While the remaining presidential candidates plot strategy, Rev. Franklin Graham is going from state to state to urge Americans to pray for their state and their nation and for Christians to seek public office or at least get actively engaged in steering the U.S. in a more godly direction.
Graham, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, is leading the Decision America Tour, which is in the process of visiting the state capitals of all 50 states and meets on the steps of the State Capitol building in each of those cities.
Graham told WND and Radio America his desire to reverse the moral slide of the United States inspired this project.
“The country I grew up in is not the same country my grandchildren will have,” he said. “They won’t have the same opportunities. Our country is changing so quickly. We have turned our back on God, and we are beginning to celebrate and flaunt sin.”
While he is encouraging active political engagement by Christians, Graham said the solutions America truly needs aren’t found in any political party.
“The only hope for this country is God,” Graham said. “We need to go from state capital to state capital and give people an opportunity to come and join me on the steps of their capitol to pray for their state and to pray for this nation. Then maybe God will hear our prayers, and maybe He’ll give us a man or woman to lead this nation back to Him.”
While many Christians and cultural conservatives are alarmed by how quickly liberal priorities are advancing, Graham said they were always creeping forward but were overshadowed by other threats.
“When I was growing up, we were afraid of the red threat. The commies were coming,” Graham said. “We built up our Army, our Air Force, our Navy to protect ourselves. When the Berlin Wall came down, everybody signed a sigh of relief, ‘We won that one.'”
He continued, “While we were relaxing, secularism, which is exactly the same as communism – they’re both godless, slowly over the last 40 years has taken this country. It’s gone into Washington. It’s gone into our state capitals. It’s gone into our local offices. It’s in our schools. What godless communism could not do, godless secularism has done.”
Graham points to the fierce backlash that he and other believers receive for defending a biblical position in a political or policy debate. He said hostility demands committed action now.
“We’re going to lose our voice,” Graham said. “We’re going to lose the opportunity, not only to spread the gospel, but we’re going to lose our religious freedoms to even live out our faith.”
He said Christian voices must be willing to defy those who insist they keep silent.
“It’s one thing to practice our faith. It’s another thing to live our faith. As a Christian, not only am I to practice my faith, but I’m to live it every day,” Graham said. “The secularists want us to stop living it. They want us to hide in a closet. Well, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to back up, and I’m not going to shut up.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Franklin Graham:
The state of the culture demands Christians take a stand, he said.
“I’m going to fight, and I’m asking Christians to join me in this fight,” Graham said. “It’s to fight through the word of God. It’s to fight through prayer, but it’s also to fight by standing up and going to the polls and voting, not staying home. Twenty to thirty million Christians stayed home in the last presidential election. Let’s take our country back.”
The Decision America Tour has already been to several state capitals, but the vast majority of events are still to come and will take place until October. Graham said prayer is at the heart of the gatherings.
“We start with prayer,” he said. “I ask the persons standing there to take the hands of the person next to them and hold their hands and start off by confessing the sins of our nation. I ask people to pray out loud. We stand on those steps and we pray out loud, confessing the sins of our nation, asking God for forgiveness.”
Like every Graham project, Decision America also includes a gospel presentation. Graham said hundreds of people have accepted Christ as their savior at each stop along the tour.
“This is who we are. It’s what we do,” he said. “Regardless of what audience I’m speaking to, I’m always going to give an invitation. So people come to faith in Christ as we go from capital to capital.”
Graham is also quick to point out that he is not trying to launch any sort political effort for himself.
“People ask me if I’m running for office,” Graham said. “I say, ‘No, but I am running a campaign for God and that is to put God back into the political process here in the United States of America.'”
He said the race for the White House is obviously very important, but he said there are offices much closer to home that also matter a great deal.
“If we can get Christians to run for mayors, if we can get Christians to run for city council, if we can get Christians to run for school boards, if we can get Christians to run for the state house, we can win this thing,” Graham said. “It doesn’t matter who the presidents are. We can win at home, and we can win big.”
He implores believers not to conclude that Christians aren’t meant to be politically active.
“As Christians, our voice needs to be heard,” Graham said. “We’re not to be silent. God has not called us to be quiet and to sit on a pew like a church mouse. No, we’re to speak out. We’re to be the salt and light. Our voice should be heard, and we need to let God’s word be heard.”
Graham asserts that many churches have been derelict by not engaging in important public debates.
“So many churches now are more concerned about political correctness than they are about God’s word and His righteousness,” he said. “I would encourage Christians and churches to take a bold stand and not be afraid.
“The world says if you get involved in politics than you’re being intolerant. Oh really? Well, then let’s be intolerant. We should be intolerant. We should not tolerate sin, and we should not tolerate sinful behavior. Absolutely we should be intolerant, not of the individual but of the sin they represent.”
Graham said truly loving one’s neighbor means having the courage to tell them the truth.
“We need to warn people that God is going to judge sin,” Graham said. “Sinners are going to be plunged into darkness and God is going to judge it one day. We need to warn them that this is a time to repent and turn from their sin and to believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”