ATLANTA — Lamenting abortion and same-sex marriage, evangelist Franklin Graham on Wednesday urged thousands of Christians gathered near the Georgia Capitol to make their voices heard in this year’s elections, saying the consequences of inaction are dire.
“I don’t think we’re going to make it another election cycle if we don’t get God’s voice back in the political arena,” the reverend said after speaking to an estimated 4,500 people in Atlanta on a cold, blustery afternoon.
Graham has embarked on a 50-state “Decision America Tour.” Atlanta was stop No. 6.
“I want to get Christians to run for office at every level. The Christian voice needs to be heard,” he said.
Graham’s tour has a three-fold purpose: call the nation to prayer; remind people to vote part of a Christian and civic duty; and to have people look at the election year from a spiritual standpoint.
During his speech, the son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham lamented what he called the sins of the nation: abortion and same-sex marriage (which he called a great sin that has been flaunted and celebrated), and pride, materialism, racism and the Hollywood glorification of sex and violence.
“We have a problem and that problem is called sin,” he told the crowd. “… But God loves us.”
In urging the crowd to vote for candidates who live biblical principals, Graham referred to something his father said in 1952.
“I feel that we going to have to meet our political obligations as Christians and make our voice known if America is to be preserved with the type of Christian heritage which has given us the liberties we now enjoy,” Franklin Graham said, quoting his dad. “For unless America turns back to God, repents of its sin, and experiences a spiritual revival, we will fail as a nation.”
Graham in December said he will not endorse anyone this election but is encouraging Christians to vote for candidates that support “biblical principles, godly principles, because those principles work.”
Kasie Bearis, 19, and Drew Carroll, 20, came Wednesday with about 100 people from Truett-McConnell University, a small Christian college in the north Georgia town of Cleveland. Both women said they are still undecided on who to vote for and they liked the idea that this rally was non-partisan.
“Free will is very important” when it comes to voting, Bearis said.
Others who attended the rally worried about the recent path the country has taken.
Dean Carrera of Atlanta said his concerns were for the economy and the nation’s spiritual health. Ava Jackson said only one thing will get the country back right — prayer.
Graham encouraged the crowd to do just that.
“Let’s lift up the name of Christ. Let’s take our country back,” he said.