Evangelist Franklin Graham appeared on Fox News earlier this week and explained that there's more to his decision to resign from the Republican Party than just the "wasteful" GOP-led $1.8 trillion spending bill passed by Congress.
"You know, Greta, there is a lot of good people I think, probably in both parties, and we see some good candidates in the Republican party running for president. But I'm so disappointed in just the leadership of both parties," Graham said on Fox News' "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."
Graham, the eldest son of Billy Graham and president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said America is in trouble and in a mess.
"Starting January 5th, I'm going to all the capitols, the state capitols, holding prayer meetings on the steps of the capitol and we start Des Moines, Iowa," he said. "I felt it was best for me not to be aligned to either party but to be an independent. If I'm going to stand there and ask for people to pray for this country, I don't want people to think he is just doing this for the Republicans. No, I'm not doing this for the Republican party. I'm doing this really for our country, to get people to begin to pray for our nation."
Asked if he left the party because of the funding of Planned Parenthood, which was recently accused of harvesting fetal tissue, Graham responded, "No question. It's not just that. It's the way the bill was passed. It came down so quickly, and didn't seem like anybody tried to fight it. It was just, 'Let's get home for Christmas.'"
This is not the way a government should be run, he went on to say, "waiting for the last minute to do bills like this."
Graham also said he doesn't have an agenda to lead an exodus out of the Republican Party. "That's not my goal," he said. "I'm not here to hurt the Republican party, the Democrats. I want to stand on capitol steps and I want to lead this nation state by state, praying for our politicians, but praying for our country that God would give us politicians who will stand for Biblical values and vote for Biblical values."
Fox News interviewed Graham days after he announced the decision on his Facebook page.
"I call it a big loss for America. After all of the appalling facts revealed this year about Planned Parenthood, our representatives in Washington had a chance to put a stop to this, but they didn't," he wrote in a post, referring to the GOP-led spending bill.
"There's no question — taxpayers should not be paying for abortions! Abortion is murder in God's eyes. Seeing and hearing Planned Parenthood talk nonchalantly about selling baby parts from aborted fetuses with utter disregard for human life is reminiscent of Joseph Mengele and the Nazi concentration camps!" he wrote.
"Unless more godly men and women get in this process and change this wicked system, our country is in for trouble. I want to challenge Christians, even pastors, across the country to pray about running for office where they can have an impact. We need mayors, county commissioners, city council members, school board members who will uphold biblical values," he said.