Prayer, Franklin Graham, gay marriage: Washington Post runs a decent piece

However the Supreme Court rules on same-sex marriage, your rights -- a reader's rights to fair, untainted information -- are respected in a new Washington Post story.

The Post tells about Franklin Graham urging prayer to change the minds of Supreme Court justices -- and it shows no obvious scorn and little slant:

During the same weekend that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presided over the wedding of a same-sex couple, evangelist Franklin Graham was writing a prayer to change her mind on same-sex marriage.
“As the Supreme Court continues to deliberate over the constitutionality of same-sex marriage,” Graham wrote in a Facebook message, “let’s pray that Justice Ginsburg’s eyes would be opened to the truth of Scripture and that she would not be deceived by the arguments of those who seek to impose their ‘new morality’ on our nation.”

The time peg, course, is the pair of cases about same-sex marriage being considered by the high court. One case asks whether gay marriage is a constitutional right. If they decide no, they’ll then judge the other case, on whether such marriages performed in one state must be recognized in every other state.

As the newspaper notes, the campaign shows that the conservative side still has some fight left in it:

As many conservative evangelical leaders work to anticipate the potential fallout from any decision from the court that would be unfavorable to their stance on the issue, Franklin Graham’s popular Facebook prayers are evidence that others believe the fight is hardly over, even as the case sits in the hands of the justices. A spokesman for Franklin Graham could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Post explains that Ginsburg is just one of several left-leaning judges for whom Graham is recommending prayers. She was singled out because she presided over that wedding in Washington on Sunday, specifying "the powers vested in her by the Constitution." That's according to Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, cited by the Post.

But Graham is asking also for prayers for Justice Elana Kagan, who also seems to favor same-sex marriage. He asks for prayers for Justice Samuel Alito, who appears to oppose the practice, to "stand strong for what we know is God's unchanging truth." And he recommends praying that Justice Anthony Kennedy will "realize the folly" in changing the traditional definition of marriage.

Kennedy, regarded by both sides as the "swing vote" in this matter, gets more than a third of this 700-word story. The Post reports him voicing doubts that moderns know better than the millennia-old view of marriage. But it also cites his acknowledgment that gays want to show they have a "dignity that can be fulfilled."

All this is written up without evident sarcasm or card stacking. No quote from an atheist leader on the threat of theocracy. Nothing from a gay leader about homophobia. No alarm from the ACLU over, I don't know, maybe separation of prayers and state.

The Post's restraint is even more remarkable when you read Maureen Dowd's wedding coverage, referenced by the Post. She gushes over the ceremony, the couple and Ginsburg herself:

Taking off her robe to reveal a glamorous jacket with a cream satin leaf motif, Justice Ginsburg reigned as belle of the same-sex ball.
And the music, being the food of love, played on.

Having focused on Ginsburg and Kennedy, the Post might be seen as leaning a bit toward the gay marriage camp. What's Chief Justice John Roberts up to? How about Justice Antonin Scalia? Both are said to sympathize with arguments for traditional marriage, according to CNN.

One could guess that the Post was following the narrative of Graham's prayer list. But then, the paper could have quoted Justice Alito, who asked last month: "How do you account for the fact that, as far as I'm aware, until the end of the 20th century, there never was a nation or a culture that recognized marriage between two people of the same sex? Is it your argument that they were all operating independently based solely on irrational stereotypes and prejudice?"

One could also ask for some live quotes. Although the Post says it tried to reach Graham's people, I doubt the newspaper actually interviewed anyone for this story. The quotes appear patched together from other media, including, of course, Graham's Facebook page.

Still, the Post gives the last paragraph to Graham's statement that "Marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman." And as I said, the story shuns blatant shading to make you favor one side. So it's a more-than-decent piece on a topic over which feelings can run  hot.

Who knows? Maybe some of the prayers of Graham and his supporters are already being answered.

Photo: Franklin Graham, via the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Used by permission.

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