The Guardian April 16, 2003


New improved Sermon Tank

"A very evil and wicked religion", is how Billy Graham's son Franklin 
described Islam after 9-11. "I believe the Koran teaches violence, not 
peace", added Franklin Graham, who is one of George W Bush's favourite 
theological friends, having given a prayer at his inauguration.

After consulting with US government officials in Jordan, Franklin (who runs 
a Christian charity group called Samaritan's Purse) said he had relief 
workers "poised and ready to roll into Iraq" to help Muslims with the 
necessities of life, and more important, to start the conversion process to 
Christianity.

Reconstruction of Iraq, according to Bush, is to be a privatised venture 
funded by grateful taxpayers. But apparently there will be room for men of 
the cloth.

"Franklin Graham obviously thinks it is a war against Islam", said Ibrahim 
Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"This is a guy who gave the invocation at President Bush's inauguration and 
believes Islam is a wicked faith. And he's going to go into Iraq in the 
wake of an invading army and convert people to Christianity?"

And Franklin Graham won't be alone. Waiting with Samaritan's Purse workers 
in Jordan are relief workers for the Southern Baptist Convention, which has 
no use for Allah, to put it mildly.

All in all, Iraq is a bonanza for church people. At Camp Bushmaster, army 
chaplain Josh Llano offers filthy soldiers a dip in his private 500-gallon 
pool of cool, clear water to get clean.

But there's a hitch. "It's simple", he said. "They want water. I have it-as 
long as they agree to get baptised." So, to get clean the soldiers first 
must endure a 90-minute sermon from Llano. "They do appear physically and 
spiritually cleansed", Llano said.

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Village Voice

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