The Rev. Franklin Graham has a message for Christians who are unhappy with the results of the 2012 presidential election: You only have yourself to blame. In a recent interview with CBN News Chief Political Correspondent David Brody, Graham said that the majority of Christians simply don’t vote — inaction that has dire consequences in local and national elections, alike.
“What is your message to folks who are wondering what just happened, and it looks like they feel a semi hit them?,” Brody asked the faith leader, clearly referring to the aftermath of the 2012 presidential election.
Graham responded by noting that, based on statistics he’s seen, the majority of Christians do not vote in America. With a dearth of evangelicals heading to the polls, the son of the famed Rev. Billy Graham said that the responsibility for an Obama re-election win is on Christians’ shoulders.
“God is in control, and if Christians are upset, they need to be upset at themselves,” he told Brody. “We need to do a better job of getting our people — the Church — to vote.”
While he maintained that he’s not telling people how to vote (though he did emphasize the need to “stand for Biblical values”), he emphasized the need for adherents to be politically active at the local, state and national level. It’s not just the presidency that matters, he said, going on to note school boards, city councils and other venues as monumentally important to dictating the nation’s trajectory.
“We need to vote for men and women that believe in God,” he continued. “If Christians would just vote, then elections in this country would be much different.”
Watch his comments, below:
After noticing Graham’s interview, NBC’s Domenico Montanaro took the preacher’s assessment to task, claiming that his views about the evangelical voting population simply aren’t accurate. Montanaro wrote:
But Graham’s assertion — and implication that had white Christian evangelicals just showed up in bigger numbers, President Obama would have lost — is off base.
In fact, white evangelicals/born-again Christians made up the same percentage of the electorate as they did in 2008 – 26%. They voted for Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon, by a wider margin than they did for Sen. John McCain four years ago.
And, they made up a larger share of the electorate in 2012 than in 2004, when the Christian Right supposedly fueled George W. Bush’s reelection. They also voted for Romney with the exact same margin as for Bush in 2004, 78%-21%.
However, when it comes to the actual proportions, Graham may have had a solid point in claiming that less than half of Christians actually vote. Based on the U.S. Census and current voting patterns, Montanaro notes that fewer than half of the evangelical community’s members headed to the polls:
The U.S. Census says there are more than 311 million people in the United States. If evangelical adults are 26 percent of them, then there would be 80 million potential voters.
So far, 123 million votes have been counted in this election – and that number will get higher by the millions as votes continue to be counted like in 2008. Evangelicals made up 26 percent of them, therefore, about 32 million evangelicals voted – less than half of their population.
If voting were compulsory, Christians may not sway the balance, as Montanaro notes. But considering that it’s not mandatory in America, the reporter may be splitting hairs. Remember, Graham’s contention was that getting all Christians out to the polls would have an impact. If, indeed, 100 percent of evangelicals voted and other demographics remained stagnant or at their current rates, Christians would certainly make a dent in elections.