A granddaughter of the Rev. Billy Graham, Jerushah Duford, said she is voting for Joe Biden this upcoming election despite her pro-life views and accused President Donald Trump of trying “to hijack our faith for votes.”
“I spent the better part of my life watching my grandfather look to the example of Jesus to how to conduct himself how to treat people,” Duford, whose mother Gigi Graham is the eldest child of Billy and Ruth Graham, said in a recent interview. “Scripture talks about doing justly, loving mercy, walking humbly, and these are tenants of our faith that I do not believe our president demonstrates in any way.”
Duford, who recently joined the Lincoln Project’s women coalition to advocate against President Trump’s reelection, stressed that she’s not “looking for a savior” — “We have a savior,” she said — nor does she believe the president has to share her faith.
“However, [Trump’s] attempt to hijack our faith for votes and the evangelical leaders’ silence on his actions and behavior has presented a picture of what our faith looks like that is so erroneous, it's done significant damage to the way people view Jesus.”
Duford also condemned what she sees as “silence from some church and evangelical leaders” regarding “Trump's treatment of the marginalized communities” and his “objectifying of women.” This silence, she said, has “done enormous, enormous damage to the way people view our faith.”
She claimed that over the last few months, “thousands” of people have asked her how a church that adheres to the teachings of Jesus can support Trump.
“I want the world to know personally that the Jesus we serve promotes kindness, dignity, humility, and this president doesn’t represent our faith,” Duford said. “What we see in the White House is not what Jesus looks like and is not our faith.”
Duford told The New York Times she believes her grandfather would be discouraged by the current state of politics.
“I think he would be sad. I think his greatest desire had nothing to do with policies but to introduce people to a loving Jesus, and the division this administration has caused I believe has hurt this effort,” she explained.
When it comes to the issue of abortion, Duford said she “genuinely” wishes the Democratic Party “would have a greater value for life inside the womb,” but also wishes the Republican Party would “place a greater value on life outside the womb.”
“You cannot choose just one and define yourself as pro-life,” she said.
Duford’s opinions starkly contrast those of her cousin, Cissie Graham Lynch, the daughter of the outspoken conservative Franklin Graham.
During a speech delivered at the Republican National Convention, the 34-year-old warned that the Biden-Harris vision for America of leaves “no room for people of faith” and urged people of faith to support the Trump administration.
“They will force the choice between being obedient to God or to Caesar,” Lynch said, “because the radical left’s God is government power. So in the words of my grandfather Billy Graham, let us stand for political freedom, moral freedom, religious freedom, and the rights of all Americans, and let’s never give in to those who would attempt to take it from us.”
Lynch asserted that after Trump’s election, people of faith had a “fierce advocate” in the White House who appointed judges who “respect the First Amendment.”
She also noted how the Trump administration has supported Christians facing legal discrimination challenges related to their religious beliefs on sexuality and marriage in court. She said the Trump administration has “ensured religious ministries would not be forced to violate their beliefs.”
Lynch also praised Trump for talking about the importance of religious freedom at the United Nations last year.
“In America, we have not faced physical persecution, even though the left has tried to silence us,” she said. ”Even during the pandemic, we saw how quickly life can change. Some Democratic leaders tried to ban church services while marijuana shops and abortion clinics were declared ‘essential.’ But do you know what truly is essential? Our right to worship freely and live our faith in every aspect of life.”
While some polls have shown the president’s support slipping with white evangelicals, a poll from Pew Research Center taken last month showed that 82% of white evangelicals planned to vote for Trump.