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    Saturday, August 13, 2022

    Rev. Graham Encourages Crowd To Vote, Reject 'Nation's Sins' During Hartford Stop

    Declaring that the nation is in trouble, the Rev. Franklin Graham told a crowd outside the Capitol Thursday that neither political party can fix it.

    "I have no hope in the Democratic Party," said Graham, the son of the famous evangelist Billy Graham. "I have zero hope in the Republican Party. The only hope is almighty God."

    The stop was the 41st on Graham's Decision America Tour, where he plans to visit the capital of each state. Graham offered up no endorsement in November's presidential election, but he did espouse what he called a list of the nation's sins — abortion, same-sex marriage and an entertainment industry that glorifies sex and violence.

    Christians need to reject those things by making their voices heard at the ballot box, Graham said.

    "I'm here to tell you one thing we can do — we can vote," he said. "I'm not here today to tell you who to vote for, you can figure that out for yourself. But I'm here to tell you — vote."

    A small group of protesters gathered at the back of the crowd with signs like "Keep America Secular." Patrick McCann, co-chairman of the Connecticut Coalition of Reason and part of the Hartford Area Humanists, said he had concerns about Graham's views on homosexuality and women. McCann said men like Graham believe it's acceptable to deliver messages of hate if they are backed by religion.

    "It's not acceptable to everyone," he said. "He says homosexuals are the enemy. The enemy of what?"

    Standing among the crowd of supporters that organizers estimated at 1,400 was Bill Brown, who came from East Hartford with a homemade sign. He talked about how religion was fundamental to the state and country's founding, pointing out some of the sculptures that adorn the Capitol's facade: John Davenport, the minister who helped found New Haven and Jonathan Edwards, the preacher who played a key role in the Great Awakening and delivered the famous sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."

    "The government and the media have become hyper-secular and the education circles have become hyper-secular," Brown said. "Church does not dictate politics, but there is an honor of God [in government] that's being taken away."

    Graham equated secularism to communism.

    "They're both godless," he said.While the presidential race is often top of mind for voters, Graham urged them to get involved in local politics too. He also encouraged them to consider supporting Christians running for mayor or the local school board.

    In an interview after the event, Graham, who said his 42nd stop would be in Alaska, pointed to the crowd when asked how he felt his evangelical message played in Connecticut, a liberal state that has embraced the type of policies he's critical of.

    "Listen, gays and lesbians run their candidates, and they have every right to do that, we as Christians have a right to do it," he said. "We have a right to organize. We have a right to get behind a candidate. And that's what I want these people [to do]."

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    ©2016 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

    Visit The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) at www.courant.com

    Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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