America has a decision to make in 2016.
It is a critical one, a defining moment in the history of our country that I believe will profoundly influence the future of our nation.
The decision is this: Will we elect leaders who fear and follow God, or will we allow godless candidates to continue to steer our country into moral anarchy and open rebellion against God and His ways? And will we as individuals elect to fear and follow God? Or will we hasten that rebellion by failing to live boldly for Christ?
This is why on a frigid, early January day in Des Moines, Iowa, I began a campaign that I believe is as important as any we have ever launched in the more than 60-year history of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Standing on the steps of the Iowa State Capitol, we held the inaugural event of our Decision America Tour, a 10-month journey that will take us to every state capital across the nation.
I will be coming with the same message that I proclaimed to the more than 10,000 men and women who gathered at our first three stops, in Iowa, Florida and Louisiana: Our nation is in trouble, and unless we turn in repentance and faith to Almighty God, we will no longer see His hand of blessing on our great country.
Decision America Tour
In 2016, Franklin Graham is proclaiming the Good News in all 50 states and challenge Christians to live out their faith. Will you stand with him?
For too long, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ has sat on the sidelines and watched as our country has descended into ever thickening moral darkness. Immorality is flagrant. The family unit is in shambles. Sin is celebrated. Violence is a plague. Greed and idolatry are rampant.
This cannot continue any longer if our nation is to survive as the moral beacon it has been for generations. This cannot continue any longer if our children and grandchildren are to live in a country that still recognizes and honors God as virtually every generation has done since religiously minded settlers first set foot in America hundreds of years ago.
As I did in Des Moines—and in Tallahassee, Florida; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Concord, New Hampshire, in the weeks following—I am calling on believers across the nation to fully commit themselves to pray, vote and engage in the political process this year with bold and energetic faith.
Fifty years ago, the most imminent peril to our country was the “Red threat” of communism. The specter of nuclear war between the United States and Russia was a clear and present danger. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and communism in Europe was defeated, a new and subtle threat began to emerge—secularism.
Year by year, the steady rise of secularism has infiltrated and overtaken the influential halls of government and education. As godless as communism, secularism now prevails and dominates in almost every sector of society and culture. Its goal is to remove all vestiges of Christianity from the public square and to replace it with a worldview that embraces atheistic humanism and is devoid of biblical values.
Make no mistake, America is being systematically stripped of its Christian heritage by government, politicians and judges who are openly hostile to Christianity.
Like the walls of Jerusalem that were burned and destroyed by its enemies, the once well-built moral walls of our nation have been stormed and battered by the secular powers of our age.
The longstanding restraint that the church has provided for our culture to every manner of sin is under relentless assault. Secularists and progressives would like for that restraint to be dismantled and removed altogether.
What can we do in the face of such growing and pervasive evil?
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I believe what we need are godly leaders like Nehemiah, who saw the devastation that had been heaped upon his beloved city, and rather than resign himself to apathy and inaction, chose instead to take bold steps of faith in Almighty God.
First and foremost he prayed. And he prayed hard. For three months he sought the King of Heaven before he stepped into the presence of the Persian king and asked for permission to rebuild the ruined walls. “I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 1:4).
Then he turned his attention to his own sins and the sins of God’s people, repenting in tears. “We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you have commanded” (Nehemiah 1:7).
But Nehemiah didn’t stop there. After praying, he took decisive action, going to the king for permission, and then rallying the demoralized inhabitants of Jerusalem to take responsibility for repairing the walls. With a weapon in one hand and building supplies in the other, the men of the city completed the task in an astonishing 52 days.
I hope that in 2016, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ will awaken and work with all its might to help restore the moral breach in our culture by electing leaders who fear God and live for Him. I’m not just talking about the presidential and congressional races, I’m talking about state and local elections—mayors, school boards, county commissioners. Just think what a difference it could make if godly men and women filled these offices for the next 20 years. Think what positive, profound change could occur in our schools and communities.
There is no doubt that we will meet with much opposition in the coming months as the Decision America Tour crisscrosses the nation with a call to prayer, repentance and bold engagement by God’s people. There will likely be protestors representing various ungodly worldviews. That’s OK. Just know that I’m not going to back down or back up. There is too much at stake.
Just a few yards from where I spoke in Des Moines was a statue of one of our nation’s greatest and wisest leaders, Abraham Lincoln. I couldn’t help but think of how President Lincoln relied on Almighty God as he presided over our country in the most difficult test America has ever experienced, the Civil War.
In the midst of the great travail that had spilled the blood of so many Americans, Lincoln issued a proclamation for a national day of prayer and fasting. Here is what he said on March 30, 1863, to a troubled nation:
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which has preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
Amen, and may it be true once again. ©2016 BGEA
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version.