Evangelical leader Franklin Graham condemned the record number of sexually transmitted disease (STD) cases in the United States, adding that a "sexually immoral" person sins against his own body and that the solution is to follow the sexual guidelines given to us by God: no sex outside of marriage and marriage only between one man and one woman.
He also stressed that "God loves and wants to protect us," and we thus should "flee from sexual immorality."
"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced yesterday that our nation has set another record, but it’s not one to celebrate," said Rev. Graham in an Aug. 29 post on Facebook.
"Last year nearly 2.3 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases were diagnosed in this country," he said. "That broke the record set in 2016 by nearly 200,000 cases."
"An STD expert says that President Trump should declare this a public health crisis," said Graham. "I believe what America has is a moral crisis and a spiritual crisis. And it manifests itself in many ways, including this public health crisis."
the reverend continued, "Sin always has a cost, a consequence. God loves us and wants to protect us. His Word tells us what to do: 'Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body' (1 Cor. 6:18)."
"The real answer doesn’t lie in practicing their definition of safe-sex, increased testing, or funding for clinics as the experts recommend," said Graham. "The answer lies in hearts turning to God and living within the guidelines He gives us in His Word."
"That isn’t the politically correct answer, but it’s the truth," said Graham.
On Aug. 27, the CDC announced that there were "nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis" diagnosed in the United States in 2017, which is up from about 2.1 million cases in 2016. This marks the fourth consecutive year of increases in STDs, said the CDC.
In their categories, gonorrhea cases went up 67% overall and syphilis cases spiked 76%.
“We are sliding backward,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “It is evident the systems that identify, treat, and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point.”
Most STD cases go undiagnosed and untreated, said the CDC. This can lead to conditions such as "infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth in infants, and increased HIV risk."