Franklin Graham Offers Straight Talk on Real Change

The Rev. Franklin Graham, best known as the son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, offered to point Americans looking for real change and straight talk in the right direction.

"America does need change. We also need some straight talk," Graham wrote in a column posted in the Washington Post's and Newsweek's "On Faith" Web page on Friday.

But instead of pointing to a particular presidential candidate, as the campaign mottos he referenced would suggest, Graham called on American preachers to give some straight talk based on the Bible, which he assures will result in real change.

"I'd like to propose that the change we need is a change of the human heart – a moral and spiritual change. And we need some straight talk from the greatest manual on life ever written – God's Word, the Holy Bible," the evangelist said.

Americans are hungry for change, Graham recognized, citing economic turmoil and terrorist threats as reasons for the high level of anxiety in the nation.

During these hard times, it is easy to blame Wall Street executives, Washington lobbyist, Capitol Hill legislators or the White House for all of American problems, he wrote. But God has always diagnosed the root of all human problems with one word – sin, Graham stated.

"Sin is simply falling short of God's standard and the Bible teaches that we have all have sinned," the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said, "and that the penalty for sin is death."

He continued, "How long do we think we can selectively take life, marry within our sex and have random sex apart from marriage, take what doesn't belong to us, neglect our neighbor and the responsibility to care for His creation, and worship our money rather than the one who endowed us with the ability to make money without serious repercussions?"

American citizens are "crying out for leadership" as their trust in politicians and financial institutions wanes, the minister observes. This is a good time, he urged, for America's pastors to "step forward" and "call a nation back" to God.

Graham pointed to the Old Testament when God gave advice to King Solomon saying, "If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land."

"So here's the kind of change I'm proposing this election season: Let's return to the God of our fathers and put our real hope in the One who made us in His image and blessed our nation far beyond anything we deserve," said Graham, who is also the president/CEO of the Christian international relief organization Samaritan's Purse.

The Christian minister has met privately with both presidential candidates Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain, but has not made any political endorsements.