adopt is “taking advantage of children, exploiting children.” Such backward thinking about gay men and lesbians from someone who calls himself a man of God is all the more striking in light of statements from Pope Francis, who talks about lesbians and gays and their relationship with the church with compassion, openness and respect.

Graham’s detestable view of gay people is also out of step with the country he thinks he still has a prominent voice in. As ABC’s Dan Harris pointed out in a report before that reprehensible roundtable, the latest Post-ABC News poll puts support for marriage equality at 59 percent. He also reported that while 72 percent of evangelicals older than 30 oppose marriage equality, just 49 percent of evangelicals younger than 30 are against same-sex marriage.

But Graham wasn’t the only one waxing ignorant about gay men and lesbians on ABC yesterday. Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, was there, too. I’ll get to what he said in my next post. Let’s just say he spouted worn-out lies about same-sex couples raising children. What he said was deplorable. But there was pushback from an unlikely source.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.