The Norman Transcript

Religion

March 28, 2014

Graham speaks out in familiar style

(Continued)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Still, Graham said, “he just doesn’t have reserves. He’s very, very weak.”

Franklin Graham also addressed for the first time his latest venture into controversy: his praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin for his record on protecting children from gay “propaganda” — a record, Graham wrote in a March magazine article, that is better than Obama’s “shameful” embrace of gay rights.

Graham said his concern in speaking out was protecting children from abuse and exploitation from all groups.

“Of course, gays and lesbians cannot have children,” he said.

When it was pointed out that homosexual couples can adopt children, Graham responded: “They can recruit. You can adopt a child into a marriage, but you can also recruit children into your cause. I believe in protecting children from exploitation — all exploitations.”

Also Tuesday, Graham hosted a dinner to spotlight the case of Pastor Saeed Abedini, a Christian convert who has been imprisoned in Iran because of his religion.

Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, was Graham’s guest, along with 175 Charlotte-area pastors who were asked to pray and speak out for Abedini’s release. “The more people who are praying and getting involved, the better,” Naghmeh Abedini told the Observer in an interview. “The spotlight on him is keeping him alive.”

In January, her husband was convicted of “undermining the security of Iran” and sentenced to eight years in prison, she said.

In Iran, a predominantly Muslim country, she said, all religious minorities are treated as political prisoners.

She last talked to him in January, for four minutes, when he called his family in Iran and they called her on a cellphone. She lives with their two children, ages 7 and 6, in Boise, Idaho.

“I said, ‘Hang in there. We’ll bring you home.’ ”

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