Evangelical preacher Franklin Graham posted a Facebook message on May 6 characterizing as a “monument to sin” plans that President Obama reportedly is completing to designate the Stonewall Inn bar in New York’s Greenwich Village as a national monument in the struggle for LGBT rights.
Graham was reacting to a Washington Post story reporting that Obama was poised to use his presidential authority to designate the Stonewall Inn bar and the surrounding streets as one of the National Park Service’s historic monuments.
“A monument to sin?” Graham stated on his Facebook page. “That’s unbelievable. War heroes deserve a monument, our nation’s founding fathers deserve a monument, people who have helped to make America strong deserve a monument,” he said
“I can’t believe how far our country has digressed,” said Graham. “I hope the president will reconsider. Flaunting sin is a dangerous move.”
Franklin Graham is the son of internationally recognized preacher and televangelist Rev. Billy Graham.
Federal officials and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), whose district includes Greenwich Village, have said the historic designation would commemorate the June 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Inn that triggered six days of riots by LGBT patrons and bystanders.
LGBT advocates and historians consider the clash between Stonewall patrons and the police to be the first large-scale action of defiance against anti-LGBT oppression and the spark that started the modern LGBT rights movement.
A statement released by Nadler’s office said he would join U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis in a May 9 community meeting to discuss the proposal. Among those expected to attend were New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman, State Assembly member Deborah Glick and New York City Council member Corey Johnson, all of whom are gay and who represent the site of Stonewall.
“It’s no surprise that the three officials who represent the area and support the monument are all openly gay,” Franklin Graham stated in his Facebook message. “God’s word tells us, ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
Obama has cited what he has called the historic significance of the Stonewall riots in several speeches, including his January 2013 inaugural address.