The Republican Party has been abandoned by Evangelist Franklin Graham following last week’s passage of a budget by the Republican-led Congress. Graham called the budget “wasteful” and criticized continued government funding of Planned Parenthood, which he compared to the Nazis.
“Seeing and hearing Planned Parenthood talk nonchalantly about selling baby parts from aborted fetuses with utter disregard for human life is reminiscent of Joseph Mengele and the Nazi concentration camps!” Graham wrote. “That should’ve been all that was needed to turn off the faucet for their funding.”
In previous statements Graham has spoken of not having faith in any of the parties. Rejecting his affiliation with the GOP is a sign of continued discontent with the right and the continuation of a trend among evangelicals supporting non-establishment candidates such as Donald Trump.
Trump has drawn praise from Graham in the past including siding with the GOP frontrunner on issues such as a proposed ban of Muslims in the U.S.
Graham’s criticism of the budget deal centers around the continued funding of Planned Parenthood to the tune of $528 million annually. This accounts for upwards of 40% of the organizations budget and comes mostly by way of Medicaid payments from services rendered to low-income Americans. Planned Parenthood is prohibited from utilizing federal taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions.
The defunding of Planned Parenthood has been a long time priority for social conservatives, an effort that was renewed earlier this year after undercover videos were released by an anti-abortion activist.
The videos appeared to show officials at Planned Parenthood negotiating prices of fetal organs for sale to medical researchers, a practice which could be considered illegal and unethical. The organization has since denied all claims it profited from these sales and announced it would no longer carry on the practice.
Following the 2014 midterm elections, the GOP took control of both the House and Senate. Expectations from some in the party were that funding for Planned Parenthood would be eliminated from the 2016 budget. Some social conservatives in the party threatened a government shutdown if action wasn’t taken against the organization.
An event in November when Robert Lewis Dear, a lone gunman who called himself “a warrior for the babies” and shot and killed three at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, changed the dynamic for politicians.
The result was funding of Planned Parenthood at previous levels. Graham, the son of well known evangelist Billy Graham, was among many religious conservatives incensed by the lack of action.
“This is an example of why I have resigned from the Republican Party and declared myself Independent. I have no hope in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, or Tea Party to do what is best for America,” said in a Facebook Post last Monday.
Over the course of Billy Graham’s years in the public eye, he withdrew from politics, claiming it took focus away from his evangelism. His son, however, has been more vocal in offering his take on electoral issues and politicians.
With prayer rallies scheduled in advance of the the Iowa caucus, Graham will likely continue his denunciation of the establishment wing of the Republican Party, emphasizing his desire to “challenge Christians to live out their faith at home, in public and at the ballot box.”