(Photo: Reuters / Allison Shelley)
The Rev. Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, and son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, spoke about the meaning of Christmas as well as the American economy and what politics can do to boost it, from a Christian perspective, in an interview with Newsmax Sunday.
Asked what should we really celebrate outside of the consumerism of Christmas, the minister said that the core value to cherish on Dec. 25 is God’s love. People should celebrate the fact that "God gave His son."
"Jesus Christ is real," Graham said. "He’s God in flesh coming to this Earth to take the sins of mankind. The Bible says we’ve all sinned. We’ve all come short of God’s glory, his standards, but yet God gave his son to take our sins. The Bible’s very clear, very specific that he took our sins to the cross and he died and shed his blood on the cross. That he was buried for our sins and that God raised him to life. And if we’re willing to accept Jesus Christ by faith - simply by faith - to believe in him and trust him, God will forgive our sins. He’ll heal our hearts, and we can have that hope of eternal life. So as we come to Christmas, it’s about God giving. It’s about God giving the greatest gift of all and that is his son, Jesus Christ, for our sins.”
The world famous evangelist also spoke about politics. Graham said that he likes President Barack Obama personally, calling him a "nice man" and a "good guy." The minister emphasized he likes the president's wife and his family values. However, he added, the country is going in the wrong direction, and Obama's policies have not helped as of yet.
Spiritually, the country is at a crossroads, Graham said. That is why the 2012 elections are crucial.
"Our nation has turned its back on God," he said in the video interview, adding that he is concerned about the spreading secularism: "I believe it's important that we elect leaders in Washington- men and women- who believe in God and who trust in Him," he said.
"We need some leadership who will take a stand for morality, for what's right. And not be afraid to speak out against those things that are wrong," the evangelist added.
The national debt is hurting American families across the country and is impinging on people's ability to give, including giving to charities, churches and ministries, which try to help others. To get out of the debt and resuscitate the economy "we have to be able to stop our spending as a nation," Graham said.
“You cannot continue to give out and to continue these entitlements that we have gotten used to - we’ve become drunk on them. It’s going to have to stop,” he said. “Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, sooner or later, the politicians are going to have to say we can’t do this anymore and someone’s going to have to be the bad guy and cut the flow of the money that’s just pouring out in every direction. If we don’t do this, we’ll be in trouble.”
Lowering the tax rate is also a necessary step, in the evangelist's opinion. By keeping taxes high, the government is sending businesses to other countries, he suggested.
“My hope is not in a party," Graham concluded, when asked about how politicians could save the nation's economy. "My hope is in almighty God and I know that, when my life comes to an end, I know that I’m going to be received by God and he’s going to accept me into his presence not because I’m a good guy, not because I’ve done anything good - I’m a sinner. He’s going to receive me and accept me because I confessed my sins when I was 22 and I asked God to forgive me and I put my faith and trust in his son, Jesus Christ. So my hope is not in this world. My hope is in heaven and in almighty God who is preparing a place for me one day and that’s what I look forward to.”
View full video interview here.