Franklin Graham prayer rally pulls thousands in Salem

'Secularism and Communism are exactly the same thing,' Franklin Graham said

Rev. Franklin Graham led a prayer rally at the State Capitol in Salem, June 28, 2016 (KOIN)
Rev. Franklin Graham led a prayer rally at the State Capitol in Salem, June 28, 2016 (KOIN)

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Franklin Graham brought his Prayer Tour to the State Capitol in Salem on Tuesday, attracting a large crowd who cheered his every word.

Graham took the stage and told the assembled he has “no faith in the Democratic Party” and he has “no faith in the Republican Party” to save this country. Instead, he said, he only has faith in God.

The Decision America Tour 2016 is holding prayer rallies in all 50 states urging followers to vote.

He led the crowd in prayer throughout the 47-minute speech — including prayers for Gov. Kate Brown, law enforcement, state employees and legislators.

“Sin has infected the entire human race,” he said, “and the Bible warns that the punishment for sin is death.”

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon and Basic Rights Oregon condemned Graham’s visit and called his campaign hateful. They say Graham has a history of anti-gay attacks and is working to restrict access to abortion.

At the rally, he railed against same-sex marriage, the celebration of it and the entertainment industry.

“Secularism and Communism are exactly the same thing,” he said. For 40 years, politicians have drifted toward secularism and “I say, ‘Enough!'”

“We need men and women of Christian commitment to run for public office,” Graham extolled the crowd. “We need to elect men and women who are not afraid to go into public office and stand up for Christian values.”

Rev. Franklin Graham led a prayer rally at the State Capitol in Salem, June 28, 2016 (KOIN)
Rev. Franklin Graham led a prayer rally at the State Capitol in Salem, June 28, 2016 (KOIN)

The prayer rally was also a rally to urge Christians to vote and to run for local office. He stayed out of the national presidential race and instead urged followers to get into the fray by running for office.

“I think about your state. What can make a difference? The mayor’s race. We need Bible-believing Christian men and women to run for mayor of the cities in Oregon,” Graham said. “Have you ever heard the term community organizer? You can become the community organizer for God.”

“I’m not running for office,” he said. “I’m running a campaign for God.”

Graham also urged followers to send a text to his organization and to sign a pledge about Biblical principles found on his website. Both are common marketing techniques to find like-minded individuals interested in a particular issue or candidate.

Graham has previously gotten involved in Oregon issues. His organization provided fundraising help for the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, who refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.

He also was among the voices who spoke with the last of the armed occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

Nevada lawmaker Michele Fiore and Graham were escorted to the refuge by the FBI to assist with the surrender.

He also told the crowd in Salem that his father, Rev. Billy Graham, is 97 and is well, though hard of hearing.

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