Evangelist Franklin Graham has called President Obama’s guest list for Pope Francis’ welcome this week “disgraceful and obviously inappropriate,” even as the Vatican has reportedly objected to the White House’s invitation to transgender activists, an openly gay bishop and supporters of abortion and euthanasia.
The guest list for a planned event at the White House’s South Lawn to welcome the pope on his first full day in the U.S. on Wednesday includes Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a “Catholic social justice lobby” which allegedly supports abortion and euthanasia; Bishop Gene Robinson, former Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire who is the first openly gay Episcopal bishop in the country; Mateo Williamson, a former co-head of the transgender caucus of Dignity USA; and also activists from the LGBT group GLAAD.
“This is disgraceful and obviously inappropriate,” Graham wrote on his Facebook page Saturday. “Is there no end to the lengths the president will go to in order to push his sinful agenda?”
Graham, who leads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said it is wise of the Vatican to “question President Obama’s guest list” and that the list of guests “should raise a lot of eyebrows.”
The Vatican has taken offense, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The presence of some figures is especially irritating, a senior Vatican official, who was not named, was quoted as saying. The Holy See worries that any photos of the pope with such guests could be interpreted as an endorsement of their activities. The official also wondered if the White House has invited any representatives of the U.S. anti-abortion movement.
Speaking to reporters, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday he didn’t know who all have been invited. He added that no one should draw any conclusions on specific guests “because there will be 15,000 other people there too.”
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