Rev. Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist Rev. Billy Graham, recently stated on an ABC news panel that gays can absolutely go to heaven — but like all sinners, only if they repent first.
Franklin Graham was participating in a discussion on the religious right last week, when the subject of gay marriage came up. When asked to comment, Graham said: "Maybe gays that are watching want to know, 'Can God forgive me? Or can I go to heaven as a gay person?' Absolutely," he stated.
"But the same for any of us. We have to repent of our sins in turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God. You'll have to repent."
Graham went on to say that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but for those who believe in Jesus and turn from their sins, God will undoubtedly forgive.
"Franklin Graham is a sinner," he said, "and I'm no better than a gay person. I'm a sinner. But I've been forgiven, and I've turned from my sins. For any person that's willing to repent in turn, God will forgive."
The evangelist also refused to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin for a recent law passed in Russia banning gay propaganda directed towards children. Graham said that in passing the law, Putin had did "what's right for Russia."
He added, "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."
When asked about falling church membership across the country, Graham said that he is going to be on the job.
"I want people to know that God loves them, that God is real," he told moderator Martha Raddatz. "Jesus Christ came to this Earth to take our sins, and He died on the cross for our sins."
Joining Graham on the panel were President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Dr. Russell Moore, Faith and Freedom Coalition Chairman, Ralph Reed Jr., and journalist Cokie Roberts.
Here is a video of Franklin Graham making his comments: