Franklin Graham’s Destination America Tour through California was intended to win souls for Jesus. According to a recent story in The New York Times, it was also intended to drum up much-needed support for evangelicals to win back California in the June 5 primary.
As reported by the Times, last week Graham met with fellow evangelists, pastors, and donors, urging them to take a stand against the Golden State’s “blue wall.”
According to Graham, the blue wall of California represents secular values that have found a home on the west coast.
“Progressive?” he asked. “That’s just another word for Godless.” Now is the time for churches to “suck it up” and vote.
“California was all the talk concerning the mid-terms about six months ago when the “Blue Wave” was threatening to become a Tsunami,” said CBN News Senior Political Editor John Waage. “Conventional wisdom had it that California—the most populous state and strongly anti-Trump would fuel a Democrat takeover of the House. After all, Hillary Clinton won the state in 2016 by more than 4 million votes.”
“California GOP Chairman Jim Brulte said on Fox News Tuesday that Democrats have targeted 10 of 14 California House seats controlled by the GOP and have spent $6 to 8 million, a substantial sum,” he said.
But could California eventually become purple?
“We’re tired of being stepped on,” Felix Martin del Campo, a board member of Samaritan’s Purse, Graham’s international humanitarian organization, said in an interview with the Times. “Only as we change the heart of the people of California can California go red again.”
Graham’s message to Christians in California was plain and simple. Support candidates who will promote socially conservative causes, especially opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. Then get out to the polls and vote for them.
Some evangelicals might consider this a hopeless cause. However, one in five adults in the state is an evangelical Christian, according to the Pew Research Center. And there are more megachurches in the Golden State than any other state in the Union.
Graham’s supporters recall how in 2016 he held rallies in all 50 state capitals, urging Christians to vote. Donald Trump won the White House, according to the Times, thanks to the largely white evangelical voter turnout.
Could the 2018 California midterms offer a similar surprise?
“That’s what we are praying for,” said Peggy Brown, who runs a Christian drug rehabilitation program. She traveled to nine of Mr. Graham’s rallies in 2016 and broke down into tears as she spoke to the Times. “We saw a move of God with Christians. It gives me chills just to talk about it.”
During an interview with the newspaper, Graham said, “People think I follow politics,” he said. “I don’t.”
“The church just has to be wakened,” he said. “People say, what goes on in California is the way the rest of the nation is going to go. So, if we want to see changes, it is going to have to be done here.”
“All of California is like a university town now,” he went on.
Referring to the state’s leader, Jerry Brown, he said: “But you are beginning to see a groundswell of revolt out here. Orange County, San Diego County, are beginning to take on Governor Brown. It’s good for Christians to capitalize on that. So yeah, we could help turn the tide.”
Waage thinks Graham’s presence in California is an interesting factor.
“His tour there was not just to gin up the GOP vote in California, it was to earnestly pray for revival renewal there, and to encourage the millions of evangelical Christians in the state,” he explained. “The fact that the GOP was 10 to 12 points ahead in early voting (according to Karl Rove) may be a sort of reflection of the prayer efforts, although there is no way to substantiate it until we see exit polls.”