“I think Putin is going to do what’s right for Russia,” he told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz during an interview that aired on “This Week.” “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.”
Graham – whose father is Rev. Billy Graham – told Raddatz during the interview that he feels gays and lesbians can “recruit.”
“Putin is going to make these decisions that he thinks is best for the Russian people,” said Graham. “He thinks taking advantage of children, exploiting children is wrong for any group. And they have passed a law.”
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told Raddatz he does not see Putin as a “sympathetic figure.” He noted during the segment that he has two adopted children from Russia – and he criticized the Russian president for ending adoptions to the U.S.
“I agreed that every child deserves both a mom and a dad,” said Moore, referring to the adoption ban. “What I would disagree with is Vladimir Putin doing what’s best for Russia… I see the way that Mr. Putin has used Russian orphans as pawns. There are children and orphans in orphanages all over Russia who are waiting for parents, he has shut down adoption from America.”
Faith and Freedom Coalition Chair Ralph Reed and ABC News’ Cokie Roberts also took part in the “This Week” panel.
“This isn’t about Vladimir Putin,” said Reed. “This is about what’s best for children here in the United States. The social science is irrefutable. And it is that a child who grows up in a home without the mother and father present and they both play very unique procreative, nurturing and socializing role.”
Graham also told Raddatz that gay people can repent for their homosexuality.
“Maybe gays that are watching, you know, want to know can God forgive me or can I go to heaven as a gay person, absolutely,” he said. “We have to repent for our sins and turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God. You have to repent.”
“Franklin Graham is a sinner, and I’m no better than a gay person,” added Graham. “For any person that’s willing to repent, in turn, God will forgive. And you can be gay and go to heaven, no question.”
Graham has previously defended Putin.
The Evangelical in a letter that appeared in the March issue of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s magazine applauded the Russian president for signing the propaganda bill. Scott Lively of Defend the Family International – who faces a federal lawsuit over his alleged role in inflaming anti-gay attitudes in Uganda before Parliamentarian David Bahati in 2009 introduced his country’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill – and Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality are among those who have also praised Putin.
“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?” wrote Graham as the Charlotte Observer reported.
Tarya Polyakova – a journalist and human rights advocate who is a member of a prisoners’ rights organization that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina of Pussy Riot founded ¬– told reporters last month that Russia’s LGBT rights record has continued to deteriorate since the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, ended in late February. Reports emerged last week that Russian authorities have targeted an LGBT rights advocate who traveled to the U.S. last November.
President Obama last month authorized sanctions against the Russian lawmaker who introduced the anti-gay propaganda bill over her role in the March 16 referendum on whether Crimea should declare its independence from Ukraine.