Franklin Graham says ‘Spiritual revival’ needed at Carson City rally
About a thousand people gathered on the Capitol Amphitheater Wednesday to hear evangelist Franklin Graham talk about faith and politics.
Carson City was the 12th stop on Graham’s Decision America Tour 2016, a series of prayer rallies being held in the 50 state capitals to encourage people to vote and elect officials who are guided by faith.
“Unless America has a spiritual revival we will fail as a nation,” Graham said. “We need men and women in high places who love God, who fear God.”
Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said he wasn’t there to tell people who to vote for or what party to support.
“I have no hope for the Democratic party,” said Graham. “But before you Republicans start high-fiving one another, I have no hope for the Republican party either.”
He did say Christians should vote for officials who “honor the sanctity of life and sacredness of marriage.”
Graham told the crowd to follow the words of his now 96-year-old father, well-known evangelist Billy Graham.
“He said the year I was born that Christians should study the issues and the candidates and then go to the polls and vote,” Graham said.
Graham said that included elected offices up and down the ballot, from the board of education to city council to president of the United States.
He also encouraged people to run for office.
“In many places, Christian men and women could get the vote, get elected, if only they would offer themselves up,” said Graham.
Graham spoke for about 30 minutes and included a story from the Bible on Nehemiah, who asked God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
A silent prayer lasted about three minutes and Graham asked participants to make two pledges by texting Decision and America to 51555.
“Consider signing a pledge to honor God,” he said. “Every election could be different if Christians voted.”
After the speech, Graham said about 460 people signed the pledges the day before at the tour stop in Salt Lake City, and other stops have garnered as many as 800 signatures.
He said he’s seen peoples’ frustration around the country, the same thing that motivated him to launch the tour.
“I have 10 grandchildren with the 11th on the way. Our country has deteriorated considerably in the last 10 years,” said Graham. “The America I grew up in has changed and it may not be the same for our grandchildren. Government has become more intrusive and this may be our last chance.”
Attendees came from all over to hear Graham and included Sharron Angle, who’s running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Harry Reid.
“I thought he was terrific,” said Angle, referring to Graham, after the speech. “Voting down the ballot is important because all politics is local.”
Lars Knutsen, who carried and played a shofar made from animal horn, came from Pollock Pines, Calif., to hear Graham.
“I grew up hearing about Billy Graham,” said Knutsen. “I support anything done by God.”
At least one person protested the event.
Kathy Baldock, an author and activist with Canyonwalker Connections, stood on the edge of the amphitheater holding a sign featuring quotes she attributed to Graham.
“This is what he says about gay youth and I am not OK with that,” she said.
Doreen Montalbo, a 29-year resident of Carson City who now lives in Sparks, took off the day from work to attend the rally.
“We need to pray for our country,” said Montalbo. “Franklin Graham is a man of integrity. He has his father’s mantle.”