Franklin Graham is once again under attack from Muslims who are now demanding that Congress ban the Christian evangelist from speaking at a National Day of Prayer service on Capitol Hil as a Republican lawmaker demands an investigation on the Pentagon's treatment of Graham and other Christian leaders.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations urged lawmakers to rescind the invitation originally extended to the son of Billy Graham. It comes days after the Pentagon banished Graham from their National Day of Prayer events. A military spokesman called Graham's participation inappropriate -- even though he is honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer.
"Speakers such as Franklin Graham reflect a message of religious intolerance, rather than the more American message of differing faiths united in sharing support of our nation's founding principles," Corey Saylor, of CAIR, told AOL News.
Graham once called Islam a "very evil and wicked religion." He defended those comments on FOX News and refused to apologize for his remarks.
Complaints by Muslim military personnel and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation led to Graham's ouster. MRFF Spokesman Mikey Weinstein told AOL that Graham is an "Islamophobe, an anti-Muslim bigot and an international representative of the scourge of fundamentalist Christian supremacy."
Shirley Dobson heads the National Day of Prayer Task Force and defended Graham's participation.
"Suggesting Mr. Graham should be removed from a National Day of Prayer event because of his religious opinions is absurd," she said. "No one understands better the need for prayer at this critical juncture in our nation's history."
"Moves to exclude any member of this great family from this prayer event represent everything that is wrong with the agenda of political correctness that is rampant in our country," Dobson said. "Our nation's founders wouldn't have tolerated it, and neither should we."
Graham has at least one supporter in Congress. Rep. Kingston, (R) GA, called for congressional hearings over the military's decision to ban not only Graham but also the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins.
Perkins had been scheduled to speak at a national prayer event at Andrews Air Force Base in February. However, the FRC president said he was "disinvited" over his opposition to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Kingston told CNSNews.com that he believes both decisions were about political correctness.
"I am concerned about it," he told the news outlet. "It shows that the Pentagon is using a systematic practice of weeding out preachers and leaders of the clergy who are willing to give biblically-based messages and sermons which might ruffle some feathers in the diplomatic circles in which they are very concerned."
The Pentagon also disinvited the National Day of Prayer Task Force from attending events - including Dobson, the wife of Focus on the Family Founder James Dobson.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin gave a vigorous defense of the evangelist on her Facebook page:
"It's truly a sad day when such a fine patriotic man, whose son is serving on his fourth deployment in Afghanistan to protect our freedom of speech and religion, is disinvited from speaking at the Pentagon's National Day of Prayer service."
Perkins, who is a veteran, told Newsmax.com:
"This decision is further evidence that the leadership of our nation's military has been impaired by the politically correct culture being advanced by this administration. Under this Administration's watch we are seeing the First Amendment, designed to protect the religious exercise of Americans, retooled into a sword to sever America's ties with orthodox Christianity."