Last month, Shirley and I flew to Dover, Delaware, to attend and video tape Franklin Graham’s 42nd Decision America Tour. As of that time, he had only eight more states to visit on his nationwide campaign. This event, like all the others, was held on the State capitol grounds in front of a large and passionate crowd. The average attendance at the rallies has been 4,200 people. On this occasion, they stood praying together for the welfare of a nation in moral decline. Some were crying as they gave their hearts to Jesus Christ. Franklin then suggested that his audience become informed and to vote for the candidates of their choice. He also asked them to urge others to do likewise. It was a very inspirational experience.
Some in the crowd recognized Shirley and me and introduced themselves to us. Then, a 16-year-old boy began wondering who we were to be drawing that attention. He came up to me and said, tentatively, “Uh, are you…would you be…Billy Graham?” We laughed and Shirley pointed out that Dr. Graham is nearly 98 years old. One never knows how the youngest generation will perceive your age, but I’ve never been taken for a centenarian before.
I have great respect for Franklin and the ministry at Samaritan’s Purse. His team does wonderful work for needy people around the world. In July, my son Ryan and I were fishing in Alaska and visited Operation Heal Our Patriots. It is a ministry project of Samaritan’s Purse, where wounded warriors and their wives are brought at no cost and given marriage counseling, love and treatment as needed. Most accept Christ, and some choose to recommit themselves to each other. Nearly all of them are baptized by former military chaplains. Men without legs use crutches to wade into a lake where the water temperature is near 40 degrees. It is a highly emotional time for the soldiers and their spouses.
Franklin and I shared our deep concern about the upcoming national election. He wrote the following statement to express that apprehension and has given me permission to share it with you.
The Most Important Election of Our Lifetime
In just three weeks, our nation will select a man or woman who will become the 45th president of the United States of America. Whomever we elect will take the helm of a nation that has grown increasingly hostile and intolerant of the very foundation and principles upon which it was so nobly founded—the Christian faith and biblical values.
That’s why I believe this election is the most significant since Abraham Lincoln was chosen to guide a divided country through a bloody and protracted civil war.
For if the forces of evil that are allied against the free exercise of our faith succeed—and they have done severe damage already—then I have no doubt that the nation we love will devolve into moral anarchy more quickly than we can imagine.
Earlier this summer, I had the privilege of meeting with the Stormans family, devout Christians who own a local pharmacy in Olympia, Washington.
The Stormanses refused to dispense a drug called Plan B that induces abortion. After a series of state and federal court battles, they filed a petition before the U.S. Supreme Court. The day before we met, the Supreme Court refused to hear their case. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas said they would have heard the appeal, but unfortunately they were in the minority. In his dissent, Justice Alito said, “If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.”
He is absolutely and frighteningly right. The generations of Americans who have treasured and enjoyed the blessings of religious liberty, of being one nation under God, now have “cause for great concern.”
Same-sex marriage zealots have launched an all-out war on traditional marriage, which is defined in Scripture—and virtually every civilization in history—as a union between one man and one woman. Human sexuality itself is being completely redefined by elite sexual revolutionaries who seek to impose their warped views on society, resulting in fierce battles over such things as transgender bathrooms—supported by none other than the president himself.
The same anti-Christian forces are seeking to strip funding from Christian colleges to keep them from educating students with a biblical worldview. Business owners across the nation have been forced to close their doors because they refused to participate in same-sex ceremonies due to their religious faith.
The skirmishes over moral standards have turned into pitched battles over the last decade and now have become an all-out war on religious liberty. Think of the moral degeneration that has transpired under our current president, who has helped lead the fight to promote ungodly sexual behavior while failing to protect basic religious liberties.
What if that depraved trajectory continues over the next few decades? Can you imagine what our great nation, whose foundation was laid by a moral and religious people, will look like? The next president will appoint several Supreme Court justices (three of the current eight are 77 or older), so this election will profoundly affect generations to come.
That’s why this fall we must take pains to examine where the candidates for our nation’s highest elected office stand on the critical issues that face our troubled nation.
Will they do everything they can to protect the life of the unborn child? Will they fight for the religious freedom that is guaranteed under the Constitution? Will they fully support the rights of men and women of faith to act in accordance with their sincerely held religious beliefs?
Will they defend our nation against Islamic terrorists who have slaughtered and killed innocents across our country in the name of their god? Will they call the enemy—radical Islam—by its name? Will they work to strengthen our military so the United States of America can continue to be the dependable guardian of the free world?
Will they defend the biblical sanctity of marriage as between one man and one woman, and do all they can to protect the family unit? Will they continue to lead us down the road of irresponsible socialism, where the biblical injunction for hard, honest work is ignored? Or will we embrace a resurgence of vigorous entrepreneurship and industry that has been a hallmark of our nation since its founding?
Will they appoint judges to the Supreme Court and federal courts who respect and uphold the safeguards of the U.S. Constitution? Judges who refuse to interpret the law based on decadent ideology and liberal political agendas that are directly opposed to the fundamental tenets of religious freedom?
It’s also crucial for us to examine the positions of candidates who are running for office on the state and local level. Check their stance on pivotal moral issues, and vote for those who best reflect biblical values. We must be willing to do our homework on those men and women who represent us, and go out on November 8 to do all we can to exercise our voting privilege. Remember: Nearly 30 million evangelicals failed to make their way to the voting booth in the last election cycle. We must not repeat that mistake again this November.
Samuel Adams, one of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence, reminded us of the staggering responsibility of casting a ballot. “Let each citizen remember, at the moment he is offering his vote, that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual—or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society, for which he is accountable to God and his country.”
As I have visited state capitols for our Decision America Tour, beginning in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 5 and ending in Raleigh, North Carolina, on October 13, it has been clear that multitudes of Americans know our nation is in deep trouble. They have come by the thousands because they love their country and are willing to call on God in prayer.
Standing shoulder to shoulder at every stop, they have come repenting of their sins and asking the Lord to heal our land. I believe God hears the cries of His people, and that there is still time for our nation to turn once again back to Almighty God for a renewal of righteousness.
I’ve made it clear from the beginning that I am not endorsing any candidate. I don’t have any hope in either the Republican or Democratic Party. My hope is in Almighty God alone, who can turn hearts back to Him so that we can sincerely say that “righteousness exalts a nation” (Proverbs 14:34). Yet, a careful vote could extend the time we have to freely preach the gospel.
In our nation’s history, we have witnessed such spiritual and national renewal in seasons like the Great Awakening. I believe it can happen again, because I believe that God is full of mercy and forgiveness to people who come in genuine repentance.
The Bible says, “Sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). The disgrace of America due to persistent, willful, rebellious sin is shameful. We will not survive as a “city set on a hill” (Matthew 5:14) without God’s help.
I want God’s blessings on America, but that will only come to a people who forsake sin and pursue righteousness. That’s the vision of America that I have, and one that I hope will once again hold sway for our children, grandchildren and generations to come. ©2016 BGEA
To re-emphasize Franklin’s message during the Decision America Tour, take time to VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! This country stands at a crossroads in its long and glorious history. It is in trouble now and it needs you. Here’s what is at stake. A culture rarely reverses course on a freeway. Once it makes a series of wrong turns, the consequences are often deep and profound. That is why so many Christian leaders are asking now for concerted prayer among God’s people and are urging them not to stay home on election day. My good friend, David Lane, with American Renewal Project, wrote recently, “If we don’t let our voices be heard, someone else’s values will reign supreme.” Not only must we help select the next president. We also have the responsibility as Christian citizens to vote for godly and competent congressional representatives, senators, governors, mayors, local candidates, judges, and school board members.
Finally, we must also help decide the great moral issues of our time, including the protection of human life, religious liberty and traditional marriage. Now is the time to take a stand for righteousness and to challenge those whom you know to make their votes count. America’s future depends on what happens on November 8, 2016. Don’t even think about staying at home.
God bless America. And may God bless the American people.
P.S. Before I close this important message, there is another urgent issue about which I need to make you aware. You certainly won’t hear about it from the mainstream media or even from Fox News. According to Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness, the U.S. House of Representatives tried quietly last May to attach legislation, HR 4909, to the massive FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. It would have mandated that all girls over the age of 18 had to register for the draft. We call it Draft America’s Daughters legislation. Donnelly alerted her constituents of this unconscionable legislation, and they managed to stop it at the last minute.
But, unbelievably, Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, had plans of his own. He and his colleagues attached his version of Draft America’s Daughters to the Senate version of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Included with it is a provision mandating National Service for your daughters. He did this without notice and behind closed doors. Obviously, he is hiding something onerous.
A conference committee will soon seek to hammer out the two versions of the bills without any national conversation or vetting. Who knows what efforts are going on behind the scenes where Draft America’s Daughters hangs in the balance?
How about it, Mothers and Fathers? Do you want your daughters engaged in combat situations during national emergencies? The Pentagon has already decided that women can help fight our wars. Speaking personally, I resent McCain and other members of Congress who are trying to ram this policy down the throats of American families.
If you agree, I would encourage you to contact your U.S. senator and request that they write a letter to persuade Chairman McCain to defer to the House version of the NDAA, which does not include a mandate to Draft America’s Daughters.
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