The Rev. Franklin Graham believes the state of California is "sinking," but more importantly, he says he knows how to fix it: Christians need to vote and run for office.
Graham, son of the late Rev. Billy Graham, has been on a "Decision America" California tour leading up to the state's June 5 primary, encouraging Christians to stand up against the West Coast's secular values — which Graham calls the "blue wall" — as well as a poor education system, bad economic policies, and the corruption of so-called "sanctuary cities."
In a Sunday New York Times front-page report titled, "The Evangelical Fight to Win Back California," the newspaper detailed Graham and his teams' fight to get churches and Christians more involved in the state's elections and to change the voters of California from the inside.
"We’re tired of being stepped on,” Felix Martin del Campo, a board member of Graham's Samaritan’s Purse humanitarian organization, told the Times. “Only as we change the heart of the people of California can California go red again.”
Graham has long been a proponent of conservative social values, including traditional marriage and sanctity of life, but he has also branched out into other areas with his rhetoric.
He believes that the state's education bureaucracy is not serving kids and families well at all. Beyond falling test scores, he has repeatedly advocated that California Christians should get involved with their local boards of education to help stop liberal indoctrination, especially when it comes to the state's new sex-ed curriculum — which, the Times noted, is riddled with lessons about LGBTQ sexuality.
“Can you imagine if your school boards were controlled by evangelical Christians?” Graham asked a group of pastors in Pasadena, the Times reported.
In an interview with Fox News Radio's Todd Starnes, Graham also lamented the condition of the Golden State's cities, implying that California's lax immigration system, progressive leadership, and economic policies destroyed once-great municipalities.
“California is sinking. People are leaving this state. The tax base is eroding," Graham told Starnes. "They are turning their once beautiful cities into these sanctuary cities which are just a little picture of hell. Just go to San Francisco and go to this once-beautiful city and see what's happened to it."
And Graham is not big fan of the progressivism that has led California to this point. In fact, he's got a term for it.
"Progressive? That's just another word for godless," he told a group of Los Angeles evangelists, pastors, and donors, the Times said.
How does Graham believe Christians can help?
"I want to encourage the churches to vote," Graham told Starnes, adding, "I'm encouraging pastors to become political activists. I want them to get involved. I'm not telling them how to vote, not telling them what party to belong to — but get out there and vote and be a spokesperson for God's standards and for moral issues that we face every day politically."
Voting is how God's voice can be heard in politics, he said:
We need to get God's voice in politics, and the only way we're going to get God's voice in politics is if God's people, who are called by His name, are willing to take a stand and let their voices be heard. I think we get our voices heard through the ballot box. It's important that Christians vote.
The churches, according to Graham, can change things.
"I want the churches to realize they don’t have to take this," Graham explained to Starnes. "The churches can be the voice. They can be the ones who can turn this state back to God and turn it back into a beautiful state."
In order for this to happen, pastors need to take a stand and not fear preaching about it, Graham told California church leaders, the Times reported. “Lose your tax exempt status; the progressives want to take it away anyway.”
Second: Christians, he says, need to become office holders at every level of government and advance the conservative Christian worldview.
“We need Christian legislators, we need Christian mayors. We need Christians on the city council," Graham said on Starnes' show. "When I say Christians, I’m talking about Christians who are willing to take a stand for biblical truth, what the Bible has to say about marriage, what the Bible has to say about the sanctity of life and who are willing to stand behind God’s principles and take a bullet for that."
It's nothing short of what the left has done for years, according to Graham.
“The gays and lesbians have their people run for politics and win,” he said to the Times. “Christians, we are just being stupid.”
But it's more than just the state that has Graham concerned. The fate of the nation may well hinge on what happens in California.
“The church just has to be wakened,” he told the times. “People say, what goes in California is the way the rest of the nation is going to go. So, if we want to see changes, it is going to have to be done here.”
(H/T: The Christian Post)