Franklin Graham, the son of the famous evangelist Billy Graham, is “in the midst of a tour of all 50 state capitols in an effort to encourage evangelicals to be politically active,” writes Dartmouth’s Randall Balmer in a Santa Fe New Mexican opinion piece.
“In the run-up to the 1980 presidential election, Falwell conducted rallies at state capitols throughout the nation in what emerged as the first public rumblings of the religious right. Now, more than three decades later, Franklin Graham wants to do the same,” writes Balmer, the John Phillips Professor in Religion.
“Graham insists that his efforts are not partisan; he recently ‘resigned’ from the Republican Party to underscore the point. ‘I’m going to encourage Christians to stand up and let their voice be heard,’ Graham declared, adding that it’s important ‘to stand for biblical values.’ (Clearly, there is a lot of standing during Graham’s tour.)
“When Falwell initiated his tour of state capitols all those decades ago, few could have predicted that he would lead evangelical voters on a reckless joy ride that would barter away ‘biblical values’ for right-wing political orthodoxy. Graham has the opportunity to right that wrong in the course of his 50-state tour.
“The early returns, however, are not encouraging,” Balmer writes.
Read the full opinion piece, published 3/14/16 by the Santa Fe New Mexican.