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Franklin Graham: Putin is better than Obama on gay rights

The Rev. Billy Graham arrives at his birthday party, pushed by his grandson, Edward Graham. (Reuters)

A top evangelical leader in the United States has some supportive words for Russian President Vladimir Putin -- at least when it comes to his crackdown on gays and lesbians in Russia.

In a column in Decision magazine, a publication of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Graham's son, Franklin Graham, says Putin's record on gay rights is far better than that of President Obama.

"In my opinion, Putin is right on these issues," Franklin Graham writes of Russia's controversial prohibition on gay "propaganda." "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."

Franklin Graham, who now runs his father's association, adds: "Our president and his attorney general (Eric Holder) have turned their backs on God and His standards, and many in the Congress are following the administration’s lead. This is shameful."

Franklin Graham clarifies repeatedly that he is not endorsing Putin's policies, writ large, but he praises Putin for attempting to "protect children" from the gay agenda at the Sochi Olympics.

Russia's policies on gay rights were a focal point in the run-up to the Games.

"Even though Putin said that gays and lesbians would be allowed at the Olympics, the fact that he took a stand — simply to protect children — ignited a worldwide cultural firestorm," Franklin Graham writes. "He further explained the law by saying, 'We have a ban on the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia.'"

Franklin Graham's group has increasingly allied itself with Republicans in recent years.

(h/t Political Wire)