Although left-wing clergy and liberals in Congress criticized President Donald for walking to St. John's Episcopal Church, across the street from the White House, and holding a Bible up in defiance of the rioters and criminals attacking America's cities, evangelical leader Franklin Graham praised the president for making an "important statement" that the "lawlessness had to end."
Graham, son of the late Pastor Billy Graham, also said it was "unbelievable" that clergy would condemn the president for holding a Bible, and added they should be "thanking the president" for sending a positive message.
"Our country has erupted in chaos," said Graham in a June 3 post on Facebook. "Everyone agrees that what happened to George Floyd was a terrible tragedy that should not have happened and should never happen again. But what has taken place with these riots is also a heartbreaking disaster for so many and for our nation."
"I was asked if I was offended by the President walking out of the White House, which is his back yard, and walking over to St. John’s Church," he said. "Offended? Not at all. This made an important statement that what took place the night before in the burning, looting, and vandalism of the nation’s capital—including this historic house of worship—mattered, and that the lawlessness had to end."
"And I’m not offended that he held up the Bible -- as a matter of fact, I was encouraged!" said Graham. "I appreciate it. I believe that God’s Word is the only hope for each individual and for our nation."
"The problem we are facing in this country is a spiritual and moral problem," he added. "New laws and more government give-away programs are not the answer. It’s a heart problem, and only God can change the human heart."
Graham continued, "I’m disappointed that some of the President’s harshest critics about going to the church were clergy. They have publicly (to the media) criticized the President for walking to the church and for holding up the Bible."
"That’s unbelievable," he said. "They should be thanking him rather than criticizing him! They are nitpicking his gesture, also saying he should have prayed while he was there. So critical."
"Well, maybe they should invite him back and pray for him as he leads this country through a very difficult time in our history, said the reverend, who is president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).
"I call on all pastors, regardless of denomination, race, or political persuasion, to join hands and join hearts in praying for our nation, that God would give wisdom to our leaders -- our mayors, our governors, our President Donald J. Trump, and also our law enforcement," said Graham. "The God of the Bible is our only hope."