Evangelical pastor Franklin Graham says ‘Disney morals are in the gutter’ and backs DeSantis

Evangelical pastor Franklin Graham has criticized Disney for having its morals “in the gutter” while backing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in his battle with the company.

Writing on Facebook on Saturday, the hardline Christian told his 10 million followers he was glad the entertainment company’s power and finances were being pounded after it spoke out against the so-called law ” Don’t Say Gay” by DeSantis.

Graham said: “What happened at Disney was a moral failure. Walt Disney had a vision of wholesome family entertainment. He was attached to the family.

“The morals of corporate executives at Disney today are in the gutter, and they want to redefine family against God’s original design and display sin.”

The son of the late celebrity evangelist Billy Graham continued: “LGBTQ activists use corporations to force their agenda on the public, and corporations may want to review what they allow to happen. Disney has gone too far.

“The people of Florida have rioted, and it’s going to cost Disney dearly. Disney had special tax status in the state from which they benefited immensely, but because they spoke out against parents in Florida, the governor and lawmakers revoked that status.

Franklin Graham excoriated Disney in this post shared to his Facebook feed on Sunday

Graham also shared a Disney Pride memorabilia snap in a Facebook post that took aim at homosexuality

Graham also shared a Disney Pride memorabilia snap in a Facebook post that took aim at homosexuality

Graham shared a photo of himself in Orlando and urged visitors to visit the city's other attractions while avoiding Disney

Graham shared a photo of himself in Orlando and urged visitors to visit the city’s other attractions while avoiding Disney

“Thank goodness for Governor Ron DeSantis who is willing to take a bold stand. We need more leaders like him. God bless him and the Florida Legislature.

Graham accompanied his message with photographs of Disney pride items emblazoned with the rainbow on sale at a drugstore, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears, as well as pin badges.

He added that he was in Orlando for a fundraising event for his nonprofit Samaritan’s Purse, and urged families who have visited the area to see its other attractions while avoiding Disney.

The pastor previously fueled controversy in 2010 by insisting former President Barack Obama was a Muslim.

He called Islam “evil and evil” in the aftermath of 9/11 and sparked further controversy after it was revealed he was drawing two salaries totaling $1.2 million from the Billy Graham Organization and from Samaritan’s Purse.

On Friday, Governor DeSantis signed a new measure into law that ends Disney’s special government power over his sprawling Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

He had previously been given permission to manage the area – known as Reedy Creek – largely free of government control over issues such as building regulations.

The rule could go into effect from June 2023, although there is still room for negotiation, and a conservative lawyer says she thinks Disney could successfully sue DeSantis for violating his right to liberty of expression of the first amendment.

Disney saw its power curtailed after speaking out against DeSantis’ so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, whose official title is the Parental Rights in Education Bill.

It prohibits teaching in public schools about gender and sexuality between kindergarten and third grade.

Supporters say the bill, which was signed into law in March, prevents teachers from spreading inappropriate material about children, which they believe students may be too young to understand.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has come out against Disney over its public opposition to its Parental Rights in Education Bill, also known as the Don't Say Gay Act.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has come out against Disney over its public opposition to its Parental Rights in Education Bill, also known as the Don’t Say Gay Act.

Florida lawmakers have now voted to strip Walt Disney World, pictured, of its special self-government status that gives it carte blanche to build what it loves at its resort.

Florida lawmakers have now voted to strip Walt Disney World, pictured, of its special self-government status that gives it carte blanche to build what it loves at its resort.

Opponents say the bill is homophobic and the vagueness of its wording could see a teacher reported to authorities for something as minor as mentioning their same-sex partner in class.

Disney was initially silent on the bill.

But the company – which has a long track record of supporting its LGBT staff – is said to have addressed the issue after coming under pressure from woke internal factions who are now said to be exerting increasing influence over bosses.

CEO Bob Chapek then spoke out after walkouts by a small number of Disney employees – and angered DeSantis by openly suggesting his company would lobby lawmakers.

After lambasting the bill, he said: ‘As I wrote to our employees earlier this week, we are committed to supporting community organizations like these so they are equipped to take on these fights.

“During this time, we are also reassessing our approach to advocacy, including political donations in Florida and beyond.”

The controversy has also hit Disney’s stock price hard, as parents who support the bill or who were angry at the company’s sudden and outspoken stance have vowed to boycott it.

Shares have fallen by about a third in recent weeks and now sit at just $118.27 per share.

Don’t Say Gay Bill has become the latest hot number in the culture war

HB 1557 was introduced by two Republican members of the Florida Legislature – Representative Joe Harding and Senator Dennis Baxley.

They say the purpose of the bill is to “empower parents” in their children’s education and to have teachers recognize the distinction between “instruction” and “discussion.”

“What we prohibit is giving them directions in a specific direction,” Baxley said of how teachers direct students in a classroom.

“Students can talk about anything they want to talk about, but sometimes the right answer is, ‘You really should tell your parents.’

The bill applies to children from kindergarten to grade three.

It states that “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties about sexual orientation or gender identity may not take place.”

It also requires districts to “adopt procedures to notify a student’s parent if there is a change in the student’s services or supervision related to the mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being of the student,” which LGBTQ advocates claim could lead to students being disclosed to their parents without the student’s knowledge or consent.

It passed March 8 in a 22-17 vote. The State House had approved the bill late last month. DeSantis signed it into law on March 28 and it will go into effect July 1.

Barry F. Howard