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March 18th, 2011
12:56 PM ET

Franklin Graham sending 90 tons of aid to Japan

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

The Rev. Franklin Graham on Friday was readying what he described as an airlift of more than 90 tons of emergency supplies from North Carolina to earthquake- and tsunami-ravaged Japan.

“I want the people of Japan to know that God hasn’t forgotten them, that God does care for them and that he loves them,” said Graham, who is organizing the effort through his group Samaritan’s Purse.

The aid includes blankets, hygiene supplies and plastic sheeting for shelters, according to a statement from Samaritan’s Purse.

Graham said he is hoping the U.S. military will help unload a Boeing 747 carrying the aid, which is scheduled to leave the U.S. Friday and arrive in Japan on Saturday.

Japan's National Police Agency said Friday that the death toll from the monster earthquake and ensuing tsunami had climbed to 6,911, with another 10,316 people missing. Some 380,000 people are staying in shelters, Japan's official Kyodo News reported.

Graham said pallets of emergency supplies for his airlift were purchased by individuals, groups and business, including country musician Ricky Skaggs and Lowe's home improvement stores.

A Samaritan’s Purse team in Japan is planning to distribute the supplies through local churches, though Graham said travel restrictions within a 50-mile radius of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant would make the job difficult.

“I've led festivals through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Okinawa and Osaka, and my father visited Japan six times during his ministry,” Graham, son of the Rev. Billy Graham, said in a statement. “So the first thing we did after the earthquake was to contact our church partners in Japan.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Asia • Christian Science • Japan • Leaders

soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. John

    Why can't a gift just be given as a gift? Why must there always be a string attached? True charity and compassion have no agenda.

    March 20, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  2. jimtanker

    Sounds like a great tax writoff to me

    March 20, 2011 at 1:47 am |
  3. Juan

    Thank you Samaritans Purse for making a difference when it counts! God Bless!

    March 20, 2011 at 1:11 am |
  4. HisOwn

    PeaceToAll.... Thank you again Sir, for your most sensible and heartfelt comments. It is always a pleasure to hear what you have to say, less all the grief and rid=icule that I see here.
    Doesn't matter where the help comes from, these people need help. Lets all be good humanitarians, and do what we can to help as well.

    March 19, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  5. HotAirAce

    Given all the various logos affixed to the cargo netting after the pallets were loaded, I don't think the motives of the donors are all that pure.

    It is not clear that Franklin G. is actually personally donating anything.

    Flying a planeload of supplies to Ja-pan without a concrete plan to unload them will likely mean that the supplies will not get to those that need them as soon as they could have, and will likely add more immediate stress to the relief effort.

    Bottom line though – the Ja-panese have an 90 tons of badly needed supplies for which the organization and donors coordinated by the religious charlatans should be thanked. I'm confident the Ja-panese will put them to good use and that they will successfully resist christianity as they have done for hundred of years.

    I encourage all to donate to the relief efforts in Ja-pan and elsewhere via richarddawkins.net.

    March 19, 2011 at 6:59 am |
  6. Anglican

    I wonder how much money has been sent to J-a p an from "humanitarian societies". I am not being critical, I just wonder.

    March 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      "Humanitarian societies"? What the hell are you talking about?

      March 18, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • Anglican

      Mr. Snif. Must be uninformed. Collective group of atheist gathered for the "common good" of society.

      March 19, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Unknown amount, surely lots but not enough, just like for theists. Why does it matter, as in, what's your point?

      I encourage all to donate to the relief efforts in Ja-pan and elsewhere via richarddawkins.net.

      March 19, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      Did you mean "humanist" instead of "humanitarian"? It's like this whole other word, and it might actually make sense in the context you seem to be proposing.

      March 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Reality

      Actually, one of the largest contributors to the assist Ja-pan campaign is the USA government i.e. we the taxpayers, a collection of humanists, humanitarians, secularists, atheists, agnostics, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and Pagans.

      March 20, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  7. Peace2All

    From the article, the Rev. Franklin Graham says: “I want the people of Ja-pan to know that God hasn’t forgotten them, that God does care for them and that he loves them,” said Graham, who is organizing the effort through his group Samaritan’s Purse."

    I believe that it is most important for the people of Ja-pan to know during these times that fellow 'Human Beings' truly care and are thinking about them, and have not forgotten about them and it is these 'people' who care that are doing something about it.

    Whether the individual or group has a religious status...or... the individuals or groups are purely atheistic in scope... it really doesn't matter, in my opinion, at this point, does it...?

    If in fact, by people giving out of love, it somehow helps those in Ja-pan that 'do' have some kind of a particular faith, whatever their religious beliefs are, i.e... Shinto, Buddhist, Christian, etc... that's alright too.

    It's the fact that love is being expressed by us with empathy, compassion and love to help our brothers and sisters of planet Earth.

    Peace...

    March 18, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Churl

      Peace2All, your post is one of the best I have seen in a while.

      As much as I am against religion, I would prefer to do it more like your way since the religions of the world are going to be here for a while yet....

      It is more clear to me now that actual dialogue between believers and non-believers is a complete waste of time regarding religion, etc.
      They appear to identify too closely with the idea of being religious to entertain any reasonable discussion to the contrary.

      And my anger at everything unethical and dishonest makes it that much more difficult to express myself in an empathetic manner to those who I view as brainwashed victims and brainwashed perpetrators of injustice, criminal and unethical behavior, etc.

      Sorry folks. Talking mean is mostly just venting in my case. Don't take it personal. I don't like people being victims of other people. It's bad enough when we have earthquakes or plagues, why make it worse with lying to others and doing bad things to other people?
      But there I go again. I feel too strongly to speak moderately of these things.

      I just want people and the world we live in to be better a leeetle too much.
      It gets away from me. I really do want to help. I am better at staying out of other people's ways I think.

      Peace2All, thanks for your post. I guess the walls were closing in again and I was beating my head against things I cannot change. You gave me some peace. Thx, bro.

      March 19, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  8. Magic

    In all fairness, while I think that Franklin is a horse's backside, if he gives he is shredded, and if he doesn't give he is shredded.

    I'm sure that the suffering recipients don't give a whit where the aid comes from. Yes, a shame if $ are wasted on Bibles as aid, but gee, maybe they can use the pages for TP or to line their worn out shoes.

    March 18, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  9. Heathen

    I like how he's "hoping" the US military will unload his expensive jet for free. I guess he can't hire any of those filthy heathens living in J-apan to do it. They haven't been "saved".

    March 18, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • W247

      You are so cynical, can't you for just one moment get past your prejudices and try to see some good in this? That hard heart of yours is going to kill you one of these days.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Heathen

      What are you, my mother? P-iss off, W247, you lying dog. You don't know me and just be glad you don't.
      Cynicism is a wise and prudent course to take when dealing with other human beings like you.
      Just a fact you might want to consider the next time someone asks you to donate money for anything.

      March 18, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • W247

      Heathen –
      Maybe you need your momma to teach you a little bit more about compassion!! Get back into the corner, you're in a time out!!!

      March 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Heathen

      My mother's dead you pathetic piece of month-old tripe. She was killed by religious people who didn't like her lack of belief.
      Like to try again?

      March 18, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • W247

      Really Heathen? Your retorts are very One-liner, "look at me for attention" responses. Insulting for the shock value but no real content or substance.

      March 18, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  10. Reality

    There are always economics built into one's beliefs. For example, is Susan Jacoby an atheist because there is money to be made from books, speeches and columns on the subject? Unless she and others in the business of making good income from books, etc. on religion, secularism, or atheism take a vow of poverty, we will never know.

    To wit:

    Glen Beck, $32 million in 2010, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/08/glenn-beck-earned-32-mill_n_529903.html

    and from guidestar.org

    Rev. Franklin Graham $800,000+/yr.

    Rev. Billy Graham, $400,000/yr

    Rabbi Bradley Hirschfield $331,708/yr

    Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, $200,000/yr

    Erica Brown $134,221/yr

    Eboo Patel $120,000/yr.

    Dr. Herb Silverman $100,000/yr. ?

    Imam Rauf and his wife Daisy, $400,000/yr/ea estimated

    March 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • pete

      I don't see your relationship? People aren't supposed to make money? Just because you're a person of faith doesn't mean you have to live in the dumps. Usually making more money helps that person spread their message of faith. There are some who will say that we should be like Jesus and be of the people, but i don't think he "commands" it.

      Its generally about getting our message out, money does that. Being poor makes it much harder.

      And besides, people who are popular get media attention when they give big things away. I don't see how this is any different than anyone else.

      March 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Reality

      An updated message via a prayer and at no cost to you and no profit for "propheteering" evangelicals:

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated based on the studies of historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

      I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen

      (if you want to make a donation, make the check out to the USA Federal government i.e. us taxpayers whose contributions to disasters like Haiti and Ja-pan far exceed those of the "non-profits" and we do so without all the "Jesus Saves" mumbo jumbo.)

      March 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Reality

      "Citizens who wish to make a general donation to the U.S. government may send contributions to a specific account called "Gifts to the United States." This account was established in 1843 to accept gifts, such as bequests, from individuals wishing to express their patriotism to the United States. Money deposited into this account is for general use by the federal government and can be available for budget needs. These contributions are considered an unconditional gift to the government. Financial gifts can be made by check or money order payable to the United States Treasury and mailed to the address below.

      Gifts to the United States
      U.S. Department of the Treasury
      Credit Accounting Branch
      3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
      Hyattsville, MD 20782"

      March 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      I'm betting that the "Gifts to the United States" fund rakes in about $6.42 annually, mostly from Boy Scouts who were forced to do it.

      March 18, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > I'm betting that the "Gifts to the United States" fund rakes in about $6.42 annually, mostly from Boy Scouts who were forced to do it.

      I'm betting the department running it is running into the red, thereby costing the government cash.

      March 19, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Reality

      I just asked my Congressman to find out how much money the Gifts Department takes in every year. Back to you in a few days.

      March 19, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  11. whatever

    Noticed how the supplies are going to churches and not shelters, yeah god (men) only cares about christians. Screw the non-belivers. Sigh, that's why I'll never give anything to a church even for a good cause. These supplies are only being used as a recruiting tool while people are going through grief.

    March 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      I wonder how much of the weight is made up of bibles.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • W247

      What a sad cynical life you lead. Yes, the program is run through churches, where there are already established volunteers to hand out the supplies to anyone that is in need. What are you doing? Other then spewing out more hatred into the world?

      March 18, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Heathen

      W247, what makes you think we're spewing hate into the world? That's the job of religion. Your religion.
      We are selflessly trying to make people see sense for once in their sorry lives.
      It is a labor of love to help all mankind.
      Someday we will be free of your lies.

      March 18, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • craig

      Actually the relief supplies go to the local churches and are then handed out to anyone who is in need, One does not have to be a christian to receive supplies.The local churches know there neighborhoods and the people in them. The personal touch with love is what is needed.

      March 18, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Actually the relief supplies go to the local churches and are then handed out to anyone who is in need, One does not have to be a christian to receive supplies.The local churches know there neighborhoods and the people in them. The personal touch with love is what is needed.

      Actually the supplies are going to the chruches so that people are drawn to them. It's a way of bringing people to "God". If this wasn't the case, why not make the donation to the red cross which woudl have a better distribution network then the independant churches.

      Aid to the people, in a less efficient way for the sake of bringing people to Christianity.

      That's not evil?

      March 19, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • timbo

      Bobinator – I find it interesting all that you say with absolutely no proof. You talk about how they distribute to local curches to draw people in, but you don't know that. You make a lot of claims, but nothing to back it up.

      March 19, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
  12. b4bigbang

    I don't believed God made the disaster. I also have a problem with some of the evangelists, but I do think Graham did a good work in this.

    March 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  13. Larry

    Franklin is just another liar. Who cares what his lies are about? He's extremely rich and a "christian" "leader".
    What more could anyone ask for? He is greater than God! God only made the disaster, but Graham fixed it up!
    He loves his PR, doesn't he? CNN is such a patsy.

    March 18, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  14. Biffy

    Of course God hasn't forgotten them; he was the one who made the earthquake and tsunami in the first place.

    March 18, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  15. GSA

    Good stuff. Doesn't matter what the reason for helping is, this is a very good deed and kudos to Graham.

    March 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      Actually it does. If I help a homeless man knowing I'm going to be getting a million dollars, did I still do a good deed?

      Similarly, does a good deed count when the action is used to interject your name into the public view. You know, vanity?

      March 18, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Magic

      Bobinator,

      "does a good deed count when the action is used to interject your name into the public view. You know, vanity?"

      I'm sort of torn on my opinion there. Celebrities (like Sandra Bullock – $1 million to Red Cross for Ja.pan & $1 million for Haiti aid) have contributed and use their names. Is it vanity and self-promotion... or is it leading by example - putting their money where their mouths are?

      March 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • W247

      So let me ask you this.. when Sandra Bullock was in the news because she donated $1,000,000 why didn't people jump all over her case and accuse her of just "getting her name in the public view"? I mean, I am sure a million dollars is a drop in the bucket for her, she can make another million quite easily... come on people, fair play, jump on her case now with the same reasoning that you just painted the Grahams with.

      Stop being so hypocritical and mean spirited.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Heathen

      Someone hates Ms Bullock and it ain't me.

      March 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > So let me ask you this.. when Sandra Bullock was in the news because she donated $1,000,000 why didn't people jump all over her case and accuse her of just "getting her name in the public view"?

      Your argument is moronic. First of all, Sandra Bullock doesn't need her name out in the public. Billy Graham does. Second of all, if it is done for publicity, which I doubt, then it is not a good act. Thirdly, one million dollars does not contain bibles. I bet this aid did. Point and match to the guy who thinks. Me.

      > I mean, I am sure a million dollars is a drop in the bucket for her, she can make another million quite easily...

      You her financial advisor? I don't think she's rolling in the cash.

      > come on people, fair play, jump on her case now with the same reasoning that you just painted the Grahams with.

      I did. I just reject your argument as stupid and an unfair comparison.

      > Stop being so hypocritical and mean spirited.

      Stop defending people just because they share the same faith. Stop electing people because they share the same faith. Try thinking about their motiviations and goals.

      March 19, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  16. CW

    Yep,

    I see all the wonderful non believers...oh...also I believe Atheist's have made it here.

    God Bless the Graham's they are truly a family that lives the word of God.

    ooo....lets see how much h-'ate rants I get...or....propaganda rants....all are the same.

    March 18, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      Who's hating?

      March 18, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      CW.. you are a non believer.so why are you here? you clearly do not believe in Mo, or Thor, or Ra.. all valid gods and prophets that you have found enough evidence against to dismiss..apparently .

      March 19, 2011 at 12:18 am |
  17. JohnR

    Kudos to Graham. It was the right thing to do.

    March 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  18. HeavenSent

    Oh, and you gave what? You've done what? Complaining about Christians that are doing for others.

    Yes, typical responses from those that have no eyes to see, nor ears to hear, no hearts to feel.

    Amen.

    March 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Mischa

      They could have sent the "90 tons" of aid without making a big stink about it. All it is is another excuse for grandiose arrogance under the color of religion.

      He has his reward, and now he will get none in "heaven". Isn't that what your bible says?
      Would it have hurt to simply give without ramming his religion down their throats along with the food?
      Must they suffer even further by listening to this windbag?
      His backhanded "aid" is nothing more than a public relations scam. Would he give anything if he was unable to make religious hay out of it like he always does?

      March 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Luisa

      HeavenSent – you are the most disgusting and vile excuse for a christian I have ever seen. You have no shame.

      March 18, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • W247

      So let me ask you this.. when Sandra Bullock was in the news because she donated $1,000,000 why didn't people jump all over her case and accuse her of just "getting her name in the public view"? I mean, I am sure a million dollars is a drop in the bucket for her, she can make another million quite easily... come on people, fair play, jump on her case now with the same reasoning that you just painted the Grahams with.

      Stop being so hypocritical and mean spirited.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Gib

      Hatin' on Ms. Bullock, eh? Okay. I didn't know she was a big evangelist preacher, though. That's a surprise. Yeah, damn her too.

      March 18, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Heathen

      Yes, damn all preachers to the hell they secretly love. If Ms. Bullock is a preacher of the same disgusting sort as Mr Graham, then, yes, damn her too.
      The problem is religion, and the people who abuse it. W247 must not be too bright in the upper story. Been President lately?

      March 18, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Luisa, listens to false preachers teach what man/woman WANTS to hear instead of Jesus' truth that man/woman NEEDS to hear to FREE them from the sins of the flesh as is written.

      Jeremiah 17:9
      Colossians 1:16
      Psalm 58:3
      Revelation 4:11
      Proverbs 17:11
      Deuteronomy 4:39

      Amen.

      March 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • W247

      Heathen

      Classic use of misdirection. I point out a flaw and you turn around and start attacking me. What, you must be a liberal or something. (See that was another example of misdirection from what the original point of the story is)

      March 18, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Joe

      Heaven Sent how appropriate that you chose the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. God is revealing to you why you see the speck in everyone eyes but not the log in your own. Luisa, ignore this person a real Christian is nothing like them.

      March 18, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  19. Mischa

    What more could anyone ask for when seeking proof that god does not exist...than the Grahams up to their old scams?

    What god would let their lies continue? Just the nonexistent ones. For everything else, there's MasterTard. Priceless.

    March 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  20. The Bobinator

    Wait, I thought this was sent by a human.

    March 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.