Last week, members of the NAACP Religious Leaders Roundtable, the Religious Affairs Committee of the NAACP Board of Directors and other evangelicals met with Rev. Franklin Graham, President and CEO of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and President/CEO of Samaritan's Purse. The group held the first meeting of its kind to discuss the use of faith as a political weapon and how to advance a new narrative about the meaning evangelicalism.
“This was a meaningful and productive meeting,” stated Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III, Vice President for Stakeholders relations with the NAACP. “All parties were in agreement that it is essential to our society and our faith that we refrain from demonizing Christians and people of other faiths when they do not agree with us. We look forward to continued discussions with Rev. Graham”
The group also agreed to work together to have a national conversation about the core principles of justice and fairness and to help create a new narrative about evangelicalism and the message of Christ.
"I was honored that these guests traveled to North Carolina today from around the country to meet with me. I reiterated that my primary calling is the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but that while we may agree to disagree on certain political issues we agreed to work together against injustice both in and outside the United States. I look forward to continuing the dialogue we began today."
The group convened the meeting after the NAACP released an open letter to Rev. Graham questioning his inflammatory remarks about President Obama’s faith and Rev. Graham subsequently issued an apology with regards to those comments.
In addition to Rev. Rivers and Rev. Graham, participants in the meeting included: Rev. Julius C. Hope, Dr. Amos C. Brown, Rev. Theresa Dear, Rev. Nelson Johnson, Bishop George Walker, Dr. Jamal Bryant, Dr. Madeline Sadler, Dr. William Barber II, Dr. Stephen Thurston, Rev. Telley Gadson, Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III, Rev. Lee Franklin, Rev. Kojo Nantambu, Rev. T. Anthony Spearman and Rev. Dwayne A. Walker.
The parties intend to reconvene to continue the dialogue in the near future.