“Many of our churches are more concerned about political correctness than God’s righteousness. The Church has been silent.”
That statement from Franklin Graham may be borderline politically incorrect in some circles.
But at this point in his life—63 years old and getting ready to welcome his 11th grandchild into the world—Franklin Graham is willing to say things that aren’t always popular.
The country he grew up in is barely recognizable.
The 50-state Decision America Tour, which stopped at the Nebraska State Capitol on Wednesday, is not going for the warm and fuzzies. And that’s exactly how many believers in Lincoln like it.
“Nobody’s standing up,” Debra Wall said, lounging in her folding chair 20 minutes after the prayer rally ended. “Everybody is afraid to stand up.”
“You say something wrong, and you might get sued,” said Karen Martin, Wall’s friend since the 1970s. “Who wants to get sued?”
In the moment, the reactions to Franklin Graham’s bold message were equal parts “amen” and “that’s right.” Afterward, there was still plenty of talk to go around among the crowd of 3,000-plus.
A group of 20-somethings—who admitted they’re not particularly motivated by the political process—felt called to the Capitol steps to stand with fellow Christians. They did not leave disappointed.
“I felt a fire down in my soul,” said 24-year-old Ashley Bartek, even referring to the experience as leaving “Holy Spirit goosebumps.”
“We all need a rekindling of our faith. It’s easy to lose sight of what it means to be bold for Jesus,” said Hannah Johnson, 27, who added that she now understands the need to engage further in the political process.
“I wasn’t registered to vote until a couple months ago,” she said. “I’m really thankful Franklin is doing this.”
The reality is, Franklin Graham feels called to speak out about the direction the nation is headed in, and he’s using the Decision America Tour to do just that.
The 282-day journey—starting in Des Moines, Iowa, in January and finishing in his home state of North Carolina on October 13—entails countless hours of travel and living out of a suitcase. But there’s just too much at stake.
“God has blessed this nation more than any other,” Franklin Graham said on Wednesday. “But if you want to take God out of it, He’ll leave.”
The only answer for our country, he added, is to pray. And pray. And pray.
Pam McCabe, 63, was tracking with every word. A Lincoln lifer, she’s seen her beloved city deteriorate morally and now has 32 grandchildren to worry about.
“I think what Mr. Graham said here is phenomenal,” she said. “It’s energizing to know that there’s a male leader in America who is willing to say these things.”
McCabe knows the moral issues her state is facing—like the number of abortions that have taken place in Lincoln alone since Planned Parenthood moved into town 20 years ago.
“You can’t kill 20,000 innocent babies and not expect some kind of reckoning,” McCabe said.
Not stopping there, she added that she’s “not shopping at Target anymore,” referring to the company’s decision to make its store bathrooms gender neutral.
“Not sure what’s going on there, but Target is off my shopping list,” she said.
Yet, the target Franklin Graham wants Lincoln, Nebraska—and the nation—to focus on is making room for the Almighty in everyday life.
“Let’s put God back into politics,” he said. “It’s our job as Christians to make the impact of Christ felt in every phase of life.”