Joseph Infranco

Is Billy Graham getting political? That’s what some are wondering with the release of a statement from the man who is arguably the best known evangelist in the world:

I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who support the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.

The statement is notable because the 93-year-old preacher has steered clear of politics during his long and illustrious career.

Graham is informally called the “Pastor to Presidents,” because he has met with every sitting president since Harry S. Truman. Many, including Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton sought his counsel, and he has enjoyed a close relationship with the Bush family.

Some even speculate that Graham has been a resource for both parties because he avoids, and maybe even transcends, politics. It’s undoubtedly true Graham has tried to stay out of the political arena.

For example, on his website, in response to a question about why he does not speak out more on political issues, Graham offered the following answer:

Over the years, I have tried to avoid getting involved in partisan politics -- and on those few occasions when I may have stepped over the line (at least in some people's view), I regretted it later. As an evangelist, my calling has been to preach the Gospel to as many people as possible, and I have always wanted to avoid putting up any unnecessary barriers…

Graham cultivated this philosophy over nearly 70 years of ministry, which makes his recent words even more startling.

So is Billy Graham getting political? The answer is “no.” Rather, he is getting biblical.

The Bible identified these as moral issues long before the political experiment we call “America” even came into existence. It is politics that has expanded into the realm of morality, and not vice-versa.

People who have followed Graham’s career should not be surprised by this. When an issue is about morality and doing what is right before God, Graham has not shied away.

Joseph Infranco

Joseph Infranco is senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom.