Gotcha. Of course the leader of Samaritan’s Purse, among the largest worldwide Christian charities, who is also the son of Billy Graham, the world’s foremost Christian Evangelist, didn’t name names. But I was among the 4,000 to 5,000 Franklin Graham led in prayer recently on the steps of Denver’s Capitol as he proposed a Christian test for president.
He advised the crowd, “Vote for candidates who stand for Biblical truths and Biblical principles and who live them.” Horrors: a religious test! Of course people have all kinds of tests when choosing who to vote for but Heaven forbid there should be a test of Christian moral character. Instead, there’s the his-lips-are-two-thin test. And the eyes-too-close-together test. A longstanding favorite is the likeability test, also known as the who-would-be-fun-to-have-a-beer-with test. And if all else fails, the all-purpose there’s-just-something-I-don’t like-about-him test. Such silliness.
But mention a “test” that is actually crucial in judging a candidate’s moral principles, and in considering his past behavior to predict how he will lead and here come the “I’m spiritual but not religious” crowd shrieking “theocracy!” Or, like Donald Trump acolyte and president of Liberty University Jerry Falwell, Jr.: “We’re not voting for pastor-in-chief.”
Like so many others Falwell, in his backhanded swipe at Ted Cruz, is actually imposing a test of no religion that is itself a religious test. He can get away with it because many Americans today, often including the 70 to 75 percent of us who say we are Christians, would rather be accused of immorality than judgmentalness. Actually, the so-called culture considers the Bible itself as well as the Christians who try to follow it immoral if we adopt its uncompromising morality.
Graham addressed this, pointing out “the churches are more concerned about political correctness than God.” He told the story of Nehemiah, the Old Testament prophet who fasted, prayed, and confessed his sins before undertaking the rebuilding of the ruined walls of Jerusalem in 400 B.C. He also gave the Easter message of God’s redeeming work in Jesus Christ and invited new believers to commit their lives to Him.
Graham said that when considering the sins of our nation, “I don’t know where to start. I look at abortion, how same-sex marriage is flaunted, racism, the sin of pride, sex and violence every day in TV and movies…” Then he called on the crowd to pray out loud and ask forgiveness. I was one of the thousands speaking to God on that sun-bright Colorado day, each in his or her own way. The tide of different voices, each unburdening the believer’s unique past to a listening holy presence, was simply amazing.
The Founders, including our second President John Adams, would agree with Graham’s prescription for turning to God to help us live out the common Christian values of our nation. Said Adams, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Added Benjamin Franklin, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”
But what can we do to halt the disintegration of our national virtue? “VOTE!” urged Graham. “America is being stripped of its Biblical heritage and Christian foundations; it needs leaders, Christian leaders.”
He quoted his father Billy Graham, now 97 years old, who said decades ago, “I challenge every Christian not to withdraw but get involved in the political process! We need people to commit to run; it’s the duty of Christian men and women to offer themselves for political office. We could get the vote if we only offered ourselves. Most say, ‘I can’t; I have no experience.’ I’ll tell you -- the people in those offices now don’t have any experience!”
Continued Graham, “What if we had Christian mayors, Christian school boards – what a big difference! Our jobs as Christians is to make Christianity felt in every phase of life – politics, the economy, government, everything. We can only do it by surrendering to God…it all starts with you. Every one of you could run,” he told the crowd.
Graham is voicing the nightmare of the secular left which despises and ridicules Christian morality. What would happen if Christians would stand up for our beliefs and insist on the free exercise of religion, our First Amendment right?
The left has spent decades convincing our kids there is no such thing as right and wrong, that truth is relative and also irrelevant. God, if not dead, is seriously wounded or AWOL. As God’s moral authority has been trampled under the advancing banner of “anything goes” we have descended into moral rot and cultural hopelessness. “Without God, all things are permitted” as Russian novelist Dostoyevsky put it. And that way nihilism lies.
Children and teens coldly kill other children on our city streets and in our schools. Elementary school-aged kids are being taught their pre-adolescent affection for friends of the same sex means they’re gay. Never-married, grown-up men brag about the babies they’ve fathered with different women and abandoned. Young people text naked pictures of each other around the Internet and hook up for anonymous sex with someone they’ll never see again. Christians who disapprove of same-sex marriage are driven out of business by intolerant groups who will accept absolutely any behavior but principled dissent to their gay “rights” dogma.
Our likely presidential candidates include two zillionaires whose dishonesty and corruption has put them in legal jeopardy, plus one deluded Marxist, and a lone Christian conservative constitutionalist. The probable Democrat nominee to help re-elect the president lied to Americans about how a film, not terrorism, caused the Benghazi attacks, is under multiple FBI investigations for endangering national security while secretary of state, and is also being investigated for taking bribes from foreign governments to whom she gave valuable special favors in return for enormous speaking fees for herself and her husband as well as huge “donations” to their “nonprofit.”
The probable Republican nominee is a development titan whose four bankruptcies have harmed many, who laughs off a Trump University fraud case that will land in court as the general election nears, who boasts about adulterous affairs with married women, pays hefty fines for hiring illegal workers, and admires “strong” Communist governments that murder their own citizens.
Most Christians know the verse, “by their fruits you will know them.” (Matt. 7:20) And they know what that means. Although Graham stayed strictly away from endorsing a specific candidate, advising Christians to vote for the candidate who best upholds biblical values would definitely favor Ted Cruz.
Nevertheless he admonished, “I’ve heard people say, ‘if my candidate isn’t the nominee I’m not going to vote.’ Shame on you! Vote for the one with the best moral values background. And ask God who to vote for!”
Lastly, he asked the crowd to pledge not to be among the 20 to 30 million Christians who didn’t vote in the last presidential election. “Go to DecisionAMericaTour.com and take the pledge to pray fervently for America, to register and vote in every election, and to support, where possible, candidates who uphold Biblical principles. Also pledge to engage in your community and prayerfully consider running for office.” Graham is bringing his message to the capitols of all 50 states.
He ended with the reminder that Jesus Christ is the only hope for our nation. “We can take this nation back community by community; it all starts with you.”