DENVER – Franklin Graham, the CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, on Tuesday told a crowd estimated at more than 4,200 in an icy wind on the west steps of the Colorado Capitol that they as Christians need to pray for their nation, then vote, seek office, win and start running governments from Washington to the school board based on biblical principles.
“I have zero hope in the Democratic Party,” he said. “Wait a second, before the Republicans start high-fiving each other, I have zero hope in the Republican Party. The only hope is in God. God!”
The appearance was part of his Decision America Tour, in which he is visiting each of the 50 state capitals over the course of the 2016 presidential election season asking people to pray for their country and more. The events are not political; no candidates are on stage.
He brought greetings from his father, Billy Graham, who is 97. He said if his father were 20 years younger, he would have been on the capitol steps, too.
He preached on Nehemiah 1, which recounts how God judged Israel by allowing the people to be taken into exile because of unfaithfulness.
When Nehemiah prayed for permission to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, he found favor with God and, though beset by opposition, was successful.
“We need God’s favor,” Graham said. “When Nehemiah got back to Jerusalem, there were threats of violence, his enemies tried to discourage him, but he kept his focus and the wall was rebuilt in 52 days. Our moral walls and gates are broken down. Education, politicians, and some churches are more concerned with political correctness than with God’s truth and righteousness. Nehemiah fasted and prayed and confessed the sins of himself and his fathers and the nation. We need to confess the sins of our nation. Where do we start?”
His listed sins of abortion, same-sex “marriage,” pride, racism, not caring for the poor and morally depraved entertainment.
The theme of an America in need and hope that a Christian people can revive it was launched by world-renowned guitarist Dennis Agajanian, who declared in song, “Now, we may have done just a little fighting amongst ourselves, but the outside folks best leave us alone. We gonna get together again, you can take that to the bank.
“You never did think that we’d ever get together again.”
Agajanian said he is “walking proud, preaching loud.”
Old Glory was flying, as was the Colorado flag, and one with the words “Appeal to Heaven.”
Graham called for prayer.
“I’d like us right now, if you’d just join hands with the person next to you, maybe a complete stranger, person of another race. I want you to hold that person’s hand. I want to take the next few minutes, and I want you to pray out loud, and let’s confess the sins of our nation to Almighty God.”
He said the crowd assembled because “we’re fed up and mad with the direction this country is going.”
“What can we do? Vote – for those we believe stand and live for biblical principles. I’m often asked what my father would do. He has said, ‘It’s the duty of every individual Christian at election time to study the issues and the candidates, go to the polls and vote.’ He would explain to people where each candidate stood morally and politically. We will fail as a nation unless we participate in electing those who we believe will honor God and fear him.”
Franklin Graham said the threat to America in the 1950s, communism, now has been replaced by secularism, “which is the same thing.”
“It’s Godless. It permeates Washington, our states, and our local communities. We have taken God out of our society. There are no Ten Commandments on the school room wall, no teachers leading students in the Lord’s Prayer.”
He said the solution is for Christians to vote and “run for office.”
“We need men and women of integrity … to offer themselves to public service,” he said.
The nation is in a bad state, in part, because sometimes only “the bad ones” are candidates.
“The choice isn’t always clear. You may have to hold your nose when you go to the polls, but vote,” he said. “Be an advocate for God’s truth and righteousness. I want us to be ‘One nation under God’ again. Let’s take our nation back, community by community by community. It begins with you. To God be the glory!”