Evangelist Franklin Graham warned that the prevailing agenda of the Democratic Party poses a threat to religious liberty and urged American Christians to join with him in prayer as he leads the first Prayer March in the nation’s capital this weekend.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Daily Wire, the 68-year-old Graham spoke first of the upcoming Prayer March 2020 in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, during which thousands of Christians plan to walk the length of the National Mall in a symbolic act of prayerful supplication for a nation in turmoil.
Participants will stop at seven landmarks along the way to offer up specific requests, according to literature on the Prayer March website. Topics of prayer range from repentance at the Lincoln Memorial to intercession for military and law enforcement at the World War II Memorial; pleas for racial reconciliation feature at the African American History Museum, and entreaties for religious freedom at the National Archives.
The march ends at the Capitol, where prayers will focus not just on Congress, but also the Supreme Court. That the march takes place on the same day that President Donald Trump is slated to nominate a new Supreme Court justice is a coincidence not lost on Graham, who is thankful that it “gives us a chance to pray for her, whoever she is, and ask God’s help getting her nominated and passed into the Supreme Court.”
The march is not the only Christian group meeting on the Mall this weekend, but Graham emphasized that the apolitical event he organized is focused solely on prayer. “Every person who comes participates because they all get to pray, and we all walk and do this together,” he said, adding that he hopes the unity that characterized the marches of the 1960s will prevail. “The church needs to be united, and we need to pray and call upon God and ask him for his help. There’s no other solution to the problems we face as a nation other than God.”
Noting that Americans are more divided now than at any other time in his life, Graham reflected soberly on the magnitude of the complex crises facing the country. Speaking specifically about the protests that have sprung up in major cities nationwide over the summer, Graham said, “We have seen unrest boil out onto the streets as a result of the police marginalizing citizens in their communities. And we have seen people tragically lose their lives who should never have lost their lives. And so I understand this unrest and I understand the turmoil.”
“But there have also been people who have taken advantage of this and, as a result of taking advantage of it, are trying to use it for their own agenda,” he warned.
Graham discerned the dangers behind the Black Lives Matter organization in particular, which he said “has certainly gotten the attention of many people, but unfortunately it was started by people who are devout, avid Marxists.”
“The concept that black lives matter is true,” Graham clarified. “Black lives do matter. But so does everyone’s life. And, for me, as a Christian, that’s why I’m pro-life, and that’s why I’m against abortion. I’m pro-life. And we look at the black lives that are aborted every year. There’s a disproportional number of black babies that are terminated over any other race. And so, yes, black lives matter, and we need to address the abortion issue in this country.”
More broadly, Graham also expressed deep concern regarding the trajectory of the Democratic Party’s agenda, which he says “is going toward socialism.” Acknowledging that Democratic nominee Joe Biden is not a socialist, Graham nevertheless observed that many of the people around Biden are socialists and that he has had to make concessions to far-left figures like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
“The socialists want to turn our country into Venezuela,” Graham said. “They want to turn it into something like a Cuba. And, of course, the church is their number-one target because they want to shut the mouths of pastors and they want to stop people from getting together and worshiping. And they’ve done that very successfully throughout eastern Europe and throughout every socialist country in this world. And they will do the same to the United States of America.”
Regarding what the future may hold for American Christians, Graham reiterated the warning of freed pastor Andrew Brunson, who will be attending the march and offering the prayer at one of the stops along the Mall. A year ago, Brunson told the Washington Examiner that he believes persecution is possibly “very close” for the American church, a prediction about which, Graham said, there is “no question.”
Graham condemned the lingering lockdowns of churches in states like California as illegal and unconstitutional. “The Constitution guarantees us the right to worship without interference from the government,” he said. “For a governor just to arbitrarily say that Lowe’s, Home Depot can be open, or Walmart can be open on Sunday, but churches have to be closed, and they can’t have more than 100 people or 50 people or whatever, it just shows you that they are targeting churches.”
“Businesses can stay open, but churches cannot. I appreciate the president saying that churches are essential,” Graham added, commending Los Angeles pastor John MacArthur especially for taking a stand against state and local authorities, despite continuous court battles. “He’s right,” Graham said. “We have the right to worship, whether pandemic or not a pandemic. We have the right to worship and the government can’t stop us.”
“Our country needs God’s help,” Graham said. “Only God can fix these problems. And there’s no easy answer to it. It’s going to take a solution from on high, which I believe God can give if the church prays and seeks his face.”