An extraordinary statement was issued last week by a renowned leader of Christian evangelicals, Reverend Franklin Graham. His statement should be considered as a thunderclap to the Republican Party.
The GOP is already at loggerheads with its more populist economic supporters in the Tea Party. It has been unable to recreate the kind of message that Ronald Reagan delivered, which brought millions of blue collar workers back to the party’s banner.
Its relationship with social conservatives has been strained over bad judicial nominations, the lack of real resistance to the revolutionary change in the definition of marriage and, most recently, the funding of Planned Parenthood.
More and more lifelong Republicans are calling themselves conservatives first and Republicans second — if at all. I’ve heard from several friends in the past week who have switched their party registration to independent.
And now Franklin Graham, driven over the edge by the omnibus bill, which significantly increased spending and failed to defund Planned Parenthood, has announced that he too is leaving the GOP. Here is his statement:
Shame on the Republicans and the Democrats for passing such a wasteful spending bill last week. And to top it off, funding Planned Parenthood! A Huffington Post article called it ‘a big win for Planned Parenthood.’ I call it a big loss for America. After all of the appalling facts revealed this year about Planned Parenthood, our representatives in Washington had a chance to put a stop to this, but they didn’t.
There’s no question — taxpayers should not be paying for abortions! Abortion is murder in God’s eyes. 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! That should’ve been all that was needed to turn off the faucet for their funding.
Nothing was done to trim this 2,000 page, $1.1 trillion budget. 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.
That’s where the vast majority of the media commentary stops. The message the left-wing media wants to send to Christian conservatives is, “Stay in your pews and stay out of the voting booth. Even Franklin Graham is giving up on politics.”
But that is not what Reverend Graham is saying at all. Here is the next and most important part of his message:
Unless more godly men and women get in this process and change this wicked system, our country is in for trouble. I want to challenge Christians, even pastors, across the country to pray about running for office where they can have an impact. We need mayors, country commissioners, city council members, school board members who will uphold biblical values.
Do not misinterpret Franklin Graham’s message. He is NOT recommending that anyone abandon the public square, politically or culturally. He is emphatically calling for men and women of faith to get off the sidelines and aggressively ENGAGE in the culture war! He goes on to state that he will be traveling the country and leading rallies urging men and women of faith to action.
Graham wants more Christians to engage in the battle. This is the only hope the country has. And Franklin Graham certainly understands that in the vast majority of cases, the right candidate to vote for when it comes to values and responsible budgeting will be a center-right candidate on the Republican ticket rather than a left-wing socialist on the Democrat ticket.
Not to be melodramatic, but if I were Speaker Ryan, Senate Majority Leader McConnell or RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, I would call an emergency meeting and bring in people like Franklin Graham. The party needs a reality check on the mood of its own base.
While I fully appreciate the limitations of divided government, so many conservatives are fed-up with the GOP’s seeming unwillingness to fight back.
The last seven years of allowing Barack Obama to violate the separation of powers, abuse the Constitution, insult our Judeo-Christian heritage and values, gut our military, lose two wars and preemptively surrender to the Iranians, has millions of Americans absolutely fuming and demanding a complete course correction! Yet party elders frequently seem to be moving in the opposite direction.
I believe our side has a great opportunity to prevail in 11 months. We have a chance to save the country, but only if our leaders understand the lateness of the hour and the seriousness of America’s condition.
2016 will be, in my view, a climatic year for the future of our country. We need all hands on deck to defend our values and save our country!
Gary L. Bauer served in President Ronald Reagan’s administration for eight years, as Under Secretary of Education and as President Reagan’s Chief Domestic Policy Advisor.