08 January 2016

Franklin Graham Starts Cross-Country Rallies: ‘America Needs the Christian Vote’ & Evangelist Franklin Graham quits the Republican Party over Planned Parenthood funding 5JAN16&

THIS is significant because Rev Franklin Graham is not promoting any political party or candidate but is promoting Christianity and calling on the faithful to pray for the nation and the candidates and for guidance in who they should vote for. Rev Graham left the republican party two weeks ago and has made it very clear he is not advocating for any party. UNFORTUNATELY, Rev Graham isn't calling on the presidential candidates to address the issues of American poverty, inadequate funding of the social safety net, wage and income inequality and insecurity, the greed of the 1%, racism, social justice and the responsibility of all Americans to contribute (through taxes) their fair share to the American social contract. I am also disturbed by Rev Graham's endorsement of the religious racism of donald trump and his followers, there is nothing Christian in his position on Muslim immigration, just consider Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan.  I am sure many will have a lot of  things to say about this, but Rev Graham is calling on the Christian community to consider their faith and practice their faith throughout this presidential election year. If Christians heed Rev Graham's call I do not see how any of the republican candidates could be elected president in 2016. From +Sojourners and +Religion News Service and +Washington Post  .....

Franklin Graham Starts Cross-Country Rallies: ‘America Needs the Christian Vote’

Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, addresses the crowd at the Festival of Hope in Haiti, on Jan. 9, 2011. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Allison Shelley
Evangelist Franklin Graham kicked off a “Decision America Tour” on Tuesday in Des Moines, Iowa, urging evangelical Christians to pray about the upcoming election and vote for candidates of any party who agree with their biblical values.
“Our moral walls and gates are down,” said Graham, standing before 2,600 people at the state’s gold-domed Capitol. “Any type of wicked thought and activity can come and go and our educators and our politicians and our churches seem many times to be more concerned about political correctness than God’s truth and his righteousness.”
Graham said that praying and voting Christians are needed to address the troubles facing the country. But, two weeks after he announced his departure from the Republican Party, he said no one party has the answer.
“I have no hope in the Democratic Party,” said the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “Listen to me: I have zero hope in the Republican Party. I have no hope in Tea Party or any other party. My only hope is in almighty God and his son Jesus Christ.”
The crowd, bundled up in warm coats and knit hats with some holding small American flags, cheered.
Saying “America needs the Christian vote,” Graham proposed next steps after the rally, which he intends to replicate across the country from Jan. 12 in Tallahassee, Fla., to March 31 in Sacramento, Calif. Some prayer rallies are still in the planning stages.
The tour’s website includes a three-point pledge for people to commit to pray, vote, and consider running for office.
Noting the millions of evangelicals who stayed home during the 2012 election, Graham asked ralliers to make sure their relatives — including nieces and nephews — were registered to vote and to form groups to pray for their communities.

Evangelist Franklin Graham quits the Republican Party over Planned Parenthood funding

(RNS) Evangelist Franklin Graham has announced he is abandoning the Republican Party in disgust over the move by the GOP-led Congress last week to pass a budget that Graham said was “wasteful” and provided funding for Planned Parenthood, which he compared to the Nazis.
Graham has previously said he has no faith in any political party, but his apparent renunciation of his Republican affiliation is an indication of anger on the right and the strong interest many disaffected evangelicals have shown in populist outsiders like Donald Trump.
Graham himself has expressed admiration for Trump, the surprise frontrunner in the Republican presidential field, and has voiced support for some of Trump’s more controversial positions — such as his call to ban Muslims from the U.S. — which have drawn condemnation from more mainstream evangelical leaders.
[Why Franklin Graham says Donald Trump is right about stopping Muslim immigration]
The federal government provides $528 million in funding for Planned Parenthood — about 40 percent of the organization’s annual budget — primarily through payments to Medicaid for health services for low-income Americans. Federal law prohibits funding of most abortions and Planned Parenthood separates federal taxpayer dollars from those used to provide abortions.
Social conservatives have long fought to strip taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood, and, after the release of a series of undercover videos by anti-abortion activists earlier this year, those calls ramped up to a fever pitch.
Activists said the undercover videos show Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the sale of fetal organs — which they called “baby parts” — for profit to medical researchers; making money off such organs or tissue could be illegal and unethical. Planned Parenthood denied that it was profiting from the sale and said it was quitting the practice.
In the wake of that white-hot controversy, there was wide expectation that with Republicans in control of both the House and Senate Congress would eliminate funding for 2016. Some conservatives in the GOP threatened to shutdown the government if that wasn’t done.

But the shooting massacre at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic late last month by a lone gunman, Robert Lewis Dear, who proclaimed himself “a warrior for the babies,” seemed to change the calculus and congressional leaders last week reached a deal that averted a shutdown and funds the government through September of next year.
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The deal also funds Planned Parenthood at previous levels — a development that has enraged many on the religious right, including Graham, son of the renowned evangelist Billy Graham.
“This is an example of why I have resigned from the Republican Party and declared myself Independent. I have no hope in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, or Tea Party to do what is best for America,” the younger Graham declared on Facebook on Monday.
“Seeing and hearing Planned Parenthood talk nonchalantly about selling baby parts from aborted fetuses with utter disregard for human life is reminiscent of Joseph Mengele and the Nazi concentration camps!” Graham wrote. “That should’ve been all that was needed to turn off the faucet for their funding.”
Graham drew immediate support on social media but how much sway he carries with voters is debatable.
Billy Graham, who is 97, infirm and largely incommunicado, over the years came to rue his involvement with politics, saying it drew the focus from his evangelism.
But his son has not been hesitant to offer his opinion of politicians and in particular hot-button electoral issues of interest to social conservatives. In fact, in denouncing the Republican Party this week, Graham made a pitch for the prayer rallies he will hold in every state next year, starting in Iowa in January shortly before the crucial first presidential primary.
The rallies, as Graham says, aim to “challenge Christians to live out their faith at home, in public and at the ballot box.”
Graham has said that if more evangelical voters turn out it could prove the difference in national and local elections, a point also made by Republican candidates.
(David Gibson is a national correspondent for RNS)