July/August 2016 Church & State | People & Events

A prominent far-right Christian evangelist is holding rallies in every state in an effort to reshape American politics.

The Rev. Franklin Graham, son of the Rev. Billy Graham, is hosting the events as part of his “Decision America 2016” tour. The tour is sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), which Franklin Graham now runs. 

In a recent interview with an online publication called FaithZette, which is run by far-right personality Laura Ingraham, Graham promoted his tour and said the United States is facing dire times.

“We’re living in the most dangerous period of history in our nation,” Graham opined. “It wasn’t the Civil or Revolutionary Wars or World War I or II that were the most dangerous – that time is now. We’re fighting the war within, the moral war. If Christians don’t stand up now we’re going to lose – and we’re going to lose big.”

Graham went on to state that America is in terrible shape spiritually.

“If you put it in those terms, we have cancer – spiritual cancer,” he said. “It’s eating away at us, because of compromises that churches and Christians are living in their lives. We need to get back to serving God. We need to get back on our knees, confessing our sins and turning from our sins – otherwise, we’re finished.”

Seemingly for good measure, Graham also tossed in some homophobia.

“The gay and lesbian movement is basically a lie itself,” Graham asserted.  “Less than 2 percent of the American population is gay, but they have been able to convince the vast majority – largely because they’ve gotten into schools – that the behavior is okay. They are forcing the rest of the country to accept their lifestyle, and our president is promoting that lifestyle. For us as Christians we need to stand up and push back, by getting elected locally.”

Graham believes these issues can be resolved through the ballot box.

“As Christians, our voice needs to be heard,” he said. “We need to stand up, and we don’t need to worry about being politically correct – if you stand for the name of Christ you won’t be politically correct, so forget about that!”

This is not the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s first foray into politics. In 2012, Franklin Graham arranged for his father to meet with then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and endorse him. The senior Graham reportedly told Romney, “I will do all I can to help you.”

Shortly after that, the group began using the ministry’s tax-exempt funds to pay for full-page ads in newspapers. The ads quoted Billy Graham, who was 94 at the time, calling on Americans to “cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles” and who “protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.”