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So who's bankrolling the National Prayer Breakfast? Evangelical superstar Franklin Graham

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One of a series about the Fellowship Foundation, the secretive religious group that runs the National Prayer Breakfast and is popularly known as The Family. This series is based on Family documents obtained by TYT, including lists of breakfast guests and who invited them.

Although the National Prayer Breakfast bills itself as nonpartisan and ecumenical, its sole benefactor is anything but: Franklin Graham.

The son of breakfast co-founder Billy Graham, Franklin Graham is openly anti-LGBTQ, anti-Islamic and partisan. He is also, according to a source close to The Family, the only source of revenue for the NPB aside from ticket sales.

Graham singlehandedly enabled The Family to keep its breakfast operations intact this year. Because the 2021 breakfast was remote due to COVID, The Family had zero revenues from guest registration fees.

Although the source estimated the total at only $100,000 a year, they said that's "serious money" for a nonprofit endeavor such as the NPB. Graham, the source said, "is providing an amount of support that, arguably without it, the breakfast has trouble making it work."

The source said the funding doubled in 2016, and that Graham told the Family that it was due to a new presidential administration coming in. The source said they didn't know whether Graham did this before or after Trump's election.

Family documents obtained by TYT show that Graham and his nonprofit organizations have been allowed to invite guests to the annual breakfast, which is billed as a convening of global leaders. Graham's guests range from his family members to an anti-LGBTQ cause célèbre to lobbyists and fundraisers from his charities.

None of the source's claims about Graham and the breakfast were disputed by Graham, The Family or the three men who ran the breakfast in 2016, the year the donations doubled.

Publicly available IRS records are consistent with the source's account. Graham runs two massive organizations that have disclosed funding The Family's legal entity, the Fellowship Foundation, according to filings made available online by ProPublica.

Like Graham, both organizations have ample records of anti-LGBTQ discrimination. The breakfast, which purports to be run by Congress, also discriminates against LGBTQ people, as TYT has previously reported, largely excluding LGBTQ leaders and activists, and serving as a hub and spawning ground for global right-wing networks opposed to abortion and LGBTQ rights.

Forbidden Colours, an LGBTQ advocacy group, warned congressional Democrats last month in an intelligence brief that their participation in prayer breakfasts lends credibility to far-right movements. The European Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Rights reported this summer that right-wing activists are staging prayer breakfasts to help expand their networks.

Franklin Graham and U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black at the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast. (Image: Screengrab of tweet by Franklin Graham.)

The two groups that Graham runs are Samaritan's Purse, one of the world's largest relief organizations, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).

The European parliamentary report called the BGEA one of the top 10 organizations responsible for "the lion's share of US anti-gender activism in Europe," spending tens of millions of dollars there from undisclosed donors, openDemocracy found. The BGEA website says the organization considers marriage to be exclusively between "one genetic male and one genetic female" and human life to begin at conception.

Unlike the BGEA, which focuses on evangelizing Graham's brand of Protestantism, Samaritan's Purse is a relief organization. However, its "primary mission" is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. So it too weaves far-right views in with aid........

© Salon

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