The Rev. Franklin Graham charged in an exclusive Newsmax TV interview that America is in a deep economic quagmire because “we have turned our backs on God.”
“The more we turn our backs on God, the bigger our problem becomes,” Graham, the son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, tells Newsmax in a wide-ranging interview. “I didn’t hear any of the candidates say that we needed to call our nation to prayer. I didn’t hear any of the candidates say that we needed to ask God for help.
“We still think that we can work our way out of this problem – and I don’t think we can,” Graham added. “I don’t have confidence in the Republican Party right now, and I don’t have confidence in the Democratic Party.
“I don’t believe there is leadership in Washington that can solve this problem. We just deal with it as issues for the day, and it kicks the can further and further down the road. We need God’s help to solve this problem – we can’t go without God.”
Last week’s election results, which sent President Barack Obama back to the White House for another four years, put the nation further along a “path of destruction,” Graham said.
“There is no question that America has been a nation that has been blessed by almighty God. There is no other nation in the history of mankind that has done what his nation has done – and it’s because of God’s hand and his blessing.
“In the last four years, we have begun to turn our backs on God,” Graham reiterated. “We have taken God out of our education system. We have taken him out of government. You have lawyers that sue you every time you mention the name of Jesus Christ in any public forum.
“What has happened is we have allowed ourselves to take God out everything that we do – and I believe that God will judge our nation one day.”
And, “maybe God will have to bring our nation to our knees – to where that we just have a complete economic collapse” to do that, Graham said. “Maybe at that point, people will again call upon the name of almighty God.”
Graham is the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The association’s tax-exempt status is under threat from a complaint filed with the Internal Revenue Service by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The foundation, based in Madison, Wis., contends that the Graham association’s “vote biblical values” ad campaign during the election season violated IRS rules regarding religious groups and political campaigning, according to news reports.
“It’s ridiculous,” Graham charged. “The African-American churches do this all the time. Candidates go to their churches and stand in the pulpits and give political messages and sermons. Why can’t we do the same?
“We didn’t tell anybody how to vote for a candidate. We told them how to choose candidates – and made that plural – who backed Biblical principles. There are a lot of Republicans, Tea Party people, Democrats that we focused these ads on.
“We wanted people to remember that, as they were going into the voting booth, that there were political decisions, no question, but there also were moral issues,” Graham added. “At every level, we need to think about who we are voting for and encourage Christians, especially, to vote for candidates who support biblical values.”
The move by the Wisconsin group, Graham said, reflected a broader push by the far left.
“They want to shut the mouths of evangelicals. They want to shut the mouths of Christians.
“One hundred years ago, political leaders in every community were the pastors. They were the voices that were heard. They were the voices that had the influence. Politicians know that and the government knows that – and they are trying to shut the mouths of especially evangelicals.
“I’m going to continue to speak out,” Graham vowed. “I’m not afraid. I’m not worried.”
While the US has as many as 35 million evangelicals, Graham said, “It’s hard to pin down what it means to be an evangelical today. It’s been diluted quite a bit. It is a powerful voting bloc, no question, but they’re liberal as well as conservative – and they’re made of Latinos, blacks, whites.
“It is a unique group of people and, this time, many of them did not vote,” he added. “They stayed away from the polls. I don’t agree that they turned out in record number. I don’t think they did.”
And they did not vote because “There was not a candidate that they just got excited about,” Graham said. He called GOP candidate Mitt Romney “a very good man, and I like the man very much – but I don’t think he was exciting or charismatic enough. And, of course, the Mormon issue was an issue for many people. Not for me, but for many people that was, unfortunately.”
And, now that Obama has another term in the White House, “I would encourage everyone to pray for the president,” Graham said. “That’s our duty. God commands that we’re to pray for those in authority. The election is now over. The president is our president. We need to get behind him. We need to rally behind him. We need to bathe him in prayer.
“Not that we have to support positions that would be immoral positions or wrong positions,” Graham cautioned. “I’m not saying that you have to agree with the position, but you have to understand that he is our leader, he’s our president – and God commands that we are to pray.