Leading Evangelist Franklin Graham is warning Christians nationwide that they should be ready to face persecution if they wish to stand by the biblical definition of marriage following last Friday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States.
Despite President Barack Obama claiming that the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges is a "victory for a America," Graham, the president of both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, asserted in an interview with Fox News' Todd Starnes last weekend that the United States is really the true "loser" because the ruling could bring God's judgement upon the nation.
"Our nation has a spiritual problem and we need God's forgiveness and we need to repent of our sins and turn from our sins because I do believe that God's judgement will come on this nation," the 62-year-old Graham stated.
"When we read in the Scripture, we see how God judged Israel time and time again, when they would turn their back on Him and begin to worship other gods, foreign gods, and God would bring judgement on Israel. I believe God could bring judgement on America."
As it is not yet known what kind of legal protections Christian colleges will have, Graham wants those who are willing to stand for traditional marriage to be "prepared" to be persecuted.
"You better be ready and you better be prepared because it's coming. I think there will be persecution of Christians for our stand," Graham contends. "I believe the Bible. God loves us, no question about it. So when the president says that '#LoveWins,' yes, God loves us but sin is sin and God has standards. When we violate those standards, any type of sexual relationship outside of a marriage relationship between a man and a woman is a sin against God."
"I'm disappointed because our government is recognizing sin. This court is endorsing sin. That's what homosexuality is. It's a sin against God, just like any other sin. For the court to endorse sin, I am saddened for our country," Graham added. "We will have to go by what the court says but as far as for me, I will never recognize it in my heart because God gave marriage between a man and a woman. ... God gave us marriage and that's just it, period. God does not change His mind."
With the court ruling that it is a constitutional right for two individuals of the same sex to be legally married and receive the same government benefits that married hetrosexual couples do, Graham argued that the ruling could lead the nation down a slippery slope that eventually results in other kinds of sexual immorality — like polygamy or incest — being deemed constitutional.
"I think our country is the loser because marriage is an institution that God has given. And for us now to give this to same-sex couples, who is to say that in a few years from now a man cannot marry his daughter or two men can marry one woman? Where do you draw the line?" Graham asked. "This is new ground that our country is beginning to enter and I am just concerned about where we head."
When asked whether he agrees with other conservative pastors and political leaders who are calling for a "civil disobedience" over gay marriage, Graham said he would favor such an action depending on whether the court's ruling is enforced in a way that requires pastors and churches to participate in same-sex weddings.
"I think we have to wait and see what the ruling is and how it is going to be interpreted," Graham replied. "If pastors are going to be forced to provide marriage services for gay couples, I certainly am not going to do it because I would partaking in a sin against God. I just can't do that."
Although he disagrees with the homosexual lifestyle, Graham added that he loves people who struggle with same-sex attraction "enough to warn them" of God's impending judgment of their behavior.
"Do I wish ill to gay couples? No, I don't. But I want them to know the truth — that they are living a sinful life and a sinful relationship and God is going to judge sin one day and the Bible says that sinners will be separated from him in a place the Bible calls hell," Graham explained. "I love gay couples enough to warn them that God is going to judge one day and I want them to repent and believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ so that they will be saved."