OXNARD, Calif. — One message coming in loud and clear from evangelist Franklin Graham during his “Decision America” tour that has made its way through Southern California and now heads north is that Christians should not back down from engaging in politics.
FIRST IN A SERIES:
HOW WOULD JESUS VOTE?
However, there is a campaign speech Jesus might approve of that would also remind us that there is a higher priority of engagement.
During Decision America, Graham is running a campaign of a different sorts. Billy Graham’s son is not shying away from the harsh, volatile political climate. Instead, he just may be answering the question, “What would Jesus tell Christians in America today?”
“First of all, the most important thing that we can do is to lead other people to a faith in Christ,” Graham told Together LA during a Decision America California Tour stop in Oxnard. The tour stops in Fresno on the evening of Memorial Day before its next stop in Modesto Tuesday. “The gospel is the most powerful message that we can give.”
He added, “For us as Christians living here in this country we have an opportunity to vote. Jewish citizens during the time of Jesus didn’t have a chance to vote. We have a chance to vote. We live in a democracy. And I think it’s important that Christians get engaged in politics and what I mean by politics is that they vote and vote for leaders that they feel best represent Christian positions. Life. Sanctity of life is important. Homosexuality is an issue.
“I think Christians need to vote for politicians that are going to stand for biblical values, regardless of what party they are in. It has nothing to do with whether you are a Republican or Democrat … Then, I want Christians to run for office.”
On the tour, Graham has made a point of getting specific on what he believes would be an impactful position to hold in government — school board member.
“I want Christians to run for school boards,” he told TLA. “Could you imagine, in California, if all the school boards were controlled by evangelical Christians? I bet you most people could run and win a seat on a school board if the churches in the community got together and looked for their best candidates and each church put up a different candidate and the churches get behind them … could you imagine what would happen to California in the next 20 years if the school boards were controlled by evangelical Christians? It would turn this state around. It can be done.”
When asked why he believes, contrary to the old social etiquette adage, religion and politics can mix, he points to Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as “strong believers” who have taken their faith to Washington.
“There are a number of those in the Cabinet who are strong believers. So, why can’t politics and the Christian faith mix? Just because we are Christians and we go into politics doesn’t mean we stop being Christians. We take our faith with us into office.”
So, how would Jesus vote?
“He told us to be obedient, didn’t he? That’s what we should be doing today,” Graham said. “We should be obedient to His laws and to His standards. And we should be voting for those candidates that stand for the laws and standards of Jesus Christ.”