Mississippi Gets Back to the Basics at Decision America Tour Rally

By   •   April 13, 2016

On Wednesday, the Mississippi State Capitol lawn and adjoining sidewalk was teeming with people who joined hands and agreed in prayer that we need divine intervention to heal our land.

“We’ve taken God out of every inch of public life,” Franklin Graham told an estimated 6,400 Mississippians at Wednesday’s Decision America Tour stop on the State Capitol steps in Jackson.

“It didn’t happen overnight. It’s come in over the last 30, 40 years. When I went to school we had the Ten Commandments on the wall. … God’s commandments were on the wall for every student to see.

“We don’t have that anymore.”

Don Smith, who has lived in Mississippi for 47 years, understands what Franklin Graham is talking about. He says he doesn’t live in the same America he defended during the Korean War while he was in the U.S. Navy.

And he admits he’s a little angry about it.

“We’re here today because all of us agree that our nation is in trouble,” said Franklin Graham to the crowd gathered before him. “Our nation is in trouble spiritually, racially, economically and politically.”

“We’re going backward, that’s for sure,” said Don. “I was raised with good moral values. I wanted to serve my country. I’ve always thought we should serve, one way or another.”

He and his wife, Barbara, came to the Decision America rally to put their anger aside, pray and watch God move.

They also wanted to support those who they believe are doing His work.

“We came to support Phil Bryant (governor of Mississippi), who’s here today. And to support Franklin Graham, who has done some fine work. We just felt we should show up today,” Don explained.

“I had no idea the whole town and other towns would show up,” he said with a grin as his eyes scanned the sprawling crowd.

Wife Barbara chimed in: “Christians need to show up to these rallies because it’s a chance to turn the country back to godly morals, and it’s a way to practice the religious freedom we still have. God is still in control, and we need to recognize that. If we don’t return to our foundation, there will be more chaos than ever.”

Gene Johnson, a Mississippi lifer, has also served his country—through the U.S. Army—and knows exactly where the Smiths are coming from.

“God is the backbone of this country. Everything is based around God,” said Johnson.

“As a veteran, God and country—in that order—was always at the top of the list for me. I was proud to serve in the Army, but if you’re not serving God, nothing else really matters. This country needs God so badly.”

He, too, has seen the moral digression Franklin Graham spoke of from the Capitol steps.

“I’ve seen change by leaps and bounds. It seems like we’ve been on an express train to the end of times,” said Johnson. “I mean, the Christian schools of today are like the public school I grew up in. Even the public schools had Christian values just a couple of decades ago.”

While these veterans who stood among the Mississippi faithful have seen an erosion of the principles that once undergirded our country, they both believe—along with Franklin Graham—the only way to reclaim America for Christ is to get back to the basics.

That is, prayer.

“I feel like I’m serving my country again, because [prayer] is the first place we need to serve. Nothing else good will exist without it,” said Johnson.

Don agrees, but holds out hope that it’s not too late for America: “As a veteran, I look around and see all these people who have come out to pray. And I can’t help but think this is what we should have been doing all along. It’s our fault—the Christians. We should have been praying before things got so bad.

“I hope God gives us another chance—and that we don’t blow it this time.”

Weather reports were threatening rain, but it held off as an estimated 6,400 dedicated Mississippians gathered to pray for their leaders and their lost nation.